Small House Movement

That’s a refreshing idea

(CNN) – Hari and Karl Berzins decided to build a tiny home for their family in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains to free themselves of the financial burden of owning a large home.

They knew that moving two children, a dog and a cat into a 168-square foot space would be a challenge, though it would also eliminate the need for a mortgage and cut their utility costs.

But they didn’t expect it to completely change their lives, Hari Berzins said.

The savings allowed the 39-year-old mother to scale back her hours working for a nonprofit and spend more time on the family’s 3-acre hillside property in Floyd, Virginia, she said. She now has more time to pursue her passion for writing, gardening, raising chickens and, most importantly, to enjoy her kids. Her husband, a chef, was able to leave a stressful restaurant and take a pay cut to work in a more creative environment.

The perks go beyond saving money or having a smaller environmental footprint, though both are huge benefits, Hari Berzins said. There’s also the intangible delight derived from cooking in a kitchen where everything is within arms’ reach, or eating off the beautiful china set that was locked in a cabinet when they lived in a 1,500-square foot home, she said.

“Living mortgage-free has given us the freedom to make decisions based on what will make us happy, not what we have to do to pay the mortgage,” Berzins said in a CNN iReport.

“The things we have are beautiful, enriching our tiny space. We got rid of so much and kept the beautiful things,” she said. “Freeing ourselves from consumer debt and living mortgage-free has cleared the clutter to help us see what is truly important: our relationships, our happiness, each moment.”

The Berzins are part of a small contingent of homeowners who have found solace living in less than 500 square feet….

Full story at link above.

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than forty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.

  • http://bookwi.se Adam Shields

    In some ways highlighting extreme cases like this minimize a lot of lesser cases that occur all the time. There are many people that choose to downsize to step back from work in order to re-prioritize their life.

    My wife and I moved six years ago to be closer to her family. We intentionally moved into a less expensive (but not smaller) home so that we could have it paid off relatively soon. (The market crashed and turned out being a very good idea.)

    But the lower mortgage means that I could be the nanny for my two nieces full time even though we took a significant pay cut when we moved and and my wife’s income has gone down every year since we moved six years ago (which is most of our income).

    We are still quite comfortable and while we don’t have as much income we do not really feel like we are giving much up.

  • http://trinitariantheodicy.wordpress.com Trin

    We sold and downsized to a sail boat for 4 years with 2 kids and the cat.
    Best thing we ever did.


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