BIO: Paul Wheaton is is the tyrannical ruler of two on-line communities. One is about permaculture and one is about software engineering. There is even one for Missoula. Paul has written several permaculture articles starting with one on lawn care that he presented at the MUD Project 17 years ago, including articles on raising chickens, cast iron and diatomaceous earth. Paul also regularly uploads permaculture videos and permaculture podcasts. In his spare time, Paul has plans for world domination and is currently shopping for a hollowed out volcano in the Missoula area, with good submarine access.
See all of Paul’s contributions to MakeitMissoula on this Blog Homepage here.
The Tiny House Movement
By PAUL WHEATON
The tiny house movement is not a path for everybody. But there are a lot of individuals doing it. And some couples. And some families.
Teeny tiny houses. 100% paid for. No mortgage.
Teeny tiny houses have teeny tiny utility bills.
Teeny tiny houses have teeny tiny heating expenses.
I have read of people working an average job and retiring before the age of 30 to something like this. At first, the math didn’t quite work for me. As I read more and more about the different folks joining the tiny house movement and retiring before or after jumping on board, I am getting exposed more to their math. It does work. Some people work four hours per week. Some people have saved up enough that they don’t need to work. I suppose some people could continue to work full time and just build a big financial cushion.
But the biggest thing is the teeny tiny house. How do you fit? How small can you go? Urban? Rural? How much does the house cost?
I visited with Mike Oehler, who built a tiny house for $50. You might think that a $50 house is probably made of cardboard and won’t last a year. Mike built this house using wood from his land plus some scraps from the local lumber yard. And I took a video of the house after it was 37 years old.
The odd thing is that Mike has a house that is even smaller. And it cost a meager $15. Not a typo: FIFTEEN DOLLARS! And it was occupied by a family of three shortly before I took this video.
I visited a tiny house that was converted from some sort of storage shed to something that could stand the winter. A couple and their cat occupy this tiny home which cost a whopping $362:
And now for something much newer and still coming in at less than $2500. A cordwood structure that is also round:
A couple of years ago I was in an exceptionally damp part of Oregon and was able to visit several hand sculpted homes. Most of these cost about $200 to $1000 to build. The biggest house cost about $10,000.
And finally, out on Vashon Island just outside of Seattle, I found this interesting gem. A house made from an insulated shipping container.
Rob Roy wrote a book called “Mortgage Free” where the idea was that rather than get a mortgage, you saved up, bought a piece of raw land and built a tiny shack. Later you build a small home. As a family comes along, you add to your home. Thereby getting to a home the size that most Americans enjoy without ever having to deal with a mortgage.
The tiny house movement — worth looking into.