Top 5 Reasons To Live In A Tiny House and Top 5 Reasons To Live In An RV

by andrewodom on February 10, 2014 · 5 comments


tiny-house-vs-rv-trailer-600x450What I have come to realize in the last month of living full time in an RV after living full time in our tiny house is that there remains a bit of a schism between the two parties. Tiny house purists seem to disagree that RVs are, in fact, tiny houses and RVers seem to disregard the craftsmanship and overall motive of the average tiny houser because of reasons like it being unregulated building and a possible danger to those around it. Whatever the case, both parties are well within their rights to display such skepticism. Because of this though (as well as many conversations about the topic) I have come  to assemble a Top 5 list for both setups.

Top 5 Reasons To Live In A Tiny House

AFFORDABLE. Because the majority of tiny housers build their own house there is a significant money savings bundled in. In the actual construction much of the work is done by the future owner so money is saved on construction. There is also no mortgage involved which means no monthly payments. That in turn lowers the total overhead of the household and allows for debt reduction, less time chained to the cubicle, and more miscellaneous funds for reinvesting in life.

MOBILITY. The start of the modern tiny house movement was with Jay Shafer and his Epu rolling around the countryside. What’s that? A real house….on wheel? Building a tiny house allows you a level of mobility that makes your house yours and free to take it wherever you feel you are to be living.

DOWNSIZE. The creation of the television program ‘Hoarders’ has taught us all that without careful attention we are all just one potato chip bag, one economy size package of toilet paper, and one….dead rodent?….away from being a hoarder. As humans we tend to nest and create comfortable environments for ourselves by putting everything we can imagine within arms reach. I think of my old college roommate who had “his chair” in our living room. Without getting up he could change channels, change musical selections, read the newspaper from the past month, get a massage, have a cold drink, eat a variety of snacks, turn the lights on and off, and even change his t-shirt if he chose to that day. But to fight this human impulse many of us – especially tiny housers – have made ourselves examine need -vs- want and downsize our possessions to again control our world. Old video game systems? To the Goodwill! Old American Dream? To the trash!

THE WORLD AS YOUR LIVING ROOM. When you have less than 300 square feet of indoor space to live in the last think you want to do (or can afford to do psychologically….but I digress) is live inside all the time. With a tiny house the world becomes your living room. Because you are working less to pay less for life you have more discretionary income to retreat more. Whether it be to have supper with friends, take in a new movie, or enjoy a coffee at the closet cafe, you can! Gyms, countrysides and libraries can become your home-gym/garage, 60″ television, and prodigious, oak bookcases.

TIME. According to The American Time Use Survey conducted by the US Department of Labor on an average day 82% of women and 65% of men spent some time doing household activity (including housework, cooking, lawncare, etc). On the days they did such activity women spent an average of 2.6 hours while men spent 2 hours. So it is safe to say that when maintaining a more mainstream, traditional home you can expect to spend in the neighborhood of 12-16 per week keeping up your house and life within it. Having lived in a tiny house for a year now I can say that other than cooking (which I am not allowed to do unless on a grill for reasons I shall not come clean about) it takes at most 11 minutes to vacuum and Swiffer the floor of our house. It takes less than 2 minutes to make both beds. It take less than a minute to tidy the countertop and about a minute to find my clothes and shoes for the day. 15 minutes compared to 2 hours? Thank you. Thank you very much!

 

Top 5 Reasons To Live In An RV

AFFORDABLE. Using sites like Craigslist or RV Trader or even belonging to Facebook groups can help you find a rig for less than $20,000 as an initial investment. If you go the motorhome route you can even give up your automobile and instead rely on bikes, a scooter, or mass transportation where available. If you decided to have a trailer of some sort then you do have to have a tow vehicle but you are now equipped to stay longer at RV parks and campgrounds and can use your care less, fill up the RV tank less, and manage a monthly budget. In the long run you have no personal property taxes on land or a house, you don’t have to pay for lawn care, and you can even choose to shower and such in the public bathroom at the park. That saves on toilet paper, tissue, water, etc.

MOBILITY. There are no HOAs on the road. There is no end to the places you can see from your window or, when stopped, with your own two eyes. Forget NatGeo in High Def. Park at the North Rim Campground and see the Grand Canyon for yourself…in person!

DOWNSIZE. The creation of the television program ‘Hoarders’ has taught us all that without careful attention we are all just one potato chip bag, one economy size package of toilet paper, and one….dead rodent?….away from being a hoarder. As humans we tend to nest and create comfortable environments for ourselves by putting everything we can imagine within arms reach. I think of my old college roommate who had “his chair” in our living room. Without getting up he could change channels, change musical selections, read the newspaper from the past month, get a massage, have a cold drink, eat a variety of snacks, turn the lights on and off, and even change his t-shirt if he chose to that day. But to fight this human impulse many of us – especially tiny housers – have made ourselves examine need -vs- want and downsize our possessions to again control our world. Old video game systems? To the Goodwill! Old American Dream? To the trash!

THE WORLD AS YOUR LIVING ROOM. Have fuel, will travel. In 2010 we went on a month long camping trip staying at 6 different campgrounds. During that time our living room was a vegan cafe in Asheville, a bustling shopping district in Raleigh, a dairy farm just outside of Greenville, and a river in Charleston. In a month we got to know each other better, get lost in new environments, and take in sights and sounds we couldn’t just nights before.

TIME. According to The American Time Use Survey conducted by the US Department of Labor on an average day 82% of women and 65% of men spent some time doing household activity (including housework, cooking, lawncare, etc). On the days they did such activity women spent an average of 2.6 hours while men spent 2 hours. So it is safe to say that when maintaining a more mainstream, traditional home you can expect to spend in the neighborhood of 12-16 per week keeping up your house and life within it. Having lived in an RV (fifth wheel camper with one slide) now I can say that other than cooking (which I am still not allowed to do unless on a grill for reasons I shall not come clean about) it takes at most 8 minutes to vacuum and sweep the floor of our house. It takes less than 4 minutes to make both beds. It take less than a minute to tidy the countertop and about a minute to find my clothes and shoes for the day. 14 minutes compared to 2 hours? Thank you. Thank you very much!

The argument is compelling. Are RVs tiny houses and – to be fair – are tiny houses RVs? The choice is totally yours. There are still a number of similarities and yet there are a number of differences. The decision is yours. Whatever the case, either option gives you a chance to reclaim your life, discover the world around you, and live outside the norm, taking each adventure as it comes!

What do you think? Are these top 5 lists reasonable? What reasons may I have missed? 

 

photo above courtesy of tiny housers Evan and Gabby.

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