Could You Live in a 120-Square-Foot House?

Tips from tiny house-dwellers.

A tiny house to represent downsizing your living arrangements.
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Still, utilities for tiny houses can create complications. Fivecoat-Campbell opted to dig a well, which "went deeper than we'd ever imagined," running up the cost since the company charged by the foot. However, she's happy with the lower cooling costs in the summer.

Less clutter. A smaller living space pushes the homeowners to cut down on their possessions, but that means they have fewer belongings to maintain and spend less time searching for lost items. "It's amazing, we just don't need all that room or that much stuff," says Webster, who's previously lived on a sailboat and says her next project is converting a car to electric.

Initially, Radachowsky stored some of his belongings in a basement. "I'm still winnowing my belongings down, but that is a liberating process," he says.

Unlike a McMansion with endless rooms to fill, a small house acts as a deterrent for buying more stuff. "In a small house, everything has to be functional," says Fivecoat-Campbell, who videotaped some of her belongings, such as her mother's dining room set and an antique spinning wheel, before cleaning house. "I'll always have the memories, I just won't have to store the stuff," she says.

[See 10 Costs Homeowners Insurance Doesn't Always Cover.]

Diedricksen points out that tiny houses aren't new, but they make a lot of sense financially: "Growing up, most of my friends' parents were never around to enjoy their big houses because they were working to pay for them."