Tiny House, Tiny Living, The Tiny Life.

Tiny House Update – May 2016

It’s crazy how fast time has flown by. To think I’ve been in my Tiny House for just shy of two years! I thought it would be a good time to give an update from the home front. I’ve now been through two summers and two winters off the grid with my solar panels.

Tiny-House-Update

I think the biggest change to report is that I’ve really stopped thinking about my tiny house as tiny…it’s now just my house. When I first moved in I had worries that it might be too small, not because it felt small, but because I worried that I might grow to feel that way one day. Two years in, and there are times it almost feels big.

With the move to the tiny house I made some pretty big lifestyle shifts. First off I went fully off grid for my power, which has been relatively smooth. My system is large enough that I really don’t think about it most days. Sometimes I almost forget that I’m on solar, particularly in the spring and summer.

Winters are the only time I really have to think about things, particularly when it’s very overcast for days. For this I have my generator that I can run for two hours and the batteries are fully recharged. The combination of less solar exposure in the winter with the higher power usage of heat can be tricky, but last winter I used a total of 20 gallons of gas in my generator, costing me about $45 for heat over an entire winter.

The real challenge is that I don’t use my generator enough. I use it just often enough that it doesn’t make sense to drain the fluids, but sometimes things start to gum up a bit. I know my Honda EU2000i is showing signs of infrequent use and the carburetor needs to be overhauled, but I’m nervous to pull it apart because it’s a fancy two stage (not sure if that’s the correct term) and has a lot more pieces to it; as if I really know enough to do a basic carburetor.

In the kitchen I’ve also made some big shifts since moving to my tiny house. I decided not to put in a microwave, freezer, dishwasher or oven. For some, this would be no big deal, while others couldn’t imagine not having these things. For me it came down to a few things: generally, convenience foods are less healthy for you and primarily come frozen and/or rely on microwave cooking. I like to cook, but I don’t really like baking, so no oven. Finally, I didn’t want to give up the space for a dishwasher and I couldn’t care less about having one.

food

I think the only things I really miss are easy baked potatoes in the microwave and being able to freeze meats. Freezing meats wouldn’t be an issue if I wasn’t a single person household, but most things at the store are packaged for families. Single person portions options at the grocery store are woefully lacking and I wish there were better options.

Laundry facilities have been tricky, since I don’t have a washer and dryer in my tiny house. In reality, it’s the drying that’s the hard part, because I don’t mind hand washing my clothes. I don’t have time or space to air dry things. In our humid summers, clothes won’t dry very quickly. In the winter it rains too much. I’ve decided to actually double my wardrobe from about 8ish days of clothes to 16 days.  Locally there are now two companies that will come to me, take my clothes and then wash/dry/fold them for very affordable rates. Two weeks of clothing means I can have one weeks’ worth at home and another out being washed.

tiny-house-minimalist-clothes

The last and final trouble spot I’m having is I really want a woodshop. It would be great to have a space where I can set up my tools and just leave them set up. Right now when I want to work on a project, I have to drag my tools out of my cargo trailer and then put them all back in. I really want to get into some woodworking projects that take some time, things that I may only work on a few hours here and there, but take a few weeks to complete. I want a big work table to spread out on, to do more complex glue-ups, and have a place for things to dry. I don’t really know what I’m going to do for this. I’d like to avoid paying rent somewhere and I don’t own the land, so building a shop isn’t in the cards.

Another lifestyle change is that I decided against installing Internet at my tiny house. I now own a coworking space, so I have a great office space to do my thing, but I really have to be careful that I allow myself to unplug. I love work. The fact that I get to do what I do for a living is incredible. And therein lies the problem – when you love to work, you have to make sure that you also make time to live life. Not having Internet at my house means I really have time to detach from work, and have time to reflect, be quiet, and enjoy my solitude.

I also don’t have cable TV, but download the shows I want to watch and then only watch what I really enjoy; no more idle channel surfing. I feel like this is the perfect balance for me.

Your Turn!

 

  • If you live tiny, how has your life changed since moving into a tiny house?

 

 

9 Comments
  1. Thanks for posting your reflections Ryan. So nice to hear where you are in your journey. I’ve been in my TH for 8 months now. It’s been 8 months of changing, and i can foresee more changes ahead. It was a big leap to settle into 190 square feet. I can see more simplifying over time. I’m totally with you on the food and cooking thing. I wish I had not installed a cooktop, but grateful for the freezer. Cooking/shopping for one is a challenge. Being able to freeze helps.

    There’s enough of us who have moved into TH and the TH lifestyle that I guess we can call ourselves the first generation, huh? (yeah, 8 months isn’t two years, but i’m getting there. . .;-))

    Keep going and keep posting!!

  2. That’s great Ryan. I’m working on my tiny house project and it will use about 500 watts of solar. The numbers work in theory but when it’s all together on a cloudy winter day……….. we’ll see how well it works then.

    I’ll keep reading. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Just entering year 7 in my 136sg ft tiny house. Traveled to Kona,Hi. For 20 days and it was still a joy to be back at the tiny house.
    Wonderful life,wonderful world.

  4. So inspired. I can’t wait for me and my husband to move into our tiny house (goal w/n this year). Thanks for posting, this info really helps!

  5. i am a family of one as well. however a small freezer is the answer for me. i break down bigger pkgs of meat veggies etc into one serving size package and freeze. works wonderful and you save money per pound by buying bigger sizes. not huge mind you, just somewhat bigger. 4-5 steaks, 3lbs hamburger etc.

  6. Hi Ryan. When you mentioned the problems with the carburetor on your generator, are you running “normal gas” (that most of the time contains 10% ethanol”, or “pure gas” without ethanol? As a vintage car buff (carburetors) I can tell you that having one sit with any ethanol fuel will always cause problems. There’s an app/website called puregas that can help you find a 100% gasoline pump. G’luck!!

    • I usually run gas with enthanol, but just found a pure gas option near my house. I also treat the gas with STABIL and would with the ethanol version too.

  7. Another possible help with the generators is to install a simple fuel shutoff valve inline between the tank and the carburetor. That way when it’s not going to be used for a while you simple shut the valve off while the engine is running and it will run until the fuel is out of the carburetor. This should help particularly if you are using non ethanol fuel and fuel stabilizer.
    I hope this finds you well. I hope to make it to your workshop next year as I have made the plunge and started building THOWS. I’m so glad I did as it allows me to be inventive and creative again. Building is FUN again.

  8. Hi, thank you for sharing. I too am singular so don’t need an oven or dishwasher. Love learning from others experiences 🙂

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