“A voice for the small house movement.”
Advocates for Less. There has always been an interest in small houses. However this interest is rapidly growing today as a result of various factors such as: economic conditions, concern about the environment, and a desire for simple more effective living. People who are able to make smaller living spaces work often end up having more time and money for other areas of life such as marriage, family, education, fitness, and career. This helps create a more balanced and enjoyable life.
Mission. Our desire is to support the research, development, and use of smaller living spaces that foster sustainable living for individuals, families, and communities worldwide.
Overview. The Small House Society is a voice for the Small House Movement. That movement includes movie stars who have proudly downsized into 3000 square feet, families of five happy in an arts and crafts bungalow, multifamily housing in a variety of forms, and more extreme examples, such as people on houseboats and in trailers with just a few hundred square feet around them. Size is relative, and mainly we promote discussion about the ecological, economic and psychological toll that excessive housing takes on our lives, and what some of us are doing to live better. It’s not a movement about people claiming to be “tinier than thou” but rather people making their own choices toward simpler and smaller living however they feel best fits their life.
History of the Small House Society. In the fall of 2002, the Small House Society was founded by Jay Shafer, Shay Salomon, Nigel Valdez, and Gregory Paul Johnson. These four individuals were able to draw from their collective experience in housing design, home building, urban planning, and organizational management. The society was soon joined by other like minded individuals and organizations. Today, Gregory Johnson serves as the facilitator of the organization. The core board of advisers currently consists of Jay, Shay, Nigel, and Gregory. However, as a cooperatively run organization, all members have significant influence and serve as our larger advisory board.
Benefits. There are many beneficial aspects to the small house movement and the trend toward living in smaller spaces. There are benefits to individuals and society. People who live in smaller living spaces generally own fewer possessions, consume less, and have lower utility bills. Smaller homes require less building materials for construction and smaller land use – therefore costing much less to purchase, maintain, and live in. Construction of smaller homes can utilize more efficient, natural, healthy, high-quality materials that might not be affordable in a larger dwelling. All of these benefits result in healthier, more cost effective living, and a better environment.
Misconceptions. There can sometimes be misconceptions regarding the Small House Society and the trend toward smaller living. For example, people may think this organization is part of a movement trying to make people live in tiny homes, cramped quarters, or micro spaces like the Japanese “hotel rooms” pictured to the right. That’s just not true.
Support Base. Supporters of the Small House Society live in homes ranging from 140 square feet to over 4000 square feet. Gregory Johnson explains, “I have some close friends who support the Small House Society. They live in a 4000 square foot home that is valued at about $600,000. I sometimes house sit for them. Our organization is about inclusion and respectful dialog. It’s not about separatism, marginalizing, or judging anyone for the home they live in.”
Defining Small Houses. People often ask what defines a small house. To our knowledge, there are no set guidelines to determine when a house is considered tiny or small. A space that might be considered small for a family of four would be large if only a single person were living in it. The goal is for each person to find the right size space that fits their life and comfort level.
Tiny Houses in the Spotlight. There is a category of small homes which are under 500 square feet. A house of such small size might be referred to as a micro house, compact house, mini house, tiny house, small house, or little house. As you will see from our Resources page, our interests are broad and include all sizes of homes – not just the miniscule house. However, these miniature houses are what seems to grab the attention of the media. So, that is why they are often associated with our organization.