If there’s one invaluable lesson traveling has taught me, it’s that you don’t need a lot of things to have a rich life. When you’re on the go, it’s really a hassle to lug around more than you can easily carry.
So why not cut down the excess and take only what you truly need?
Since getting bitten by the travel bug over the last few years, I’ve always made it a goal to avoid checking in any baggage. It took some work at first, but I’ve managed to do this consistently for years now. It’s worked out so well and has made traveling much, much easier. Plus, it saves me money because I don’t need to pay any baggage fees.
I’ve started applying the lesson of “less is simpler” to my life even when I’m not on the road. Recently, after a recommendation from some travel bloggers I follow, I’ve taken steps to declutter my room, inspired by Marie Kondo’s “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.”
And even more recently, I took the time to visit a tiny house in my backyard to see if that kind of minimalist living situation could be a potential fit for me in the future.
Vina’s Tiny House is located in Ojai, a small city in Southern California’s Ventura County. I first heard about the place in a news clip on a Filipino broadcast station, which was featured because the owner of the house, Vina Lustado, is a Filipino American. Ojai is about 80 miles away from Los Angeles, and Vina offers two-hour tours of her humble abode for a fee. If you’re interested in this type of thing and if Ojai is accessible to you, you can find out more information about tours of her house on her website.
I was initially interested in checking out this Tiny House because of my enthusiasm for sustainability: Vina’s house runs on solar power, and just living in a smaller space seems less wasteful.
Vina’s house is 140 square feet – 20’ x 8’6” – and incorporates a lot of multi-purpose furniture. The sofa, for example, also serves as a guest bed and storage unit.
It’s amazing how she has managed to include all the essential components of a house in such a small space. She has a living room, kitchen, bathroom, bed and even a little media room all in her trailer-sized house.
My favorite part of the home is the loft. It’s a beautiful space with a skylight, and it’s also where her bed is located.
In addition to the minimalist and sustainable aspects of tiny houses, another huge appeal is the cost. Based on some light research, it looks like they typically cost less than $100,000. Vina’s cost $40,000 to build. You can read more about other facts here.
While living tiny can be an appealing and fascinating lifestyle, an important consideration to keep in mind with tiny houses is that they’re not exactly legal. Cities have different zoning ordinances so it can be challenging to figure out where to park a tiny house. Some places don’t allow any structures less than a certain number of square feet, some will allow tiny houses in RV park, and some will allow them in the backyard of a house as an accessory dwelling unit. PBS wrote an article in July 2016 that provides some background information if you’re unfamiliar with this and want to know more.
After touring Vina’s Tiny House, I concluded that I might not exactly want to live in such a small space. For one thing, I’d like to have guests over. Vina has been able to accommodate 10 guests in her home for dinner before by simply opening up her French doors and have 2-3 people stay overnight. But I’d like to comfortably be able to host 3-5 guests without having to leave my own home.
Still, it was definitely eye opening to experience what it’s like being inside a 140-square-foot house and how it’s very possible to live with much, much less.