When I started to hear about the tiny home culture, I weighed nearly 300 lbs.
I loathed the active adventurists who fed on the thrill of being the outdoorsy type climbing mountains and becoming one with nature.
When I first came across the tiny home nation, I relished the thought of being at the stage of my life to comfortably feel like 200-500 sq. ft. would accommodate my large stature.
A lot of this perception changed once I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes on May 29, 2015.
A rarely selfish person, I had to put myself first and realize that if I wanted even the oddest dreams in life, like a tiny home, I'd have to prepare myself by living a healthier life.
After many tears and burying the copious amount of sweet tea and ice cream I so often craved, I decided my resort to making myself get healthy would be walking.
A stress reliever in its own right, walking was once my favorite physical activity.
After years of sitting at a desk job and overworking myself, I resorted to fast food drive-thrus and skipped the meditation walks.
After the diabetes diagnosis, I knew that putting myself first would pay off dividends. I began snapping the same pond in my neighborhood (pictured above) and pushed myself on those sweaty and hot summer days to make sure I'd be fit for not only myself but my future housing option.
75 miles later (nearly 40lbs by now)living a healthier lifestyle helped me gain new perspective on life.
For once it wasn't about getting nervous before going on an airplane and being worried your seatbelt wouldn't fasten or not getting out of breath every time I crawled or carried heavy items.
Let's face it. An obese person would have a terrible time adapting to a tiny home and if I wanted to make sure my passion turned to reality, I had to do more than just regulate my blood sugar.
Four months after being diagnosed and consistently walking each week, I raced in my first-ever 5k benefiting St. Jude Children's Research Hospital This past weekend.
It felt invigorating being able to complete 3 miles without my legs cramping or drowning in sweat.
It's been an exciting ride and I know that the longer I pursue the path of getting healthier, I'll be that much more comfortable in a tiny home.
In your current lifestyle, would you feel comfortable in a tiny home?
The similarities between the micro-blogging social network, Twitter, and tiny homes go far beyond the initial letter commonality.
In addition to the average tiny home being 140 sq ft., tweets can also only contain 140 characters. Here are a few examples of how these tiny home influencers use this "tiny" social network to share their work and creativity.
The seeds for an RV revolution were planted in 1999 when Tumbleweed Tiny House Company built their first mobile RV, naming it "Tumbleweed" for it having roots but still being mobile.
As one of the oldest modern tiny home builders and boasting over 7,000 Twitter followers, Tumbleweed Tiny House Company takes the top spot because of its engaging content and intuitive DIY online build-your-own tiny home model.
This Tiny House is a blog notebook that began in 2008, when in the beginning of an economic downturn, Hillary purchased a trailer and began chronicling the process.
Unfortunately, they don't regularly post on Twitter but as an archive, their tweets are tiny gold nuggets of information, inspirational quotes, and more.
Texas Tiny Homes was launched in December of 2012, and is a sister company of Bryan Smith Homes, a Dallas – Fort Worth premier luxury home builder since 1977, which has designed and built some of the finest luxury residences in North Texas.
Beyond their look at the international industry of living tiny, @txtinyhomes, also works in providing investment opportunities for retiring baby boomers who would like to own and operate their very own village of rental properties, in resort locations of their choosing.
As more Baby Boomers begin to retire and the perception of Millennials being the only generational group to appreciate the tiny home lifestyle is challenged, I think their innovative rental company neighborhood idea is brilliant.
I think they'd have more Twitter followers if they used more text and hashtags leading in to the links they want us to click on.
Part Michelangelo, part Pollock of the tiny home industry, Zack Giffin is the famous builder on FYI's Tiny House Nation. Bringing creative solutions to organizational problems, Zack is the pioneer of thinking outside the box when it comes to tiny homes.
His Twitter profile boasts favorite-worthy content and I think he will be much credited in the near future for his innovation. (He's also one of the few industry experts that is verified on Twitter.)
You can now find Tiny Picket Fence on Twitter at @tinypicketfence sharing the days swoon-worthy tiny homes, tips, and tricks for this modern day living method.
In the world of Tiny homes, online resources are endless. Here are a few of my favorites which you can see in the slideshow above.
1.) Tennessee Tiny Homes (Tiny Happy Homes)
Tennessee Tiny Homes and Tiny Happy Homes are construction companies that build quality tiny homes on wheels which are classified at travel trailers (RV’s). Tennessee Tiny Homes is based out of Collierville, Tennessee which is just outside of Memphis. Tiny Happy Homes is their nationwide sister company.
Their Facebook page (here) is full of resources and local events at their site to learn about the Tiny culture. While their Facebook page is consistently updated, I only wish their Twitter page was as well (here).
I will be heading to their Open House on September 26th where, for the first time, I will be inside a tiny home and will be shooting some footage for this blog as well as *fingers crossed* an interview with their owner, Joe and Kristen Everson.
2.) Tiny House Swoon
Tiny House Swoon is the "go-to" tiny home blog. Like HGTV, its large following helped evolve their blog from a beautifully image centric design to include Tiny Home Listings which sends emails to prospective tiny home owners on homes for sale. You can subscribe here.
I like that their site has large images and a breadth of different types of tiny homes (which I'll be talking about next week).
3.) FYI TV's Tiny House Nation
Tiny House Nation is a TV show on the binge-worthy network, FYI. In fact, I've become such an FYI addict that they've featured me on their website and sent me a generous gift basket full of tiny home accessories which makes me even more of a loyal fan.
On Tiny House Nation, hosts and renovation professionals John Weisbarth and Zack Giffin travel across America to show ingenious small dwellings and their creative homeowners.
They also help families design and construct their own dream mini-homes which are beyond impressive with a budget typically below $100,000.
Check out one of my favorite episodes below featuring Little Rock newlyweds building a 264 sq. foot mobile pad as they prepare to get married and hit the road as traveling nurses.
The Tiny House movement is quickly spreading across the United States.
Many millennials are trading in the "white picket fence" and American dream home with a simpler, less materialistic life; living debt-free and having more time to explore the great outdoors by thinking tiny.
In the 1950s and 1960s, suburban areas were seen as exclusive retreats for the upper class as cities and large towns became manufacturing centers filled with industrial workers and factories.
Ironically, the rise of suburbia was compromised by its new found affordability and popularity. The promise of exclusiveness and privilege was turned into a Lego Land of conformity.
By the late 1980's, the rise of cookie cutter neighborhoods inhibited many downtown cores and urban sprawl was at its height as families moved further from the downtown core and the average size of a new single family home expanded from 983 sq. ft. (average in the 1960's) to over 2,500 sq. ft. (in 2013).
While the square feet of homes nearly tripled, the average price of a home today is around $300,000 with a tiny home being a 1/10th of the cost.
While mobile trailer neighborhoods were seen as viable options for the poverty stricken during the 20th century, the same square feet on a restored version of these mobile homes are now considered a smart purchase decision to live debt free.
After binge-watching an entire season of FYI's Tiny House Nation, I reflected on my time in different houses growing up.
The first eleven years of my life, I lived in a modest apartment in Chicago with my family; sharing a room with my twin brother, Eric.
We learned that bunk beds helped expand the play area of a bedroom by 50% and although I frequently fell off the top bunk, it was worth it.
My mom would drive us by her old house, in Evergreen Park, IL, where her and up to 12 family members lived at one time in this 1,100 sq. ft. bungalow.
When I moved into a 800 sq. ft. house down the street from The University of Memphis two years ago, I felt most comfortable knowing that there was no space to be wasted; plenty of room to complete my daily duties and have a few friends over, and even a roommate.
With the average size of a tiny home coming in at 400 sq. ft., half the size of my previous home, we'll see if my dreams of living tiny will come true in the future as I spend this semester interviewing tiny home owners, researching best practices, and spending time in ones across the Mid-South.
I'm a tiny home swooner looking to maximize my life without drowning in debt. Over the next semester, I'll be writing about those who live tiny and its benefits as part of the University of Memphis' Advanced Social Media class.