What Is Wrong With The Minimalism And Tiny House Fads?

Photo by Ksenia Chernaya on Pexels.com

I don’t care how you choose to live.

First, let me start this out by saying that I don’t care how other people choose to live. It’s none of my business as long as they aren’t hurting me or someone else. However, I feel I have a right to comment on these subjects since they seem to be pushed at us, unsolicited, from all directions: TV, social media and magazines for a start. Worse, they seems a bit dishonest.

I’m all for simple living

I’m actually all for living simply and not falling into the spending/keep up with the Jonses trap that we have been fed for decades. Buying and accumulating stuff will not make us happy. The sooner we learn that, the better for our state of our mind and our wallet. Much better to live simply and appreciate what you have. However, typical of people, the concept of simple living has been taken too far. One only has to spend a few minutes perusing Youtube videos to see that the concept of living simply has been perverted into a form of ascetism, or, as I like to call it, torture.

Lets look a little closer at the problems.

Tiny House Fad

We’ll start with the tiny house fad. I confess that I used to enjoy watching videos on this subject because I was fascinated by the ingenuity that went into building these tiny houses. People have come up with some ingenious ways to put storage into these fancy, way too small , glorified storage sheds, and some of them are also quite beautiful. However, I have not seen one video that didn’t leave me wondering what the resident of the house did with all their time.

I understand the some of the claims of the people who work and then travel in their spare time. They are rarely home and they claim that living in a tiny house saves them money that they can use to travel and “have experiences”. Why have a larger home and all the associated stuff sitting there unused most of the time and cost time, effort and money to take care of? Makes perfect sense to have a tiny house you use as a home base but can leave behind, or even pull behind a vehicle, as you travel. (Just a side note here. This concept of a portable house has already been done. They are called RV’s. Cheaper and easier to drive/tow than tiny houses. If these people really want to save money so they can use it to “have more experiences”, then why are they not opting for the cheaper RV rather than the expensive tiny house?) In any case, for people that are rarely home, this way of living makes some sense.

What concerns me more are the nontraveling people who are living in them on a full time basis, especially older people. The question comes back to me every time: What do they do all day? There is no room to do anything in those houses but sit and stare at some kind of screen all day (TV, PC or Phone). There isn’t much room for hobby material. They barely have enough room for the necessities of living so they sure can’t have many books, art and craft supplies, musical instruments or anything else. Sure, many of them claim to spend a lot of time outside. Okay. Doing what? Staring at the trees? Watching the grass grow? Walking for hours on end? What? And what do you do in bad weather?

The older people really make me wonder. Most of those homes have the bedrooms up in the loft. To access it, you either have to climb a ladder or navigate some scary looking steps of some sort. When I see these older people, I wonder how long they are going to be able to do that. When will the joints no longer allow it? When will they end up falling and breaking something? Why would an older person not just downsize to a regular small house instead of paying a large amount of money on a fancied-up shed?

I do want to hit on one more claim these people often make. They claim more “freedom”. Well, from what I’ve seen, what a lot of them mean by “freedom” is they have less work to do, less of their own money to spend, and more sponging off of others to do. Time after time the people are saying that they have their tiny home parked on someone else’s property and hooked up to someone else’s utilities, usually a friend or relative who doesn’t charge them anything for the privilege. This isn’t freedom. It’s lazy, immature, irresponsible and dishonest. These people are not living like adults, they are still living like children, depending on others to provide what they need while they go off and play. You would think they would be embarrassed. Instead, they seem proud of it!


And this brings us to minimalist living. Again, I’m all for not living in clutter and unnecessary accumulation. However, I’ve seen this taken so far that the person had nothing in their living room but a mat to sit on, a plant and a computer. That’s it. Their whole home was like that. Basically empty. I was once again wondering, what do you do all day besides sit and stare at that computer screen? What do you do in the way of developing your talents and abilities? These people seem so proud that they live like this yet I can’t feel anything but confused and saddened by it. It seems so boring and empty.

To make things worse, I’ve seen videos by people who are trying to live simply but make the mistake of calling themselves a minimalist. Well, their comment sections are full of people telling them they have too much stuff, so they shouldn’t be calling themselves a minimalist. This is often said very harshly, as though the commenter is offended that someone who isn’t suffering as much as they are as a “true” minimalist is trying to include themselves in their club. It also made be wonder what the official limit is on what a person can own and still be permitted to call themselves a minimalist? What are the official club rules?

I even heard one person (an artist) apologize because they slipped up and had some art supplies within view of the camera while they recorded their video. She knew she would hear about it from some fanatic who felt that a true minimalist would not own that stuff. She was acting very embarrassed and apologetic about it. I found that ridiculous. An artist NEEDS art supplies but, apparently, a “true minimalist” owns next to nothing and enjoys sitting around contemplating their belly button all day. No thanks. I for one am glad I’m not trying to be a member of that particular club.

What bothers me

What bothers me about these ways of life is that these people can’t just live their sad and confused lives while allowing others to do as they please with theirs. That’s problem number one. Problem number two is the fact that people are so insistent about putting labels on themselves and others. They then attempt to force themselves (or others) in with that group rather than just living their life in a way that makes them happy and allowing others to do the same.

For instance, why do you want to call yourself a minimalist when all you really want to do is live simply in an uncluttered home? Is there some kind of prize for being a minimalist or something? And why do you have to spend a crazy amount of money having a tiny house built when you can easily buy a regular, small home, complete with a flushing toilet, full size bath and shower, full size fridge and stove, and your own little piece of property for far less money?

It boils down to this

I think it all boils down to one thing. People are constantly trying to find their worth and their sense of belonging in all the wrong places. Our true worth can only be found in God, and He is the only One who will ever totally accept us. Trying to change who we are in order to fit into some group is ultimately not going to give us the sense of belonging and acceptance we long for because, as the saying goes, you will NEVER please everyone. Someone, somewhere will always disapprove of something you say or do. Looking for human acceptance and approval is a futile endeavor because people all have different opinions and are always changing the goal post based on their own moods or society’s latest dictations.

Also, unregenerated human nature naturally takes advantage of others and becomes jealous when others have what they wish they had. A lot of these tiny house people are taking advantage of others by living off of them instead of paying their own way. As for the minimalist, they may not be trying to keep up with the Jonses by spending money and accumulating stuff anymore, but they are still trying to beat others at something…in this case, trying to see who can own less. It’s just the other side of the same coin with the same spirit of competition behind it. There is no peace in that and there is no reward for living an empty life, so why bother?

This makes more sense

It seems to make much more sense to think for yourself and do everything in moderation. We can live the life we want without having to go to extremes or attempt to fit in with the current fads. We don’t need any human’s approval; we don’t need to belong to a group. We shouldn’t expect others to encourage or support us; that includes financially. After all, it’s our journey, not theirs. We should look to God for your needs, acceptance and satisfaction while we develop and enjoy the talents and gifts He has given us. We should be the person He designed us to be, to the best of our ability, rather than imitating or competing with someone else. I think that will lead to a much more satisfying and fruitful life.


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