Could the key to a big life lie in living in a small space?
To those in the Tiny House movement, the answer is yes. The Tiny House movement is a social movement with a focus on smaller spaces and a more simplified lifestyle. It is sometimes referred to as the Tiny Life movement. Tiny House living typically means having a home that’s no bigger than 400 square feet.
While many people have heard of the movement, not as many know someone who drastically downsized their life.
Heidi Lutz is just one person committed to Tiny House living. The Pennsylvania mom is in the process of moving into a tiny house with Sam, her 8-year-old son. Here’s what she’s doing to prepare for the move, what she’s most excited about and more.
When did you first get interested in Tiny House Living?
I grew up reading Heidi as a child. Sometimes I wonder if that is where it came from since she lives in a hut and sleeps in a loft!
I also traveled around the world several times. I got used to living in tents and camper vans and saw that living in an intimate space is good for me.
What will your Tiny House look like?
It will be 288 square feet and feature two sleeping lofts. It will be on wheels so we can move whenever we want. I am very involved in working with the builder. We’re using a lot of salvaged materials. I will get many of them from the Buy Nothing Project (a movement of community groups in which people exchange or give away items they no longer want). I am starting a local Buy Nothing Project Facebook group to get rid of stuff I don’t need and pick up items I need for our home.
When will you make the move?
In about two years.
What are you doing to prepare yourself for this move?
Right now, I am focused on paying off my auto loan, saving money, downsizing and learning more about Tiny House living. I am trying really hard to avoid stores and to get rid of anything we don’t absolutely need. I’m finding you don’t need as much stuff as you think you do; right now, I have just two pairs of socks that have lifetime guarantees.
I recently held an open house in which my friends and family could take whatever I set out. I didn’t charge anything, but people could make a donation toward our Tiny House living fund. I got rid of a lot that day.
Finally, I am reading Tiny House living blogs and visiting Tiny Houses. I recently got back from Karenville, a village full of tiny houses in Ithaca, N.Y.
How much time and money will Tiny House living save you?
Our Tiny House will cost between $20,000 and $25,000. I estimate I’ll save about $1,500 every month on maintenance, utilities, taxes and mortgage payments. I also estimate I’ll have about 10 extra hours of free time since there’s so little to clean, repair and maintain.
What are you most excited about?
I’m excited about being debt free and having more time to spend with my son. With the extra time and money, we’ll be able to travel and see the world together.
What are you most nervous about?
My son is only 8 years old right now, and I’m a little worried about how things will work when he’s a teenager. One option is to build a small structure right by our house. I saw a lot of that when I visited Karenville.
What advice would you give someone who is considering Tiny House living?
Spend some time living in a tiny structure and read about what Tiny House living entails. One book I recommend is Tiny House Decisions. It really walks you through everything you need to know and consider.