An Introduction to the Journal

Posted March 22nd, 2009 by Stephanie Reiley and filed in Issue 1: Introductions

Tiny house in meadowWelcome to the first issue of Small Living Journal! SLJ is the joint project of several writers who are currently active in the Small Home Movement.

Each of the writers on this site are enthusiastically busy with their own projects including: blogs, books, documentaries, community forums, and blueprints of new tiny home designs. However, over the course of time, each of us ended up crossing one another’s path and discovered how much we enjoy interacting with others who are passionate about the same subjects as we were: tiny homes, simple living, sustainable architecture, financial integrity, and the like.

Writing can be, at times, a lonely business–possibly even more so in the case of people with subject-matter that is contrary to the mainstream way of thinking. And, let’s face it, most people would consider someone whose ultimate dream in life is to live in a space of playhouse-size proportions a little… weird.

Until very recently, the concept of living in a space 500 sq. feet or less was definitely contrary to the American mainstream in all but the most dense of cities. In fact, from the 1950′s onward, the American home seemed to be ever increasing in size and grandiosity with little regard to the costs to either individuals or the environment. (Per the latest real estate sale information, this trend finally changed in the fourth quarter of last year.)

It wasn’t until the recent decline in housing values, failure of the sub-prime housing industry, and subsequent impact to the broader U.S. and world economies that most people were willing to consider any solution out of the norm when it came to housing options. Now, however, there is an increasing amount of media attention on any form of cheap housing solution. Older inner city homes, yurts, tiny houses on wheel, houseboats, RV’s, log cabins and the like are now featuring on the evening news and regular pieces in the New York Times.

I’ll be the first to admit that the small shift in mainstream mindset toward more modest housing options has been exciting to many members of the small home movement. But we realize that there’s a long way to go in terms of right-sizing the “American Dream”.  In the meantime, the group of us on SLJ thought it would serve a useful purpose to have a website where we could regularly release articles that might prove useful to people interested in downsizing their lives to more manageable proportions. (Not to mention, it’s great fun for the writers to have a chance to interact and discuss ideas with one another in the generation of the individual issues.)

Each of the writers who’ve chosen to be involved with SLJ has their own unique experiences and perspective on the small home movement. We hope you take as much pleasure in discovering these differences as we have in the creation of the issues.

Going forward, we plan to post a new issue every other week on Monday mornings. Each issue will be coordinated by a different writer involved with the project and focus on a specific topic of interest to the small home movement such as different options for housing, challenges with zoning, financing the building a small home, etc.

In the first issue, each of the writers shares a brief bio and explanation of how they came to be involved in the small home movement. In the second issue, we will focus on some of the challenges inherent in downsizing enough to fit into a small home.

Below is the schedule of upcoming issues and topics:

  • Issue 2 – Downsizing   4/6/09
  • Issue 3 – Personal Tiny Home Tours 4/20/09
  • Issue 4 – Do It Yourself 5/4/09
  • Issue 5 – Future Planning 5/18/09

Others who are interested in the small home movement are welcome to submit articles for consideration as guest posts in each of the issues.  If you’re interested in contributing something, please use the Contact page to reach us.

We hope that you will continue to follow the project in the ongoing weeks and contribute your own thoughts and ideas to the ongoing conversation surrounding sustainable housing.  SLJ can also be followed via RSS Feed or Twitter.

And with that, I’ll conclude with a quote from one of the most inspiring members of the small home movement, Jay Shafer: “Viva la tiny revolution!”

I hope you enjoy the first issue.

Stephanie