Tiny houses: Could you give up almost everything you own and downsize to a very small home?

Nina Nannar meets Jay Shafer, whose 'tiny house' measures 7 feet by 8 feet (2.1 by 2.4 metres)

Many of us will have spent the past year examining how we live.

But before the global pandemic struck, I went to San Francisco to meet a group of people who’d already been engaged in that thought process for some time.

And their conclusion? We need to seriously downsize. The Tiny House Movement advocates shedding yourself of the possessions you think you need but you don’t, to occupy a much smaller space.

Jay Shafer, the movement's so called Godfather, took it to an extreme - living in what I would call a garden tool shed. Kitted out with a bed and a little cupboard space, he can move his home around, free of the constraints of modern living. The movement has plenty of followers online, where ideas are swapped as to the best way to live small.

Corinne shows Nina Nannar around her 'tiny house' in San Francisco Credit: ITV On Assignment

Part of me believed in it. Why are we so selfish, why do we aspire to 'bigger is better'? The other part simply worried about where I’d put all my shoes and clothes.

Elsewhere, in a city where rents are astronomical, tiny living has offered a chance for people to live in a house, albeit a really small one - think 4 berth caravan - and work in the centre, without having to spend every dollar on a minuscule apartment because that’s all you can afford.

Has living in a pandemic adversely affected this style of living? Corinne, one tiny house fan I caught up with recently, says quite the opposite - the park where she lives in her small wooden home has more people moving in in the coming weeks!

The movement’s ideas are noble - why on earth do so many of us need such a huge footprint on the planet - but how many of us, hand on heart, are prepared to do something about it?

Watch Nina's full report on this month's edition of On Assignment - Tuesday 23 February at 10.45pm on ITV, and catch up from Wednesday on the ITV Hub