On one recent evening, the NPO’s “TV Show” and “Kruispunt” both featured the Tiny House trend’s appearance in the Netherlands. In case you hadn’t heard, Tiny House is a social movement in which people choose to significantly downsize their home, often to a dwelling that is only a fraction of the size of what they had before. The initial benefit, of course, is a significant saving in the cost of rent/mortgage and household utilities, but many adherents of the movement cite environmental concerns or the wish to spend more time in quality pursuits and less time maintaining a home. I have been following the Tiny House trend in the States as an offshoot of my own interest in Minimalism, or rather, in living a more conscious minimalist lifestyle. But the Netherlands, after all, is a small and compact country, and especially in and around the big cities such as Amsterdam, space is at a premium. Can we really live tinier here? Do we want to?
While I may view my current home as “tiny”, it wasn’t long ago that my husband and I shared an actual tiny home right here in Holland. Our first home together was a houseboat on a lake a stone’s throw from Schiphol Airport. We lived there quite contentedly for four and a half years before moving into a home nearly five times its size. Those 33 square meters housed some of the most enjoyable moments in my life and afforded us, a young couple starting out in the world together, the opportunity to invest in ourselves and our relationship, not in the things we could acquire.
- We owned very few possessions. In fact, when we moved into our new home we moved with only a bed, a washing machine, and a couch. We didn’t spend our free time shopping for stuff to fill up our space—since space was at a premium, we were conscious of each purchase.
- We were also saving money by living in such a small space, a significant amount each month. Eventually, we were able to pay for a new home, a wedding and a honeymoon all in one go.
- We had lots of free time to ourselves and with each other. In less than an hour we could clean and tidy our tiny home for the week and, as renters, we had no major maintenance responsibilities.
- All our needs were met. The kitchen and bathroom were small but extremely functional. The living space included seating for up to four guests. A large garden meant we spent a lot of time outside, but we would have done so anyway—a tiny dwelling forces you to get outside and into nature.
Leaving our Tiny House was not a simple decision, but we were ready to have a family and there was no room to grow. We also wanted to own our own property as security for the future. So we left our Tiny House behind with some sadness, but what came along with us in the move were the living principles and lifestyle we cultivated during our time there.
- Even with more space, we strive to be conscious of the items we purchase. Is it necessary? Does it have a place? When its usefulness has expired, it exits our home, even if storage space is available.
- We stay aware of our monthly housing costs and work to keep these as low as possible.
- We spend lots of q uality time outside.
- By owning less, we spend less time cleaning and tidying and more time doing the activities we love as individuals and as a family.
If you are ready to explore the benefits of living tiny, or embracing, a minimalist approach to life, or if you find yourself in a tiny space that can’t contain your older, bigger lifestyle, contact sorted.by Melissa. I can help you apply the principles of Tiny Houses and minimalist living to you home to find more space, focus and time.
I want to help you live a more organized life. Let’s get you sorted.