Trendy tiny homes put big hurt on collectors’ style

Burt's Eye View

Burton Cole

The big trend in houses is tiny. The smaller the home, the better.

This is yet another reason why Terry and I won’t be turning trendy anytime soon. I’ve got too many books.

I can imagine the scene if we tried to downsize to fit into a tiny home:

“Seriously, I think it’s safe to toss Jay’s fourth-grade homework,” I’d say as we’d sort through boxes stashed in the attic. “He’s 33. His employer doesn’t need proof that he learned the capital of Minnesota.”

“But look at that cute puppy he drew on it. I should get a frame.” She’d pick up a couple chunks of something. “Maybe these?”

“Are you crazy? That’s Melissa’s plaster hand print from kindergarten. Painted to look like a turkey. Put plaster repair kit on the shopping list. And hangers.”

“Well, then, how about this bundle of pants?”

“I’ll shrink back down to that size any day now.”

“Dump the oversized ones, then.”

“Not with Thanksgiving right around the corner. That reminds me, I need to buy some sweatpants. Here, give away these ice skates. You haven’t used them in decades.”

“What if we move somewhere that has a pond? You need to get skates, too, so you can go with me.”

“To the pond that we don’t have yet?”

“We might, someday.”

By the time we finished downsizing, we’d need a bigger house.

Meanwhile, the trendy cool-kid homeowners are shrugging out of their five-bedroom, four-bath, three-car garage expanses in record rates in favor of abodes not much larger than the tree house you built when you were 7.

The parade is led by millennials who say they want to simplify their lives and be free of materialism.

My guess is that they accomplish this by leaving all their stuff behind when they move out of Mom and Dad’s house.

According to The Tiny Life, the typical American home encompasses about 2,600 square feet and costs an average $290,000.

Tiny homes generally take up 100 to 400 square feet and cost about $10,000 to $40,000. You don’t spend much on utilities, either. If you leave a light on in the bathroom, chances are it will illuminate the kitchen, too.

Or grab a Little Tikes plastic playhouse for about $80, plus a flashlight, and you’re set.

I jest, but these tiny homes folks might be onto something.

Searching the whole house for missing car keys or an escaped sock would take a lot less time. Instead of vacuuming, blow the dirt out the door with a can of compressed air. Painting the place would take a couple hours instead of a week or two. You could try out a new color scheme every Tuesday.

But if we joined the trend, what would I do with my 2,000 or so books, hundreds of CDs and dozens of cans of Play-Doh? And the broken chairs I’ve been meaning to fix? And all my Arby’s Christmas glassware?

Maybe there’s room in Mom and Dad’s basement. Better yet, we could pitch our tent in their sun room. If you’re going to reduce your life to a tiny home, you might as well do it someplace where you can spread out, get comfortable and have a decent chance of scoring a dish of Mom’s meatloaf.

— Downsize with Cole at burtseyeview@tribtoday.com, on the Burton W. Cole page on Facebook or @BurtonWCole on Twitter.