“The desire to have not is a desire of the haves.”
– Walter Kirn
An article called Cabins, the New American Dream appeared in last Sunday’s New York Times Style Magazine. Author Walter Kirn gives a rather tongue-in-cheek perspective of the tiny house movement, commenting that the American Dream has downsized.
Kirn says the tiny house movement has been transformed from an architectural phenomenon “into a broader, philosophical venture that offers homespun remedies for practically all that ails us as people.”
Driven mad by status anxiety? Addled by technology? Bankrupted by consumerism? Then shrink your footprint. Go minimalist. Get free. The Tiny House movement is Woodstock-in-a-bottle, a way to get back to the garden.
I guess I’m one of the people Kirn is gently making fun of. Although I don’t live in a tiny house (defined as 500 square feet or smaller), I do believe that downsizing – in combination with other lifestyle changes – is a way to remedy many of our problems, including status anxiety, feeling overwhelmed by technology and consumerism.
“According to legend, the cabin and the shack are ideal launchpads for remarkable lives, but lately they’ve become homes to aspire to — particularly for overburdened types whose acquisitive binging has made them want to purge.”
– Walter Kirn
Kirn makes an excellent point, though, when he comments that we’re “far more likely to spot a tiny house in a photo than on a plot of land.” Most of us are more interested in looking at photos of tiny houses than in actually living in one.
This seems true for other areas of life as well. How many us regularly cook like Julia Child? But many of those fantasizing over making Boeuf Bourguignon will be inspired to begin cooking basic, nutritious meals for their families instead of relying on highly processed foods.
I wonder how many people who have the tiny-living fantasy go on to downsize, just not as dramatically. I spent my fair share of time drooling over books of tiny homes and small cabins before we downsized to a space roughly half the size of our old house.
So go ahead, keep viewing cabin porn and tiny house porn. Maybe imaginary tiny living will inspire you to make a change too. We love our smaller home and believe downsizing the American dream is part of the path back to the garden.