Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Tiny: A Story About Living Small on Netflix

This is my favorite random thing I've watched on Netflix in ages.

Tiny Houses are in right now, and I love them. They're so well-designed, so soulful, so quirky, and they're a direct response to the bigger-is-better craziness that makes the average American house, according to Tiny House Nation 2300 square feet*, and makes the Americans looking for homes overseas on Househunters International** look like spoiled idiots.

This documentary is about a guy who decides to get rid of all that BS and build himself a tiny home to live in on the land he's bought out in the country. And, guys, it's so sweet. Not, like, cloying or tooth-aching, but actual sweetness that comes from dedication to a small, quiet cause, and earnestness that isn't naivete. He knows what he's trying to do, even though he doesn't know how to do it or how much trouble it'll be, and he does it, and that's that. It's inspiring to see him go through the process and overcome the bumps along the way--but it's also super-informative.

Because the documentary is also about talking to other people who have built tiny houses, and the rules and skills you need to understand to do it. And there's no real judgement in it, despite it being his story, from his point of view-- he's just showing how it goes, and talking to others who have done the same thing for different reasons. It talks about how lots of tiny houses are on wheels so they count as vehicles and have less zoning issues. It talks about sustainability, and shows him setting up solar power and taking on chickens. It talks about relationships and design and independence. And it does it all with a gentleness that is totally charming to me.

I don't know if I could live in less than 125 square feet. Probably not, since my books and all the paperwork generated by being a writer alone could fill that space. But I can understand why someone would, and I can wish for a house as beautifully and meaningfully designed as these. And I can see what lessons are given that I can apply to my own life.

But what I like best about this whole movement is how gentle and kind it is. It's quiet--just some people doing something they feel is right, for not too much money, and without too much fighting to trauma. It's earnest. It's hopeful, and it's forward-looking to a future where we're not telling each other that we're not going to get out of the mess we've gotten into. It's an alternative that might actually work.

And I like that.

*My current appt is less than half that, but so poorly designed it could be that big and would still feel hard to live in.
**I watch a lot of shows about homes. Also about semi-homes; I love Treehouse Masters, too! If I could get those guys to build me a tiny house, I'd be in heaven.
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