5 Things I Learned from the Tiny House Movement. ~ Lily Martin

Via Lily Martin
on Jul 22, 2013
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Tiny House Boulder Photo by Kevin Hoth

Above: from TINY, the movie.

In case you haven’t heard about it, there is a Tiny Movement going on.

It really is quite small.

DO NOT REUSEThere are hundreds of people (maybe thousands, by now) around the world building and living in very tiny abodes. “The Movement” aspect applies more to North America, where the average house size has steadily increased over the past 30 years—to an unsustainable degree.

The tiny house community is scaling back in protest to the convention that ‘bigger is better; challenging the old ideas of housing, especially in light of the economic downturn. The movement raises a question for many people, not just tiny house advocates: what do we really need to be happy and comfortable in a living situation?

This year, I decided to build myself a tiny art studio and dwelling. Something I have always wanted to do, but until discovering the tiny house movement, did not know how. I’ve come across some incredible people and simple wisdom in the process, and think these lessons could apply to whatever life passions you endeavor into. Plus these were lessons freely offered to me, so it’s only fair to pass them on!

1. Share your successes and your mistakes.

The first thing that struck me as unique when I discovered the tiny house movement, was how totally open everyone was with sharing their methods, process, skills or lack there of. It’s what inevitably made me feel like I could do this, because even if everyone in my environment thought what I was doing was crazy, there were all these people out there, living it and sharing it all.

2. Let yourself be unabashedly enthusiastic!

While I have only been to a handful of these Tiny House gatherings, where a bunch of like-minded small house enthusiasts get together, it’s hard not to notice the total positivity in the air. It’s not all type A people either, it’s a huge variety of individuals who all have their own way of expressing their joy. Some are making pretty hard-core solar kit videos, while others are blogging every day about new designs. After years of art school, it was pretty amazing to relax and just be DOT NOT REUSEexcited about something, free from embarrassment or too much judgment.

3. Lead by example.

The examples of entrepreneurship and leadership are plentiful in the Tiny House movement. Women builders, sustainability people, down-sizers, retirees, low-income families, designers… the collection of examples are there, living it. It’s caught on like the local food movement, like disco beats, backyard economies and cloth diapers. People from all walks of life are waking up to the fact that we cannot sustain the lust for material possessions. Keeping it small keeps things in check.

4. Don’t give up.

Really though, don’t! Keep going. There is a huge difference between a finished project and a half finished one. Like, all the difference.

cutting rails/DONOTREUSE

5. Maintain a do it yourself spirit.

Knowing how something is built, and how it works, is invaluable. What I find so fascinating about DIY is that it’s more an attitude then any one set of skills. The whole point is you learn the skills, and then you can help others learn them as well. Obviously there are situations where you need a professional, but there are many more things we can do for ourselves. We’ve got a left cortex and a right one, and we can figure this stuff out!

It’s been instrumental to have this attitude while approaching this project. Not only does it feel amazing to learn, and then accomplish something you have never done before, it’s teaching me how to apply this attitude to all facets of my life, which means I rarely experience a feeling of helplessness, because I can do it myself.

Actually, in this case I’m not doing it myself at all—I have a small and mighty community behind me on this one.


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Assistant Ed: Ben Neal/Ed: Bryonie Wise


About Lily Martin

Lily Mead Martin is an artist and aspiring builder, currently building an off-grid, tiny mobile art studio in rural Vermont. She is a dual citizen of Canada and the U.S. with Australian family ties. In the past several years she has been pursuing the question of what it means to be a ‘sustainable’ artist, while working at an indie video-game company, micro-brewery and art gallery. She works with photography, paper, ink, wood and plants to look at ecology and architecture. She writes about her building process on LMMSTUDIO.CA


9 Responses to “5 Things I Learned from the Tiny House Movement. ~ Lily Martin”

  1. Merete says:

    Love this Lily! So excited to follow the progress of your lil art studio.

  2. elephantjournal says:

    Love you Lily! More, please! And love Merete! And Christopher, and their TINY movie!

  3. fred09red says:

    This has nothing in common with a regular house. It is less expensive to maintain it, less expensive to pay taxes for it and, last but not least, less expensive and far easier to keep in shiny and clean. Especially now, with the latest commercial grade soy cleaning products, cleaning up a house like this becomes a piece of cake. Even children can help up with cleaning, as it gets done so easily.

  4. fred09red says:

    Mobile houses must be protected with the adequate and custom made Circle City Alarm package. The easier they are to build, same as easy they might be to break in, therefore no one should take a chance. With the security solutions these days, it is easy to get the house properly protected.

  5. fred09red says:

    When moving, one must take into account that cabinets and other pieces must be reinstalled in the new place. Once reinstalling them, some http://qualityairpartsshop.com/filtercabinets.asp… items and repairs could never do any harm, given that some furniture pieces might suffer damage during transportation. Just a thought, if one is to take into account the unforeseen costs of moving.

  6. fred09red says:

    There have been so many bedroom furniture collections launched this year for small environments. The latest furniture trends have gone minimal, so that the furniture pieces would occupy less space. It is a way in which home owners cope with small rooms and still manage to attribute high design qualities to their place.

  7. fred09red says:

    It is definitely easier to move around and transport a bedroom furniture set that can split into modules rather than a massive one. And judging by the way in which furniture is produced nowadays, it is no wonder why people find it so easy to move around the city or even order furniture shipping across the ocean when they exchange countries for a mid or long term.

  8. fred09red says:

    Rumor has it that metal building products are at high stake these days on the housing and building construction market, since it offers more flexibility and stability at the same time. A metal core structure is more feasible on the long term and more reliable, if it comes to deciding what technologies to use when building a house.

  9. fred09red says:

    Odds are that smaller houses can be kept in a good condition much easier, given that there are so many http://renovationexperts.com/ services out there available at affordable rates. Plus, remodeling projects for smaller houses take less to complete.