#tiny House Problems - From Personal Experience
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#tiny House Problems  -  From Personal Experience

Some Insider Advice from Personal Experience About Tiny House Living:

I have spent a lot of time praising tiny houses, showering them with flowery adjectives and sunshiny feelings so today I wanted to tell a little bit about the not so sparkly side of tiny living. I just wanted to get a little real and let future tiny housers in on some not to pleasant experiences we have had. I want to first state that none of these issues have been large enough to turn us away from tiny living or cause us to regret our decision, they are simply things that would have been nice to know before hand.

TinyHouseProblem #1

All of the videos of people throwing a handfuls of peat moss into their composting toilet and walking away might as well be compared to tossing a bottle into the crib with your newborn child and heading to bed. Its a nice thought but there is a little more work involved. We have been working with it for five months now and, while we have it under control (Thank you Jesus!) we by no means have it mastered. It has to stay dry enough, wet enough, the bacteria cannot be too many or too few, you have to add just the right amount of bulking material and compost quick spray, you have to turn it every so often, (but not too often!), and you have to make sure not to accidentally nudge it too far in any direction or the pipe that allows all of the fumes to blow to the outside becomes detached! We have had leaks, gnats, and odors. Don’t worry, I will spare you the details of how we solved these problems and be assured, we are operating smoothly now thank goodness, but if I may reiterate, it is not as easy as it looks!

TinyHouseProblem #2

Amenities. Because of the loophole subculture that tiny houses are there are certain inevitable issues regarding addresses and services. We are not illegal, but we are not yet recognized legally which means corporations don’t know how or do not have the capabilities to serve us. It was a big struggle, for instance, getting our electric turned on due to the fact that there is not a code for tiny houses. It took weeks, went all the way up to the state fire marshal, and we had to jump through many hoops such as installing 2 smoke detectors in our 172 square ft space. We finally got our electric but it isn’t the thirty dollar electric bill we had hoped for. Because we are not considered a “permanent residence” we have to pay small corporate rates which are approximately double what residential electric rates are. Oh well it is still less than the two hundred plus dollars we were paying before. Also, the only address we have is a 911 address for emergencies, meaning we have to use either the address for the permanent structure on the property (luckily for us that is my parents) or a P.O. box (which would have been a pain). Without a functional address you cannot sign up for things like internet, trash service, home telephone, or cable (at least not to our knowledge). You must use hotspots, cell phones, antennas, and offer to split the internet cost with someone around you who has a strong signal. We purchased a signal booster and actually get fairly good internet most of the time (it is good enough to stream Netflix and Hulu although the picture can be pretty pitiful if someone else is also streaming).

TinyHouseProblem #3

Financing…One of the scariest and most complicated things about tiny houses is the financing. There are some tiny house companies now that are certified and banks will loan on them because they are considered RVs. Banks do not like to loan on “build your own tiny house” projects for obvious reasons; there is no land involved and there is nothing for them to repossess if you fail to pay. There are some creative loan options out there from banks (not my specialty), I have also heard of some people with good credit financing their entire build with their home depot card (not sure how smart that is) and then there is an interesting group of tiny house owners who are helping finance future tiny house owners. I’m calling it a co-op loan. Several tiny house owners will collaborate to create a loan large enough to finance a tiny house project (pretty awesome and the interest goes to the individual rather than the corporation). Then there is the most common form of financing a tiny house build and that is simply to build as you have the funds to do so (best option, in my opinion, if you have the tim).

TinyHouseProblem #4

Small petty personal problem here, but I am going to list it anyway because it is one of the only design flaws that really inconveniences me. I have to climb over my husband every time I want to get in and out of bed! Now that the loft is above our heads, I have to climb through the twelve inches of space above him and squeeze in and out between the closets. I have learned to do this fairly successfully without waking him and I think my abs are getting stronger because I am basically plank walking at least twice a day, but still, it is inconvenient! Ok, ending rant and moving on now.

TinyHouseProblem #5

Storage…I realize this is not so much “tiny house insider information” as much as it is glaringly obvious but it continues to evolve and resurface as we move into new seasons. We have been able to make things work, we find more storage areas, get rid of more stuff, and we find different locations to do things in but there are occasional storage issues that there is just no way around. For instance, Lily is Cinderella for Halloween this year complete with wagon transformed into a pumpkin carriage. (A little over the top I know, but grown ups have to have a little fun with these things too!) Anyway, it was a great idea until mother nature confused Knoxville Tennessee for Seattle Washington. I cannot remember a more rainy October. Luckily we have a pick up truck that we only use occasionally and we were able to shove the carriage in there. Had we not had the truck I suppose we would have done the best we could with a tarp but I anticipate that would have been a big muddy mess. While I realize this particular instance is not exactly pertinent to everybody, other things that require larger amounts of space might be such as Christmas presents, large jigsaw puzzles, a project for your child’s school fundraiser, suitcases (especially if they are packed), coolers (especially if they are full); these are all items we have had to get creative with, store outside, keep in the car all week, and so forth.

TinyHouseProblem #6

It is wonderful to be able to see what your child is doing all of the time. I know she is safe while I am taking showers, boiling water, or when something hot or dangerous is on the countertop. I can supervise 100 percent of the time and still get my work accomplished. It is not as convenient however, that she can also see everything I do. Yesterday morning for instance, she climbs out of bed and the first words out of her mouth are “mommy, can I have a piece of halloween candy?” As a responsible mom does I say, “not before breakfast sweetheart.” So she responds “but you did!” Touché little one, I thought you were sleeping.

This article has gotten a little wordy and although I know you all love me I am going to assume you have other things to do today other than read my articles so I am going to leave this with a to be continued ending. I’m sure there are many more #tinyhouseproblems we have and will run into, but most of the little things that people frequently ask me about we have adjusted to or forgotten.

I have always heard it is all in what you are used to and I am learning that statement is truer than I thought. Some people have to have green beans with their meatloaf, some people don’t think fifty degrees is cold weather, some people think coke is hands down better than pepsi, and some people consider spam a staple while others don’t even consider it a food. It is what we grew up with, got used to, and consider our norm. So I guess we got used to not owning a single chair, having to shop with the small cart and the grocery store, and moving the laundry basket out of the shower each time we want to use it. It is our norm and we are learning to love it!


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