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As Cost of Living Skyrockets, Tiny Houses Grow in Popularity

As income inequality reaches historic levels, wages stagnate, and the cost of college and other expenditures increases, people are forced to become creative to determine how to live while still being able to save money and maintain disposable income. One such solution is found in the idea of “tiny houses,” which generally encompass fewer than 400 square feet, cost as little as $600 per month, and often can be towed to new locations. The downsides of such a living environment are obvious, but for a certain type of person, living in a tiny house can be a great way to save money while embarking on a unique and exciting lifestyle.

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Living in a tiny house is akin to living in a trailer or RV, though tiny houses are generally more aesthetically pleasing. Most tiny houses are no wider than eight and a half feet, as this is the maximum width allowable on roads in the U.S. The philosophy of living that drives interest in tiny homes is one of minimalism, as these residences promote a simple lifestyle with few personal possessions while promoting freedom by making it easier to travel and move to new places. What’s more, the tiny house lifestyle is ideal for the environmentally-conscious, as living in a tiny house minimizes electricity and oil usage while also reducing the amount of material necessary to build and maintain the house.

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However, there are a number of clear drawbacks to living in a tiny house, not the least of which is a lack of space. Oftentimes, tiny homes have bathrooms that are so small that the toilet is placed immediately next to the shower, and space restrictions mean that lofts and closest can be so small that you have to crawl to enter and leave them. Additionally, zoning regulations often restrict or prohibit living in tiny houses, depending on the jurisdiction. Tiny houses can also prove to be problematic for neighbors, who may consider them an eyesore and may worry that communities of tiny homes can devolve into shantytowns, lowering property values in the neighborhood.

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Still, none of these drawbacks have discouraged proponents of the tiny house movement, which is continuing to grow and now encompasses roughly 10,000 members in the United States alone. While the experience of life in a tiny home is far from ideal for most people, the movement has the potential to address some of the major problems facing modern American life, including the rise in homelessness over time and the damaging environmental impact of life in a large residence. While this lifestyle is certainly not for everyone, those looking for more fun, unique, and adventurous experiences may want to consider the possibilities offered by life in a tiny home.