Micro housing is a trend that has grown all over the world. In the United States, the homeland of the 'Tiny House' movement, all houses under 500 square feet (46.5 square metres) are counted as tiny houses, but many people live in much smaller spaces than that.
Even in Sweden and the rest of Europe, people have begun to reap the benefits of minimalism. This has come about because it's difficult to find housing in the big cities where lots of people want to live and study, and because many of us can't afford to live big. But it can also be completely voluntary, to benefit your wallet and the environment. With a smaller home, your ecological footprint will also be smaller.
Micro housing can include living in a caravan, a trailer, houseboat or earthship, but also an ordinary garden house with space for normal amenities such as a washing machine, shower or flat screen TV.
Because every square metre has a cost, a small home is cheaper to buy, cheaper to own, cheaper to rent and cheaper to heat, which gives the resident the opportunity to spend money on other things. Voluntary simple-living, or 'downshifting' as it is known, is a trend that involves reduced consumption, and with that comes a simpler life with fewer possessions and fewer working hours. It can even just mean increased freedom, whatever you choose to do with it.
In a world with more and more status and gadgets, where money is borrowed like never before to be able to afford an expensive life you might not even enjoy, it's natural that more and more people choose to get off the hamster wheel and look for new ways to find happiness. Since housing for most people is the greatest expense, it's natural to start there.
Keep it clean
It's not just that having lots of stuff doesn't automatically bring us happiness. Prosperity can also give us a sense of being restricted, no matter how big we choose to live. "Money talks," but if it's in the form of items you almost never use, which results in you needing a larger home, is it in fact a gigantic waste? Mahatma Gandhi once said: "If you own more than 50 things, it's the things that own you."
That's how a smaller home can give you more freedom. It's easier to keep a small house in order than in a large one. Actually, there's really no alternative! With the 15 square metres (161.5 square feet), you'd have in a garden room, or the 25 square metres (269 square feet) in a garden house, you can't furnish it with a lot of stuff you don't want and can't get rid of. According to the Swedish buying and selling website Blocket, the average household in Sweden has around 25,000 SEK's worth of stuff (around 2,000 pounds) just in the garden shed. Clearing out things you neither need nor use means that you can find and appreciate what's left.
There are always solutions
"Nice thought, but it wouldn't work for us," say lots of people who have never even tried to live in a small space. But what exactly do you have to give up? If we agree that an attic filled with stuff isn’t a sign of happiness and prosperity, then what distinguishes a small house from a big one? We've already mentioned that a small house means that you always have to keep things order, but that's not really much of a sacrifice.
Then you just need to find solutions for the lack of space. In countries such as China and Hong Kong, the average living space per person is less than half compared to Europe, so billions of people have already been asking the same questions. You probably don't have to go far to find a solution, especially since tiny homes are becoming so popular. Ikea has a complete kitchen with hotplates, sinks, oven, microwave and storage for surfaces as small as 1.2 metres (3.9 feet) wide.
And if you've bought a complete house from Polhus for around eight thousand pounds, you can often afford top-class furnishings. In a smaller house, it still won't cost much, which is another advantage of living small.