How to Choose a Toilet For Your Tiny House

How to Choose a Toilet For Your Tiny House

The Toilet – One of the Most Important Tiny House Decisions You’ll Ever Make


Living a “normal” life in a “normal” home, you’ve probably never given much thought to your toilet.  It’s there when you need it, it does its job and it takes care of business with little muss or fuss.

But when you live in a tiny house, your toilet becomes a big deal.  Like, you’ll find yourself thinking about it, talking about and considering the various aspects of it A LOT.

(And consequently - people start ASKING you about your toilets - A LOT!).

It might sound a little ridiculous or even a little uncomfortable for some, but the fact is, when you make the transition to tiny living, you’re going to have to start thinking outside of the norm.  And partaking in toilet talk will just be part of that journey.

What’s the big deal about toilets?

Well, it’s simple… first of all, if you want to be off-grid, you’re going to have to use an alternative to the traditional flush toilet, that’s just a fact. 

You can always upgrade down the line to solar panels and water catchment systems for your other utilities, but if you don’t plan for an alternative toilet from the very beginning, then you will always need access to a sewage hook-up...

 

How to Save Money on Solar Power for Your Tiny House, Camper, or RV

How to Save Money on Solar Power for Your Tiny House, Camper, or RV

PS - TinyCamp, the learning community for people ready to live a tiny life, is now open for registration until February 10th. TinyCamp is 3 months of community, live calls, support, expert guidance, resources and more. So if you need help designing your PV system, or your tiny home, trailer, or RV, and you have lots of questions about this kind of thing - TinyCamp is the place to get answers and personalized help for your unique situation!

If you’re thinking about using a photovoltaic solar power system for your tiny home, trailer, camper, or van, this post is for you.

I have given many presentations and talks about simple solar power (I've spoken at more than 25 tiny house workshops and events in the last 2 years),  and I get the SAME question every single time. Everyone wants to know...

Simple Living for Everyone - I don't care how many square feet you live in

Simple Living for Everyone - I don't care how many square feet you live in

I want to have an open and honest conversation. 

Not about tiny houses or vintage trailers or living in a vehicle, though I think that those things are wonderful. 

I want to talk about simple living, the power of elimination, saving for later and producerism, without setting any rules about what size home is "right" or "good" to live in.

Simple living looks different to different people. If you have a family, my way of living might seem absurd. I can’t imagine living in a small house with my family growing up - we would have murdered each other for sure. If you are older or disabled, a tiny house might not be a good fit for you, or it might be perfect. If you run your own business, like I do with my vintage clothing store, your needs might look different than someone who works for a company and leaves their work at the office.

I just want to shout out that the number of square feet you live in doesn’t matter. It doesn’t define you. It doesn’t make you smart or dumb. It really doesn’t mean much.

How to Make Sauerkraut with A $5 Fermentation Station

How to Make Sauerkraut with A $5 Fermentation Station

This week, Matt and I got 3 big heads of red cabbage in our CSA share. So naturally, we were excited to make a batch of fresh Sauerkraut.

Making sauerkraut in the summer is great because the warm weather allows the kraut to ferment faster. It usually only takes a few days in this warm weather.

We've been making our own sauerkraut for years, ever since we saw this video:

Eat Local: How to Craft Your Local Food Plan

One of the best and tastiest change you can make in your life to live a little simpler is by supporting local food systems. The packaging and transport of homogeneously grown food is largely responsible for our current economic and ecological predicament. To counteract this enormously wasteful system, we can purchase food from local farmers and producers. Farmer’s markets are a good place to start. A CSA share is another option - where you pay up front for a season’s worth of vegetables and fruits that get delivered on a weekly basis. CSA programs usually require a few hours of time helping out on the farm, which means you get to know your farmer face to face. Personally, I like the idea of knowing where and more importantly who my food comes from; it creates a moral connection and farmers are more likely to take care of their customers if they know them personally. Communities are built by each individuals’ economic habits and decisions. Economy and community can be integrated as a harmonious system, instead of separate parts of one’s life. Community is fostered when individuals choose to purchase food locally, or choose to support a local restaurant instead of a chain.

After reading Bill McKibben’s book Deep Economy, and reading about his “one year of eating local”, I came up with a personalized food plan that I felt I could practice in my own city, a plan which would support a local food system. I may not have all of the food resources that McKibben has in Vermont, but once I began to look, I found I could fulfill many of my food needs within a few miles! No more grocery stores for me! An added benefit is that when I buy things directly from the farmer or through my CSA, there is no packaging to dispose of (and the worms love the green scraps). Here is a guide to how you can create your own local food plan with your local resources.

Recycling Greywater + Biodegradable Soaps

Recycling Greywater + Biodegradable Soaps

If you’re thinking about recycling your greywater, either in your tiny house or other home on wheels, you need to pay attention to what’s going down the drain. Recycling greywater (which is the used water from showers, the sink, and the washer machine) requires us to be conscientious of what we put down our drains, since those products will end up in our gardens, yards, and in the ground. A welcome side effect of being careful about which products end up in our drains is that we know more about which soaps, cleaners and detergents we are using in our homes and on our bodies. Using all-natural cleaners and body products is better for your health and the environment.

    So If you’re designing your tiny home or other trailer to be off-grid, or at least want to recycle greywater, these are the things I recommend which I use in the COMET. If you’re living in a trailer/ camper like me, another great by-product of recycling greywater is that you don’t have to dump greywater tanks out at dump stations or RV parks, which is gross. I specifically designed the COMET to not have any grey or black water tanks, because I am recycling and composting all “wastes” (which become something much nicer than waste because I’m reusing them!). By being careful and conscientious about what we put on our bodies and down our drains, we can keep water of of the sewers and put it safely back into the land. I’ve gotten a few questions about this topic recently, so I hope this clarifies it for you!

Fermenting Foods

For me, sustainable living and self-sufficiency are very closely linked. Self sufficiency usually means growing at least a portion of your own food, which sometimes means preserving your harvest! From another perspective, buying real sauerkraut can be real expensive (and sometimes the sauerkraut from the store isn't even actually fermented, it's just cooked in vinegar). $8 for a pint of kraut is too much to spend on my habit. And since you know I wholeheartedly believe in DIY for a million reasons, I wanted to point out a cool DIY tool I found a while ago that I want to try out. It's a sauerkraut/pickle making jar system. It's called the "Picklemeister".

The Picklemeister comes in 1/2 gallon and 1 gallon sizes. It's basically a big glass jar with a seal and an airlock. You cut up your cabbage (for sauerkraut), add salt, a plastic bag of brine, and let the jar sit for 3 days. Then you have a gallon of sauerkraut!

Here's a video that I love about making sauerkraut (with a really tasty recipe at the end!) with Mark Frauenfelder. Check it out here. He swears by the Picklemeister.