Friday, April 4, 2014

The American Dream

I am a fairly patriotic person. I love living in America and I believe in the American Dream: For every man and woman to own their own home, live in a safe and harmonious community, support a family, live in good health, take vacations and have a dog. But I do not like what the American Dream has become. Since when did living in freedom and happiness become about how big your house is and how much stuff you own? Along with that naturally comes large amounts of debt, which in essence is bondage, not freedom. It's more like the American Nightmare. 

I do want to own my own house, I do want to have a family, I want to live in good health, I want to be able to take amazing vacations and I will always have a dog (and birds). But I want to do it without the debt and without the stress that seems so common these days. 

My solution? My house is not going to look like this:

It will be more like this:

And eventually, when my family grows, like this:
(Last two images courtesy of

Living in a Tiny Home will essentially force me to keep my life simple, but will also allow me to focus my time and resources on what I really care about. 

One can build a nice tiny home for about the same cost of a down payment on a typical American home. This will do away with the 30 year mortgage that most Americans are enslaved to. Also, the cost of utilities is significantly less. Utilities will depend on what climate one lives in and how one intends to heat and power the home. One man I saw interviewed on said his electricity bill was in the single digits for the whole YEAR! And when your space is that small, going off the grid with solar, wood burning or gas is extremely simple. All that money saved can go into enriching one's life with what they really care about and investing in their family and community. 

Tiny homes are not for everyone. If your idea of a happy life is not complete without a large 4 bedroom home with vaulted ceilings, that is perfectly ok. Investing your time and money into your large home may be worth it to you. But for me, my idea of a happy life has far less to do with the size of my house and much more to do with the freedom to go on adventures and create lasting memories with my friends and family. I want a safe and comfortable home where my future family can thrive, but I can do that in less space. 

Of course, I don't live in a tiny home yet. I am still in my second floor 2 bedroom, 870 square apartment with too much stuff, too much wasted space and too little order. I'm paying $800 a month plus utilities, which I know is great for some areas of the country, but it's just not working for me. 

This summer I will be working at a dude ranch in Colorado. I will be sharing a room and will basically be living out of a suitcase. So, as it is I need to simplify my things for this temporary arrangement. Then, in the fall I hope to move into a much smaller studio apartment. It still won't be the same as having my own tiny home, but it will be an exciting step in the right direction. 

This will be an interesting learning experience for me. I am not a naturally organized person, though I do crave order. I am a sappy sentimentalist, and I hate waste as if it were sin. These too things have contributed to me being a bit of a pack rat. Thankfully I've not ever reached hoarder status. The next couple months I will be ruthlessly reducing my stuff, downsizing my furniture and preparing to move into a tiny lifestyle. I appreciate any knowledge you wish to share. Maybe we can all learn something together. 

I really do want to see every American own a home if they want to. I believe that if people can simply change their mindset of what a prosperous life looks like and more people embrace a tiny lifestyle, the American Dream will stop being a nightmare wrapped in wishful thinking and return to being a happy reality. 

Miranda Joy 


  1. Tiny homes -- Yes! I don't myself have one, but I have thought for years that I would like to. I still may one day -- once I get the money to build one from the ground up without getting a mortgage.

    1. It is definitely my plan to build one, even if I'm not the one to actually do the building part. I am very content to live in apartments until I can afford to do it debt free. It takes a lot of creativity to live in a place that small, but that's just the sort of thing I love.

  2. Hey girl.

    Maybe you could try living off of what you think you will need for a week or more, then if you miss something you didn't plan on taking or don't use something you did plan on taking you can rethink before you have gotten rid of all your stuff.

    I found that what I thought I needed and what I actually needed were two different things. But that's just me.

    Love the blog.

    1. Rachael, I guess you would have a lot of experience in having to simplify your stuff, since you did move over seas for school. What I've found is that I actually have a lot of stuff I never use or even think about. So, I'm trying to get rid of that stuff first. My hope is that I won't really have to get rid of anything I will truly miss.