Its official, been here in our tiny house for 6 full months. Would I change my mind if I knew then what I know now ? Absolutely not. There is definitely some things I did not know or would had done differently. We live in Maine so that means we get to enjoy all four seasons, including winter. We were prepared for winter for the most part but there is a few things I will be doing different next winter. I have skirting around the house but next year I will change the skirting from plywood to insulation board. Though we haven’t had a lot of problems with freezing pipes as I do have heating tapes on the water pipes, I did have a drain pipe freeze and back up. Some of that might had been from not having the front of the house fully enclosed on the bottom and I keep the water dripping when the temperature drops below 20 degrees so there was ice build up in the pipe. As far as staying warm and any other cold weather concerns we are in pretty good shape.
When we were preparing to move into the tiny house I planned on the space I would have for our cloths and toys. I bought four big pretty cloth baskets, two for Noah, two for me. One would hold our pants, the other our shirts. I also bought four smaller cloth baskets, two a piece. One for socks and the other for underwear. What ever I could not fit in those baskets was sold at a yard sale before we moved. I did make an allowance for seasonal cloths and items that would be stored in plastic totes with the snap closers under the house. As for Noah’s toys, that was a hard one for me, I really had to buckle down and stand my ground with my decision and keep focused on the benefits and freedom living in a tiny house would afford us. I went through all his toys until I was able to fit the remaining toys in a large trunk , the rest went on the yard sale. This really was the hardest part for me. Moving into a tiny house takes commitment.
My tiny house has two lofts, one in the front of the house and the other in the back. There was a 30 gallon hot water heater in the front loft, in order to be able to use that space for Noah to sleep in I had to make a tough decision about the water heater. I had to decide if I would go with an on demand water heater or a 10 gallon water heater that would fit under the sink. In the end I chose the 10 gallon. With the 10 gallon we are able have just enough hot water for dishes, but there is definitely no enjoying long hot showers, ten minutes is about the max. I may revisit the on demand hot water heater in the future but really we are not complaining.
I think one of the biggest things I would change if I could had is I would have done all the interior work before I moved in. Everytime I do work on the inside of the house the whole house and everything in it gets covered in saw dust. There are a lot of projects that will need to wait for spring to be completed just because of that reason. Then of course life happens happens and I injured my shoulder so other projects will have to wait until I recover.
In the ended I don’t regret for one second making the decision to go tiny. As a matter of fact all the “stuff” I struggled so hard to get rid of we don’t even miss. Our tiny house has simplified our lives and changed what we value. We snuggle more and clean less, we play more and my relationship with my little guy is stronger than ever. Yes people do come to visit and are surprised how comfortable they are when they are here… many people have walked in my little piece of heaven a skeptic and walked out a believer. If you are reading this because you are considering a tiny home please feel free to comment or ask any questions in the comments below. Thank you for stopping by !!
Hello everyone ! This is my 5th month of the Tiny House On the Spectrum blog. I really honestly have no idea what I am doing BUT I am doing it ! I would love some reviews and honest critiques of my blog. Also feel free to leave a link to your blog (if you have one) I would love to see what you are all doing ❤
Up until this point The Tiny House The Spectrum Blog has been almost like a social page for me, like Facebook or Twitter. I’m realizing that we have drawn some attention so I’m feeling like I need to tighten up my rambling a bit.
I want to really break this down, I am writing this blog for 3 major reasons.
1. Autism awareness (Not sugar coated)
2. Poverty education (Not sugar coated
3. Tiny House living (Also not sugar coated)
For us these things go seamlessly hand and hand together. When Noah was 3 his father left us, he was our source of income and I was Noah’s only care taker, he was still in the process of being diagnosed so we had no support services. We went from poor to extreme poverty over night. Noah and I ended up in a shelter, as matter of fact it was a shelter I had volunteered and staffed for several years before Noah was born. Being on the other side and being a consumer in the same shelter was very difficult, but within that I was gifted in really understanding the truth about poverty. Accessing resources was HARD, I found that many had so many rules and regulations and took so long to qualify for that it made my situation feel even more hopeless. On top of that after working as a respected professional for a good part of my adult life suddenly I was perceived as less intelligent, I felt I had been stripped of my integrity and the only thing that had changed about me as a person is now I was impoverished.
After leaving the shelter I was able to get a subsidized apartment a diagnosis and support services for Noah, it seemed that things were looking up. My next step was to get back to work, but here was the problem…going back to work would cause us to loose our subsidy and possible the healthcare that paid for Noah’s services. We would be right back to where we started. I knew I had to figure it out because there was no way on earth I was going to stay on welfare my whole life even if I would be justified in doing so, I did not want those limits on our lives. I was terrified but I did it anyway. That is where the Tiny house came in. I started researching how to build a tiny house, I thought “if I could just do it myself I could build Noah and I house we could afford even if we didn’t have the subsidy AND Noah would always have a place to live even after I’m gone”. My Pinterest was stacked full off tiny house plans, I was obsessed ! I got a job and started squirreling away every dime I could, the following month I lost my subsidy and now had to pay the full price for the apartment we lived in at almost 1,000 dollars a month, it seemed I had gambled and lost after childcare and car repairs, we almost lost the apartment. I began to search for a small one bedroom apartment for Noah and I. In the search for the apartment I saw my Tiny house. I told the owner our story(Jay) and he agreed to finance it for us( God must have whispered in his ear). It made so much more sense to have a house I could pay off and own in 2 short years than to dump money into an apartment that would never be ours or to take out a mortgage on a home that would never be paid off at my age,leaving Noah with nothing. So here we are in our tiny house ! My dream is to help other people in challenging situations achieve the freedom of home ownership as well. I continue to research and take steps into the future in making a tiny house community possible.
Living in a tiny home with a kiddo with autism is not only doable for me but more comfortable for him. He prefers to be tucked in as opposed to flaying around into the universe of a bigger space, he feels safe here. Financial and emotionally this was really the best choice I could have made.
Advocating for my son, for autism, for those living in poverty, for the tiny house movement not only make sense to me but is socially, economically a responsible thing to do. We have smaller footprint for so many reasons even outside the obvious. Advocating for these things is really advocating for ourselves and others in the same boat. So there it is “The Tiny House On The Spectrum Story ” Thank you all for visiting us ! Rebecca and Noah.
The news, I do my level best not to watch it but its like one of those ridiculous series that are so shockingly offensive you just can’t seem to take your eyes off of it. I watch in suspense and disgust with my mouth hanging open barely blinking, shaking my head. Is this real ? Is this reality T.V ? Do we even know ? Five more years is all I need to get my tiny paid for and on a piece of property, all mine, no payment. I just need five stinking more years before the world looses its freaking mind. No I’m not a dooms dayer or survivalist .My original reason for buying a tiny house and wanting to be off grid was for financial security, piece of mind and to have a home to leave to Noah so I know he will always have a place to live. Seems like this tiny house may come in more handy than I had originally thought at this rate. At this point in time it seems I really have to look for the solids in my life.
Here are 10 things that I am absolutely sure of:
1.God is real
2.Nothing happens without his permission
3.The Earth is round
4.It is stinking cold tonight
5.Voice to txt is not the easiest way to write a blog
6.Chocolate is good
7.Coffee is necessary
8.Not everyone will love you
9. That might just be a blessing.
10.Tomorrow is not promised, so try to do what is RIGHT today.
AND the BONUS thing I am absolutely sure of is:
11 (Bonus) I am a honest but uniquely human mess and I’m ok with that 🙂
I’m again thinking about being creative in my existence, thinking about how to live my best with the least Finances. My goal is to get my over all month to month cost of living down to 600 month and it is very doable in the long term in my situation but its taken a lot of planning. In all actuality there are millions of Americans doing this already, many living on even less, they are those living under the poverty guidelines. Just a bit of food for thought, a single mom of only one child working a minimum wage job brings home maybe 375. a week after taxes, she will pay 100-150 dollars a week in childcare and most government programs do not count childcare cost when determining eligibility so she can receive extra help. So she has to be away from her child, and then not be able to even provide for their basic needs with a 40 hour a week job. Think about it.. the minimum wage in my area is 11hr, the average rent is 800-1200 plus utilities a month… now imagine a single mom of 3. I am putting my money where my mouth is in realizing I need to learn HOW to do this and then show others, I’m on the right track… so face it the sooner we get off the consumerism train and jump on the train to independence in providing for ourselves through lowering our cost of living ,giving ourselves more freedom in choosing what defines the quality of our lives the better off we are all going to be both financially and the more stabile we will be as people, neighbors and communities. I don’t want to work 40 hours a week or more for Armani, Gucci or 30 year mortgages. Instead I would rather invest that time and money back into building up our families and our communities. That would mean as a collective whole we would have to thinking in terms “us” and not “me”. The bottom line, and we all know it is there is no Government or nonprofit agency that is going to do that for us. We ARE going to have to do it together. Sink or swim. So start saving, start doing and lets make this real. Its not utopian, this is the way people have been humaning for centuries. We grew our own food, we built our own homes and raised our own kids. Our advantage now is we have better technology and understanding of how to do this in so many ways then we have had at in anytime in history, Just google it if you don’t believe me ! I look forward to your ideas and feedback .
Thank you all for sticking with me, I’m still on the mend so I’m not able to be here as much but I’m working hard to get back !
Sitting on my front porch I can almost feel what Vincent van Gogh felt when he imagined Starry Night . It must have been a cold night for the sky to be that particular Deep color blue. The moon dangling in the sky like a giant dense egg yolk. When you breathe out your breath swirls around your head and up into the air and dances in the sky just like Van Gogh described in his painting. Hit me like a ton of bricks just sitting here with my feet kicked up on the railing staring at the sky snuggled in my blanket exactly what he felt or at least what I hope he felt . Sitting on this porch thankful for this tiny house on the Spectrum I could have never imagined we would be here, when just a few short years ago I was lying in the bottom of a bunk bed in a women’s shelter, with my son terrified of where life would bring us it felt so scary and hopeless. It’s been a lot of hard work getting here . As I sit on this porch faced with another hurdle part of me is screaming “ I can’t do this anymore” “ I give up” but the other part of me saying “ look what God did, he brought us from a homeless shelter to here ! What is his plan for this??? Overall I’ve been a good steward of the money he’s given me and spent wisely but still with this shoulder injury even a few weeks down could blow us out of the water. I’m going to keep my head up and my nose to the ground. I’m going to try to stay focused on the things that I can do and do them. I can still blog, I have voice to text. There’s a lot I can still do, it’s just time to change gears. Maybe its time to explore new avenues into making this tiny house community a reality. Up until now the work and miracles God has done in my life has been between him and I and very few others but now it will be between him and I and all of you. I think it’s okay to feel scared, it’s okay to feel worried but more importantly even in that to dig in, rely my faith so you all can be witness to what he can do. So stick around and watch, and I will to !
Life can be so unpredictable. One day your cruising along without a care in the world, the next day it can all come to a screeching holt, you think you’ve got this and then you find out you really don’t no matter what safe guard you have in place, things can unravel quickly for any of us in the other percent. Over 100 million people in the United States live just one or two pay checks away from poverty, while 43.1 million live in poverty. Out of 325.7 million Americans, those are some huge numbers. So why are we living so close to the edge ? Part of that is because we are trying to borrow something that’s not ours and call it our own. We drive cars we don’t own, we live in houses we don’t own and spend money on credit that is not ours. The illusion of a good life with all the bells and whistles is now considered success when in reality its not , its debt. When staying out of debt should be the goal, getting good credit is the goal leaving a very fragile infrastructure that can be taken down quickly with an injury or illness. Though I see this and I’m sure many of you do too. I am sitting on the edge of poverty with my hands tied behind my back to scared to move because I feel at this very moment I am tittering. I know the answer, with a few acres of land and some hard working people we could start moving people into financial stability one family or individual at a time. Home ownership in a tiny house community isn’t novel or rebel or hippy, its smart. Its living mortgage free in just a short period of time, its being responsible for our footprint, our environment, our finances. How cool would it be to live in a community of people who where doing all those things. Their cost of living would be lower, their work to life ratio would be better, sounds like a happy little group of people to me !! I want it ! I want it so stinking bad !! Here I am sit sitting on the edge tittering, worried about falling back into poverty now after my shoulder continues to get worse. Will I loose my job ? I owe just 10,000 on my tiny house, will I loose that to. I’m scared, I’m damn scared…. but still I can’t stop thinking about this tiny house community. If it were a reality, I wouldn’t have to be scared, I would just simply change gears. Its not right for people to live in fear like this, especially you are a hard working, honest person. This fear though it drives me to advocate stronger, God always has a valuable lesson in times like these.
I love to sit on the porch at night and watch it snow. It feels like God just laid a big thick white blanket over my world, the sounds change and everything looks so clean, the smell of my hot apple cinnamon cider is even more inviting than usually. It feels like Christmas. I leased a lot in a small mobile home community, my tiny house sets back from the road a bit lined with big old oak trees with a few giant pines in the back yard. Until tonight it felt as though I was set apart from this little community because my lot is so sheltered but with the leaves gone and the snow on the ground I can see my neighbor’s porch lights and the glow from their windows. Christmas lights, trim and decorations are slowly finding there way on to peoples homes, tonight everyone is putting around and cleaning up from todays snow. I can hear the sound of their voices and the revving of their snow blowers, the back up signal from the plow trucks but its still peaceful. Sitting on my porch drinking my cider watching life in this tidy little community, people drive by and wave…it makes me feel apart of something if just a little bit. After the last few days of nearly total isolation in this house with a very sick little boy( he has croup) it felt good to see people. Isolation is one of our biggest barriers. Because Noah has such a difficult time being around a lot of stimulation when we do go to an event or gathering often times we leave early, we are not invited to a lot of social get togethers because I often times can’t make it, have to leave early or when we do make it people are uncomfortable with Noahs behaviors. If I asked to come most people would say yes but invitations are not usually given. I get it, its ok but the excuses wear on me. The holidays can be particularly difficult for my feelings of isolation. My plan this year is to make the absolute best of it, maybe even try to start some traditions of our own with Noah. I think for Thanksgiving maybe we will make homemade pizza(Noah doesn’t eat meat), apple pie and put up our Christmas tree. Take a hike ? Cook some marshmellows outside somewhere. I love the holidays, always have but this year instead of being home hurt because we wasn’t invited or because nobody came we will find OUR way of making the holidays special. We are slowly finding ourselves in this life and giving up on trying to fit into this world more and find more what fits for us. Its a hard journey but beautiful as well. A few people have asked me what it would be like spending a long winter in a tiny house and I wondered that myself, I’m quickly finding that it is OUR fit, like snuggling up with a favorite blanket, its made us closer, happier and Noah’s slowly blossoming. The Tiny house is so pretty sitting in a cloud of snow with its little white cap on it. I will take this life any day over any other !
Today I dropped my car off at the garage for repairs (again) after dropping Noah off at daycare . I spent the whole day at home by myself BY MYSELF can you believe it !?! My goal in what to do with all this time ? Absolutely nothing ! Well I tried any way. I started out by getting back into my pjs and powering up my laptop, looking for a good movie on Netflix, I started the first one “The Outlaw King” , I really like history and triumph but after fast forwarding threw all the fighting scenes( watching people being impaled isn’t my idea of a good time) the movie was over in about 15 minutes. I tried to watch a few documentaries but I just couldnt seem to get into them, so I did what I do and started reading about Tiny house communities ,looking at different tiny house lay outs and storage ect. While doing this I began to think about the Tiny house community, what exactly would it look like ? What would be the advantages and disadvantages socially and economically, would it be a coop or closer to a subdivision? Would we have a shared common space or would we be more independent . Would there be governing rules and if so what would they be ? My goal in a tiny house community would be to gain more independence for myself financially, for others to be able to do the same and to be a part of a more cohesive community. I don’t want a bunch of crazy subdivision type rules that would dictate my living space but I do want to live among people who have a sense of pride in the community and how it looks, does that make sense ? I want to be able to own goats and gardens and express my creativity freely. I’m still tossing a bunch of thoughts and ideas around in my head about what a tiny house community would look and feel like. I would love to start a conversation about what this would look like to others, maybe who have ideas I haven’t thought of or skills I don’t have. Maybe you too will be inspired in the dialogue. Lets talk, lets put our heads together !! AND GOOO !