If you’ve ever thought about homesteading in a tiny house, this guest post by Molli McGee will give you more to think about — and if you are homesteading in a tiny house, share you experience in the comment section!
The word ‘homestead’ can sometimes bring up mental images of spacious fields and a big farmhouse. While this can certainly be the case, a homestead can come in all different shapes and sizes. Let’s look at tiny houses for example.
A tiny house is often less than 500 feet and can be built on a trailer or on a foundation like a traditional home. One of the reasons so many people are attracted to downsizing is because of the self-sufficiency that off grid living in a tiny house can bring. While not necessarily easy, homesteading in a tiny home can be a gratifying experience! Let’s take a look at some ways you can begin to homestead in a tiny house.
Using alternative energy to power your home is one of the biggest ways to get your tiny house off grid. Letting go of your reliance on grid-tied power not only is better for the environment, but it also gives a tiny house on wheels more freedom to roam. Tiny houses are particularly compatible with solar power (assuming you get decent sunlight), and you can buy kits that are fairly user-friendly to put together. While not the cheapest option, think of solar power as an investment in your life and in your planet.
Something else to think carefully about is where to put the battery for your tiny house solar system. Batteries are fairly sensitive to temperature, and need to be kept someplace where they won’t freeze. Consider keeping them in a cabinet inside the house or in an insulated hutch attached to the outside.
Pro Tip: Purchase a sealed battery that doesn’t give off toxic fumes!
A tiny house doesn’t mean you have to feel the cold on a chilly day. If you don’t want to rely on solar power to help heat your tiny home, consider a wood burning stove where your fuel can be picked up outdoors.
Pro Tip: A smaller space will heat up quickly, so be mindful of the stove size that you buy.
Plumbing is another important factor to consider when deciding to homestead your tiny house. If you want to forgo plumbing altogether, expect to keep buckets in your kitchen for washing dishes. If that doesn’t sound appealing, then you can choose to install a water tank and pump as long as there is a water source. When it comes to choosing a toilet, there are actually quite a few water-free options to choose from. One of the more popular options is the composting toilet because it doesn’t require any plumbing and actually benefits the environment. Showers are entirely dependent on your lifestyle. Some tiny house owners will forgo the home shower in favor of the gym shower, while others opt for the splash bath or to fill up their tanks for a proper shower system.
The great thing about tiny houses is that they really play off both function and design; this is particularly the case in regards to storage. Growing one’s own food is popular amongst homesteaders, but storing it with limited space presents another issue. Here are some efficient food storage tips:
- Building shelving in small spaces is always a good idea because they take up less space than regular furniture.
- Hang a webbed bag (picture a tiny hammock) to hold fresh fruits and vegetables. They won’t roll away if you move your tiny house!
- Secure the tops of mason jars overhead in the kitchen. You can screw on jars full of spices in a place that’s out of the way and also looks good!
Ready to Homestead?
If done right, tiny houses are built with the potential to live off grid and support a minimalist, self-sufficient way of living. If you feel like downsizing is realistic for your lifestyle, then you could be ready for your tiny homestead!
If you want to homestead but are afraid to try because you are single, check out this blogpost – Lessons Learned as a Single Homesteader
5 thoughts on “Tiny House Homesteading”
We’ve just moved into a tiny house on wheels and are setting ourselves up in a homesteading way. However, we’re not off-grid and don’t plan to in the near future.
I totally agree with you on the space issue. We’re lucky that we have some common space we share with other tiny houses where we can build a chicken coop and brew beer.
We’re in a tiny house in rural Portugal and we love it! The land we’re on is huge but the tiny house is 15m2 (45 square feet or so). We use solar power for electricity, set up basic cold water plumbing for running water that comes from a spring, have a compost toilet in the woods, and an outdoor shower for good weather (in a few weeks we’ll probably swap the electric boiler for a gas water heater so we can use the inside shower – currently storage space – in winter).
Our greatest challenge is room to prepare and store preserves etc, but that’s a work in progress (we’ll probably use an animal shelter turned toolshed).
I am Portuguese…living in Calif….tired of rat race!
How did you find your property in Portugal? Are you close to a town/city?
If you decide to set up in a tiny home structure (Travel Trailer, Shed, High Dollar Tiny House) realize that you will critically need weather-protected storage for EVERYTHING – clothes, boots, linens, dry goods, surplus food… and will need a back up freezer and refrigerator.
We lived in an 8′ x 24′ Travel Trailer for 2 years, and ended up putting a roofed deck across the front and a tarped patio across the back.
We lost books to mildew, and bulk beans and grains to weather changes, heat and humidity. Also, our clothes had to be stored in bins on the front porch and had to be laundered within a short time before each use.
It can get you launched, but you will be severely limited in a tiny home.
Thanks for sharing your experience!