Things I’ve learned from living tiny (or very small)

Alright! It’s been a long time since we moved to Nelson, BC and updated the blog but it struck me that I’ve learned some important facts about myself, my wife and my Tiny journey that may be worth documenting.

As I sit on my small couch (exactly 69″ in length) with my Jotul 602 crackling away and some heavy snow coming down I felt I should share some lessons I’ve learned about starting to live Tiny…for me it’s been a journey of years in the practice…and I’m still planning one more downsize that would bring me into a moveable, owned by me “Tiny Home on Wheels”, right now I am living in a sub-400sqft place renting on the side of a mountain.

So the wife and I sat down and made a quick list of things we’ve found easy, things we’ve found difficult…and things we would change/incorporate into our own custom THOW.

  1. Lighting is important, the more natural light or UV lights you can cram into your place the better. Our place has a couple of  huge 5x5ft windows and without them I think the place would feel much more claustrophobic. Sunroofs would be an absolute must though.
  2. Bathtub is important, I’ll admit this is more for Janelle than myself but after a couple of years with no bathtub…I do miss them on occasion…even if it was just a small tub to soak in once a week that would be great. This might be one of those things we could not incorporate if we had a shared communal space.
  3. Closet’s and storage are important, our place has ample bookshelves but lacks in a simple closet…I still work an office job and honestly a closet would just be so great to maximize storage or hide appliances, etc.
  4. Underskirt and Insulation are important, Without an underskirt to the house there is a noticeable temperature difference, I always remember when I was young people in my town piling up strawbales or bags of leaves, I’m not sure why that fell out of fashion…also…even though sprayfoam is more costly…I think I’d have to splurge on it..
  5. Composting Toilets are totally fine, this was a bit of a scare…what would people think? Is it going to smell? Do we need to spend thousands on some kind of futuristic combustible toilet? Nope…it’s been pretty easy…straightforward…tmi…but I generally pee out in the woods which I really thinks us help with the sheer amount of sawdust and the amount of times we have to haul this stuff out. We’re lucky enough to live in a wooded area with lots of space but I would probably create a THOW with plans for all kinds of options.. We just have greywater in our current place that drains outside
  6. No deep frying, is this something I learned? I dunno…but yeah…absolutely zero deep frying is allowed in the house or it just reeks, the few times I have deep fried something I ran an extension cord from the inside of the house to outside to fry something up.
  7. Plan for a small offsite storage, when you are living in a small place it’s important to have a feeling of openness and cleanliness. While we have some storage under the bed it can be tough to get to and if I just stuff things under the house we have to worry about mold and animals. A small 8ft trailer or even offsite storage facility might be able to offer you
  8. 30AMP is perfectly fine, we have no sewage and only a natural water cistern but we do have some electricity and have found our 30 amp service is totally fine.I still want to really experiment with solar capacity though.
  9. Loft ladders suck, and I think we probably have the best ladder I’ve ever seen…but honestly…you can use stairs for storage space…so much better….
  10. Wood stove heat is required, I think in a small space like this you really need to worry about hygge and I can’t find any better source than wood heat. I always just like the self sufficiency of wood heat…
  11. Appliance Size, we definitely love our large sink, I would never suggest going with a bar sink. Adapting to the small fridge was really no issue at all, more than enough space, we would still go with a fullsize fridge in our THOW, something with about half freezer space would be idea. Our small toaster oven…totally fine…and our two induction plates…also good…not sure if I would go with a built in oven or stick with having everything moveable.

That’s it! Not the most polished of articles and I might be missing stuff but wanted to share and make sure I remember what’s I’ve learned here.


Do you know how much utilities cost?

So as a few of you may now I’m a pretty big fan off offgrid and solar solutions. I know quite a few people in the solar industry or who have lived via solar and one thing they pretty much all had in common was that solar was great…but that being ongrid still offered huge benefits in reliability. This is even coming from people who were using solar back in the 60’s up to today…

One thing that came up during the solar class I was taking at Nait was a guy (who worked for the utilities) that the delivery/admin charges were so high that even being 100% solar (but still grid tied) wouldn’t actually realize much savings…this prompted me to check my latest bills…

On my last natural gas bill I paid $112.60, that was $44.44 for actual gas….and $68.16 in admin/misc charges….

On my last electrical bill I paid  $85.86, that was $43.04 for electricity and $42.84 in admin/misc charges.

Even though he warned me I was pretty shocked, most people just kind of pay their bills without looking to closely into it. Definitely makes “utilitiy sharing” ie: tiny community or roomates or group of people type thing a tempting offer….





Solar Tour

I had the pleasure of doing a solar tour at 3 different sites on the weekend. I got to say that I don’t understand why this isn’t being fully embraced by everyone who owns, such neat stuff. I’ve been trying to get into the alt energy market for a bit now (or at least becoming more knowledgeable on it) and just now this thing is going to explode.

I really enjoyed taking a look at the thermal water reclamation setup the Marian centre was using….such a neat setup….why do people spend thousands on infloor heating instead of just routing the hot water through the bathroom floor…get out of shower…the floor is nice and toasty…just a bit of extra copper tubing.

Lots of idea’s for tiny haus.

pictures below: (once I can get my phone working)