WHAT EVERY COUPLE CAN LEARN FROM LIVING IN A TINY HOUSE
Over last year, the “tiny house movement” has entered the public consciousness in a not-so-tiny way. Maybe you’ve seen one of the several HGTV reality shows on the subject or read the latest pro-tiny think piece re: “Why tiny houses are the dawn of a new peace-love-everything-they-sing-about-in-Hair era,” or you have a free-spirited former roommate who traded their spacious dwelling for a hundred-square-foot cottage on wheels. The question becomes could YOU, along with your sweetheart, live in a house that looks like it guzzled the Alice in Wonderland “Drink Me” shrinking potion? And if you did majorly downsize and commit to this miniature lifestyle, what might you learn from the experience?
MINIMALISM IS YOUR NEW BFF
You can’t keep up your stuff-accumulating lifestyle in a tiny house because there just isn’t the space for stuff to accumulate.
“People who like the tiny house are minimalists, they have jobs conducive to a tinier, minimalist lifestyle,” explains Chad Wegener, an Omaha goat farmer who rents out a tiny house on his property through Airbnb. (Note: I stayed in this Airbnb during a cross-country road trip, and it was a total fairy tale. I felt all kinds of Snow White sleeping in the pint-sized loft bed, and I definitely felt a groovy minimalist lifestyle FOMO for weeks after.)
Wegener added that the lifestyle is particularly suited to people who travel like crazy for work and nomadic couples who can work anywhere and want the freedom to be able to pick up and go when the mood strikes them.
NATURE IS ALSO YOUR NEW BFF
You can’t exactly plunk a tiny house down in the middle of a busy city, so most tiny houses end up in a rural settings on land their owners have purchased leased, or, you know, in a secret field full of wildflowers where tiny house people hope no one will bug them for a while.
“It’s definitely an advantage to have nature around you for people who like the tiny house concept,” Wegener told me. “It’s for people who want to live in a way that’s sustainable, not wasteful. You can live small and it’s not all commercialized.”
IF YOU’RE NOT COMFY TALKING ABOUT/DEALING WITH BATHROOM STUFF WITH YOUR HONEY, YOU WILL GET COMFY FAST
Unless you want to spend $20,000 on a septic tank (and, with the tiny house already setting you back about $40,000 if you have someone else build it or $23,000 if you DIY, you probably WON’T want to do that), you guys are going to want a self-composting toilet in your dwelling. They don’t smell (if used properly), they’re easy to clean, but they DO have to be cleaned, which means if the two of you have been pretending for the entirety of your relationship that neither poops, well, that’s going to have to change.
YOU’RE GOING TO HAVE TO FIND NEW ISSUES TO NAG EACH OTHER ABOUT
It takes twenty, maybe twenty-five minutes to clean a tiny house, so that chore is officially off the nag list. You’re also cutting way, way back on spending when you choose the tiny house lifestyle. Fifty-five percent of tiny house owners have more savings than the average American and 89% of tiny house people have less credit card debt. When you downsize to a tiny house, you also downsize fights about money. So, you either find new things to bicker about (and you may—think, elbows in each other’s faces, all that fresh air and nature giving you both the itchiest of allergies, etc.) or you just… stop bickering as much. Option B sounds pretty gorgeous to me.
IT’S TOTALLY POSSIBLE YOUR RELATIONSHIP ISN’T COMPATIBLE WITH THE TINY HOUSE LIFE (AND THAT’S OK)
Tiny house designer Jamison Hiner (who built Wegener’s tiny house) jokes, “What a couple would learn living in a tiny house is whether or not they could stand each other.” For those who don’t think they could deal with a pared down lifestyle on a full-time basis, you could vacation in one. If you happen to have an extra $50,000 lying around, Hiner recommends building tiny house to use as a guesthouse, cabin, or weekend retreat.
Moral of this tiny house fairytale: Check one out for a few days as a romantic way to get cozy without completely upturning your whole life and going from tiny house 0 to 100.