If you have been on Pinterest or Tumblr lately, chances are you’ve heard about The Tiny House Movement. The social movement focuses on reducing the size of not only your house, but also your eco footprint. Most American houses are around 2600 square feet or more and have many expensive bills associated with them, such as gas, electric, sewage, water, and cable/Internet. The average tiny house is around 100-400 square feet, generally has cheaper or no bills, and releases fewer harmful chemicals into the environment.
Many of those living in tiny houses also undergo a mental lifestyle change. When you downsize your living space, you need to get rid of, donate, or store many of your belongings. They say this simplification is cleansing and helps them focus on their priorities, like focusing on family life or living healthier. This usually includes spending more time in the great outdoors, doing things like gardening or throwing a football around. Since indoor space is limited, many appliances and other necessities are typically too large to fit without some sort of modification. Innovators have caught on to this trend and are creating modified appliances to fit into the smaller living spaces.
1. Mushroom Insulation. One struggle of building your own eco-friendly tiny house is finding insulation that is good for the environment and keeps your house warm. For all-natural insulation, one company developed insulation made of mushrooms. The mycelium, or mushroom roots, grow inside the wooden walls of the house and form an airtight seal which dries over a few weeks, similar to concrete. The mushroom insulation is very effective and believe it or not, it’s fire resistant. Check out Mushroom Tiny House for more details on this innovative invention.
2. Hand-Powered Washing Machines. A common misconception of the tiny house movement is these houses are lacking many modern conveniences, similar to camping. There’s no need to wash your clothes in a Laundromat or even outdoors if you can make room for a hand-powered washing machine. These types of models are smaller than typical washing machines and are powered by a crank handle, saving on your bills and carbon footprint. Although they do not hold as much as a regular washing machine, it takes less than 3 minutes to wash about 7 to 10 articles of clothing. Want to know more? Check out these models: The WonderWash and The Laundry Pod.
3. Pull-Out Items. Everyone has seen or heard of beds that pull out of the wall, but what other household conveniences can fold or pull out? Tables can lie flat against a wall until pulled out and stabilized by a center post, turning a living space into an eating space. A set of drawers inside stairs can secretly hold lots of items in space typically wasted. Small appliances, such as microwaves and coffee makers, can be put on sliding surfaces that hide in closets, only to be rolled out when they are needed. These ideas are typically DIY, so check out some tiny house blogs for inspiration to bring out the innovator in you.
4. Solar-Powered Everything. Another appeal of living in a tiny house is the possibility to live off the grid. By harnessing solar power, you are able to stay disconnected from power lines and travel around more freely. There are a wide variety of solar panels on the market. Some resemble typical roofing so much if you didn’t know they were solar panels, you’d never be able to tell. As for your mobile devices, there are many solar powered gadgets for your smart phone, including chargers, charging cases, charging backpacks, and speakers. Other conveniences, such as radios, lanterns, and hot water heaters can also be solar powered. Solar innovation is popular right now, and you can expect there to be many more appliances, gadgets, and household items to be available in the next few years.
Innovators seek out groups of people or situations requiring innovation and then create products that will assist them. The tiny house trend was in need of smaller, eco-friendly household items, so inventors and DIYers have come up with solutions to these problems. Those following the trend of the tiny house movement benefit from cheaper bills, an off-the-grid lifestyle, and the satisfaction of protecting the environment while sacrificing possessions and space.
Would you consider going off the grid and living in a tiny house? How has innovation affected other lifestyle trends?