If you ride through the suburbs of America, you’ll likely notice that the houses just seem to get bigger and bigger. Like our taste for large trucks and SUVs, Americans tend towards the idea that bigger is better.

On the opposite end of the spectrum are people who feel quite the opposite. From this minimalist mindset has emerged the “tiny house.” What exactly is a tiny house?

There is no exact definition. However, most tiny houses are built on wheels–to adhere to local building code–and typically don’t exceed 500 square feet in size.

You might be thinking that’s a bit extreme. And you wouldn’t be alone–Americans have taken advantage of small homes in the form of modular homes, and cottage-style houses for decades.

With the cost of heating and powering a home rising year after year, it’s beginning to make sense to downsize.

So, in this article we’ll talk about what it means to live in a smaller home to help you decide whether it’s a good choice for you.

Barriers to building small houses

If it’s your dream to someday build a small house on a hilltop in your hometown, you might have to face-off with the local zoning committee first. Some of the biggest barriers to building smaller houses are local regulations involving minimum house sizes.

This isn’t a new problem, with towns struggling with the idea of minimum square footage as far back as the 1970s. In spite of this barrier, small house and tiny house proponents have been finding loopholes.

One such workaround involves simply building your house on wheels. However, that isn’t easy to do and it doesn’t always look great either.

Living simply

Depending on your hobbies and philosophy, living in a small house can be a good or a bad thing. Those who seek to become more minimal in their belongings often find that small houses help them achieve this.

The more things we own the more we have to worry about storing and maintaining them. However, if you value experiences more than objects, living in a small house could save you money and therefore leave you with more funds for traveling and other experiences.

Family is another thing to consider when living in a small house. If you have a large family or pets, living in a small house can be difficult. However, there is something to be said about growing up in a small house (it makes it harder for kids to avoid their parents by playing video games in their room or the basement!).

How to decide if you can manage living in a small house

If you’re downsizing from a larger home it can be scary to lose all of that extra space you were used to. There are a few ways to see if you can adapt to a smaller home, however.

You could rent a small apartment while you search for a new home. This will allow you to acclimate yourself to living in a smaller environment.

If you don’t want to go through the trouble of signing a lease, there’s always renting a small property through AirBnB or a camping cottage for a few weeks. Then you’ll have time to notice what you like and dislike about the smaller space and will be able to plan for how to want to deal with those changes if you decide to move into a smaller house.

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