The tiny house movement has been around for some time, particularly in the US. In the aftermath of the 2007-2008 financial crisis, more American families found the idea of living in smaller spaces (500 square feet or less) appealing as it provides them with more affordable and environment-friendly housing.
The movement has generated considerable media coverage including the TV series Tiny House Nation, hosted by handyman John Weisbarth and contractor Zack Giffin. In each episode, Weisbarth walks families through the process of downsizing and culling their possessions in preparation for the move to a much smaller living space while Giffin puts his carpentry skills to work by overseeing the build and constructing nifty space-saving yet aesthetically pleasing solutions to address the family’s concerns about tiny house living.
The movement is not so prevalent here in the Philippines, probably because tiny house living is already the norm with houses typically measuring under 500 square feet. Still, many of the principles espoused by Weisbarth and Giffin should guide Filipino families in building, designing or maintaining their homes:
- You don’t really need all that stuff, do you? This might be news to many Pinoys with the pack rat mentality, but the accumulation of so much possessions is no longer a sign of prosperity. In fact, many converts to the tiny house movement mention how they feel weighed down, even enslaved by their possessions. Living in a tiny space forced them to pare down their belongings to the bare minimum, leaving behind items with the most functional and sentimental value.
- If you can make something serve more than one purpose, all the better. Maximizing the limited space often means assigning more than one function to key items. A tiered book shelf can sometimes double as steps going to an upper floor or a storage cabinet can convert to a dining table. You are limited only by your imagination.
- Your house should support your life, not the other way around. Many young families are beginning to put more value on having great experiences rather amassing many possessions. A pared-down lifestyle frees up resources and time that would have otherwise gone to home payments or maintenance but can now be expended for travel or the pursuit of other interests. Living in a small space also puts family members in closer proximity with each other, affording them with more opportunities to interact and bond.
Tiny House Nation airs on FYI (SKYcable ch 200 HD | 79 SD). Catch up episodes are also available on SKY On Demand.