Have you been bitten by the intrigue of Tiny House living? We love to watch tiny house shows online and I always wonder how families make it work? Are all tiny home dwellers also minimalists to the extreme?
It seems like most of the really tiny homes are being lived in by couples or families with very small children. The other thing I’ve noticed is that they are all in climates without the harsh winters we have here.
Even with our long winters we have started to notice tiny homes popping up around the countryside here as well. I’m wondering are these homes being built as an extension of an existing home, like a guest house? Or are they being built while people are saving up to build a forever home?
Waiting to sell…..
While we are waiting for our current home to sell we have been thinking about how we will live after the house is sold. The intrigue of tiny houses has stirred a lot of conversations between Arlen and I. With the quest for living with less, we have wondered if we could actually go small.
The more we look at our life and the climate that we live in, we know that tiny house living isn’t for our family. We spend 6-7 months inside because it’s just too darn cold to go outside for long periods of time. I can’t imagine being cooped up with 2 adults, 3 kids (ages 13, 10 and 7), a dog and no where to move.
It’s also important to us to make sure that our kids feel like they each have their own space and that they aren’t being shoved into a corner or forgotten about. We value them and want to maintain a good relationship and have good family dynamics.
They have each taken their turn sharing rooms and are now at a place in their life that we feel it’s best they have their own rooms. I realize that many families don’t have the luxury of each of their children having their own room. I get that, and up until a couple weeks ago we had our youngest son sleeping in a spare bed in the middle of our basement since he didn’t want to share a room anymore.
It was a temporary fix that led to us sacrificing our home office and he now has his own room. For our family, it seems to work best to have each kid in their own room.
What is the best use of our money?
So how does a family work towards having a smaller mortgage when they are going to be starting from the ground up?
When our home does sell, we will be moving to a bare acreage that doesn’t even have services yet. It’s a 3 acre subdivision out of a 1/4 section (160 acres) of farmland that my parents farm. When you purchase an existing acreage all your services are already put in. We’re going to need to bring everything in.
We started to add up all the costs to service a new yard and it was a bit daunting. It made us understand why some families go with Mobile Homes or Trailers instead of building a home with a basement.
We have lived in mobile homes and they have everything you might need in a home. They were the first place we started when researching a new build. After a lot of debate, we’ve decided we want to go with an actual home on a basement.
For us it’s worth saving up and doing it right the first time. We don’t want to regret the decisions we make.
Where do you live?
The other issue we will have is that once the house does sell and we start the building process we are looking at a minimum of 6-8 months with no place to live.
Where do you put all your stuff? Where would I keep my piano? Do you rent a storage facility? Buy a Sea-Can? Sweet talk family into filling a spare room up with boxes?
Would we need to buy a used holiday trailer for $12,000-$15,000 and then spend more money making it weather tight to live in during our frigid winter?
Trailer living would be just like living in a tiny house.
We knew right off the top that this option wasn’t going to work. This past winter we had an entire month of -36C with lots of wind. There is no way a holiday trailer could be warm enough in that weather. Plus a trailer is too tight when all 5 of us and a dog need to stay in it for the entire winter.
Should We Rent?
The next option is to rent. We could move to town or find a neighbour with a vacant house to house sit or rent, but rent is getting crazy expensive where are, it’s $1500 or more per month. Plus, we have a dog and not everyone is willing to rent to someone with pets. I would rather all that rental money go towards the new build.
We know that we could move in with family. This is an option that has been talked about a lot between us and our family. It’s good to know that we could do this in a crunch, but we’re hoping that we can come up with something that doesn’t force 2 families out of their comfort zones.
So recently we have been talking about building a temporary home. A structure that is bigger than tiny home living, but with no bells and whistles and that doesn’t break the bank. This structure would need to be multi-purpose as well.
We don’t want to be throwing money away when we move out of it. It would need to be simply converted into a home and then simply converted back into its original function.
Anyone who has lived on an acreage or farm knows that there is a lot of equipment that comes with the upkeep of a yard. There are garden tractors, tools, gardening equipment and the list goes on.
Once you throw in my retail bedding plant greenhouse, there is a lot of “stuff” that needs to be kept together.
We know that one day we want to have a large shop/garage. The shop would need to house a workshop, place to park our vehicles and a place for me to start all my plants and house my greenhouse supplies. This shop will need to have access to power, natural gas and water.
Since I will eventually be opening my retail bedding plant greenhouse again, I’d like to have access to a bathroom for customers that isn’t in my home. So the shop will also need to have access to septic.
The more we talked about needing all the services at the shop, the more we wondered if we could actually live in the shop temporarily? Could we build temporary walls, rooms and living space? Could this be an alternative to tiny house living?
We know that we have to bring in all our services no matter what type of home we live in. Why couldn’t we live in a converted shop. It might be a way for us to save money and work towards a forever home with everything that we actually want.
Wait, Plan, Research, Repeat …..
We aren’t committing to anything right now, but the wheels of research have started. I need something to focus my energy on while we’re waiting for the house to sell. It also pays to look into all sorts of ideas, since research is free. Then when the house does sell we aren’t scrambling to figure out what we’re actually going to do.
Only time will tell what circumstances will pop up when the house sells. But in the mean time it’s good to plan and research.
Do you know anyone who has lived in a garage or tiny house while building a house? I’d love to hear your stories.