Tiny House Hipster Hypocrisy?

The trendy tiny house movement that’s made headlines over the last few years used to make me feel hopeful for western civilization. I assumed tiny house dwellers were doing it to tread lighter on the planet. But you know what they say about assuming. A recent expose spotlighting tiny house hipster hypocrisy shows that people living in these micro-dwellings are usually no different from anyone else in our consumer culture.

Stuff, Storage and Tiny House Hipster Hypocrisy 

tiny house hipster hypocrisy
Tiny Houses are NOT RVs.

In a wildly popular article called “Tiny houses look marvellous but have a dark side: three things they don’t tell you on marketing blurb,” we learn that the majority of skinny jeans wearing tiny house hipster dwellers made the move out of necessity, not an altruistic desire to save the planet. 

  • Millenials living in tiny houses wouldn’t hesitate to move up to a bigger sticks and bricks in a heartbeat if they had more money or kids.
  • Tiny house dwellers say they feel “ungrounded” knowing their home has wheels.
  • and it’s not uncommon for tiny house dwellers to have nearby storage units. 

All this time I mistakenly assumed tiny house dwellers had done a better job of slaying the consumer monster. But apparently most tiny house dwellers are just as hooked on more space and more stuff as the rest of society. 

tiny house hipster hypocrisy
Free at last! Dumping off stuff at the Goodwill

I’m not immune to the Church of Stuff either. I love my thrift store adventures, and it takes all I’ve got to keep my possessions to a minimum. Committing to live lightly on the planet is difficult. When I visit people living traditional lives in sticks-and-bricks homes, I often feel like a fish out of water.

Jim and I had a ridiculously expensive storage bill our first two years on the road, so I can relate to the fear of letting go. But when we sold our beloved Jerry’s Acres, we scaled down our possessions to a 5×7 storage unit filled with a smattering of irreplaceable sentimental objects to reminisce over in old age. We did it by asking ourselves, “Will this matter to us when we are too old to full-time?” In most cases the answer was “Nope.” When we drove away from that little unit in Colorado, I felt a sense of freedom I had never known before. 

Objects come and go in life. Most can be replaced just by driving down the street to HellMart. But the rewards of living with with less stuff is filling our heads with so many wild, fun and sometimes crazy, experiences! No amount of money or real estate can ever give that to us.

10 thoughts on “Tiny House Hipster Hypocrisy?”

  1. Wow Rene, you’re tough on “hipsters”, tough I tell you. Where’s the love or the aloha? Hey you crazy kids, still doing the 5th wheel thing? I’m proud of you both. No matter your thoughts on “Hipsters”, stay hip your selves and don’t take too many things too serious, it’s all temporary. Nothing but love, Eric.

    • Eric Wombat! Nice to hear from you friend. Well yeah we’re still doing the fifth wheel thing, and it’s those darn hipsters who have made it impossible for us to haul our house over to Austin. No more places to stay near the city, they’ve crowded us nomads out. You can understand my attitude right? All the love back at ya, aloha!

  2. After living in our RV 3 years our house seems huge! At first it was overwhelming….buying furniture, going through stuff in storage, settling in one spot. Now I love it but I am ready for a trip. My shoulder is healed and I’m itching to get out…. for a month or 2.

    • I remember that feeling, Patti, when we got Jerry’s Acres. I literally ran round the house in circles, jumped on furniture and was so happy I didn’t hit my head on the ceiling like I would have in the RV!

      There’s always a good side to everything, even home ownership. Enjoy your new digs, it sounds like a great spot.

  3. Our tiny house/homebuilt RV (we’re not sure what to call it) is about half complete. We’re building it all ourselves on my parents property.

    We’ve been full time living in our travel trailer the last 6 years and enjoy it so much we wanted something tougher and better quality. After looking at new “full time” fifth wheels we were very disappointed.

    Our new home on wheels is very different, we believe, from most tiny homes. It’s built for movement with a self designed hybrid welded steel and conventional wood frame. It’s large at 40’ and heavier than all comparably sized fifth wheels but still within the capabilities of our tow vehicle. It’ll have large capacity fresh and waste water tanks, 2000 watt solar with lithium batteries and whole house inverter, and conventional RV hookups. We’ve focused highly on quality since the start. Granted we are providing all labor but the cost is less than half of the supposed “high end” units we looked at.

    We love this lifestyle so much, we just wanted a home on wheels that would possibly last as long as we needed it to. But we are still “ full time RVers” I think.

    I really enjoy your blog and hope see you out sometime!

    • Brian and Sharon, your new rig sounds ah-mazing! I’m going to email you separately, I’d love to interview you for an article on RVLife.com. What you are building definitely sounds more durable than the rigs coming off the production line. Even our Arctic Fox is showing some wear and it’s only 10 years old. I envy anyone with the energy to build something to last. Good luck! Can’t wait to see it when it’s done.

  4. ” too old to full-time ”
    Really??? LOL
    “storage unit filled with a smattering of irreplaceable sentimental objects to reminisce over in old age. ”
    Assuming your memory is intact enough to reminisce. Ha!

    Living as we have in one RV park, for an extended period of time going thru treatment, has allowed us to meet people who are exposed to the RV lifestyle in borrowed trailers or even in the park’s rental units as they go through treatment as well. Some have remarked that for what they imagined we spent on our motorhome, we could have purchased a nice Tiny House somewhere. Obviously they don’t get the traveling aspect.

    Anyway, I’ll try to stick around long enough to tell you guys when you’re too old to full-time. LOL
    Now get out and run some miles

    • Hah Larry! Even I will admit that there will come a day when our being on the road is a public hazard. I hope it’s not for a very, very long time and that you will be around to give us that reality check!

      That’s funny what people said about the moho versus Tiny House. I read in this article that RVs are actually a better investment way to spend yoru money, and that makes total sense. I’ve actually seen people try to travel with Tiny Homes in tow, which I think is craaaaazy. Many RV parks don’t even allow them. What a hassle!

  5. The article you read could be like most of our news today – questionable, at best. I have a more altruistic view of tiny house living…..light on the planet, conserving money and resourses and realizing the “stuff” mentality is overrated. I’m certain there are gluttons just waiting for a McMansion, but i think they are few and far between. I do think the minute there was a “market”, that 10k tiny house became a 20 or 30k, much like a nice RV has become price “disproportionate”. We have renovated several RVs and converted 4 buses. I will take an older RV (better made and sturdier – a bus is even better built) and make it over. I am old, but less is more every time!


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