Lots of people live in small homes, apartments or condos. The reasons are many and range from downsizing, to purchasing 2nd homes, to being in a transitional time of your life. Many people are reducing stress by simplifying their life, getting rid of unnecessary ‘things,’ reducing the burden of a large mortgage payment etc. Smaller homes mean smaller home payments which allows for independent/alternative employment and/or the freedom to travel. How small is too small and what do you have to sacrifice for this financial freedom?
‘Small’ depends on your perspective. If you are coming from a large home in the suburbs, a small home/apartment/condo can be 1100 sf. A single wide manufactured home (trailer home) is around 1080 sf. Homes in this size category give you a full kitchen, living room, bedroom, full bath, stacked washer/dryer and either a 2nd bedroom or a dining area. If you are moving from a larger home, you need to purchase new furniture, smaller compact sizes and furniture with dual purposes. Sofas that turn into beds, islands that have a flip up dining counter, etc.
Backyard cottages/DADU’s/ADU’s run a little smaller averaging 632 sf. Generally, you will have to give up the 2nd bedroom/dining room and reduce your kitchen area. If you are not following building codes, you can have a ladder to a loft bedroom. The ADU that I designed for my small lot is 400 sf, very small, but I was still able to squish in a stacking washer/dryer. General storage is a challenge. You really have to cut down on your belongings. How about 2 pairs of shoes one coat and one purse? Can you do it? Do you want to?
‘Tiny’ homes are a new craze of an old idea -mobile homes. These tiny homes are built to be moved, possibly frequently, from location to location. They average 200 sf including a loft bedroom. They often have composting toilets and solar panels so that you can ‘camp out’ on any piece of land as long as the property owners agree. This is minimalism taken to a new level. It looks fun and exciting – but for how long? These homes are uniquely designed, have lots of charm and style and have interiors that are detailed out to use EVERY inch of space to its maximum, but how small is too small?
**Tumbleweed Tiny House Company