Imagine living in a space smaller than your closet. Do you think it is impossible? “Where should I put the bed, TV, refrigerator, and other stuff if I only have such small space?” might be the first question coming to your minds.
However, many people are living such lifestyle. They live in houses smaller than your closet, yet they can fit everything they need into it. A movement called ‘tiny house movement’ has been a thing in many countries. And as it is named, those people are living their lives in such small space.
Why do they do that? There are many supporting factors for those people who choose living in tiny house, starting from economy, freedom, comfort, up to sustainability. Fitting yourself and your needs into smaller space indeed might give you all those factors, but is it really sustainable?
In this article we will talk about this lifestyle, and try to measure whether is it really sustainable or not.
Not Less, Just Smaller
If you think about how to fit all your stuff inside a tiny house, at least smaller than your home right now, this is the art of living in it. In a tiny house, compacting your stuff and make optimal use of minimal space is a must.
In example, instead of having your bedroom, dining room, and working room into separate rooms, you should make one multi-functional room. If you feel the need for privacy or exclusiveness, concealing the furniture is the fashion in tiny house.
In this case, foldable bed and table or utilizing a second floor is commonly chosen. Thus, you can make the very same room into your dining room without worrying about spilling your foods on your bed. In addition, putting your electronic devices like TV and personal computer away in the corner of the room can give you more space to avoid water getting spilled on those devices too.
It is about the arrangement of the room and filling every area in the house in a way it is useful, yet still considering the needs of separate space between one another. In other words, in just one single step you can go from your dining room to your working space, yet if you spill your wine it will not stain your bed.
Thus, it is not about making your ‘bedroom’ your house, but making your house as small as your bedroom or less. In fact, we indeed don’t need that much space in a house and each room doesn’t have to be that big to function well.
Why So Small?
The question following is, how to make such compact house while it still functions well as the big house? The first answer is by not making it too small for all your stuff to fill it. Remember, the point of living in a tiny house it maximizing each empty space.
Thus, in the first place, it doesn’t work without any space at all. Once you get the ‘enough’ space to be managed, it will seem possible to arrange the stuff inside it. And indeed there are many tricks needed to make it possible.
Some most popular tricks are using sliding doors, foldable furniture such as bed and table, utilizing the second floor, and maximizing the use of walls. The point is, every single horizontal and vertical space in the tiny house should be used, whether it is to put stuff or to be left as empty space.
Yes, every tiny house is still leaving some spaces for the purpose of comfort. It would be uncomfortable if you have to duck and bend yourself a lot living in your own house, while comfort is the main purpose of living in a tiny house.
The rule is simple: make everything within arm reach, but make sure you can stretch your arms wide. That measurement is actually enough amount of space you need to live. Modern ideal of ‘bigger is better’ doesn’t always apply in practical living and is more about aesthetics.
Sustainable Living In Small Space
Okay, it is time to talk about the sustainability of living in tiny house. People living in tiny houses report that it is more sustainable than living in bigger houses. So, where does the sustainability come from?
First, many kinds of tiny houses are built to be movable, so you can bring it anywhere you go. Different from normal bigger house, it is not applicable for tiny houses to be attached to permanent electric and gas source.
In addition, tiny houses doesn’t consume that much gas and electricity because it doesn’t need as much lamp and heat as normal houses. The tiny size makes heat easily trapped inside, while with just one lamp you can light the whole house bright. That’s why, usually tiny houses are only using solar panels to get its energy.
Not only that, tiny houses also don’t need much resources to build. Not only cheaper, it saves a lot of resources because of that. Many people are actually building their tiny houses from scraps and materials collected from dumps.
Appliance of compostable toilets and trash bins add up to the sustainability feature of tiny house. Flowing water management is also usually applied which is able to conserve more water than usual housings.
Sustainability is not the only feature that tiny house can offer. Since it requires less resources to build, even can be built with scraps and materials collected from dumps, it opens up many possibilities to people who are less fortunate and cannot afford getting bigger house.
Building one for those less fortunate people can be a good model of charity too. In example, in August 2013, “transitional micro-housing” project created 30 homeless people tiny houses with only community service and $30 a month rent for utilities.
The tiny house provided is completed with restroom, kitchen, and laundry facilities, as complete as our houses. It provides a huge opportunity for people all around the world to make this world a better place to live in.