Posted by: Barbara Evanhoe | March 11, 2011

Living Small

Today I will write  a short “post-script” (pun intended) to the “Off-the-Grid” series, on yet another subject that has fascinated me over the years: compact living.

During my lifetime, the size of the average home has increased to the point that we now refer to them as “McMansions”, which are located in sprawling subdivisions on the outskirts of just about every town in America.

I never had a desire to live in a house like that, but I must admit that it could have been realism, rather than idealism that held the desire in check, as I was never in a financial position to purchase one if I’d wanted to!

A small house keeps you on your toes…you have to be organized, and selective of the possessions you keep, but a small house does not have to be claustrophobic either.

A well-designed “tiny house” can give you a place for all of your “stuff”, and still keep square footage to a minimum.

Some houses are tiny so they can be portable, or affordable, or so they leave as small a footprint on the earth as is possible ~ blending into their natural surroundings, rather than overpowering them.

Life in our fifth wheel is an exercise in tiny living, although our home is large by fifth wheel standards ~ almost 400 square feet!

We have a nice bedroom, sitting area and kitchen, two bathrooms, and a den/music room with a loft, which we use for storage. There are also several storage compartments in the “basement” for things like tools and golf clubs, but other than that, everything we own fits into our home.

Here are some pics…

Kitchen in "The Shanty"

Dining Area

Sitting Area


Music Room / Den

Music Room / Den

We are totally comfortable living in this space, and don’t get in one another’s way, as you might think would happen in such a small home.

Of course we had to pare down when we moved in, and now we have a “one in / one out” rule which makes us think before we make a purchase, but we do not want for anything, and could actually pare down a bit more if we needed to.

Although our home is not currently equipped to live off the grid, we could add solar panels to supply electricity. Our fresh water and waste systems are built to be self-contained, but each needs to be either replenished or drained at regular intervals in order to function, if we choose to remain mobile.

If we were to settle on a plot of land, though, we could incorporate a water collection system and composting toilets and live quite comfortably off-the-grid.

Over the years as I have explored the topic of living small, I’ve run into many interesting tiny house designs.

Here are just a few websites on the topic, and I urge you to check them out ~ at least for the pictures.

Interesting food for thought!

Tumbleweed Tiny Houses


Dornob Design Ideas


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