Think you could live in 150 to 400 square feet of space? Shipping container homes might be for you.
Most Americans spend between a third and a half of their income just to put a roof over their heads. As of 2013, 76 percent of Americans were living paycheck to paycheck. That adds up to about 15 years spent working to pay for that house.
In addition to living paycheck to paycheck, almost 70 percent of Americans are buried in debt. This forces them into a ceaseless cycle of dependence, practically chaining them to their jobs.
For all those stressed-out people residing in costly and over-sized housing, there’s an alternative way to live. There’s a social housing movement that’s been spreading globally to end the financial chaos. The solution? Live smaller.
The Tiny House Movement encourages people to purposely downsize their living space to pursue simpler, smaller, and more efficient spaces. The typical American home contains about 2,600 square feet of space, but the typical small or tiny house—which can be mobile or stationary—is between 100 and 400 square feet.
For many in the rut of seeking “more,” the idea of moving into a smaller place may feel like a backwards move. Yet thousands of people have written and shared their tiny living stories that reflect increasing life quality and overall fulfillment.
Sometimes it’s difficult to separate our wants and needs. Living a tiny home lifestyle forces people to question themselves in ways they may not have previously considered.
If you’re dying under debt and stress to sustain your current lifestyle, it might be worth taking a step back to reassess your life game plan. Try a life inside the box.
The Tiny House Movement
The tiny house wave has grown popular for its ability to empower. It’s a change in lifestyle that allows people to direct their future wants by rethinking their present needs. It forces people to question what is truly important and breaks the mold of the ordinary.
Think about it. If your house were burning down and you had just seconds to run out with your life, what would you grab? Aside from your loved ones and a few memorabilia-type items, most things are replaceable.
There’s tons of research showing that clutter has a very negative impact on our well-being. This shift in lifestyle commonly leads to more life adventure, simplification, self-efficiency, and control over your finances. Whether you’re in a financial crisis or not, you can begin to consider the factors that bring true joy and contentment in your life.
A Princeton University Woodrow Wilson School study found that a $75,000 yearly income is the “peak of happiness.” However, after that there’s no correlation between a higher salary and increased happiness. If anything, there’s a decrease in happiness due to additional stress that likely comes with an intensified workload.
A $75,000-salary may seem like a steep number for a lot of people. When you cut expensive housing from that equation—people spend about 30 to 40 percent on their homes—the number goes down to around $45,000 per year. This achievable income allows for many highly-satisfied tiny home dwellers.
This trend has been especially popular for singles and married couples looking to pare down their life. Most of these small residencies include necessities such as a kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, and living-area but in a scaled-down version. This allows for the design to be more tailored to the owner’s needs and tastes.
For someone who may not be interested in designing an efficient home interior, there are numerous options. Several companies offer prefab-kits and a variety of build-to-order homes that meet the growing demand for tiny houses. There’s another option out there, too.
Steel Shipping Container Homes Construction
The steel shipping container was globally standardized as a transportation module back in 1956. They were designed to ship loads of heavy material across the world. They’re meant to withstand weather, weighty stacking, and ocean travel.
These durable, fireproof steel containers have become the latest trend for reuse construction material, especially in the Tiny Home Movement. At 150-square-feet of space, a single container easily doubles as your next simplistic home, retreat, or office space.
With all the disaster-resistant capabilities—hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes—they also make really great community centers or post-disaster housing options.
Shipping containers are built to last through hard labor for at least 30 years but are typically left by the wayside at 10 years because shipping them back and forth around the country is costly, especially when it’s over water.
Often the receivers of shipments will give the container to a local building site to avoid the cost of shipping it back to the sender. There’s about 30 million unused shipping containers all around the world.
A decent steel shipping container can be bought for about $2,000. The most common container sizing will be eight feet wide, eight feet and six inches high, and either 20 or 40 feet long. This makes it really simple to find containers to design together.
Tiny home people love these because they’re inherently within the “tiny” sizing range. If 150 square feet sounds too tiny for you, no worries. With standardized sizing, these shipping container homes easily stack and link.
Architects lovingly refer to them as heavy Legos. Shipping container homes and their versatility has captured the imagination of designers around the world. Anything from a high rise to a rustic cabin or spa retreat can be created. All the fun around the cool construction material has constituted a movement: cargotecture.
The containers meet the the top demands of people wanting to downsize and live smaller are looking for: financial, environmental, and time surplus benefits.
Using shipping container homes, it’s possible to build a home almost anywhere. Whether you seek country living, city dwelling, or want to be beside the sea, building a home using shipping containers makes it possible.
A Refreshing Way to Live
The tiny homes’ movement entices people from a great variety of backgrounds to determine their future. It’s an empowering way to take control of your finances and lifestyle for many reasons.
There is a certain joy in the need to carefully select your possessions. It allows individuals, partners, friends and/or families to focus on quality over quantity.
Living small is one of the most effective ways to lessen your clutter, to make way for what is really important. By clearing your space of possessions, you can make more space for you. By reframing your perspective, your “stuff” will naturally lose its power over your money and attention.
A key benefit of living small is it enables you to reduce some of the responsibilities associated with living in a larger property.
When homeowners are looking to purchase new houses, they often overlook the costs of time and maintenance fees that quickly add up. A SmartAsset study found that 38 percent of new homeowners reported feeling overwhelmed with upkeep prices.
Small living will greatly cut down on maintenance time and costs as well as heating and lighting costs.
Shipping container homes are also ideal dwellings for people who like to travel. They’re built to be transported and fit easily on a trailer.
If you enjoy standing out, you can definitely accomplish that with an incredibly modern design.
If you’re environmentally conscious, you’ll have the additional satisfaction of making things a little easier on the world around you. Steel containers are inherently efficient structures.
For those who are highly spiritual or philosophical, this type of lifestyle can be particularly appealing. It enables you to live a life without the burden of unnecessary possessions so you can focus more on what matters.
The idea of uprooting your entire life into a box probably still sounds far-fetched. But there’s no rule to say you have to jump all in at once. Why not start by building a container design as your vacation home, office, or quiet retreat haven?
Before starting to build a living space using shipping container home, there are some technical things that need consideration, like your desired geography, how to get the container to your land, any building permits you may need, and whether you require an architect or engineer.
You’ll need to dig in and dive into some research. There are stories about living small everywhere, so if you’ve ever wanted to check out some ideas without turning your life completely upside down, some relaxed reading is a risk-free way to get started.
Living small is about grounding yourself. It’s about focusing on what’s really important in your life. People who choose this route often feel more gratitude and appreciation through their daily lives.
Whether you’re looking to save some money, the planet, or your soul, steel shipping container homes can solve your problems. At a minimum, the simplistic lifestyle will provide a fresh perspective for increased life fulfillment and happiness.