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Sleeping in the Dog House

Sorry to disappoint, but I didn’t do anything wrong. No, really. Wipe that smirk off your face…

One of my favourite cartoon characters growing up was Snoopy. That quirky, loveable, and often troublemaking mutt and his little red dog house were a charmingly memorable staple of my childhood, not that I would know anything about that troublemaking part… wink wink, nudge nudge. Little did I know at the time that Snoopy’s choice of dwelling would later fuel conversation as an adult about minimalism in the real estate market, but nevertheless here we are. Especially if you’re a minimalist, but perhaps even if you’re not, you’ve likely heard of or maybe even seen the newest hotness in downsizing:

Tiny houses.

You know, a bigger adult-sized version of that little red dog house that you can sleep in regardless whether you pissed anyone off or not. Disclaimer: In no way am I suggesting that you can now get away with being a shit disturber, without fear of being kicked out of the house and told to sleep in the garage or something. I wave any and all liability in perpetuity for whatever obnoxious behaviour ensues. Zero terms and conditions apply. A magical conjoining of garden shed and trailer like some twisted version of Cinderella, where even she might say ”No fuckin’ way am I going to the ball in that thing, gimme the goddamn pumpkin back.” Perhaps even a cottage for hobbits when life in The Shire seems a little boring and are looking for a change of scenery. Regardless what form they take, the premise behind these minuscule abodes is the core of minimalism; living with intentionality, and with less. Only in this case, you have literally no choice with regards to the latter.

Space in these tiny houses is at an obvious premium, and while I’ve seen many the clever storage hack to provide some extra flexibility, ultimately you are still forced to keep only the bare essentials of what’s either necessary or adds value to your life. Depending on the overall square footage of the house, they also often require a massive shift in what you consider a normal lifestyle. Take sleeping, for instance, where the “bedroom” is sometimes literally a loft at one end of the dwelling that requires climbing a ladder or small staircase to get into. Now, as a grown man, A.K.A. juvenile at first glance I might find something like this endearing in its childish novelty. However, I’ve no doubt those smiles would be wiped out quicker than my hairline was the first time I have to navigate said stairs or ladder while half awake, in order to make it to the washroom.

Oh yes, and let’s talk about that washroom for one or two seconds shall we? See what I did there? Assuming you don’t have one that’s the size of a closet situated right next to the kitchen — don’t laugh, I’ve seen this — there’s a bigger issue that should be considered. Let’s just say if something you’ve eaten is giving you a bad day, everyone you supposedly love living there with you is also going to have a bad day. In a larger house this is easily solved by ducking out to the living room, and giggling under your breath while waiting for the next poor soul who bangs their head against the odiferous wall of that proverbial shitstorm. In a tiny house, where said building is your living room, kitchen, bedroom, office, and bathroom, the humour of the prior situation is likely to… ahem… backfire.

Jokes aside, I totally understand the appeal of tiny houses. They are almost always a fraction of the cost of their larger siblings — especially here in Canada — and provide a quaint, cozy, and very bold statement against our current capitalist and consumeristic system. If you can alter your mindset and lifestyle enough to tolerate, and even come to appreciate, their quirks, they can be the ultimate endgame in simple and minimalist living. They’re light on maintenance and heavy on outdoor space if you enjoy that sort of thing, and if you have one on wheels can literally be hitched to a truck and moved elsewhere. Herein lies another caveat in many communities, namely the laws around zoning. Unfortunately there are still places that don’t recognize tiny houses as a legal dwelling, though that has improved dramatically as this trend gains more momentum.

As to whether I would live in a tiny house? If we’re talking about a glorified shed on wheels, definitely not. Although I’m a minimalist, that’s more than a little too hardcore for me. As a tall person my head has already become painfully acquainted with enough stairwell overhangs, chandeliers, and low-lying tree branches, that the prospect of adding to that list with a loft ceiling while partaking in all bedroom-related activities gives me a headache. Hell, I don’t even like sharing the washroom with myself let alone subjecting anyone else to my porcelain meditations.

If we’re talking a tini-”er” house that still offers the chance to downsize and simplify my life without such a drastic cold-turkey approach to real estate minimalism? Absolutely. Perhaps it wouldn’t be Snoopy approved, but I don’t care.

His washroom is much larger than mine and has a view of the outdoors.

Posted in #SeptemberScrawls - Day 28

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