Top 3 Tiny Living Myths

My partner and I live in Alberta, outside of the Edmonton area in our 178 square foot tiny home on wheels. We share our dwelling with our two cats and our dog. We eat, shower, and sleep in this miniature portable structure. I’m regularly asked if living this way is what it’s cracked up to be. In response, I have comprised a few major points that I would like to drive home.

First off, living this close together is no big deal. The number one complaint we hear is that most people could not stand to live in this close of a proximity to their loved one(s).  This worry is rooted in our North American value system where we believe bigger is better. I would argue that we spend just as much time frequenting the same areas as the house that most people do. Most of our time is divided between the kitchen, the bedroom, and the bathroom. No matter how big or small a home is, you are still going to smell each other’s farts and hear each other chew. Societies all across the planet live in close quarters within homes made from all sorts of materials. Many of these homes comprise of a single room. Living intimately has occurred since the beginning of time and comes naturally.

Secondly, compact living does not save time. When you pass up modern luxuries such as a flushing toilet or a furnace, things require a bit more work. The “slow living movement” is a term coined to refer to lifestyles that embrace longer processes. In our case this includes, gardening, manually porting water, starting fires etc.  We don’t have the freedom to flip a switch and instantly have endless amounts of water or warm air at our disposal. Regular activities such as showering and preparing food take longer. Our new home has forced us to slow down.

Thirdly, it’s not glamorous. We deal with some gross shit on a regular basis- and I really do mean shit. We use a composting toilet and collect our waste for gardening purposes. For those who aren’t familiar, a composting toilet is essentially a human litter box. Simply poop into a bucket and cover your waste with materials such as sawdust or coffee grinds. Our composting toilet doesn’t smell, but it does need to be emptied on a regular basis. We are also required to manually empty our shower and dish water. Miniature homes get messy really fast, but are thankfully quick to clean.  We definitely don’t live the stylish life that reality TV has sensationalized, but we love it all the same.

Our little home offers us a debt free, environmentally friendly, and mobile lifestyle. Our new lifestyle leaves us feeling accomplished on a daily basis. Jumping in, we did not know what to expect but are grateful we took the risk. If you want to learn more about living tiny across Canada, follow our journey on our blog livingtinycanada.com

*Article originally published for From The Other Side Zine.


9 thoughts on “Top 3 Tiny Living Myths

  1. Natalie Reply

    Great post! I hear a lot of people say that couldn’t live that close with someone, but I think that’s so weird. Do other people in big houses avoid each other and require multiple rooms between them on a regular basis? In a tiny house, a couple shares a living room, a bed, a bathroom, and a kitchen just the same as they would in a big house.
    Btw, I love the purple/pink hair!!

    1. livingtinycanada Reply

      Thanks for the feedback. I couldn’t agree more!

  2. Jane on Whidbey Reply

    Thanks for writing this. I live alone in my thow, and I couldn’t be happier. The poop thing is a once a week thing for me, the liquid goes out several times a day, but it takes as much time as washing my hands. If you’re stationary, digging a small filtering system might work better for you. Greywater isn’t a problem for me where I live, because I do much of my washing outside. I don’t cook much (lots of raw food) so my dishes aren’t really much. Since I have Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, my greywater isn’t filled with soaps or chemicals, so bath water goes directly outdoors. I’ve been tremendously lucky so far. I shower outdoors in the warm weather. I live on an island north of Seattle.

  3. Jane on Whidbey Reply

    Thanks for posting this. I get many of the same questions. The poop thing is once a week for me, and takes less time than cleaning the toilet in my old house, the liquid goes out several times a day, but it takes as much time as washing my hands. If you’re stationary, digging a small filtering system might work better for you. A french drain coming out of a 5-gallon bucket filled with sand, gravel and maybe charcoal. There are lots on the internet.
    Greywater isn’t a problem for me where I live, because I do much of my washing outside. I don’t cook much (lots of raw food) so my dishes aren’t really much. Since I have Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, my greywater isn’t filled with soaps or chemicals, so bath water goes directly outdoors. I’ve been tremendously lucky so far. I shower outdoors in the warm weather. I live on an island north of Seattle. Water drains quickly.
    It’s so good to see others living this way. I’ll look around your blog. Congratulations!

    1. livingtinycanada Reply

      That would be awesome! I’m trying to find some solutions that work in our freezing climate. I’ve heard that soaks don’t work very well here during the colder months.

      I watched a documentary that covered Multiple Chemical Sensitivity. Wow! It seems that you are living the way your body wants you too. I can’t imagine your struggles day in and day out. Keep on fighting!

    2. bobdog54 Reply

      The hardest part for me of MCS is the surprises. I don’t want to become housebound but walking into the left-overs of a person who showered in scent is a really great way to change any plans I had made for the day. My theme song has become “Me and My Migraine…” Just getting home becomes difficult.

      I would love a tiny house near other like-minded people. Thamks for the ideas.

      1. livingtinycanada Reply

        That’s horrible 🙁 I hope eventually, somehow, things improve!

  4. Jennifer White Reply

    I live in central Alberta. I have the plans for my tiny home, to be build on a 32′ 5th wheel trailer. The trailer sits at my mom’s on the sunshine coast in BC near Powell River. Now it just a matter of talking my husband( who is do to retire in 3 or 4 years) this is a great way to make our retirement money stretch. You are so inspiring. We have built several homes. I’m thinking we should be able to take on this project with out much difficulty. Thanks for sharing your own ups and downs. – Jennifer

    1. livingtinycanada Reply

      Oh wow the sunshine coast is beautiful! Please, send photos of your progress I would love to see. Good luck! 🙂

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