Living Small

The big debt that comes with big houses is a big pain for many. If you’re a kiwi wanting to own your own home without being saddled with big debts; it may be time to consider downscaling to a tiny house or container home. The advantages of living small look increasingly attractive for first home buyers and those looking for rental accommodation or perhaps a bach.

For those who worry about a more minimalistic life, adjusting to living tiny is not as daunting as it may seem. I was thrown in at the deep about a decade ago when the Christchurch earthquakes hit - life changed rapidly when I moved from a villa with a big section to a very small boat.

Life and the roof over my head became snug. When standing the clearance between myself and hull was measure in millimetres. I didn't matter, I came to love my tiny home on the water, a place of sanctuary for almost two years. Was it easy? Not always; rowing back and forth in rough seas could be challenging. But all in all, living small was one of the most enjoyable things I’ve ever done and to be honest, I miss it.

The intimacy of living small is what really surprised me, a sense of connection and cosiness seemingly created by living in close proximity to the walls within your house or in my case hull of a boat. For me it was a feeling that inspired notions of safety and security. I’m not sure why, but it’s sensation I’ve never experienced living in larger houses.

Of course in terms of size, a container home is a mansion compared with my little boat, indeed you four or five times the space and as much headroom if not more than a regular house. When you’re living small, excess falls away until you’re left with only the practical or the truly precious - the things you really need and can’t live without everything else is rapidly forgotten.

My days of living on boats are over, but not my appreciation of simpler living in smaller spaces. It’s part of the reason I believe tiny home living provides an exciting alternative to traditional home ownership and a starting place for those trying to get a footing onto the property ladder. 

Housing affordability issues in New Zealand are intergenerational and require an attitudinal shift to create meaningful change. One of the easiest places to start is the size of kiwi homes. We build too big for many.