A few small changes in your everyday life can change your outlook — and this seems to be magnified when you live in a tiny house.
In the past couple of weeks, Tom and I have continued our adjustment to this new life — downsizing, testing new ideas, getting into new habits — and it’s about time to bring you up to speed with the small changes that are shifting our outlook.
First, and please don’t navigate away out of disgusted boredom, I must tell you that we started using a washing machine.
This was a big deal for us! Until we got the machine, keeping ahead of the rising tsunami of laundry meant packing the car with hampers of clothes and towels and driving to a laundromat to spend $10 a load to get our stuff clean and dry.
Tom often had to squeeze these laundry trips into his working day, along with the two hours spent commuting.
Meanwhile, in a tiny house, three or four days’ laundry just can’t be stored discreetly; wherever you put it, it soon starts leaking out like the Sweet Porridge.
First world problems, to be sure, but something we needed to solve if we were to feel independent and in charge of our time and limited space again.
We talked about washing machines a lot, wondered about space and power draw and water use, and looked at various models online.
Here’s the one Tom bought, for a princely $189. And no, he didn’t buy it from Barbie.
It fits so nicely in our dedicated laundry cupboard, right?
But we can’t actually use it there, because the pressure’s too low to push the water upwards to the inbuilt drain. So each wash day starts with lifting the machine (it weighs as much as a cake tin) into the bath, where the water can run off harmlessly and we can fill the tub with the shower handpiece.
It’s a twin-tub machine so it’s more, uh, interactive than an automatic. But it works, surprisingly well. And I don’t mind dashing backwards and forwards to it every few minutes because, weirdly, it makes me feel independent, and virtuous.
It’s a basic, age-old chore. And being able to handle that chore from go to whoa, pegging out and unpegging and folding, increases my sense of self-sufficiency and independence in this tiny house.
The next step is a proper, stretched-out washing line, extending to the shade tree at the corner of the paddock 15 metres away. For now, we have a little aluminium rotary-type line in the back yard, held down by tyres, and a few metres of fence that towels can hang on.
The other small change, drum roll, was that finally, finally I put up a fence out the front of the house. It comprises the panels of a dog pen, some steel modules we already owned, two dozen weed-mat pegs and a fistful of cable ties.
It wobbles in the wind, but it does its job: containing the dogs and creating space for us.
I couldn’t be prouder if I were Hadrian surveying his wall. This fence, and the mowed rectangle it protects, defines our territory amid a paddock full of ragged pasture and biscuits of horse poo.
I can’t tell you how much it lifted my spirits to see this spindly perimeter in place. We have a yard — a place where a deck can go, a place for chairs, a place for visitors.
We’ve also mowed a zone around the house that we can maintain, plant a garden in, and have access to our basement, i.e. the space under the house.
I even mowed a gentle arc from the house to our compost bin under the shade tree. This’ll make journeys there a little more pleasant.
And that shade tree, since last night, features another little upgrade in our standard of living: a hammock.
Life just keeps getting better!