iReporter Carrie Caverly and Shane Caverly rent the land on which they keep their 204-square-foot home, which they designed and built mostly from off-the-shelf building materials. The design allows for passive solar heating in the winter, has a metal roof for rainwater collection and uses an incinerating toilet to minimize water usage and avoid the need for sewage disposal, said Carrie Caverly, an architectural designer.
In total, their monthly expenses are around $300 and they own the home outright without having incurred any debt, she said in an iReport.
Many of the advantages of living in a small space were planned and expected, she said. But the couple is also enjoying unexpected advantages, like a connection to their community.
"When humans can do everything in the sheltered enclaves of our homes, we rarely venture out; we become isolated. Our small home encourages us to go outside and talk to the neighbors, go on hikes and meet people, go to coffee shops and restaurants, the library, the gym etc., etc. The list goes on," Caverly said in an iReport.
Downsizing has also produced benefits, she said.
"I have been inspired to finally be tidy and clean; always putting everything away in its designed location. This creates a sense of spaciousness and sanity I've never had before in a home," she said.