Natural Health

Healthy living, herbal remedies and DIY natural beauty.

Add to My MSN

Benefits of Living in a Tiny Home: Time, Money, Peace of Mind

7/11/2011 1:01:46 PM

Tags: tiny house, small home living, living in a tiny house,, Ryan Mitchell, tips for living in a small space, simple living, Robyn Griggs Lawrence

Robyn Griggs Lawrence thumbnailRyan Mitchell lives in a 300-square-foot apartment in Charlotte, North Carolina, and that’s just too much space. He’s saving up so he can pay cash to build his 130-square-foot dream home.

Ryan, whose website TheTinyLife provides information on living in small homes and connection with likeminded others, believes that “people are realizing that homes aren’t a safe bet anymore, and many people have been fooled into thinking a home is a major milestone, but it simply is a debtor’s prison.” For that reason, he’s taking the time to save up and go mortgage-free.

Ryan’s 130-square-foot home will have four “rooms” but no space will be wasted on hallways, the nemesis of small home builders. He will salvage most of the materials and has budgeted for responsibly sourced materials when he’s not able to scrounge. LED bulbs, faucet aerators and a low flow showerhead, windows designed to create cross drafts and solar panels are all in the plans. Because the house will be on wheels, Ryan will be able to place it in the shade during the summer and move it to a place where it can take in lots of sun in winter. The house will be heated with propane until Ryan sets up a tiny wood stove that he can feed with wood harvested from his property. The air conditioner—a necessary evil for a New Hampshire native living in hot, humid North Carolina—will be solar-powered.

Living in a smaller home “brings your life into perspective and reduces the clutter that clouds your mind of what is important,” Ryan says. “You live in a home that meets all your needs, but you aren’t a slave to it because of debt. Time, money and peace of mind are all things that become available because of living in a tiny home.”

The hardest part, he adds, is bucking the consumer culture. “From birth, we are socialized to buy, buy, buy,” Ryan says. “Even today, though I have made great strides, I find myself trying to rationalize why I need to buy something and I have to catch myself. The social pressures that occur from wanting to live this way can be difficult from friends, family—and especially dating.”

Ryan started his blog as a way to catalogue design ideas, keep up his motivation and document his journey. If you’re interested in taking the leap—tomorrow or 10 years from now—TheTinyLife is an excellent place to get started. Check his out “10 Tips for Living in a Small Space.” 

“Tiny houses don’t come in one size, one shape, one design,” Ryan adds. “They can take any form so long as it matches the needs of those individuals. It is important to note, a tiny house for a family might be 1,000 square feet. The key is the square footage per resident.”

ryan small home 1 

Ryan plans to build a tiny home like this one, which he can put on a trailer and move as needed. 

ryan small home 2 

The tiny, well-built home will include everything Ryan needs to live well. 


Ryan started to connect with and motivate likeminded small home dwellers. 

Content Tools

Post a comment below.


john m_3
7/23/2011 4:35:34 PM
i have to agree somewhat with mr carpenter, ryan is living in an apt. he has not done the move. we all have aspirations that are not yet realized. why not do the article on the people who built the trailer house that was used for illustration in this article. how did he enter in? another wannabe who is related to someone? mother earth news needs more substance, show the hard times before the "all is well in the kingdom" with your articles. i have an unread copy of the original #1 issue so i have been reading you for a long time. this rosy slant on life is not it. many of the simplistic diy projects you offer are for the middle class who work in the city and have a few chickens in the back yard. oh well, i guess the start to understanding life can begin there. the closer to nature we get, the better off are we and the world.

Thomas L Carpenter
7/22/2011 9:21:47 PM
This is a pile of cow dung! I do not believe it for a single second. First-where is the photo of Brian's apt - nonexistant!!! Second- there is no such thing as a mini-house!!! If there were why are all the photos of them always mounted on wheels? This makes them either a trailer or a camper regardless of the exterior treatment. Third- where is the proof that anyone actually lives in one of them? I've been following these stories for years and have never seen a true mini house. It is always just someone seeking publicity! Fourth - has anyone ever seen one of them mounted on a foundation? C'mon editors and publishers need to look at these stories with a grain of salt. You need to show us stuff which is at least possible!!! My bedroom is larger than Brian's apt., I live alone and I am crowded. 300 sqft? No way!!!!!

martin podoll
7/22/2011 12:53:35 PM
I live in a 20' RV with my wife, stepsom, large dog and cat. Although space is very tight we are very comfortable. Biggest advantage though is we own it and can go where we like!

Becky Jones
7/18/2011 8:10:11 AM
Ryan, you are THE MAN! My husband and I, both early 50s and looking forward to retirement next year are trying to figure out why we need 1456 sft to live, when we could probably make it with a thousand or less. Did I mention we have a 7-year old? daughter? We are ready to "withdraw" from a debt-oriented society and do what is necessary to live a graceful existence with Mother Earth - for as little moolah as possible. I love the thought of moving with the shade - wow! I even find myself researching passive solar water heating and cordwood construction...I must be losin' it!! :)

Subscribe Today!

Pay Now & Save 67% Off the Cover Price

(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here