Why The Tiny House Movement Has Our Hearts


The smaller, the better.


There’s a new house on the block and what it lacks in size, it makes up for in spirit. Popping up everywhere from New York to Tokyo, these abodes are less than 37sq metres (compared to the average Australian house that is around 241sq metres) and are small enough to be legally transported across country on a trailer. What started as an initiative in 2005 to house Hurricane Katrina victims in New Orleans now has enthusiasts around the world who dramatically downsize their lives to move into these cozy cottages. In fact, this niche lifestyle has become a full-scale movement: there are now countless websites, blogs, social media (@cabinporn anyone?) and off-line meet-ups all devoted to tiny house inspiration, as well as practical resources for building and living the (mini) dream.

Here’s why we want to our own tiny house.

Because we’ll be forced to Marie Kondo our lives.

When you make an active decision to live in the smallest space possible, there’s little choice but to shed years of possessions and keepsakes (come on, does it really spark joy?) Even if the innovative design (built from the inside out as opposed to traditional homes that are built as a shell) features clever storage solutions, downsizing is a non-negotiable. There really isn’t enough room for that second, let alone 10th, pair of jeans. We’re talking monks cell vibes, people. But according to dwellers of Tiny Houses, the idea behind simple living isn’t to cast off all of your material possessions; it’s to simplify your possessions down to stuff that really matters.

Because having a tiny house means big living.

Financially, you’re better off if you live in a tiny house. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australians live in some of the largest houses in the world which greatly impacts our finances. Instead of pouring everything into a mortgage, you could potentially purchase a tiny house outright at the same price as a standard house deposit. A radically simple tiny house–which still includes a kitchen, bathroom and heating–will set you back around $41,000 and they can run up to $100,000. To build, they use less resources (in materials and labour, for example) and to run, the costs are also minimal. Some tiny house occupants pay as little as $100 a year in utility bills. The financial freedom will allow you to follow other passions, including all that travel you’ll be able to do with your tiny house in tow.

Because we want to live off the grid in (cosy) comfort. 

The tiny house can run completely off the grid. It’s perfect for those looking to reduce their carbon footprint and embrace sustainable living. Many people building their own tiny houses using environmentally sustainable practices like solar power, salvaged materials, composting toilets and insulation panels made from wool. Nearly seven logging trucks worth of wood are used to make the average wood house, while a tiny house only needs half a truck.

Because it’s a force for good.

A growing number of American cities have found a practical solution to homelessness through the construction of tiny-house villages. The Tiny Homes Foundation, a not-for-profit pilot program, doing the same here in Australia. Tackle the country’s growing affordable housing crisis head on by becoming a partner through their website.

Becausereally, could a house get any cuter? 

You’ve got to admit it: tiny houses are pretty damn appealing with their whimsical woodland charm. Despite its challenges, the tiny house oozes comfort with a cozy, storybook vibe making one slightly nostalgic, thinking about building miniature houses as a child. Forget the caravan, this is real #housegoals.

Edited by Miriam Raphael.


I remember visiting my cousin as they built their tiny house http://www.milkwood.net and the entrepreneurial banter over the fresh produce laden lunch table. We brainstormed how my own business as a photo organiser http://www.thefilingfairies.com.au could help older tiny house builders as they downsized their precious photo collections into modern compact formats

Darryl Lovegrove

This has to be part of the solution the western world is facing. It’s amazing how it hasn’t caught on in other areas of the world. Just imagine if South Africa’s Presidents Mbeke and Zuma had adopted this approach – the difference it would have made in peoples lives. The trick will be where people are able to locate and the proximity to schools and transport etc. The madness of the Sydney/Melbourne/Auckland housing market which has virtually pro-actively made sure our children and grandchildren have no hope in home ownership is profound. Solutions have to be found. This is a good start.

Cathy Fitzgerald

My partner and I are very much are a part of this movement. We have lived in a beautiful shed now for the past 9years on our 50 acre property. Its one open space with a loft bed. Then we built a Cabin down at our creek which we named La Cabana (The cabin in spanish,my partner is spanish). Its a a beautiful open space with a fire place, loft bed, gas cooker etc. We added a compost toilet and outdoor heated shower set amongst the rainforest. Its all been made with recycled wood and iron. We have purposely made it no electricity and solar runs the hot shower and fridge. We rent this out for short term stays. Our guests love it and there always inspired to down size. Having a creative side we are now building another small space out of beautiful wood and we are going to live between the shed and this building (haven’t given it a name yet). The shed will be come our creative space for sewing, pottery and some shoe making and maybe little painting/drawing/writing, I think whatever takes our fancy. We can’t move these spaces as mentioned above but they are all set on our property and there use is forever evolving and changing. It keeps life exciting and we have so much fun designing them and decorating in our own style. I’m currently putting my blog together which will be called “The Art of Small Space living”. Keep an eye out for it and there’ll be some great posts and pictures.


I’ve been in love with tiny houses for years (even starting a site to collect my finds at http://www.tinyhouse.io ).

The part that’s inspiring is seeing people really considering their spaces, their possessions, their lives. I’m sure many tiny house peeps don’t but I’ve met enough to know that it’s probably a movement because people are weighed down with physical & digital stuff and long for a way to reset.

It’s like the elimination diet for physical spaces. You might end up eating a little less but you’ll know which parts of your diet are toxic or making you sluggish…

Kate Donovan

What I really like about this idea is the concept of living with a smaller imprint because you would only have high quality bespoke essentials. And the other thing is that having less clutter is liberating and calming and hopefully enable you to spend more time in the garden and lower utility bills with heating and cooling. It would also enable our children to afford to own their own places. We have a property used on weekends which is an old place surrounded by a lovely old garden. We’ve furnished it with just the basics and have a wood fired stove so meals are created hours before they are due because of the slow cooking process, but the flavours are delicious. We’re vegan vegetarian mix due to mainly environmental reasons ( see Cowspiracy film). But what I wanted to say was that your article has inspired another idea which is to plan to build a small cabin/ tiny house which can be an escape for us and others and I believe that a stay in this this thoughtfully designed small but comfortable space will help rejuvenate the senses and encourage living more lightly as so often I feel that we are so bogged down with stuff that we find difficult to let go of. So thank you for this article, and if and when I get around to realising this project (finances are a bit tight at the moment), will invite you to see it and I can then tell you if it has made my life feel freer and better. We are currently committed to getting our last of our four children through her final years at a. Steiner school with the IB and engaged in a landcare project creating bio links with remnant trees, and once we have done this a small bespoke cabin is just the thing. We can retreat to it when it gets too busy at the old farmhouse ! And give our children and their friends some space ! I am a painter and will devote more time to this creative pursuit. My husband is very capable and will do all sorts of interesting projects. He is both academic and hands on, a great builder/designer. I am very blessed.


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