Tiny thoughts on homes of all sizes


Tiny houses are becoming more popularGimme Shelter

Having a roof over our heads has always been one of a handful of human goals, and over the millennia we have perfected the art of turning a house into a home. And until recently, those homes were small. For good reason.

Smaller houses are easier to heat and cool. They are easier to maintain. Most importantly, they cut down on the urge to buy things we don’t need. Finally, they emphasize that there is a big, beautiful world out there full of gardens, parks, and well…nature!

We have always taken care of the important things first: Food, clothing, and shelter. And beyond that, connection and purpose. We could toss in a handful of modern advancements that augment those to round out the picture a bit, but I’ll use the acronym the military uses for assessments in stability and support operations, SWEAT-MS:

  • Sewage
  • Water
  • Electricity
  • Academics
  • Trash removal
  • Medical care
  • Safety

How do those elements affect us?

Many people who are considering tiny houses also want the freedom to be able to go “off the grid.” This can present a problem if your little abode is in town.

Everything here at small. slow. happy. deals with human nature, scale, and pace. That includes houses. I have said before that I’m not interested in dictating to anyone what size their house should be. The other side of that coin is that since you’re here, you may be interested in making your life conform better to human scale and pace. That may affect your housing choice.

Most cities also force you to hook up to the city water and sewer and perhaps even electricity. I’m not saying that is a bad thing, but if you want to collect rainwater instead of having city water, or rely on biomass alone for heat, the utilities will inform the local government and they’ll kindly inform you that you have to play their game.

My point here is for you to check the rules of the game with your local government before making a decision that could come back to bite you. But also be an advocate, right where you are, for alternate means of attaining the same result.

Living in the county instead of the city can distance the reach of government, but that puts you further away from popular services. If you’re aligning your life more closely to human scale and pace like me, it can increase the number of services you’ll have to learn to provide for yourself.

Are you prepared to learn those skills or to travel longer distances to obtain them?

If you have had experiences like this with your tiny home, or even in your thoughts as you wrestle with the decision on whether to downsize, leave a comment below.

2 comments… add one
  • Nan June 15, 2017, 8:10 pm

    Am in Honolulu and will be relocating to a much smaller community thousand of miles away, solely for authentic sacraments…. but certainly want to be in a much different environment too! Was following the comments on amazon regarding your Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary and never heard back confirmation that nothing reflecting changes in Vatican II was done to the book. No response means, yes, there’s a nod to Vatican II. If that’s not true I hope you will write and tell me so – guess I’m so wary because somehow though born protestant I found my way through a thicket of information to arrive at sedevacantism! Pax Cristi+

    • Profile photo of jgarlits jgarlits June 15, 2017, 8:41 pm

      Nan, the Fowler version of the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary that I updated needed no nod from Vatican II. I simply retained the English and omitted the Latin, and arranged things so that the reader doesn’t have to flip around so much. There were a couple of places where I took liberty with the wording of one hymn because in today’s usage it amounts to an innuendo – which didn’t exist then. I’ve lowered the price on both the print and Kindle versions of the Office, but if you wish, the original text is available online, through Google Books, I believe. Just do a search of “fowler” and “little office” and it should be in the top results.

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