Whether you’re obsessed with the tiny house movement or are excited by the idea of building your own living space that’s “off the grid,” you’re certainly not alone. Many people are looking to both downsize and take control of their own spaces versus being tied to traditional, pricier homes.
The biggest benefits of living tiny or going off the grid are three-fold:
- More money in your pocket: simply put, the cost of tiny homes and quonset huts are a fraction of that of traditional residential structures (and costs less for upkeep, too)
- Less “stuff” in your position: downsizing means getting rid of odds and ends that would otherwise clutter your house and burden you financially
- Peace of mind: living will less while building your home from the ground up is both a humbling and enriching experience
That said, taking the steps toward such a lifestyle requires you to answer a few questions first. Before diving knee-deep into tiny living or a non-conventional homestead, consider the following five questions to ask yourself.
Pre-Built or DIY?
There are plenty of pre-built options out there for both tiny homes and quonset huts alike. Of course, pre-built homes are going to cost you a bit more than purchasing a kit and taking the DIY approach.
Tiny homes and huts alike label themselves as DIY-friendly and are usually fairly comprehensive in terms of what you need to do. If you feel comfortable with tools and construction projects, simply read the fine print to make sure you can handle the project. When in doubt, give yourself a few months and work at your own pace.
Where Are You Going to Put It?
Especially if you’re dealing with a tiny home, make sure to pay close attention to zoning laws in terms of where you can put your future house. There are many legal restrictions on square footage and homes labeled as residences, after all. This also rings true for those who want to use their homes as secondary dwellings in their backyards.
In other words, do your homework online and contact your local zoning authority before you spend a dime.
Where’s Your Clutter Going to Go?
Living in a smaller space means pitching your existing clutter. It’s crucial to assess wants versus needs in terms of your belongings, especially large items such as your bed, big-ticket electronics and other furniture. For example, you may need to give up your king-size bed in lieu of a loft and pitch your desktop computer to free up room otherwise taken up by a desk.
Is Your Space Sustainable for the Long-Term?
Just as your current home or living space is the most important investment you can possibly make, a secondary or smaller space is just as important of an investment even if you’re not spending as much cash.
Bear in mind whether your decision to downsize makes sense for the long-term and isn’t just a passing phase. Either way, there’s obviously less financial risk involved with such a dwelling which can provide you with some peace of mind.
Is Your Family Ready for the Transition?
Ever watch one of those tiny house shows on TV and the family looks absolutely miserable? You don’t want that to be you, do you?
You need to communicate with your family and make sure that they’re on board with your decision to downsize or go off the grid. Those living alone can make their own decisions, but those with families need to determine whether or not such a move makes sense for their partner and children. If everyone’s on board with the lifestyle changed and nobody’s going to be cramped as a result, you’re golden.
Feel comfortable with these questions? Chances are, you’re ready to start your journey toward a smarter, sustainable homestead. Rather than let doubt hold you back, go into your new lifestyle with a sense of confidence and know what potential pitfalls to avoid as you work toward a fresh start.