What’s the Difference Between Living in a TINY HOUSE and a BIG BOAT?

Tiny House

Tiny House

You dream of a simpler life, free of the mundane — and of a home that supports the simple life, as well as makes a statement about you. Consider, as options, a tiny house or a big boat. Food for thought follows.

The tiny-house movement is an architectural style and social movement that has made its focus on living simply.  By popular convention, a “tiny house” is one that is less than 400 square feet. If you are not mathematically inclined, that is a space that is 20 feet by 20 feet, or about the size of many master bedrooms!

Tiny houses were first introduced to the public by Jay Shafer, who lived in a 96-square-foot home for years. Jay went on to found The Tumbleweed Tiny House Company, as well as cofound The Small House Society.  A Google search for tiny home inspectors had results, and www.TinyHomeInspection.com is available at Godaddy for $7.99 if you are interested in a tiny part-time income.

The attraction to the tiny house lifestyle is compelling. They are much less expensive to purchase and maintain than the typical American home that is over 2,500 square feet. There is much less to clean and no opportunity to spend money on stuff, since storage is in critical shortage.

Tiny House

Tiny House

The most common problem for tiny-homeowners is finding a place to put their tiny home.  Most jurisdictions have a minimum size that a home must be. In Jacksonville, that is 800 square feet, a veritable tiny house mansion!

Some tiny houses are on steel frames with wheels, making them unwelcome in communities that restrict mobile homes. Many mobile home parks are restricted to double-wide homes. And most RV parks require that the home have a certification by the Recreational Vehicle Industry association. Few tiny homes have that certification.

The tiny town of Spur, Texas, was the first in America to become a “tiny-house-friendly town.” If you tow your tiny house to Spur, size does NOT matter! To find other tiny towns, visit www.TinyHouseCommunity.com.  There are several in Florida!

Perspective is an interesting thing. While 400 square feet of living space defines a tiny house, it also describes a big boat!  How does life on a big boat compare to life in a tiny house?

Where to keep a big boat has its challenges. Different challenges than tiny-house challenges, challenges nonetheless.

Places to keep a big boat are limited. Obvious as it may seem, you have to keep it on the water. The water needs to be deep enough, and any bridges need to be high enough. Many marinas have restrictions against living aboard your boat. And many jurisdictions also prevent you from anchoring on public waterways for more than a few days. The court battle between live-aboard boats and the city of Naples has gone on for years.

Another challenge of big boats is big maintenance bills. There is no denying that the cost to maintain a big boat well exceeds the cost to care for a tiny house. If living on the cheap is your primary goal, the nod goes to tiny-house living.

Big Boat

Big Boat

In the end, it all comes down to lifestyle. There is no wrong answer. And it may be that the best answer rests with timing and transition.  Perhaps a transition from the big house to the big boat, then when wanderlust on the water has run its course, return to the life of the landlubber to enjoy life’s twilight in a tiny house. Yep, that feels like the plan!



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