big house, little house: downsizing for sustainability

I’ve lived in Houston the past few years, and I’m not sure if it’s the whole “Everything’s Bigger in Texas” way of life but the houses here are gigantic. This city is filled with egregious mansions. However, what’s more disturbing in my opinion is that in my neighborhood, beautiful tiny bungalows, full of history, are being removed to make room for even MORE over sized homes. Which makes me wonder, is bigger actually better? Are bigger homes necessary?

I’m no stranger to downsizing. I used to live in a comfortable two bedroom, two bathroom apartment on the north side of Houston. Two years ago, I moved closer to the city into a tiny yellow bungalow (hence the blog name). It’s taken a lot of getting used to these past two years. I’ve had to learn the importance of needs and wants, because with 550 square feet of space, there’s no room for superfluity.

In the past few years, there has been a popularity in downsizing that I would never have expected. The tiny house movement is an interesting demonstration of the differences in wants and needs. These tiny home owners are anti-consumerists and albeit a bit extreme, they really show how we can positively effect our environment and personal well being by letting go of so many material things.

Have a look at this link from sharedpower.com to see some examples of really beautiful and sustainable tiny homes!

Rationale Behind Tiny Homes

Environmentally Conscious 

I think one of the main reasons people opt for a tiny home is that they are environmentally conscious and are interested in lowering their footprint on the Earth. TinyHouseBuild.com demonstrates this in a really concise style, check out this link. Because tiny houses are smaller, less materials and energies are needed to build these homes. Also the physical size is smaller so there’s less effect on land space.

De-Stress Financially

The other enticing aspect of tiny living is financial freedom. In choosing to live in a little home, mortgages and rental payments are nonexistent. You only have to pay for the cost of your tiny home, which is much much less than conventional homes. Even more appetizing is the fact that without the burden of house payments, you have the financial freedom to use your money elsewhere perhaps for travelling in your mobile tiny home! I really like this image by thetinylife.com:

tiny house

 

**I recommend watching the documentary TINY: A Story About Living Small. You can find this film on Netflix. It follows two young people and their journey to build their very own tiny home.**

5 thoughts on “big house, little house: downsizing for sustainability

  1. Wow this is amazing! I am with you as far as what we really need to live a comfortable life is less than what we have. And a living prove example are those tiny houses, they have the necessary space to live comfortably. I found this article that I thought it was interesting. it shows pictures of Asian families with all their belongings in one photo (Ill put the link at the end if you want to take a look), the interesting things to see in those pictures, is that those Asian families have only a few belongings, and they manage to be fine, just because they dont really need more. I wonder what would be a picture of an average american with all their belongings in one photo?
    I would love to start a project like the one you showed in this article, and create and design a small house to live a simpler life.

    link:
    http://thefoxisblack.com/2013/12/31/huang-qingjun-captures-chinese-families-and-all-their-belongings-in-one-photo/

  2. Hahaha I’ll pass on the microhouse!
    I’ve never understood the huge house thing for smallish families. All the furniture to fill it up, all the cleaning and maintenance involved, forget it!

    1. Haha! Agreed, I would NOT want to clean one of those gigantic houses. And the microhouses are definitely extreme but you have to admit when it comes to reducing waste, these guys are on point!! 😉

  3. That’s very interesting, I learned about the tiny house movement last year. I believe in a minimalist existence. Each time I’ve moved I’ve given away more of my possessions.

    1. Me too Jeff! I think simplicity is so important.

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