Unexpected Joys of Minimalism
by Shari Snyder
Two years ago, our family designed and built 384 square feet of “tiny luxury on wheels” to replace our 4 bedroom/2 bath “forever home”. Our “why” was to realize our family values and mission, living in a real house, without a 30-year mortgage haunting us. We didn’t want to be a slave to debt and experience the pain of regret. Having two children leave the nest and a 12 year old still at home, experience told us you can never go back. Relationships produce the greatest joy in life. As pioneers and business owners in the tiny house movement, our journey has not been easy, but we can honestly say the adventure, simplicity, freedom, and family closeness, that tiny living has brought us, are worth it!
Trading Stuff for Adventure
Since becoming minimalists, we have found many unexpected joys and adventures. We have found the joy of collecting memories, not stuff! Life is short. You only live once. Why not go on an adventure, take a risk, and try something new? We have launched two companies, been featured on HGTV, Daily Mail, The Sun, New Atlas, and travelled the country in our tiny home. Doing the things that awaken passion and make you feel alive, is an adventure worth pursuing!
Trading Space for Freedom
We traded unused space in our big house for more time and freedom. We have the power to choose where we want to live, what we want to do, and how we want to spend our increased free time. Every day is a new adventure full of new choices, including our career paths. We are passionate about building environmentally healthy tiny home communities for families to thrive in. We are on a mission to pay it forward and help others discover adventure, freedom, and simplicity, through tiny house living. Our motto is, “Shrink your house, not your dreams.”
Trading Stress for Simplicity
Live MORE by owning LESS! Less stuff equates less stress, plain and simple. We had no idea how heavy the burden of financial debt was until it was gone. Being debt free and mortgage free cannot be underestimated or understood until one experiences it! To kiss our debt good-bye after 23 years of marriage, is priceless! The weight of all our possessions was keeping us from a life of true freedom. Instead of spending 3 ½ hours cleaning, we are done in 30 minutes. We don’t have to maintain a big yard, clean the pool, or fix things around the house. We have claimed back our weekends for hobbies, fun, and family adventures!
As a wellness lifestyle coach for 17 years, I have helped hundreds of clients improve their physical, environmental, financial, and personal health and wellness. My passion to achieve total wellness for body, soul, and spirit, was a perfect fit to embrace minimalism and tiny living. I’ve already shared some of the benefits for financial and personal health and wellness. Let’s review some of the mental and environmental health benefits we experienced too.
Clutter in my physical environment created chaos in my mental state. A lifestyle of minimalism, began to replace the stress and anxiety with more clarity and focus, resulting in more peace. Having a place for everything and everything in its place, simply helps you function at your best. We have found so much joy in living with less. We don’t collect things that don’t add value to our lives.
When I was downsizing, instead of asking, “What can I live without?”, I began to ask, “What do I need to live?”. The mindset of simplicity transformed our shopping habits and carried over into every area of our lives, including how we operate our companies.
Of course, the actual build process is environmentally friendly and the ongoing costs of utilities are about 70% less, but the choice of materials we build with also promotes environmental health. For example, we use Rockwool insulation, a wool like material that is mildew and fire resistant, has a R value of 15, is very economical, and also deadens sound. We install a fresh air ventilation system and whole house water purification to promote wellness as well.
In addition, we use and promote a line of eco-friendly cleaning products that are up to 12 x concentrated. This saves an enormous amount of space inside, as well as plastic for the environment, and makes the air inside the tiny house free of outgassing and polution.
In an unprecedented study, PhD student Maria Saxton looked at 80 people who downsized to tiny homes to quantify whether their environmental footprints really got smaller. She reports an 86% positive effect on environment and a reduction of 45% in carbon footprint. In the final sentence, Maria says, “In sum, I found that downsizing was an important step toward reducing ecological footprints and encouraging pro-environmental behaviors.” Read entire article here.