Friday, January 27, 2017

Adjusting To The Tiny Life

Moving into the tiny house required more than a little adjustment. It was part art installation, part moving trauma. To communicate the ups and downs I wrote a long post on my personal blog so all my family could feel my pain as I chronicled the physical and emotional adjustments I made to adapt myself to the tiny house systems I had chosen to inflict on myself. This included using a cooler instead of a fridge, boiling water in an electric kettle for hot water and using a waste water tank that would need to be emptied within a week. Many of my organizing colleagues were surprised that I had designed such a primitive way of life, but the simplicity of it had appealed to me.

The first week I mostly installed hooks so everything had a place to hang as it were. I also installed a nifty dumb waiter to bring my laundry crate down. I had seen one at the tiny house of Alexis and Christian when they came to town. A tiny pulley was all that was needed with some lengths of parachute cord. An S hook was attached to the end of the cord. This would hook to the harness I made for the laundry crate. The pulley would hang from a hook screwed into the ceiling. I made loops in the cord to make it easier to pull. And I installed a hook under the last stair of my loft ladder where I could hook the first loop to hold the crate in place while I unloaded it. When not in use I coiled up the pulley and cord and hung it on the wall. Using it was part of the fun of loft living.

Cooking was also fun with my stove in a drawer, but washing up was a chore I had to finesse in order to conserve water and adapt to the tight spacing. I also spent a lot of time figuring out how best to heat the tiny house given an excessively cold and wet winter. I now have three different space heaters. A tiny one under the desk of only 250 watt. A large dish style one in the kitchen area that I used on the low 750 watt setting and a propane one that would really crank out the heat. But my flower pot heaters were my favorite given the pleasant and silent ambient heat coming off the pots. At first I used tea lights as suggested in the youtube videos, but they didn't last through the night and I was left with a heap of little aluminum casings. I upgraded to votive lights and ordered a case of 288 candles from which should last me 10 weeks using two flower pot heaters. Once I had raised the temperature with my various space heaters, the flower pot heaters would maintain that heat and offer a warm glow into the bargain.

I've now been in the tiny house for three months and all in all I am happy to have such a sanctuary to return to at the end of the day. I count myself as a refugee of the housing crisis and feel lucky to have finessed such a solution. The brilliance of it is that I have absolutely everything I need close at hand.

A student journalist came by to interview me. English was not her native language so I'm a little stiff as I searched for words that would not be cultural references or colloquialisms. She made a little video that offers a tour of my tiny house along with interviews with all of us local tiny house dwellers. I offered a few words about how the tiny house movement has started a dialogue about excess and what is really necessary to live a comfortable life.


  1. So how are things going? I'm interested to see how your water systems are doing and how just general living is working for you. Have you had to change anything out after living with it for awhile? Thanks for sharing your interesting journey and take care.

  2. Thanks Ann for the reminder that I haven't updated in a while. I will post something shortly.