Our Biggest Challenges Faced Living in a Tiny House

Tiny home living

The Challenges of Living Tiny

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While we experienced many amazing things living in the very tiny house we built when we were engaged, it did not come without its challenges through the years! And boy are there a lot of them! We decided to share our biggest challenges faced living in a tiny house because you don’t always get to see or hear about this side of tiny home life.

I think we can all agree tiny homes are easily over-romanticized with the TV shows and youtube channels you find available today. Whether you think it’s a noble way to live or maybe just a hot trend, there isn’t much information on real life challenges dwellers face. You want the nitty gritty truth of what our experience was really like? Look no further.

Lack of space.

Isn’t that a given? 230 square feet with two people can get cozy real fast. We were lucky to have both freshly moved out of our parent’s homes and had recently been traveling before getting married, so we hadn’t really had the chance to collect much of anything. You could say we skipped out on the downsizing phase of deciding to live tiny. Lucky us!

A couple years down after starting some businesses and working from home full time together, it was easy to feel the lack of space holding us back. No garage, no real office space, no more room to grow our endeavors into the dreams we had! While both of us immensely enjoyed living tiny and miss it everyday, these were the driving factors for us deciding to start our search for a BIGGER home.

Extra steps to daily life.

  1. Filling your water tank. Being fully off grid when it came to water meant we had to refill our water tank when it ran low. Half the time Simeon would do this with a 5 gallon carry jug and lug water from a spigot to the entry funnel on our house. In warmer weather we could use a hose. Our tank held twenty something gallons and would typically last us half a week to a week before we had to refill it.
  2. Emptying your composting toilet. Your solids and liquid are stored separately in the composting toilet we had. We took our liquids out anywhere from 1-4 times a week and our solids maybe 4 times a year with the amount of travel we were doing. I’d be lying if we didn’t tell you we had more than a few mishaps where we overflowed the liquids bottle! This can be piped out so you don’t have to deal with it but we never went that route or learned our lesson. (You can see what composting toilet we used in this post HERE.)
  3. Lugging the grey water tank out from under the house to dump. Although this was Simeon’s weekly job I did it my fair share of times too. It was always cumbersome, annoying, and smelly. We had to wheel the 40 gallon water tank out from the the tiny house and up onto a small wooden ramp we built that enabled us to dump the grey water into a city drain line. (We used this grey water tank HERE!)

If you’re curious about what items were a MUST for us when living tiny, head over to our post “Our Tiny Home Must Haves’ HERE!

Tiny House Lifestyle

Unconventional living + sometimes even illegal.

It’s not always easy or normal or legal. In fact if we did it all over again we would probably have bought an RV or van to remodel instead of building a tiny home on a trailer. A lot of that has to do with how much easier it is to live under the radar and go unnoticed.

Some cities are welcoming of tiny home dwellers, but I’d say far and few between. At the time we lived tiny there was really no code or legislation making it a grey area for a lot of people passionate about this way of life. I read countless stories of people having to move without much notice or even being evicted from their own home because of dwelling structure laws currently in place. What I would always tell people if they were thinking about jumping into the world of tiny house living on a trailer like ours was, you have to be ready to up and move if you don’t live somewhere that supports this type of unconventional lifestyle.

Finding a place to park.

This wasn’t one of our biggest challenges per-say but I feel like this post wouldn’t be complete if it wasn’t its own point because many tiny home dwellers do struggle with this! We were lucky enough to park our tiny home on the same property we rented our first little apartment on and a year later moved across the 6 acre lot to live in our not-even-close-to-being-finished-home! (Trust me when I say we laugh at ourselves often when we think back to this!) But we read so many posts, even still to this day of people searching for a space to park their tiny home with no avail. A lot of this depends on where you live and even how willing land owners are to ignoring various laws (ie. single dwelling lots), it’s always a good idea to put feelers out there before you start building so you’re not faced with a detrimental road block like this when your house is all finished.

The water situation.

I feel like I should preface this section by saying we are very laid back people. So much so we were okay living without running water for two years and without hot water for three! Out of the 4 years and some change we lived tiny you could find us washing our hair in the canal down the road in the summer, at the gym, or in my parent’s shower. We did our fair share of kitchen sink washes with a warm kettle and also went through a cold shower phase! Our last year we lived in the tiny house we had both cold and hot running water, but not being home full time in the winter made it hard. Enter a number of situations when the water heater freezes and cracks. 20 Home Depot runs later…I think you get the picture. This doesn’t apply to all tiny house dwelling experiences, but being off-grid (aside from our electricity) in a four season area with the combination of traveling for work made our water situation challenging.

If you don’t have a full time water hook up that also means you are probably turning your faucet on + off in between scrubbing dishes and taking really short showers. We just recently installed a heated water hose and a 4 gallon electric Bosch water heater in the tiny home out back and we’re honestly kicking ourselves we didn’t do it sooner.

Despite all these challenges we were faced with during our tiny home adventure, we would 100% do it all again. The good this lifestyle brought to our life far outweighed any weekly annoyance we had to deal with during our 4 year stint. We hope these honest paragraphs help you get a feel for what challenges living in a tiny home can bring and if anything inspires you to throw caution to the wind and still go for it. Messes and all!

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