What do you need?
For the past few years, Kit and I have been talking about our dream home. It’s not the simplest of dreams, and we’re not in a position to fulfill it yet, but we still dream. It’s a pretty common dream – a home of our own.
But what kind of home?
A coworker of mine once said his dream retirement home was 8,000 square feet. For him and his wife. And most of the rooms would be shut up when not in use.
That’s the size of a small store. That’s ten times larger than my first apartment. Eight thousand.
The size of the average single family home in the United States has risen dramatically in the past few decades. My childhood home, built in 1955, is a three-bedroom rambler of just over 1,600 square feet. For the majority of my life, it housed two adults, two children, a large dog, three cats, a fish tank, and a hermit crab tank. A similar family – if not smaller – now tends to live in 2,500 square feet or more (if they can afford a house at all).
“Bigger is better,” says the American ideal. Bigger food. Bigger cars. Bigger houses. Bigger us.
That’s not my dream. That not Kit’s dream. And it’s not realistic.
Could I use every room in a larger house? Sure. I could figure out a use. But would I be happy with it? I don’t think I would.
So what do we need?
By the time we get to building or buying a house, it will be just Kit and me. We want to enjoy our time, not spend it cleaning or maintaining a house we can’t afford. So we’re looking at tiny homes.
When we say tiny, we mean tiny. Short term, we’d love to pick up the towable Fencl from Tumbleweed Tiny House Company. That is 130 square feet – very small indeed. In the long run, we’d love a piece of property with a little acreage to build the Sebastarosa – probably the 3-bedroom model so that we can have a ground-floor bedroom. The plan would be to live in the Fencl while the Sebastarosa was being built, and keep the smaller one for travel or guests.
Total, the two spaces would be 977 square feet. That’s smaller than the apartment we live in now, and less than half the size of the standard American home. Moving from where we are now to one of the two – especially the Fencl – would be a massive change of lifestyle. We would have to figure out what we need.
So. What do we need?
It’s not a question we can answer right now. There are things we’re already doing to try and pare down, and more planned. A family of four who doesn’t entertain does not need multiple plate and silverware sets. We do need altar space, even if it’s small. It’s likely that we won’t need the numerous gaming consoles we have in the living room, or the large flat-screen, or two large couches. And I sincerely doubt we’ll need drawers and drawers of clothing. In the next five to ten years, I hope we can pare down to live comfortably enough in 130 square feet that, when it’s time to move into the larger home, we won’t know what to do with the space.
This is all still a dream. But it does us good to pare down anyway. It’s friendly and less stressful. Himself likes the idea rather a lot. And it means we’re taking steps to keep that dream alive.
What do you need?