I’m no minimalist. I don’t really know what that would look like. No such person, I suppose, but I like the ideology of minimalism. I tend to be an excessivist. Hmmm. Red Underline. My word? Anyway, I do things excessively. I drink too much coffee. I eat until my belly hurts and I’m sick. I can’t drink one beer, I drink all the beers. Shit, I put too much peanut butter on a PB&J. If something is good then more is better, right? Well, I’m not so sure.
I have too many interests and not enough lifetimes to fulfill them all. So many projects and hobbies I’d like to explore, but it all seems to overwhelming sometimes without some sort of basic structure or routine to my day other than going to my hourly wage job. Just the simple act of keeping my living space clean is somehow beyond my abilities. To me, minimalism isn’t about living with next to nothing, it’s about living with just what makes you happy and no more. Anything extra; more possessions, more space, more vehicles to maintain, just takes away time and energy better suited towards my true passions. Passions, that I may not even consider at this point. Some people are highly organized and can juggle a full calendar of activities and responsibilities. I am not one of those people. Maybe, it takes motivation for a goal or series of goals, for which I have few or at least I don’t have a plan to get there. For myself, minimalism is about priorities. If something isn’t important to me, get rid of it! I hope that by adopting such a philosophy, I can create an environment that is suited for my goals, and those goals will dictate the environment that follows.
There are a lot of good reasons to live small in a tiny dwelling. A few of mine are:
1. Less stuff to move. I despise moving!
2. Less stuff to clean and organize. Easier to find what I’m looking for!
3. Less stuff to insure. Save money!
4. No room for more stuff, have to avoid purchasing . Save money!
5. Less space to heat and cool. Save money and resources! Reduce negative impact on the natural environment.
6. A finite water supply makes me more conscious of the water I waste.
7. Remodeling should be cheaper. I can use high quality materials because I don’t need much of them!
8. Small can be beautiful! Cheap! Manageable!
I kind of fancy the Tiny Houses on Trailers you might have seen in some silly HGTV special or any garbage television like that. If you haven’t seen one, they are just a steel trailer with a double axle and an insulated wooden cottage like structure attached to it. They’re often one or two rooms with a bathroom, tiny kitchen and often a loft for sleeping. A tiny house on wheels can be moved from location to location, although they’re not something you can tour the country with. More like a mobile home that you can tow with a pickup truck! There are some beautiful models being built by craftsmen around the country, but they will cost you a pretty penny. Per square foot they’re fairly expensive, but then you must consider that square footage is one of the cheapest things to add to a home since it’s calculated by the product of the dimensions and these things have tiny dimensions and still have a bathroom, kitchen, heater, water heater, plumbing, electrical and all of that. A nice model with all pine interior starts at about $40K. Then, you need a place to park it. Rent somebody’s front yard? Maybe, if you can find someone amicable to the idea and that might provide electricity, water and septic. Of course, one could generate their own power with a solar bank and batteries, eliminate sewage with a composting toilet. That just leaves water and a source of heat.
I like the idea of a tiny house, but can’t see it happening anytime soon. For one thing, it’s too expensive. Also, it doesn’t travel particularly well and I’d like to see more of the country. I’m not so sure where I want to live yet, that’s why I rent. Another issue is storage space. This is about downsizing and minimalism, but my interests mainly lie in building energy management systems so, I have a lot of tools and I’m going to keep most of them. Unless I’m planning on pulling the tiny house with a box truck converted to a workshop, the tiny house isn’t practical right now. I don’t rule it out though.
Many of the tiny house people I’ve spoken to say their home is classified as an RV. Some curious questioners often ask them if living in a tiny house feels like being in an RV. The usual answer is “no”. It’s true, the ones I’ve been in have a high (sort of) vaulted ceiling and wall to wall tongue and groove wood. They are very cozy and don’t feel cheap or flimsy.
I don’t know where the thought first popped into my head, but why not live in an RV? I mean, it probably crossed my mind once or twice, but was almost immediately dismissed as ridiculous. For some reason I started to look at this possibility seriously a few weeks ago and now I’m about sold. It’s a relatively common lifestyle. Not just for retirees and vagabonds!
RVs are quite common. They can be found inexpensive when purchased used. Many have all the systems for living, even though they’re designed for vacations and what not. Serious modifications will be desired, but that is for later posts. Best of all, living in an RV makes moving to a new area much easier, and being mobile will be quite advantageous is the coming zombie apocalypse. More on the zombie apocalypse later.