Living in My Extreme Tiny House

Peter has been living in an extreme tiny house, the size is 4′ x 7′ which measures out to 28 square feet. Peter recently started a blog and goes into the details of living this small and I am going let Peter tell you a what it is like to live in these small quarters.

I have now been living in my little trailer for almost nine months. Eight of those months have been parked next to my friends house in Washington State. With an extension chord running from the garage it is essentially like a detached bedroom.

I have power for my space heater which came in handy this winter when it got down to about 10 degrees. I also keep my laptop charged and am able to recieve a wifi signal from the house. Lighting is handled by battery powered LED lights. They do a pretty good job but are not quite bright enough to read by. As I may have mentioned previously, I have a small fold down table, a decent sized closet/cabinet, and my bookcase full of books. All in all, quite cozy.

As far as the not so stellar aspects of tiny trailer living. It can seem a bit cramped at times. Much of my possessions are stored in my friends garage. I did purge a lot of my stuff before this adventure began, however I still have a lot of work to do. It does fit into ( and on top of) my truck but isn’t very accessible. My trailer is pretty easy to get into almost any camp site and I’d like to keep it that way, so I am leaning against a bigger rig. Which means I will need to get rid of even more of my treasures!

Read Peter’s complete story at his IttyBittyHouseTales blog.

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Zer0 - April 5, 2011 Reply

This would be too small for me but I tip my hat in respect for his ability to adjust to extreme circumstances.

johnny nightraint - April 5, 2011 Reply

Seems more like just surviving than “living”.

Good luck, be safe. hope you’re saving lots of money, then you can get/build yourself a tumbleweed or get an airstream.

Peter Spektrum - April 5, 2011 Reply

Hats off as well. I live in even smaller. I converted my 2000 Honda Accord to a mini RV. I think we should all get together and spring for some land somewhere so we establish something for future generations to marvel at. Call me. I’m serious. 702-423-0074 cell.

    mike - April 5, 2011 Reply

    Wow, that is awesome. I have actually thought about different ways to create a comfortable sleeping area in mine. Something to tour the country with and be somewhat comfy, even work out of if possible (laptop). I would really, really love to see pics of yours!!

    Regarding the original article, hey if you are going to go small, you might as well go real small!

    cj - April 6, 2011 Reply

    Please, please post more details. Would love to see!

Amanda - April 5, 2011 Reply

I went to Peter’s blog. It looks like he has a mould problem and is having to abandon this one and looking at building something slightly larger?

Pretty amazing to do though even in the short term. Best of luck!

Alex - April 5, 2011 Reply

That’s amazing. Too bad about the mold… I can’t wait to see what you do next (with better ventilation).

Would you consider having a higher pitch on the roof next time around? Would help you feel better when you’re in there but then again makes it taller and more annoying to drive around.

Sarah K. - April 5, 2011 Reply

Really neat. Looks like a vardo. Not too long ago I drew up a 3d model of a 30 square foot camper like this. I got the inspiration from Derek Diedricksen’s “Gypsy Junker” on Relaxhacks.com. If you haven’t seen it yet I recommend checking it out. It’s very unique.

Virgil - April 5, 2011 Reply

More power to you, but I guess I’m skeptical about this particular approach. Sure there’s such a thing as a tiny house, but then there’s a camper/tent, and I think yours falls squarely into the latter format. When you’re relying on others for basic needs such as a bathroom (and in your case storage of your belongings and a power outlet), is it really fair to call it a house?

    Bob H - April 5, 2011 Reply

    I agree, most these small Trailer based shelters need a host to provide conveniences.

      gregor - April 5, 2011 Reply

      I would say though that this is all useful in terms of working towards that sort of goal, of a full house as it were. It takes time to work out the details, and even if he is only working on some section of how one might live full time in a home this small, that’s still really useful.

    Irene - April 6, 2011 Reply

    Whether or not you can call it a “house” is less relevant to me than the fact that by living in this small space and using existing facilities for bathing, showering, etc, this fellow’s carbon footprint is far smaller than if he were living in his own house or apartment and using his own continually plugged-in appliances, water heater, etc. As he says, he also has parted with many possessions (and really, does the world need any more cheap crap made in China?). Many people are living in smaller spaces to reduce usage of land, utilities and other resources, and that is a noble endeavor, even if their space doesn’t have a shower.

Arlos - April 5, 2011 Reply

Personally, I’d say having , living, cooking and bathing facilities would be required before calling anything a habitat.
Mold is due to condensation and lack of air movement regardless of materials.
It’s alway good to have an infra red heat sensing gun to find heat leaks when building one of these. These are available about everywhere today for under $50.
Air exchangers are below $500 for small spaces and use body heat to warm the space and exchange the air along with the moisture from a closed inhabited space. Unless you can determine who and where the problem began, you’re bound to repeat the mistake.

April - April 5, 2011 Reply

Holy moly that makes our tiny house look like a McMansion!!

Kallos - April 6, 2011 Reply

I agree with nightrain , arlos and others above who point out this camper isn’t really fit for this blog. A tiny house has to be a tiny SELF-SUFFICIENT house. A tent, a hammock, a sleeping bag in the camper or as here a shed on wheels are fine, but a house is about being able to live in it. As an experienced summer hammock-camper sleeping every night for free slung between trees, eating in restaurants and doing what the bears do in the woods, I can say that what makes a house, as opposed to camping out, are the kitchen and the bathroom. All the rest is optional.

Benjamin - April 6, 2011 Reply

Just a little nit, but I think you really need to consider it a little more than 4×7, since it is wider than the floor above the benches.

A long time ago I lived in a VW bus for 9 months without toilet, shower, and only a minimal kitchen/sink area and so I would consider this really more than just a bedroom, but a livable space.

In my case I used public toilets (plus a jar for night-time needs), showered in a gym, and mostly ate out.

I lived this way to save money, not because I had to. I saved enough in 9 months for a down payment on a small house (this was back when houses were actually affordable for the working class).

Ben - April 6, 2011 Reply

Housing is normally culturally defined. What is it apart from culture? – shelter, refuge, a place to allow for some bodily functions like sleep…

I’ve admired the micro compact home and vardos… What Peter is doing IS workable, he does though need to design to avoid mold problems, even if the structure stays the same size.

I’ve a friend whose 900 sq ft home also has a mold problem, even his furniture and carpeting is moldy. I wonder, if living in a humid, forest with his windows open 24 hours a day rain or shine and few breezes have anything to do with this.

    alice - April 8, 2011 Reply

    I have a 13′ Boler trailer on the soggy BC coast left unheated for a lot of the winter with a small window open a bit for ventilation and no mold problems at all inside. I do use a small container of calcium chloride to take some of the moisture out but it wasn’t a big issue before using it either. Human activity puts out a heck of a lot of moisture and if it gets trapped inside you will get mold. The best thing you can do is make sure there is good air flow through the space and venting for inside moisture and no leaks for outside moisture to find its way in.

    Josh - April 9, 2011 Reply

    What Peter is doing IS workable…

    Yeah, when you’ve got a regular house to park it outside of. As he said, it’s basically just a remote room. He has to rely on power from the house, the kitchen in the house, the toilet and shower in the house. So it’s only workable if you have access to those things from somewhere else, or if you want to be like Ted Kaczynski, and live out in the woods, not shower, go to the bathroom outside (or in a bucket), not have running water, live without electricity, etc. Although, even he lived larger than this. About four and a quarter times larger – he had to have space to build “things” after all.

Dan - April 6, 2011 Reply

I see a Steinbeck book on the shelf. That trailer would be good enough for me!

Lynne Diligent - April 9, 2011 Reply

What I’d like to know is what do you do about the bathroom and water to wash hands. What do you do about baths (or washing your body)?

Josh - April 9, 2011 Reply

I agree with the earlier post that this seems like surviving rather than living. Looks like it would be a good alternative for homeless people. For those trying to get back on their feet anyway. If they were able to work and pay a small rental fee (if for no other reason than to give them some responsibility). Situate a bunch of these in an area within walking distance of the YMCA or some place they can shower, put a couple porta-potties out there for them – beats sleeping in a tent or worse. Maybe the modicum of comfort and privacy it provides would help motivate them to get back on their feet.

nana36 - April 6, 2013 Reply

I dream of building a tiny house ( about 8′ x 16 or 20′). I would be able to entertain my family in the fold out patio room or take them to an inexpensive restaurant. What I’d be saving in Cost of Living, I could afford to do that more often than I can in my big house now. We MUST down-size. We can’t afford to take care of this house any more, financially or physically. Now they want to cut our Social Security rather than tax the rich a little more, so it’s becoming imparative that we cut back even more so that the rich can continue to keep their obcene millions they don’t know what to do with.

Donatella - October 2, 2014 Reply

Silly and uncomfortable, as well as unsafe – do you have to worry about overnight cop visits and other issues? I’m all for small housing but not like this.

Why not look in Craigslist for a win-win situation whereby you get room (and possibly board) in exchange for caretaking of a senior citizen, handicapped person or farm? CL is loaded with them.

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