Tuesday, October 17th, 2017

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Go Small and Go Home: Minimizing vs. Mobilizing

This post is by guest author Amethyst Tagney. Amethyst spends her time writing on a variety of topics. She is an avid learner and loves to share what she discovers. You can find her @AmTagWrites

The minimalism movement is sweeping the nation. Many people are implementing this lifestyle by taking on challenges to make their living spaces (and lives) less cluttered with some serious spring cleaning and getting rid of things that aren’t strictly necessary. People are even taking this a step further by minimizing their homes.

Tiny houses are becoming a bigger and bigger phenomenon. The American dream is slowly changing from owning a sprawling estate to a home that is less than 400 square feet. Another small house revolution is the RV.

Why pick one location when you can live anywhere? RVs give the freedom of a smaller house while being able to see the country. Each has its pros and cons, but which option is right for you in your quest for “less is more?”

Let’s find out in the supremacy battle of tiny houses vs. RVs.

Tiny House

So what is the tiny house movement? The tiny house movement, as mentioned before, is the trend of opting to buy a home with considerably less square footage. Although there are several misconceptions about tiny houses in general, people are still flocking toward this way of living. There are several reasons why someone would choose to live in a tiny house, such as having a mortgage-free home or just trying to live with less in life.

As with anything, tiny houses have their own slew of benefits. Here are some advantages to tiny house living:

  • Tiny houses will make your life much simpler. Due to their size, there’s no room for unnecessary excess. It enables you to make the tough decisions about what you need and what you want, leaving the items behind ones that hold true value. Plus, there’ll be fewer things to wash and dust.
  • Speaking of less to clean, the upkeep of a tiny house is a breeze. There are fewer things to break and fewer things to get dirty, making the care of your tiny house a piece of cake. This will give you more time to do what you want to do instead of taking care of household chores.
  • Less space means lower cost. Many people can buy their tiny house outright without a mortgage to tote around to steadily increase payments. With average homes costing around $200,000, the average $23,000 price of tiny houses seems much more doable.
  • Since they also use less energy, energy bills become less too. You can even save more money by using solar energy to power your home and using a wood stove to heat it. With all the savings you’ll make, you could even work less and spend money on amazing experiences.

Although these benefits sound phenomenal, there are some disadvantages you should be aware of:

  • One obvious drawback is less space. Although many people know that this is part of the deal, many do not realize how many possessions are actually dear to them and are actually useful. Living in a tiny house means you might have to sacrifice some things you may not want to sacrifice.

Less space also means having to give up amenities like bathtubs and some kitchen appliances. Tiny houses are probably not a great idea either for families who might want some privacy and alone time from each other.

  • If you can’t afford to buy a tiny house outright, financing does not look favorably upon you. Getting a standard mortgage loan is next to impossible, since banks don’t see tiny houses as having enough value for collateral.

This leaves you to take out personal loans or borrow from friends and family. Using credit cards is another option, but it will leave you paying more in interest.

  • Unfortunately, one the of the biggest hurdles is actually being able to build a tiny house. Many zoning laws require a minimum size for houses, and you guessed it, tiny houses do not meet that minimum. Some people have gotten around this by living in trailer parks or by buying a bigger house and renting it out while setting up camp in the backyard.


Full-time RVing can be a constant adventure. Since you’re not tied down to a rooted location, boundless traveling opportunities await while never getting homesick. When you learn the secrets to remote work success, going to a physical job locale to finance your roadtripping dreams will never be a worry.

However, full-time RVing is not just fun sing alongs and I Spy games. Just as with tiny houses, you must be aware of the pros and cons of living in an RV. Here are some of the pros for life on the road:

  • The biggest benefit of full-time RVing is all the traveling you will be able to do. Who knows where the road will take you? Learning new things and meeting new people will be a big part of the journey (and if you don’t like these new people, you can always pack up and leave!).
  • The low maintenance of RV living is by far one of the biggest perks. Not only does cleaning the inside of an RV take no time at all, but since you don’t own any land, there’s no yard upkeep to take care of. Gone are the days of mowing lawns and trimming trees!
  • Full-time RVing also leads to overall well-being and a reduced amount of stress. Like tiny houses, RVs have a limited amount of space, meaning fewer things to bring with you and fewer things to worry about. RV living also has a way of making routines melt away, opening you to new experiences that inspire personal growth.

Now come the cons:

  • Enclosed spaces are not always a good mix when multiple people and animals inhabit it. Odors become stronger and mildew and mold are much more common occurrences.

The more bodies that are in a room, the more moisture that will accumulate inside the RV, resulting in these fungi. Clutter is also much more noticeable and accumulates easier when living in tight quarters.

  • Expenses can also be pretty steep when full-time RVing. With RVs only getting 9 miles per gallon, you can see how a lot of money can be spent.

Things are also prone to breaking in RVs, and not just unattended glasses of water or knick knacks, but the RV itself. With gas and repairs being a common expense, keeping to a budget can be difficult.

  • Although meeting new people is one of the fun parts of full-time RVing, it can also be one of its downfalls. When you want a quiet night in, your neighbors may want to throw a loud party instead.

Even friendly campfires can make the inside of RVs smell for days. Lastly, the biggest setback is when you need to go to a doctor, mechanic, or hair stylist, it will always be with someone new, meaning you won’t know for sure the kind of quality of care you will receive.

In the end, it’s all about a matter of preference. Living in a tiny house or RV has many similar benefits and costs. Whether you want to travel or stay more rooted, it’s up to you. Whichever one you choose, though, you’ll be able to experience the less-is-more lifestyle to the fullest.

About Daniel Matthews

Daniel Matthews is a freelance writer who specializes in finance, tech, business, and current events. You can find him on Twitter.
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