The tiny-house enthusiasts gathered this weekend at the St. Johns County Fairgrounds say their itty-bitty homes leave them feeling liberated, not squished.
Just listen to Renee McLaughlin, who rents out her old 3,300-square-foot house and has downsized to an 87-square-foot micro-house she parks on her family’s property in rural southeast Iowa: “I just paid off a credit card. I have no rent, no utilities, no water. Well, not much water. I have a tiny garbage can it takes me three weeks to fill.”
Now she travels to tiny house festivals around the country — the number is growing — to sell T-shirts made of recycled material, with the logos “Tiny on!” and “Tread lightly and tiny on!” That gives her enough money, she said, to live, liberated.
The first Florida Tiny House Festival has about 90 tiny houses, including small houses on wheels, converted school buses, a converted shipping container, a converted horse trailer, vintage campers from the Tin Can Tourists, teardrop trailers and a yurt.
Some tiny-house people don’t consider alternate structures to be tiny houses, but the United Tiny House Association, which is putting on the festival, is pretty open-minded.