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Woman Shares All After 6 Months Living in her Tiny House

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Living in a Tiny House is All About… Seasonal Changes… Adaptive Living by Shirley Loomis

Six months ago I moved into my tiny house.  It was the tail end of spring and the start of another New England summer. As fortune would have it, I was in rural Maine, out of the Boston rat race for the first time in thirty years.  The mosquitoes; large enough to pick up a small child, were the only blemish on my idyllic slice of heaven.  It was the perfect place to start working out the kinks of full time tiny house living.

So now that it is six months later and the snow is flying what have I learned?

I’ve learned I bought the wrong pump for the running water system I was trying to construct.  I’ve also learned I do just fine without running water and in fact am probably much better at managing my water usage without running water.  That said, I still plan to buy the correct pump and set up the system properly (haven’t gotten that far yet — budget constraints).  I’ve learned the hotspot on my data plan solves pretty much any internet challenge facing me.  I’ve learned perked coffee has got to be one of the greatest gifts one can share with a sunrise.  I’ve learned I can make it through an entire summer using only a camping ice cooler for refrigeration.  I’ve learned that when it gets cold electricity is a really nice thing to have because it keeps the frig running, avoiding the need to stick your hands in an ice chest on a freezing cold morning.

If you think you like the sound of a summer rain, the sound of autumn winds, or the clink clink clink of snowflakes on a predawn windowpane, wait until you experience all this in the coziness of your own tiny home!

Special thanks to my daughter and son-in-law.

I’ve learned that even though I can’t quote statistics, formulas, loads, and calculate dimensions without a calculator, this tiny house of mine was solidly built, having withstood the challenges referenced in previous articles; hurricanes, blizzards, 80 mph winds with pouring rain, and recently, one of the heaviest and harshest snowstorms to hit New England in years.

So what’s the moral of this story? Build for durability! You probably never planned on considering a tiny house until recent years and you have no idea what direction future roads will lead you down. Comfort and amenities indoor can be modified over time. Renovations and revision can be made if you so wish. Quality and strength are the foundation. If they are shoddy nothing else will matter.

Build for flexibility in design and in use. Build with today’s lifestyle in mind, but also with tomorrow’s possibilities. Are you aging with bad knees? If so, a loft is probably not for you. Do you love to cook? If so, make sure you have adequate counter space. You get the idea.

And don’t forget to build for aesthetic satisfaction. Typically this can be done with careful selection of paints, finishes, and surface materials selection.


As a child my favorite dolls were something called Liddle Kiddles. They were teeny tiny dolls full of personality with toys unique to whom they each were, and they had the most adorable little cottages in which they lived. And they were portable.

Today I feel a lot like I have become a grown up version of one of them (not sure about the adorable piece).

As the adage goes, I wish I knew then what I know now. Instead of drawing princesses and dreaming of prince charming I would have taken shop class and gone to a trade or tech school!

But then again, teaching myself and learning on my own was AWESOME!

Process Improvement
New Ways of Doing the Routine

Tiny house folks, for the most part, are not a breed or a brand or a sub-culture. They are regular people living regular lives that to the outside onlooker look unique, extreme, novel, fringe, trendy, austere, or cutting edge; all dependent upon your vantage point, the story you are reading, or perhaps the tiny house photo you are gazing upon.

It has been my good fortune to meet the first type; regular folks living regular lives, maybe because I am cut from the same cloth and as they say, water seeks its own level.

Many of those I have met are women. The ones I consider gifts in my life are the ones who are willing to learn, to develop a new plan for their life, to pick up a hammer, to be scared by the scream of a power saw, to get dirty, to break a nail, to get bruises and not even know where they came from.

These women look for new ways. They reach and stretch. They cut new paths and can weather transitions. They can inconvenience themselves if it means taking a necessary step in the achievement of their objective.

Living in a tiny house, especially if off-grid means learning to do many things we consider traditional and doing them in old school ways or in ways that may not be truly new but they are new for us. This is often counter intuitive to the processes we currently live by.

When I built my tiny house I built it to be able to use a generator or propane. What I learned is that when I am living around other people the generator is too noisy and therefore electricity requires non generator access. Other generators are available but they are at price points I am as yet unable to afford.

What are some of the routines I’ve changed? How I start my day is perhaps the biggest one.

How I stock my pantry is another.shirley-loomis-tiny-house-in-the-snow

I’m moving my career path in new directions and have investigated some of the options available for remote and online workers.

Shopping, cleaning, and laundry time requirements have been drastically reduced.

Shopping is more efficient. There are many products that will serve multiple purposes while mitigating any environmental impact.

My body clock is more guided by the sunrise and sunset than was previously the case.

I’ve learned that if I want to get some work done, sit in my chair. Sitting on my sofa/sleeping nook I find myself simply too cozy and comfy to stay focused, fast, and on task.

Resource utilization has become something I pay attention to. I know how much water it takes to cook, wash dishes, shower, wash my hair, do laundry, and clean my little home.

I know how long a canister of propane will last when attached to each individual appliance.

I know how much heat a candle provides when using a large jar candle as opposed to smaller votive or tea light candles.

I know I want to build another one and I love tiny house living!

Learn more about Shirley at: http://www.coppertinwoodandwill.wordpress.com

Related Stories on Tiny House Talk with Shirley Loomis

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Alex is a contributor and editor for TinyHouseTalk.com and the always free Tiny House Newsletter. He has a passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to tiny cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. We invite you to send in your story and tiny home photos too so we can re-share and inspire others towards a simple life too. Thank you!
{ 6 comments… add one }
  • December 19, 2014, 11:52 am

    Great post. Thanks for sharing your experience, Shirley!

  • Shirley
    December 19, 2014, 8:43 pm

    Thanks for taking the time to read and comment folks. Don’t get me wrong. I am a capitalist. I like to make a good living and I like to be paid well for skills I have worked hard to cultivate. I love Democracy. I love my stuff. I also am someone who ended up homeless twice in spite of having an excellent work ethic. While building my TH I came across many who wanted a TH but didn’t want to invest time or money. My tiny house life. America about because I believe TOTALLY in the American Dream. I believe in working hard, being creative and finding a way to make a place for one’s self in this world. TH living seemed a logical way for me to do this given the timing and changes that took place in my life. Best of luck to each of you on your travels, dreams, and endeavors.

  • Shirley
    December 19, 2014, 8:52 pm

    Sorry for some of the ridiculous typos — REALLY hate autocorrect. It messes up whole phrases!!!

  • Doc
    December 20, 2014, 2:22 pm

    I’ve been reading these things so long this type style seems normal! So its all good. 😉
    Even for Alex! 🙂

  • Daniel
    December 21, 2014, 10:27 am

    Good thoughts of wisdom.

    It’s good to know the limitations of resources like the water and propane. It’s not all going to last forever.

  • Katherine
    December 22, 2014, 4:16 pm

    Gracias por sus reflexiones. Nos dejas conocer no solo lo que piensas sino también lo que sientes y aprendiste. En este mundo “moderno” donde no hay lugar para las equivocaciones, nos regalas tus errores y tus aciertos.
    Eres una mujer valiente!!

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