Saturday, February 2, 2013

Did You Really Think It Through?

Image Credit Unknown (drop me a line if you know)
Every Saturday and Sunday morning I lay in bed and check the news and updates to blogs I follow. I enjoy this quiet and relaxing time and the ideas and info I glean as I read. Today I went through the list of tiny house blogs I follow and was irked by a trend I am beginning to spot. So many folks focus on building their tiny home and talking about living in the boonies, being "self-sustaining" and all that jazz, but never really think about what the hell they are getting themselves into what it takes to live that way.

It seems there are a couple of schools of thought in the tiny house movement. One is the group of folks that are embracing the challenge of just building their own home. Most of these folks end up selling their creation within a year or two of building it. The second group are the ones that have been forced (in a sense) to downsize and need to figure out how to live in a smaller space. The third group, like myself, decide they would like to get back to nature and live a more sustainable life with a smaller footprint.

The first group is predictable. Not everyone intends to live in their tiny home year round, but to use it for vacations or until the novelty wears off.

The second group is thrown into a situation and must learn to cope, however, most of the time, based on the blogs I have been reading, end up hating it and resent that these hardships have occurred. Normally their blog winds up with them moving back to a larger town or city, into a regular home, and looking back on their experience much like Ralph Waldo Emerson did with Walden. They have a nostalgic view, but don't intend to do it again unless forced to. Emerson didn't write Walden while living there; he wrote Walden after returning to "civilization."

The third group will be the subject of this blog post. They are the folks that have big dreams in their heads of getting back to the simpler life. The only problem with the simpler life is that it is not so simple. No, you must haul water, harness power, produce food, etc. It is far from simple. The biggest pitfall to living as I plan is lack of planning. Plain and simple, you must look at all the everyday tasks in life and decided how you will perform them. Right now we take for granted that we can turn the faucet handle and water will come out. Turn it to the left and hot water will come out. How will you make that happen when you are off-the-grid? Laundry and heating seem to be the big problems for most of these bloggers. They discover that washing and hanging things on the line can be very time consuming and requires effort. They really don't have a system in place, but kind of learn as they go along. When the first cold snap hits, they scramble to figure out why their tiny house is constantly cold. They didn't think about storm windows, better insulation, and the BTU's their particular source of heat is capable of producing. All these are HUGE when you are talking about living far from town.

The point of this post is to get people really thinking about what they are intending to do. To dream is one thing, but dreams do not normally contain the reality of the situation. It is easy to sit here in my nice comfy bed, sipping a hot cup of coffee, working on my laptop which is wirelessly streaming Internet to write about these things. Indeed I am sure I will hit snags along my great adventure, but I will not go my homestead without a clear understanding of how to maintain our comfort and quality of life.

I welcome input and questions about meeting the everyday needs while living in the "boonies" and encourage readers to consider how they would take care of everyday basic needs such as heat, power, cooking, laundry, toilet, hygiene, etc. and put pen to paper. Then consider what you write down carefully. Are your plans realistic? Are they complete? Do you have a back-up in case that plan does not work? Remember, the goal is to live your dream, not to find out your dream was really a nightmare.