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Life Lessons From 10 Years of Living in 84 Square Feet

Dee Williams was looking for a richer life. She found it by moving into a very tiny house Full Story
     Comment   July 1, 2014
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Something about this story and all the accolades for an "extreme choice" bugs me. This is a life-style choice. It isn't extreme. She's sleeping and hanging out in a cute little mobile shed on someones property (doubt her Honda hauls the shed). She's written a book that has spun her choice and it looks like she's getting very good press. $10K could have purchased a travel trailer that served the same purpose and been more self sufficient (running water, toilet, shower). It looks like she wanted to join the Tiny House movement but only committed part way.
Someone mentioned all of her tools - Where are they? I have all of those tools and they take up about 84 sq ft in my small 1930's garage. And don't get me started on happy only 85% of the time with her lifestyle choice.

Many, many people - in your neighborhood and mine - don't make this "lifestyle choice" they have to live it. Look around. How many trailers, RV's or even cars do you see parked on lots, in friends driveways, etc that people are living out of? Our town has many vehicles that park at the beaches, side roads, etc that are moved around according to city parking codes everyday. These people aren't keeping lists of how little they own and writing books about it. (maybe they should get an agent, because I'm sure their stories are sell-able too)
Many of these aren't choices, some of them are.
Some people travel around all the time. It's not extreme, it's how they live. (hundreds of thousands of retired RV people, people who move from job to job, etc.)
Some people have to live many families to a single small rental apartment.
Years ago my parents lived for 6 years in a 22 foot trailer on their property with 2 dogs, a cat and 2 young grandchildren staying for a month in the summer; they paid taxes, went to the laundromat, and showered in their trailer. I never once heard about how they had to make hard acquisition choices or saw a list of possessions; it was what they wanted to do, maybe they should have written a book.

It isn't new or extreme. It's a "commune" story from 1973, it's a gypsy story, it's nomad story, it's a homeless story, it's a migrant worker story, it's a story from the inner city, it's a join-a-monastery-story, it's a story of someone(s) in your town.

If you want to read about extreme life style choices, check out the book "The Man who Quit Money"; that's extreme.

This Houzz article is a press release (ad) for her book. The space is not remarkable as Tiny Houses go. I like to see the remarkable tiny spaces.
April 20, 2014 at 9:48am     
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Arlene Murrell
She does it by using other people's water taking a shower and she must live on someone's property, rent free, if she is not paying property tax. This would make a good backyard guest house, but I don't like sponging off friends. I hope she is within walking distance of a store, since she has to go everyday, otherwise her travel expense would be high. This is good to dream about, but it is not reality.
April 20, 2014 at 12:00pm     
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This is a great idea if you're actually self sufficient. But living like this and depending on others for the things you need but you didn't want to make room for is slightly hypocritical. She needs to bathe, but doesn't have the ability to bathe in her own home. She needs to eat, but must go out for anything that might include a meal which incorporates refrigerated items and the use of more than a teapot. Having to climb a ladder to get to one's bed is fine for kids, but she's aging and this won't be practical for much longer.
Wanting to be more proactive in the community is great, but it shouldn't cost you the basic necessities to care for others. Running water, sufficient warmth in winter, and the ability to feed oneself should be priority number one.
April 20, 2014 at 1:14pm     
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I think I would be more interested in a story from someone who does use their own land, as Simple Solar Homesteading has mentioned that they do. I agree with so many other comments that this particular person just doesn't seem so "free" and without bills. Using someone else's land, water, and frequenting businesses.

I am of course very happy for her being content with her own surroundings. We all strive towards that. I can't help but think this seems so extreme though.

My husband and I have only just bought our first home a few months ago. Until then, we lived in an old trailer. It was paid for and helped us be able to save for something a bit better. Our new home is about 1200 sq ft, enough room for ourselves and guests, which we have often. It's in a safe & quiet neighborhood and our mortgage is just under $400 a month. Our utilities are nowhere near what the author mentioned hers being in her former home.

So I think the main thing is people really not living within their means. I recall the bank urging us that we could get a much larger loan than we asked for. It seems too many people do just that and struggle every month. Spending the max amount you can afford just seems like a catastrophe waiting to happen.
April 20, 2014 at 2:12pm     
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Olen Soifer
In terms of the "haters", here...there is a lot of sense to what they say. I respect the downsizing aspect of this lifestyle, but let's not kid ourselves here: If you park your living quarters on someone else's land; shower at their home; carry in water from their well and bag your waste to go to a landfill...the downsizing in not complete as Dee would have us believe. If she owned her property, had a well & septic/composting toilet, etc, that would be a different story. I can't agree that that is the same as bartering some labor for using someone else's toilet, land, water supply, etc. On the basis of Dee's, someone who crashes on someone else's couch could be said to have downgraded to a zero footprint in terms of energy uses, expenses, or overall resource utilization. But, of course, in that case...your footprint would just show up as part of someone else's "bill". It might look like you're using no resources and producing no waste...however it's just an illusion.
April 21, 2014 at 8:01am     
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