“I quit!” “Why on earth did I ever think living in a tiny house was a good idea?” “I wonder if I could just sell this house and move into an apartment next month.” These are all statements that left my mouth in December…no really, I almost quit the tiny house life this past year. It’s not that I don’t love my tiny house, I do. And it’s not even that I want more space, I really don’t. It’s just that sometimes tiny living is tough and messy. And sometimes when life gets tough and messy it’s easy to second guess ourselves and look for an easy way out of the situation. So maybe you are wondering how I got to this point…well, it started with a vacation.
During the month of November, I went on vacation with my mom. It was a fun cruise we had been planning for almost a year and I couldn’t wait. I left my tiny house parked in it’s cozy little spot at my RV park in Colorado, and I hit the road. But before I left, I took all the precautions I could think of to winterize my home. I turned off my water, turned on my heat and left an extra set of keys with a friend “just in case.” The problem was, it didn’t go quite as planned, in fact it turns out that my vacation while fun, was somewhat of a disaster, at least for my tiny house.
I stopped by the office at my RV park when I returned home to collect my mail, and three days on a warm sandy beach were instantly obliterated by the words, “I think you have a leak in your house.” My deepest fears were confirmed when I pulled into my spot and saw icicles under the house. It turns out that when I returned from my dream cruise, I walked back into a nightmare complete with a frozen sewer line, a backed up toilet and a flooded bathroom.
As I looked around my house, I felt overwhelmed, exhausted and completely defeated. I am not too proud to say when I walked in my house I broke down in tears. I mopped up the water, put down towels and headed to the nearest hotel. I just didn’t have the energy to face a flooded house at 5 in the evening before I had even had time to unpack.
I returned the next day to really assess the damage and figure out what I needed to do to correct the problem. Luckily for me I found a plumber who was willing to make a weekend call. He came out, looked at the damage and promptly helped me fix the problem, which turned out to be a cracked fitting on my pipe under the house (most likely caused by the extreme cold weather that hit Colorado while I was at the beach).
It turns out that when you turn off your water to your tiny house, if you have a 50 foot hose there is most likely some residual water in the line that can’t be drained just by turning on the faucets. When temperatures dip into the single digits, that water has nowhere to go except into the house. Even that would be okay if your sewer line didn’t freeze and the water had somewhere to drain back out of the house. However, if all of those things happen, you might find yourself with a fresh water flood (I was just thankful that it was fresh water and not black water that flooded the bathroom!).
The good news is that everything was fixed with a call to a plumber, some elbow grease and a few hours on Pinterest scouring flooring and redecorating options. My cork flooring has been replaced by “luxury vinyl planking” and the entire home feels fresh and new. I’ve also taken some additional precautions for the Colorado winter.
My tiny house now has beautiful skirting (ok, not beautiful at all, but completely necessary!) and a small heater underneath that keeps my sewer lines from freezing and ensures that any water that enters the house has somewhere to go. I even added an additional space heater in the bathroom to help keep the temps up at night, which not only ensures the lines won’t freeze, but also makes it nice and toasty for my morning shower.
I’ve been in my tiny house for almost two and a half years now, and most of the time I love it. At least I did, until I moved to Colorado. Colorado winters have made living in my tiny house a bit of a challenge. The truth is, this flood made me question why I had picked this lifestyle. I started looking at all the “advantages” more conventional living offered and it made me want to quit this tiny life I’ve created.
But I am glad I didn’t quit when things got messy, because here is what I realized, life is messy and tough in any size house. There are always maintenance problems, little things to be fixed and occasional updates that need to be made. The good news is that in my tiny house an entire flooring renovation is manageable in terms of time and money. This disaster helped me remember why I love this lifestyle and why it’s the right choice for me right now.
Until next time, Dream Big and Live Small!