As if living as a family of 6 in 300 sq. ft. wasn’t enough, somehow it’s ended up that we are also living off grid. Only a small electricity from our solar panel and no running water.
But don’t worry, I’m not so hardcore that this will last forever. It’s just a temporary thing as we have just moved onto a fairly undeveloped piece of old farmland.
But it is a bit of trial-by-fire… and let’s face it, if I can get through this, having electricity and running water will make me feel like I am living in a palace.
This is my kitchen sink setup:
Not having running water is the hardest part because that means that a water cooler is my faucet, and I have to do wash and showers at my mom’s house. The upside is I feel pretty elemental hauling my own water.
Then, meet my fridge!
This is a chest freezer half-filled with ice blocks, with food precariously balanced on top. At first, I wasn’t sure this was going to work, but it’s actually been pretty awesome and we haven’t gotten food poisoning yet! And I feel so connected to nature, going out before each meal and gathering my food from the fridge. haha, kind of not.
The kids are doing really well. Kids often are the easiest adapters, they seem to meld into whatever situation they find themselves in. They really enjoy having a big shop to ride bikes in, sheltered from the rain on grey days!
We’ve even gotten started with school a little bit this week.
I have to admit it’s taken all of my abilities to handle this new situation. There has been a lot of thinking of how to arrange things, how to use our pieced-together off grid setup, and how to arrange our days now that our life has changed so much. I’m also really tired this week from pushing ourselves so much last week as we moved out of our pink house. But slowly, I find myself getting a rhythm, and it feels good to know I’m pretty adaptable too.
Overall, it is going really good and I have a lot of excitement about the future. For so long, we have had this tiny house build looming over us, and now that we are finished, it feels exciting to know it is time to make new goals and plans and start a new phase of our life. Sky’s the limit!
Also, we do plan on making cabinet door fronts. But for the time being, it’s almost nice to be able to see where everything is! And if you come visit us, you’ll know exactly everything we own, no secrets!
We moved the tiny house on Tuesday, and beginning on Wednesday was a 5-day rush of work. My mom (who deserves an award) helped me pack boxes and totes in the back of the truck and unpack stuff into the house.
This process took us basically two days. It was satisfying to fill the shelves that we’d spent so much time building. But each day left us super tired and overwhelmed.
It began to become really confusing having our things and time split at two homes. It was hard to remember where things were and decide which house we would eat dinner at. The kids started saying we were homeless, and I tried convincing them that it was much better than that– we had two homes!
But by Sunday, as planned, we were 100% moved and left our rental house clean and painted. And we were exhausted. But it was satisfying to know it was all done. The tiny house is no longer “the tiny house”, it’s just “home”!
Welcome to the kids room– and this is probably what it will look like most of the time (or worse). It ends up a mosh pit of blankets, Legos, Barbies, and stuffed animals. But the most important things are this: The kids LOVE it and I don’t have to look at it unless I climb the ladder. Win-win!
Trent and I have a fresh new bed for a fresh new house! This bed was a big splurge for us, and we have hopes that we will love it for years and that it will last a long time.
We got a buckwheat hull mattress from Eco Health Lab. They were so helpful and made a custom size for us, which we really appreciated. The quality is incredible, and the smell is amazing! If you’re in the market for a eco-conscious bed, I would highly recommend it.
Amazingly, the package came on the very day that we were planning to spend the first night. The kids were really excited to open the packages!
Here’s a quick look around our new rental property.
It was a beautiful Tuesday that turned into a thunderstorm. But we’d already committed to moving the house and our hearts were set on it. As the thunder pealed, I was not sure if it would work to move it that day. But I hoped it would.
The thunder lessened and the rain lightened and we hurried the kids into their rain slickers and boots and hopped into the truck. It seemed too easy. Just hop in and pull out. But then I remembered about all the months we had planned for this moment; buying the perfect truck, installing a new hitch, and so much more.
We rushed. I’m not sure why, and it felt like we were hurrying out before an invasion. But between years of excitement and the electricity of the thunderstorm, we were pretty jacked up. As you can tell from this picture.
It was an uneventful trip. As we drove, it felt like we were flying. We really finished the house! We really found a place to live! And here we were, living a moment we had long thought of.
We parked temporarily in front of the shop, and when we spread more gravel and prepare our parking pad, we will move over a bit so we can see a beautiful view out the kitchen window.
We’re home. Home. It’s starting to mean something new to me. I kind of hate pithy sayings, but I do like this one for us: “Home is where you park it”. And, I would add, home is anywhere we are together.
We’ve spent the last two days moving our surprisingly large amount of belongings into the new house. Everything is fitting better than I could have imagined. To my happiness, I have realized we’re going to need to buy more books to fill the bookshelves.
This has been a long journey, but we are finally ready to move into the tiny house. I wanted to take some space in this post to answer some FAQ’s that I get to hopefully answer some questions for you.
Are you going to live in the tiny house for reals? Yes, we are!
Where are you moving? We will be renting property fairly near our current house. There will be several acres for the kids to explore and enjoy. I’m excited to share pictures of our new beautiful views!
When are you moving? We are waiting for electricity to be hooked up at our new rental property, so we’re not sure when the move will happen. Sometime in the next two weeks is what we’re expecting. We have almost finished packing up our things and cleaning up our current place. We’re in a sort of “holding pattern” for now.
Are the kids excited? Yes they are! They love their new room and they are excited to explore the new property.
Are you nervous? Yes, a little. I’m a little worried we won’t fit our stuff into the house, but I am trying to assure myself that we will be able to make room for the essentials, even if we need to say goodbye to some non-essentials. I’m mostly nervous about issues pertaining to moving in general, such as getting used to a new way of life, new driving routes, and new appliances. I’m also hopeful that the tiny house doesn’t cramp our social schedule and that we’ll still be able to entertain our friends.
In other news, my friend Dinah finished the mural for the kids bedroom wall. We copied a Teagan White picture from the book “Counting With Barefoot Critters”.
I really love all the details and I appreciate the time she put into it. It brings the room to life and gives it such a playful feeling.
We are about two weeks away from moving day, and the house is nearly complete (other than the cabinet fronts, which will just have to wait). We wanted to take our truck and house for a quick ride together and make sure they knew they needed to be good friends. We also wanted to move the house so we could clean the lumber scraps from underneath it before we left our rental. But mostly, we just wanted to see our house rolling on its wheels.
Well, Trent wanted to see it rolling on its wheels. The very thought of moving the house made me want to throw up with anxiety. Some of my most terrifying thoughts at 3 AM have included, for the last three years, the tiny house tipping over en route.
Trent unhooked all the utilities and tucked cords carefully underneath. Trent hooked the truck up and I realized that I needn’t have worried about the truck being able to handle the tiny house. The F350 is a hearty truck., especially with the horribly expensive new hitch that Trent installed that is rated for 20,000 lbs.
We pulled it about 40 feet down our driveway and surveyed the sight: Everything was well, the wheels rolled, and the truck stood proud. (Just a little sag in the back.) Now to back it up into its new home.
Have I mentioned that I’m an anxious person? This move was almost too much for me.
But all went well. Trent did a great job driving it and backing it up and I didn’t quite blow a fuse. I am really glad we did it; it gives me more confidence for the real moving day.
Not only does this house represent almost $30,000 of our dollars, but it also represents three years of weekends and many, many evenings and vacations. For me, it has been going to weekend parties as a “single mom” and putting the kids to bed by myself more times than I’d like. Neither of us regret this project and I am massively proud of it, but we have sacrificed a lot for it and it makes us really care about this house.
And I think that’s how a house should feel.
As a side note: for any of you skeptics out there that wonder how we will fit our family of 6 into a tiny house, let me present this picture as evidence: we will fit because they love to be crammed together.
And there’s nothing more exciting about a new front-loading washing machine with a light-up drum.
Trent. I’ve been married to him for almost 9 years and I’m still feeling amazed by him. When faced with the challenge of making a ladder for us to access our loft, he couldn’t just make a “normal” ladder. (Is making a ladder even normal?) He has been slightly obsessed with timber framing for a while now, a style of woodworking involving interlocking pieces and wooden pins… and no metal hardware like nails or screws. Trent chose this style for the ladder, hoping to challenge himself and make a very sturdy ladder. Side note about Trent: these two things are important to him– challenging himself and making overly sturdy stuff.
Most of these pictures of the ladder-making were from our second attempt: our first attempt included the side rail splitting as we pounded in the rungs. Tragic, especially because it was about noon on 4th of July and we just wanted to finish, feel contented, and enjoy the holiday.
Trent finished the wood with a slurry of dirt and hemp oil (we use this stuff a lot because we like it, but also because I bought a gallon of it from Amazon…). The dirt seeps into the grain of the wood and really darkens it. I also love how a little bit of dirt gets left behind in the cracks and makes the ladder look truly old.
You might also notice that the bathroom now has vinyl flooring. Trent was lucky enough of salvage this scrap from work and we swiped the adhesive from my Dad, so total cost of bathroom floor: $0. After spending about $25,000 on the house, it always feels good to get something done for free.
Anyway, now we can access our loft without a construction ladder, which is awesome.
An emotional week is behind us, and many more emotional weeks are ahead, I’m sure. We have entered the home stretch.
We have about 6 weeks until we will leave our wonderful rental house that we have loved for almost 7 years now. There is a lot of work involved in any move, and this move is no different. Just the added stress of SERIOUS decluttering.
Enter: garage sale.
Garage sale day was so successful, we decided to cancel Day Two since there was hardly anything left.
Seeing my belongings drive off was strangely emotional. Each item had a story, reminded me of something or someone. I didn’t find it hard to let things go at all. I am a natural purger. But I do have to admit it was hard to have so many memories constantly flooding my mind.
Just seeing this stuff sitting around on the day after (when these pictures were taken) was almost overwhelming and I can’t really tell you why. I think it really hit me that we are truly moving into our tiny house, our plans are materializing, and our life is changing.
We had a plan, something we wanted, a life we wanted. We built the house. It is amazing me how difficult this is, yet at the same time how simple it can be to achieve your goals. This all exists because we made a plan.
This is what our family looked like when we moved into the pink house. We had been married for two years, Wade was 1, and Elsa was 6 weeks old. We were happy to be leaving the gloomy Oregon Coast.
…and this was what we moved to.
We have brought two babies home from the hospital, we have watched three babies learn to walk. We’ve taught our kids to be kind here, we’ve wanted to give up. I have laughed hysterically here, and I have also cried hysterically. And every emotion in between.
It’s been a safe place for us, a sort of nest for our four baby birds. But now our family has grown up; we don’t have babies anymore, we have two school-aged kids, we don’t nap anymore, and my kids don’t need me every single second of the day.
Time for a new adventure. Time to try something new! There is a lot of exciting days coming up as we finish the tiny house and move, and I hope you will join us for each bit. Please like my Facebook page so you are notified each time I post.
Our most recent project on the tiny house has been making the beautiful medicinal herb drawers for the kitchen. Ever since I have been practicing herbalism for our family, I’ve dreamed of having my own “space” to put the herbs in a beautiful, condensed way, near a countertop where I can make the medicines and teas. Well, this tiny house is the gift that keeps giving, and as part of my “mini dream kitchen”, I get my own herb space!
Those look beautiful, but they could be better! We decided to use some old barn wood to cover the fronts.
Sunday afternoon family project: oil barn wood with hemp oil.
Tuesday evening project (after spending a whole day doing basically the same thing at work): attach the drawer fronts.
And there’s the finished product!
Trent designed them to fit various sizes of mason jars, which is how I store my herbs. I wish I owned enough herbs to fill these drawers, but I don’t… so I imagine I will also store some dry goods such as beans, rice, popcorn, nuts…
This is such a wonderful time of year, as the plants are growing and being harvested. It makes me feel so good to be drying our own herbs. Below, I’m drying mint (for tea), oregano and thyme (for italian seasoning), and roses, calendula, and self-heal (for skin-healing salves).
This is what I like so much about building our own tiny house, we are able to put a lot of these personalized touches that really make optimal use of the space. Before we built the tiny house, we thought about buying a mobile home, but we didn’t like how much space was wasted. I am able to truly have a fully functional kitchen in such a condensed space because we have really planned out every element.
I am now plotting what meal I will cook to inaugurate the new kitchen when we move in… if we ever move in…