Tiny home living is extremely popular these days, with more people jumping on the bandwagon than ever before.
It is a great way to earn financial freedom and to invest in a more eco-friendly way to live your life.
However, there are some major disadvantages to this lifestyle that you should be aware of in advance.
Just as more people are researching the possibility of building a tiny home, others are abandoning these tiny dwellings in favor of more traditional homes.
You should understand why some people are leaving their tiny houses behind before you become locked into one. Here are some of the top reasons why people are moving out of their tiny houses.
Easy to Clean, Quick to Get Dirty
When people first move into their tiny home, they are often in awe of how quickly they can clean the entire unit from top to bottom.
Dusting every surface in the house takes just minutes, and vacuuming can be done in a matter of seconds. Compared to traditional homeowners who must spend hours cleaning their homes each week, tiny house dwellers have it easy.
Unfortunately, many people forget that the opposite is also true. It is quick and easy to clean the house, but it gets dirty just as fast.
Imagine what it is like to have to make the most of your space. Every shirt has to hang on its individual hanger. The chair can’t be moved, or it will block your kitchen drawers from opening. Unless you are a type-A personality who always puts things back right where you found them, you might run into a common problem.
Even just setting your coat and handbag down can lead to problematic clutter in your home. After a few days of not putting things where they belong, you will have to clean the whole house from top to bottom all over again. In the end, you may spend just as much time cleaning your tiny house as you did your real house.
If you and your partner have clashing personalities, this can be another major issue with tiny home living. Make sure that both parties are willing to put away their clutter and commit to keeping the house clean.
Sharing responsibilities and making sure that the house stays spic and span is significant for tiny house success.
Too Much Clutter
Moving into a tiny house means that you are committing to downsizing in every aspect of your life. You will need to have fewer clothes, fewer kitchen utensils, and your extensive shoe collection will need to find a new home.
While it can be easy to make these cuts initially, some people find it hard to sustain a lifestyle without clutter.
Think about a typical scenario like this one: your work wardrobe is lacking, so you head out to buy a few new blazers. Unfortunately, you are all out of closet space, so something else has to go. Alternatively, you could find somewhere new to store those blazers like draping them over the couch.
Finding new places to put things as you bring them in is a real challenge and leads to too much clutter. For every one thing you bring in, something else is going to have to leave.
Otherwise, you start to face much bigger issues.
Knowing When You Have Too Much
If your wardrobe grows too big to fit in the designated closet space and flows into your living area, you might have to shuffle it around just to sit down. Your bed may not easily fold out from the wall until you can move the overflow to a new location.
Once you move it to a new location, you are ultimately blocking something else like the entrance to your restroom or the kitchen refrigerator.
A little bit of clutter has a serious impact beyond just making it more difficult to tidy up your tiny home. It can make your life extremely inconvenient and even dangerous if you have to traipse over your items to get to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Keeping up with clutter is one of the main reasons why people abandon their tiny homes in favor of slightly larger living space with more storage.
Distance From Town & Cities
While some cities and towns are open to having tiny homes in their more suburban areas, many people turn to the country for placing their tiny home on land.
The wooded lots of a rural area offer them some privacy and do not tend to attract the same amount of attention as they would in the city. Many tiny homeowners are more successful in placing their small dwellings on a rural plot of land that they either own or rent.
Unfortunately, this can be quite inconvenient for the majority of people. It takes twice as long to drive to the city where the closest grocery stores and doctor’s offices are located.
Consider how small a refrigerator must be to fit into a tiny home. For a lot of people, going to the grocery store multiple times each week is an absolute must.
However, it can become quite a chore when the drive is so long.
Hopefully, cities will begin zoning more areas to be tiny house friendly in the future.
This could open the door for people to live more successfully inside of these small and eco-friendly houses.
Choosing an environmentally-friendly path is the reason that many people choose to pursue tiny house living.
Many homeowners opt to live completely off-grid, relying on sunlight to power their homes. They collect rainwater and begin to compost to take care of all the things that the average modern homeowner in the city likely takes for granted.
Unfortunately, there is a downside to this more self-sufficient path.
It takes up a lot of space to homestead and manufactures everything necessary to live off the land as much as possible.
This is why so many people choose to live away from the hustle and bustle of town. While the distance from the city can be inconvenient, the issue goes even deeper than that.
A lot of people abandon their tiny homes because of the isolation they feel. They are far away from friends and family members. This makes it difficult to get together with them regularly unless you are actively prioritizing it.
Spontaneous outings or nights out with friends become a thing of the past because transportation takes so long to shuttle you from one place to another.
Another issue arises when you have been out with friends and need to find a safe way back home.
If you are unable to drive, you might be looking at a pretty hefty fee from an Uber or Lyft driver who must take you from the city all the way back to your home in the secluded parts of town.
You may find it difficult to even find a ride-sharing app that is willing to take you home at all, depending on the time of day and your area.
Having Children & Large Families
A lot of people first begin to dabble in the tiny house movement when they are young and single or newly married.
It is a great and inexpensive way to start your life when things are simple between just two people. You know exactly how to organize everything and make the right things accessible at the right moments. Unfortunately, throwing children into the mix can make for a bit of a disaster.
Children need plenty of room to crawl around, learning how to walk and play. They need their own crib space when they are very young or an additional bedroom as they grow older.
Of course, there also needs to be space for their book collection, toys, playpen, and so many of the other accouterments that go along with having a child.
Even older children may find it difficult to live a minimalist lifestyle. They want to collect the same toys and hobbies that their friends have. Living in a tiny home significantly impacts the sheer quantity of things that a child can have. They simply will not be able to have the latest of everything.
Even the most elaborate organizational system is bound to fail when children are involved.
They are not known to pick up after themselves for many years, which can cause major problems when living in a tiny home. Be prepared to constantly trip over teething toys, electronic gadgets, and that stack of books from the local library.
In a tiny home, everything must constantly be tucked back into its appropriate place, but this is extraordinarily more challenging when children are added into the mix.
Small Issues Magnified
When you live in a normal-sized house, you can avoid certain problems for a while until they can be dealt with appropriately.
For example, you might be able to ignore a leaking window until the professionals can come in to reseal it.
If a bathroom is out of order, you can probably switch to using a different one for a few days until the plumber comes. A tiny house does not afford you the same luxury.
Small issues are magnified in tiny home living because you cannot escape them. No matter where you go in the house, you are bound to have to look at or experience the issue firsthand constantly.
If you have an issue with your kitchen or bathroom, you need to get it resolved as quickly as possible, or you will have no way to prepare food or use the restroom.
It can be great to simplify your life, but even small problems can seem gargantuan when living in a tiny home.
This leads to continual frustration and resentment toward your tiny home. As a result, these problems, while relatively minor, often cause people to consider moving out of their tiny home in favor of something at least slightly larger.
Collecting Sentimental Items
In years past, many parents had fond memories of their children stored away in keepsake boxes and scrapbooks.
Maybe you collect souvenirs from traveling the world in your spare time. Perhaps you are a craft enthusiast, always making something new and dedicating your time to creating something beautiful for your home. Collecting sentimental items means a great deal to people.
Unfortunately, a lot of people part with these items when moving into their tiny house. There simply is not enough room for anything that does not serve a useful purpose.
While you may enjoy looking back on your childhood memories or the early days of your marriage, most people find that these items have to go because they do not fit into the minimal storage that a tiny home can offer.
After a while, people get tired of throwing away items that hold sentimental value to them. They want to be able to look back on things and remember the moments that matter.
If you have a lot of sentimental items, this may be one area where you struggle with tiny house living. You may even find yourself wanting to abandon it altogether because getting rid of these items is so difficult.
Lack of Personal Time
Do you live with someone else?
Whether you are married or just living with your best friend, everyone needs a little bit of time to themselves. One important aspect of tiny living is spending a great deal of your time outdoors.
This gives you all the space you need to stretch your legs, enjoy the sunshine, and get that much-needed time to yourself.
When you live in a tiny home, it is easy to feel like you are living on top of the other person. The smaller your home is, the more likely it is to feel this way.
Shrinking your house down to be under 500 square feet is a surefire way to test the limits of your relationships.
It can be difficult to spend so much time living in close quarters with another person.
Particularly if you live in an area where the weather outside is less than ideal, many people who cohabit in their tiny homes feel overwhelmed by the lack of space.
You have to have a plan for how you are going to spend time on your own before you move into the tiny house. Without this in place, you are bound to feel resentful and frustrated toward your partner for always being around.
Personal time is a requirement for healthy relationships to thrive. It allows you an opportunity to recharge, even if you love being around other people most of the time. Without a plan for how you are going to take care of yourself, many people become frustrated and move on from tiny home living.
We did a very interesting article about some of the major problems people face when living in tiny houses. Check that out to learn more.
No Space for Guests
Some people intentionally plan their tiny home so that they have room for guests to stay over.
They throw in an extra Murphy bed that folds down. They invest in a pull-out sofa that converts into an extra mattress. There are all sorts of creative ways that you can plan to have an out-of-town guest spend the night. However, not everyone plans for this sort of arrangement while building their tiny home, and not every home has space.
If you used to love entertaining and throwing parties, you would be extremely limited in your ability to do so in a tiny house.
Unless you plan to throw an outdoor shindig, you will be seriously limited in the number of people you can invite.
Consider how many people can comfortably sit in your tiny house. You likely have one sofa and a couple of chairs – if you’re lucky! Living spaces are small and are not designed to house more than one or two people. Inviting your friends over for drinks or a small get-together is probably a thing of the past for tiny homeowners.
Extroverts have the hardest time with this aspect of tiny house living. They long for larger homes to be able to refuel themselves by spending time with loved ones.
Inviting people over and not having enough room for them to sit can be quite embarrassing. They can see exactly how you live because the entire house is visible all at once. It often feels incredibly personal to invite guests over at all, even if you happen to be very close to them. This is one of the top reasons why people abandon tiny home living.
Planning Wisely Before Going Tiny:
Tiny house living can be a great thing if you want financial freedom and can live without clutter.
A simple lifestyle can be very appealing to the right person, and tiny homes can certainly offer that. Unfortunately, they also come with a lot of drawbacks that you might not think about at first glance.
Before you pull the trigger on planning your very first tiny home, these are some of the things that you should think about and plan for:
- Family Size or Family Goals
- Travel vs. Living in One Spot
- Children & Pets
- Storage Space & Knowing When to Downsize
- Guests & Loneliness
Mostly remember that tiny living is an entire lifestyle, and shouldn’t be entered into lightly.
It requires a complete upheaval of the “normal” lifestyle in the United States and other countries and moving away from the way that your friends and family live – unless your friends and family also live tiny.
This can be difficult and even cause a culture shock that not everyone is prepared for.
So, make sure you’re 100% ready and aware of what it means to go Tiny and how to make that lifestyle work for you!
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Maria is the founder of GoDownsize. While studying architecture in Denmark she became fascinated with designing living spaces for boats, tiny houses, RVs, and other small spaces.
She mainly writes about space optimization, interior design, and downsizing. She’s also in charge of our YouTube channel. Read more about Maria here.