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Tiny Life

Amber Bytheway

Amber is an eagerly-involved postgraduate student who has been at Kent too long. She gets a kick out of being opinionated especially on Twitter.

Ever thought about stripping your lifestyle down to the bare bones? Are you a renowned hoarder who has amassed a collection of clutter that should be relegated to the dustbin? Now, for many, living in a space the size of a garden shed is a very real solution. The perfect trend for millennials who desire a more simple way of life in order to survive the testing financial climate.

Cue the Tiny House movement, a growing social movement whereby some individuals have chosen to sell their standard sized homes of approximately 2,600 square feet in exchange for tiny houses of between 100 to 400 square feet. You may question the attraction of living in such a confined space, but those who have already switched believe the lifestyle provides a more efficient and cost-effective living space. If you’re conscious of your spending building a tiny house can save you significant amounts of money because of lower utility bills and lower monthly payments on a mortgage. Channel 4’s ‘Amazing Space’s presenter George Clarke, quipped that in order for a tiny house to work it needs to be spacious, affordable and liveable. Successful design in tiny housing always requires a frustratingly focused eye for detail.

Despite the struggle that constructing a tiny house may require, the functional design of tiny houses has also resulted in the structure becoming an economically viable solution for temporary housing in response to natural disasters. Back in 2005, after the incredibly destructive Hurricane Katrina, there was a need for immediate redevelopment, Katrina Cottages designed by Marianne Cusato were one such solution to rapidly settle the problem of re-housing victims who had lost their homes. Following suit, the ergonomic design of the tiny house spread to Portland ,and Seattle, where investment in the Tiny House Movement was approved in an attempt to eradicate homelessness. In Seattle, the homes, which were paid for from a collection of donations, cost about $2,200 each to build, and residents were expected to pay $90 per month for utilities. The movement described tiny homes as providing safe and dignified housing solutions for the homeless.

But the Tiny House Movement isn’t just a humanitarian effort. If jumping onto the property ladder with a three-bed semi-detached just isn’t for you, being creative on a budget can produce some fantastic results. Take, for example, one college student from Florida who ditched dorm life to build his own tiny house for just $15,000. He’s now renting his impressive work of DIY on Airbnb.

Before committing to the downsizing movement, it is crucial to ensure that you are well researched and conduct a thorough investigation into how it will meet your specific needs. Embracing minimalism does not mean you have to deprive yourself, but if you really cannot bear to let go of your 500-piece record collection then take a moment to appreciate the amenities of a regular-sized house, or build a tiny one and buy an iPod.

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