Cabins, tiny houses, and life reduction

“Bigger may be better in America, but smaller is purer and more inspiring.”

This from Walter Kirn’s latest at T Magazine on cabins. Yes, cabins. They’re the new American Dream, according to the piece’s headline, at least. The cabin craze is part of America’s most recent move to downsize and escape. Tiny houses are part of this (I wrote about the tiny house movement for the Trends Institute). But cabins offer a wilderness retreat aspect. It’s do-it-yourself home-building for friendly getaways, country vacationing and, yes, a chance to drop the smartphone off in the car.

Kirn writes about the book Cabin Porn, which displays cabins in picturesque settings like European mountainsides, Canadian forests, and snowy American landscapes. It started, of course, as a Tumblr. But that Tumblr was created by a co-founder of Vimeo. In other words, get away from it all, and here’s a tech entrepreneur to show you how.

As I’ve been writing, it’s necessary to get away from everything once in a while. But most American millennials can’t afford to build a cabin, and a quarter of them still live in their parents’ homes.

So back to the original quote: bigger better, but smaller purer. What’s so pure about living in a small space? If we were so literal, pure living would be in the open wilderness, without walls, without modern amenities (and let’s be honest, your tiny houses and modern cabins have plenty of amenities). No, smaller is just more doable for most people. If it brings someone a sense of comfort, then good, but comfort comes with internal happiness. And having little money, little prospects and lots of fear doesn’t necessarily equate to internal happiness.

Cabins and tiny houses will always be out there in the niche, simply because there’s an audience for those things. What we need isn’t to reduce our living space (unless you’re truly trying to be environmentally-conscious, which is good); what we need is to reduce the stresses in our lives, to allow us to more consider flexible living possibilities.