For years, I – woman with ADHD – have been dreaming about it… living in a Tiny House. I think it would be wonderful to wake up, look out of the window and only see greenery and hear birds. To have a minimalistic home, in nature, with little possessions. I've been minimizing for years, because I don't know when yet, but a Tiny House is coming some day! Unfortunately, the regulations in the Netherlands still make it difficult for people to live in a Tiny House.
In this article, I describe why I would like to live in a Tiny House, and why (I think) this is a good idea for my ADHD mind.
Why to live in a Tiny House with a Wandering Mind?
As a woman with an ADHD brain, a number of things are important to me: freedom, living outside as much as possible, grounding regularly, minimizing distractions (stuff, the ‘wrong' people, excessive noises and technology use etc.), adventure and diversity and being kind to the earth. In addition, friendship/family/connection and having (new) experiences regularly are important values for me. I like to have quality time with people, to do work that contributes something positive, and to gain experiences in life.
Being in the office 40 hours a week contributes little to nothing to these values. But if we want to buy a house, we have to work full time for about 30 years if you want to pay off this house someday, at least, in the Netherlands. We have to do this at the time of our live where we are young, healthy and energetic. When we should enjoy your lives, as we should always.
To buy a house or not?
I have never fully understood why young people take out the highest possible mortgage (loan) to buy a house. Having to work full time for 30 years to pay for a house? This has never appealed to me. ‘But then you are building something', is the argument of many, ‘because rent is thrown away'. Well… Mortgage interest is also ‘thrown away', as is service costs, ground lease, notional rental value, property tax and maintenance costs. We also have no idea of what our house is worth when we want to sell it.
Why I don't want to buy a house as an ADHD person
There are a number of important reasons why I don't want to buy a (large) house.
- I don't want to get married to the bank (and carry a huge debt that I have to pay off in 30 (!) years), freedom is important to me.
- I do not want to be stuck with the high costs that come with owning a house (mortgage, interest, service costs, long lease, taxes, property tax, insurance, maintenance costs, etc.).
- Being location-bound for a longer period of time is not a good idea for me (then my ADHD minds gets bored/understimulated ;)).
- I prefer to invest my time, money and energy in experiences rather than in material things such as a (large) house.
- Building something is good, but there is no such thing as a secure future. Nobody knows what the housing market will do. In addition, there are other ways to build wealth (investing, Bitcoin, building passive income. Book Tips: Rich Dad, Poor Dad and Secrets of the Millionaire Mind by Harv Eker).
1. Living in a tiny House means being less lazy, living more
In the Netherlands – especially in the cities – we mainly live between concrete walls. Both in the office and at home we see more walls than plants, and if we are lucky the ventilation in the building is good, and we breathe some fresh air. We've made our homes so comfortable that it makes us a little lazy. I'm generalizing now, but at least this is my experience. After a day's work, I plop on the couch, watch Netflix and the heating is set to 20 degrees.
Most Dutch gardens have little to do with nature, but are rather an extension of the living room. Half of the Dutch gardens are tiled.
Our homes and gardens usually aim for comfort, because after a long day at work, we want to be comfortable. Comfort is nice, but it is not one of my most important values or goals in life. I have experienced that I feel much healthier, fitter and happier when I am a little less comfortable.
I love… THE VANLIFE! ‘Tiny living' in a camper van
A number of times I stayed in ‘sort of Tiny Houses', for example as a Wwoofer (volunteer) in New Zealand and Portugal. I also traveled around for a year in my own built camper van, in New Zealand. Often I had to turn on the fireplace myself (sometimes even find wood) before it got nice and warm inside the house. Or I made a hot water bottle for the camper when it was freezing outside.
In the morning, it is amazing to wake up with a cup of coffee, while feeling the first rays of the day on our skin. I could thoroughly enjoy to notice in the evening that my body warmed up again by the fire, while I read a book or had a nice conversation. At moments like this, I feel much more alive than when I plop down on the couch in the Netherlands and turn on the television.
2. Living in a Tiny House: being more in touch with nature
Due to urbanization, we have gradually lost contact with nature. Our meals come from the supermarket, and often we don't even know exactly where the products we consume come from. When I walk barefoot in my own garden, some people look at me strangely. While it is very natural and very healthy to walk barefoot. Shoes should support our feet, but they might also make us a bit lazy.
I want to live more outdoors, to be more in touch with nature, and to enjoy more space and more green. This gives me peace; perfect for my ADHD mind. In addition, I feel healthier and fitter if I regularly breathe in fresh air and enjoy being outside. That is also possible in the city, of course, but the air in nature is just that little bit cleaner, and instead of cars we can enjoy the sound of birds and the wind blowing through the trees.
When I lived in Portugal in a very small Annex (mini living room including mini kitchen + mini bedroom), I noticed that I was actually always outside. This was of course also because the weather is a lot better in Portugal. Breakfast on our own terrace, among the trees, plants and birds.. that is ultimate enjoyment for me.
3. Living in a Tiny House also means; lower costs
I am sometimes shocked when I hear what people spend monthly on the home they are buying. Even when a mortgage is paid off, most people still pay hundreds of euros every month.
When living in a Tiny House, our monthly expenses are often much lower than when we live in a house that we buy with a mortgage. Having lower costs, brings a lot of freedom. That way, for example, we don't have to work hard until we retire, but we can enjoy ourselves in the present moment.
If I'll live in a tiny house, I prefer to have enough money to pay for it instantly. This way I don't have to take out a loan. In addition, it would be nice to be (largely) off the grid and self-sufficient, by means of solar panels and a good water filter system. After all, the whole purpose of living in a Tiny House is to keep my monthly costs as low as possible and also to keep the ecological footprint as small as possible, which brings me to the next point…
4. Less negative impact on the environment by living in a Tiny House
When living in a Tiny House, we automatically minimize. This changes our consumerist behavior. We no longer buy things we don't need, because we don't have space to keep them. Many Tiny Houses also have solar panels and the rainwater is often filtered into potable water. This makes the ecological footprint of a Tiny House smaller.
My consumerist behavior has changed a lot in recent years. For example, I buy almost all my clothes second-hand, I hardly use (chemical) care products and I no longer buy unnecessary things. But when I would live in a Tiny House, I have to think even more about whether I really need that new (second-hand) item of clothing.
5. Living in a Tiny House brings clarity
Clutter is a big enemy for someone with ADHD. In a tiny house, it's much harder to make a mess. We have less stuff and less space. It's much easier to keep things clean, organized and tidy. In addition, it seems wonderfully clear to me, and I am sure that I would lose things less often in my Tiny House.
6. Time left to travel and really experience life
In recent years I learned that I want to experience life to the fullest and contribute something positive. In my youth this was different.
I grew up with the idea that it's normal to work hard until we retire. When my ADHD coach said to me ‘maybe you should just never work full-time again' I looked at her with a very questioning look. ‘Never work full-time again? But that's not possible, right? That's not okay, is it?', I asked her. In the first 10 years of my adult life, it was tough and interesting to always be busy. ‘The more we work, the better', was the thought. It's all about making a career.
A burnout and ADHD diagnosis further…
In the meantime, a burnout and some life experience later, I have completely changed my perspective. Why should we work hard until we retire (unless we really love our job and get a lot of energy and meaning from it)? My aunt passed away just a week into her retirement. I wished she enjoyed her life more.
Contribute something positive to society, the community we are in, to the world… I say a resounding ‘YES' to that. Working full-time in a meaningless job all our life? Wasting away at the office as an account manager, marketing manager or communication consultant, endless meetings and useless paperwork? Not for me.
7. Living with like-minded people
Tiny Houses have been on the rise for years, and when I read the stories of people who live in a Tiny House, I feel so happy. Tiny House residents are generally people who like to live a similar life as me. They want to live more in touch with nature, experience freedom and space, travel, develop themselves personally and creatively and contribute to a better world.
I love to be surrounded by people who are in that mindset. Instead of having conversations about the busy supermarket, the annoying people on the street, buying a new television, that fantastic Netflix series, the busy bus, yesterday's news, that annoying colleague and the new extension of the house, I want to talk about the garden, the flowers, the bees, the world, nice projects, travel stories… This might not be for everyone, but it makes me happy.
I hope one day to live in a nice community with like-minded people, in my tiny house.
8. The ultimate goal is freedom; to be financially and location independent
Freedom is my ultimate goal, when I think of living in a Tiny House. Firstly, financial freedom, thanks to lower monthly costs (which means investing/saving more). But also freedom to change place of residence. When we buy a house, we usually have the goal of living there for a longer period of time. If we're lucky we sell your house with a profit, and we can buy another house, but if we're unlucky we sell your house with a loss, or we don't sell the house at all.
As a woman with ADHD, I almost panic at the idea that I have to ‘fixate' the next 10 years (in terms of living and working). When I am free, I can do what I like (both as an entrepreneur and in my spare time), occasionally participate in volunteer projects, maybe start a nice project myself, develop myself further, spend a lot of time with family and friends, stay healthy and fit, inspire other people, discover new things, travel and just enjoy life. In nature, instead of between concrete walls
Do you also want to live in a Tiny House?
In this article, I have explained a bit about why I will one day live in a Tiny House (or something similar). What are your dreams for the future? What is your ideal living situation? Do you ever want to go Tiny, or do you like the way you live and work currently? I would love to hear from you, please share your thoughts in the comments!