Small House Society

The Small House Society, “a voice for the Small House Movement”, adds more fine-grained definition to the idea of tiny home living. It identifies the Movement as “the result of concerns about what we are doing to the environment, and what the environment is doing to us (wild fires, flooding, hurricanes), as well as a shifting economy. Some people just desire to live simply so that others can simply live.” Cool.

They have a motto…

“Better Living Through Simplicity.”

…and a clearly stated mission:

“Our desire is to support the research, development, and use of smaller living spaces that foster sustainable living for individuals, families, and communities worldwide.”

There’s quite a bit to check out. I’m on it, clicking through the Small House Society site… :)  SHS is part of Resources for Life, which I’m checking out as well!

Small houses: it’s a movement!

A tiny home

The small house movement has its own article in Wikipedia, started in March, 2009, that describes an “architectural and social movement that advocates living simply in small homes.” Pretty straightforward! It also points to a founder: “Sarah Susanka has been credited with starting the countermovement toward smaller houses when she published The Not So Big House in 1997.” The “financial crisis of 2007-2010″ (glad that’s over with…) is given props for generating increased interest in tiny homes and the Movement…

Tiny house tour

This little video tour gave me a bit of a feel for extreme tiny living. The house is around 100 sq. ft. (not sure if that includes the attic sleeping-storage space). The tour guide is Jay Shafer, founder of the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company. He’s been living in, designing, building, and selling plans for tiny houses for over a decade. When you start thinking “tiny home,” Jay’s name seems to pop up everywhere, he’s definitely a leader in the North American tiny house scene… I could adapt to 100 sq. ft., but I think it’d be intense.

Bed time

Futon sofa bed

What to do with the bed when you’re up and about? If you have room for a loft or sleeping niche set up high and out of the way, that’s cool. Otherwise, the bed just lies there all day,Futon sofa bed (open) taking up space in an unhelpful way. I’m going the folding futon sofa bed route for now, but the opening and closing’s a bit offputting, I’m always expecting the frame to collapse. Folding up against a wall is something to think about. You can get a folding (Murphy) bed hardware kit and DIY. Meanwhile, this is it for now.

Enter the rice cooker

Black & Decker 6-cup-rice-cooker

Took the plunge into a sea of automatic rice cookers today with this Black & Decker 6-cup rice cooker, almost the smallest you can get (there’s a 3-cup, too), only $20 (on sale for 15!). It comes with a steamer basket, so you can steam veggies as well. And you can use it for things like soup, and reheating.

There’s a whole little universe of cool cookery devices, and they’re surprisingly inexpensive. Once you get rid of the idea of a central STOVE, a typical multiburner-plus-oven set-up, as a compulsory bit of living gear, things get interesting! There are all sorts of tabletop ovens, slow cookers, grills and griddles, electric woks, blenders and food processors. I’m sure there’s more.

As soon as I started focusing on these little devices as a primary means of cooking, the way I looked at food automatically changed. Thoughts naturally turned to individual ingredients, cooking methods, nutritional value, diet. You don’t want, don’t have space for, a whole clutter of equipment and things to wash up, and this thinking naturally extends to food itself. And you can only fit so much into a tiny fridge.

This is pretty exciting. Then again, maybe they ARE all just overspecialized gadgets, and I’ll end up embracing a simple pan or wok and a burner. It’s an experiment. More on my first rice cooker after I’ve actually used it for a while!

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