Ahh, the NIMBYs. They are quite the group, aren’t they? In my mind, I can see half of you rolling your eyes and the other half of you scratching your heads and wondering who the heck the NIMBYs are!
I’ll get there, but first, I’ll start with who I am! My name is Alaska, and I am your tiny house concierge! Once upon a time, my life was too big, fast, and unfulfilling, so I quit and started over in a tiny house. Now I write about the lifestyle here on the Tiny House Expedition Blog! But anyway, I’m digressing; let’s get back to the NIMBYs!
NIMBY is an acronym. It stands for Not In My Back Yard. It’s a term used to describe- get this- people who oppose the tiny home movement.
Do you know that howling ghost-face emoji? That’s my immediate reaction when I think of people who oppose tiny homes. How could they? Who would be against something so great?!
When I’m done with my tiny house mini-meltdown, however, I have to remember that the NIMBYs are people too. And if someone is having a negative reaction to something so beneficial, well, it’s possible that they don’t entirely understand it.
So anyway, here is what I wish the NIMBYs knew about the tiny home movement. Maybe you can help me spread the word.
What I Wish the NIMBYs Knew About the Tiny House Movement
1) The Tiny Home Movement is Based on Abundance.
It’s been very ingrained in us that bigger is better. So when the NIMBYs hear of people living in a home the size of their garage, they tend to panic. They assume that we tiny housers are hanging on by a thread and trying to claw our way back to “quality” living conditions by any means necessary. But while many people do go tiny as a response to the current cost of living, the NIMBYs are missing the fact that tiny housers decide to go tiny from an empowered place. We aren’t clawing our way to anything- we don’t want the big, complicated lives we had before. We are choosing this lifestyle on purpose because it gives us more.
If I could address these sentiments to them directly, this is what I’d say.
I’m not sure what you imagine when you think of the tiny home movement, but here is a picture of me in my 267-square-foot tiny house. I’m a financially stable millennial who likes to write and cook. There is a sauna in my bathroom, I have a retirement plan, and if I lived on your block, I’m the neighbor you could call upon because I have more bandwidth than most. My house might be small, but I promise I’m not suffering in here!
In fact, because I don’t have to work insane hours to pay for my roof (that I own), I sometimes get bored and am forced to return to the things that brought me joy as a child. Now I have to dedicate my precious time to activities like hip-hop classes for adults.
So while I appreciate your concern, you don’t have to worry about me. We tiny housers are empowered individuals. We pride ourselves on taking life by the horns and living on less to get more. And, no, we don’t need anything from you. (Except for maybe a parking space that we’ll happily pay you for.)
2) Tiny Home Owners Value Aesthetics.
Trailer is a word that scares some people. It’s unfortunate, but some humans have stigmas against homes not built on permanent foundations.
Personally, your tiny house concierge thinks that no one should ever be roof-shamed. But since this is an article addressing NIMBY concerns, let’s talk about the elephant in the room: NIMBYs are afraid our tiny homes are going to be ugly.
If only they knew that aesthetic was an integral part of tiny home design! Our homes might (often) be built on trailers chassis, but they are built using high-grade materials and with the purpose of helping us to live our best and most beautiful lives!
So anyway, here is what I wish the NIMBYs knew about tiny home design.
I know you feel bad for me that I live in a space the size of your college dorm room. Thank you; I appreciate your sympathy. Sometimes, I do hit my head on the skylight while making the bed in my king-sized loft.
OK, I’m sorry, I’m teasing you, but seriously, please don’t be led astray when you hear our homes are small and movable.
You should know that the low square footage of our homes means we can afford fancier features and upkeep our homes to a higher degree. We might also be inclined to use the extra funds to travel more, which means that if you’re nice to us, we MIGHT let you borrow our tiny home while we’re abroad to house your in-laws in style.
3) The Tiny Home Movement Benefits Everyone. Yes, Even the NIMBYs.
This is the number one thing I wish the NIMBYs knew. They have no idea that they are fighting the tiny home movement to their own detriment. Obviously, this misunderstanding needs to be corrected, so here is what I would say to the NIMBYs on this subject.
We know that you want beautiful neighborhoods with nice people and no suffering - we do too! And believe it or not, tiny homes are perfectly positioned to give you exactly what you desire. Here’s how.
You know that wealth disparity is getting worse, right? And that means that as more people fall from wealth, there will be more suffering- yes, in your neighborhood. But, if we legalize tiny homes, we create a housing option that will catch people, which will mean less suffering for you to witness. And should your finances ever be threatened, a tiny house tenant in your backyard could go a long way!
The benefits don’t end there, either! Smaller houses mean less waste and lower carbon footprints, so if you’re lucky enough to live near a tiny houser, you can expect to enjoy cleaner air.
Finally, it bears remembering that this lifestyle is one of abundance and beauty. Tiny housers are happy people in pursuit of a better world. Trust me; you WANT us sprinkled into your neighborhood because we are the kind of low-stress humans who will be good neighbors and have time to garden and stuff.
So to recap, here are some of the benefits you stand to gain by embracing the tiny home movement:
- Less suffering in your neighborhood
- A lower carbon footprint for your community
- Happier people around you
- A fun design element to enjoy
- A revenue stream (should you put one in your backyard) to add to your retirement, protect you from possible recessions, or just pad your resources
NIMBYs, We Welcome You to the Tiny Home Movement.
Well, it’s time to wrap this up!
Tiny friends, let’s remember to be gentle with our NIMBY neighbors as they find their way. It’s not that they don’t like us; it’s that they don’t understand us. Moreover, they don’t have the time or emotional bandwidth to correct their wrong-thinking because, well, they are stuck in the same systems that led us to choose tiny home living in the first place!
So it could take them some time, but that’s OK. I do hope they see the light eventually, though, because tiny home movement is super fun and benefits us all.
If you suspect you have a NIMBY near you (NNY), you can help educate them! Just share this article on social media. And if you want more of this content, don’t forget to keep coming back to the Tiny House Expedition blog.
Thanks for listening, and I’ll be back soon!
Alaska is a writer, realtor, and tiny homeowner living in the great state of Colorado. She is the founder of The Tiny House Concierge, a company that offers consultation and copywriting services for people looking to rethink their housing and rewrite their lives. In addition to her website, she can be found on Instagram and YouTube.
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