The big benefits of tiny living

Thom Barker muses about stigma and benefits of joining the trend in smaller living spaces

When I was offered a job in Smithers, I was pleased, but wondered ‘how am I going to be able to afford to live here?’ Newspaper salaries aren’t what they used to be (and they used to be crap).

It is unfortunate that affordable housing has become such an issue.

People used to come to the north, at least in part, for the opportunities and cost-of-living.

At a special meeting of Telkwa council last week on their budget, Mayor Brad Layton noted the average home in Telkwa is now assessed at $257,800.

In Telkwa.

Of course, those kinds of values, combined with low vacancy rates, also drive up rents like crazy.

LAST WEEK: A negotiation by any other name…

In any event, it was not long before I started looking at alternatives, as many others have before me.

People are building tiny houses; buying minuscule condominiums; and repurposing travel trailers, old school buses, shipping containers and other things into homes.

There are shows on television about it. There’s even a business in Smithers dedicated to supplying tiny lifers.

Tiny living has become a thing.

Of course, it has always been a thing.

Lots of people live in tiny houses (we used to call them cabins), trailer parks are certainly nothing new, and there have always been eccentrics pursuing alternative lifestyles.

When I started looking at travel trailers as a potential solution to my housing problem, I identified three main stumbling blocks.

MORE BARKING AT THE BIG DOG:

Split with the Donald was for the best

Dog tries to teach old Barker new tricks

The first was hookups (minds out of the gutters, please). Fortunately, I have wonderful friends here, to whom I am eternally indebted, who were willing to hook me up with the luxuries I was not willing to give up, water, sewer, electricity and internet.

The second was space. Could I really adjust to what would certainly be fairly cramped quarters? There was only one way to find out.

Which brings me to the final obstacle, the stigma.

Self-esteem being what it is, I grappled with the idea that here I am, a 55-year-old man, reduced to living in a tiny, portable space like some failed golf pro with inner demons and a penchant for “going for it” against all odds.

Kudos to those who got the Tin Cup reference.

At the very least, the stigma makes you examine your life choices such as, say, someone choosing journalism when they could have been a lawyer or doctor or stayed in the high tech business.

Ah, but there’s no turning back the clock, even if I wanted to, and I was born to be a newspaperman.

I’ve been in the trailer about a month now and I am reaping the benefits.

It’s saving me money, but not just in the obvious way. In the past, when I thought about buying something, the primary consideration was ‘can I afford it?’

Now, the first question is ‘where am I going to put the damn thing?’

Even when it comes to food, I’m buying, and thus wasting, less because my fridge and cupboards will only hold so much.

I’m also becoming much more efficient and neat. When you live in a tiny space, you can’t just leave stuff lying around because you very quickly run out of space for living.

And you can’t be a messy cook. I was always taught to clean as I go, but I rarely did. Now I have to and it’s great to live in a place that is always clean and uncluttered.

It gets you thinking outside the box, too.

An example: my socks and underwear drawer is now a shelf in my bathroom linen closet, which is great because when I get out of the shower, there they are.

Finally, it is making me more environmentally-friendly. Again, not just in the obvious way. Not only do you use less of everything because it takes less of everything to run a tiny home, but I have become much more conscious of my use of everything.

For example, it’s easy to remember to turn off lights because you can see the whole house from wherever you are.

As Martha used to say, ‘that’s a good thing.’



editor@interior-news.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Mayoral nominations open Sept. 1

Deputy Mayor Gladys Atrill confirms she will be running for the top job

Brucejack mine fatality identified

Patrick Critch was from Newfoundland

Friendship Centre optimistic MMIWG mural will be painted this year

Following trauma-informed healing workshops, project is now in the design phase

Smithers Skate Park expansion gains momentum

Project ready for Phase 2: Detailed design and construction documentation

Pretivm Resources reports fatality at Brucejack mine

The isolated incident occurred last Friday, and the employee passed away on Sunday in hospital

371 British Columbians battling COVID-19, health officials confirm

Thursday (Aug. 6) saw a second straight day of nearly 50 new confirmed cases

Statistics Canada says country gained 419,000 jobs in July

National unemployment rate was 10.9 per cent in July, down from the 12.3 per cent recorded in June

Canada vows retaliatory measures as Trump restores tariff on Canadian aluminum

The new Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement that replaced NAFTA went into force on July 1

Canada ‘profoundly concerned’ over China death sentence for citizen in drug case

Police later confiscated more than 120 kilograms of the drug from Xu Weihong’s home

Answers to 5 common questions facing families for the COVID-19 school year

COVID-19 protocols are likely to vary even more at the school board level, and even and school-to-school.

Visitors and non-residents entering closed remote B.C. First Nation’s territories

With limited resources, they say they don’t have any authority or power to enforce the closures

UBC loses appeal on Fisheries Act convictions

BC Supreme Court upholds order to pay $1.55-million fine

Masks to be mandatory on BC Transit, TransLink starting Aug. 24

Both BC Transit and TransLink made the announcement in separate press releases on Thursday

Most Read