5 Reasons Tiny Home Living Was Awful

Tiny home living is not for everyone. I thought tiny home living was going to be AWESOME! Then I lived in a tiny home for a year....  

5 Reasons Tiny Home Living Was Awful from www.goingzerowaste.com #tinyhome #zerowaste #minimalliving

I was so convinced that I was ready for tiny home living, I was looking at buying an RV so I could quit my full-time job and travel the US.

I mean, that sounds pretty awesome right? Travel the world, blog, and have no boss?? 

But after living in a 325 sq. ft. tiny home, I can attest... it was not that awesome. In fact it made my life pretty miserable.

As I'm sure you know, layout is everything. Living in a tiny home that's laid out well, might have been awesome, but The house I was living in was NOT laid out very well.

This tiny home was built in the 30s. There were three small windows and even on a bright sunny day, you'd have to have all the lights on in the house because it was just dark. 

The kitchen and bathroom weren't that bad.... but I definitely could have gone for some more counter space in the kitchen. I really like to cook and meal prep, and only having one small wedge of counter space made it difficult to prep large quantities of food. 

There also wasn't an appropriate dining area. It was hard to fit two people at the table.... so we definitely weren't able to entertain which is something I love. 

Another huge downside was not having a defined living and sleeping space. My bed was my couch, desk, and sleeping area. It was rough... especially rough on my posture. Add all of that to the lack of windows, and it was just a recipe for disaster. 

I started working for Pela Case freelance in February so I was working from home all day....

2 adults and a 50lb dog in a 325 sq. ft. is just really tight quarters. 

I don't regret making the choice to give tiny home living a try, but it's definitely something I'm glad to be leaving behind.

A couple of the points that I left out of the video are schedules and being creative. 


Justin and I are both on completely opposite schedules. He's a night owl and I'm an early riser. When we were living in the tiny home he was finishing his audio engineering degree and working at Fantasy Studios. 

He would often be working late night recording sessions. When you walk into the tiny home you walk straight into the bedroom/living room so he'd come home when I was trying to sleep. It would wake up the dog and get her all excited. She would need to go out.

Then I would wake him up when I tried to make breakfast and get work done in the morning. It was just a mess. 

being creative: 

The tiny home definitely forced me to be creative, like having to take photos in the bathroom at 4 PM with a piece of card stock on top of the commode because it was the only well lit area in the house. 

And, while that worked sometimes, other times it just didn't and I think my blog suffered because of it. I wasn't able to take pictures easily (lack of light) and I just felt stifled. I didn't feel happy, positive, and upbeat like I normally do and I think that came through in my work. 

For the other five reasons I hated tiny home living, watch the video below.

What do you think? Do you love tiny home living? Hate it? Willing to give it a try? 

Check out my pre-tiny zero waste home tour and my post-tiny zero waste home tour to see where I moved! 

5 Tips for Breaking up with Plastic

Happy World Ocean's Day everyone! Today we're also kicking off the G7 summit following World Environment Day whose theme was Beat Plastic Pollution. 

Plastic pollution has really been in the spotlight, and I'm loving it! 

5 tips for breaking up with plastic from www.goingzerowaste.com #zerowaste #plasticfree #ditchplastic #goingzerowaste

I have been able to connect with so many people through the National Geographic article that just came out. 

It can be really difficult to know where to start when it comes to breaking up with plastic. I wanted to give you my top five tips for phasing it out of your life. 

1. go slow:

When you really start to see all of the plastic, you can't un-see it. Plastic is EVERYWHERE. 

It seems like you'll never be able to escape it, but I promise with a little bit of patience you will. It just takes time. Don't feel like you have to do everything RIGHT NOW. 

It's ok to be patient. No one goes zero waste or plastic free overnight.

Go slowly and start with what you can. I recommend starting with the big four. These four simple swaps happen outside of the home. This way you can focus on using up what you have inside of the home before moving on. 

 It's completely contradictory to the zero waste lifestyle to throw everything out and upgrade to new eco-friendly products. 

I wrote a post about what to do with old plastic when you're plastic free, which will be really helpful when making the transition.

2. use it up:

I think you'll be surprised with how many disposable and plastic items you own when you really take the time to go through your cabinets and drawers. 

If something is in good shape and can be donated and you don't want it anymore, donate it or list it on a freecycle group, craigslist, or the facebook market place. 

Going zero waste is just as much about adding new products into the second hand market for others to use. This prevents new resources from being used in the creation of new products.

You can read this post about decluttering the zero waste way which goes more in depth on this topic. 

For products that aren't suitable for donation. Perhaps cosmetics and food in packaging that has been opened. Use it up! 

Don't automatically run out for zero waste counterparts. To be honest, I still have some makeup I'm using from my pre-zero waste days! (PZWD) It's OK. 

Use up what you have and then move on, when you're done.

If you're uncomfortable with some of the ingredients in these products, see if you can pass them off to a family member or friend only if they would buy that product anyway. 

5 tips for breaking up with plastic from www.goingzerowaste.com

3. out of sight:

Sometimes, it's nice to have disposable things for certain special circumstances. I still have a couple of plastic razors from my PZWD. 

You can't take a metal safety razor with you on a plane. If I'm traveling, I pull out one of those razors.

I still have trash bags from my PZWD! I keep them for neighborhood and beach clean-ups. These are resources I bought long before I knew about zero waste, but there's no reason I should throw them out. 

At the same time, you also don't want the temptation to reach for these items especially when you're just starting on your zero waste journey. Take these items and put them in a hard to reach place. 

This will discourage you from reaching for them, but they'll still be accessible for these unusual life events. 

4. it's toxic:

I'm not going to lie to you, companies make a lot of really cute plastic stuff. There are a lot of great products packaged in plastic. 

Whenever I find myself tempted, I like to remind myself that plastic is toxic. It isn't just bad for our health it's also bad for the health of our planet.

If I have the choice, I don't want to buy my food surrounded in plastic. The plastic can leach chemicals into the food. 

I don't want to sleep on a toxic, plastic mattress. There are so many examples of products that I try to avoid beyond the environmental reasons, it's really just better for our health. 

5 tips for breaking up with plastic from www.goingzerowaste.com

5. get excited:

If you're struggling with breaking free from plastic, find something that's a treat for you! One of the great bonuses of living plastic free and having a pantry sans labels is that things become very aesthetically pleasing. 

While consumerism isn't the point of zero waste living, buying something you're super excited about using can be really helpful! 

Maybe you've just had your eye on a set of Weck jarsglass straws, or an awesome canvas bag

Go for it! Splurge a little if it will help you reduce overall.  

While it's always best to shop the second hand market first, sometimes throwing in a little bit shiny and new can help you get really excited all over again! 

Going plastic free and zero waste is a journey that will never be complete. The bottom line is do the best you can. 

This post contains affiliate linking. It's denoted with an asterisk. This means if you choose to purchase one of these items I will make a slight commission for referring you. You can read more on my disclosure page

How to Perform a Trash Audit

In order to reduce your waste, you have to know what you're throwing away. Know thy enemy is like... rule number one. 

Trash/waste, you are the enemy, and we will vanquish you! 

how to perform a trash audit from www.goingzerowaste.com

So, that might be a tad dramatic, but other than starting with The Big Four and buying less, performing a trash audit is a great step for beginners. 

It's a really simple process, I promise. I'm currently wondering how I'm going to get a full 1,000 word blog post out of it without resorting to more battle analogies, but for your sake - I'll spare you. 

All you need is a couple of minutes, a little commitment, and a clipboard or notebook. 

Step 1 Get to know your trash:

Dump all of your trash out and go through it. For each item you find write it on the clipboard. For each recurring item add a tally mark. Like below:

How to perform a trash audit from www.goingzerowaste.com


Step 2 organize by frequency of tally mark:

How to performa trash audit from www.goingzerowaste.com

This will give you a nice visual road map on how to reduce your trash. You can figure out where you can make the biggest impact. 

I love it when people just want to dive into zero waste, 100%, right away! But, it's hard. There's a lot of changes that you'll be making, and it's important to avoid burn out because it is IMPOSSIBLE to go zero waste overnight. 

It's impossible to do it in a week or even a month! I STILL have products from my PZW days even three years later. 

Step 3 make some changes:

Now, you can start looking for easy zero waste swaps. Always start with the things you're throwing away most for two reasons.

  1. You'll have make the biggest impact.
  2. You're going to an immediate and noticeable difference. We love instant gratification. 

I'd want to tackle the first five right off the bat. 

PAPER TOWELS: The first thing I would do is start phasing out paper towels for reusable dish towels. Get my six tips for ditching paper towels

FOOD SCRAPS: Then I'd start composting. Composting is one of the best things you can do for the environment! Whether you're in an apartment or have a backyard, there are a lot of options for you to explore.

Before you even get to composting, maybe you can eat those scraps! Check out 8 recipes for using up your food scraps, and my guide to storing your produce without plastic.  

Q-TIPS: You can buy q-tips with paper bases instead of plastic ones and then throw them in your compost! 

JELLO: As far as jello cups go, you could make a big batch of jello from the box. You can recycle or compost the box, and then divide the homemade jello up into individual containers like these*.

Not all schools allow glass in lunch boxes, so a stainless one* might be a good option instead of plastic. 

COFFEE CUPS: Avoiding coffee cups is pretty easy! Check out all my tips in this post about The Big Four

Step 4 repeat: 

Your trash probably changes from week to week. Keep checking in on your trash and recycling to see where you can easily improve. 

Obviously, there will always be some unavoidable trash. The first thing that pops into my mind is medication. 

I get a lot of people emailing me asking how to handle the trash with their medication.... and my answer is always the same. 


I will scream it from the rafters. Do NOT let any other person tell you differently. I've seen some other prominent zero wasters say some scary things....

So, one more time for the people in the back, ***your health always comes first!*** 

The fact of the matter is that we lived in a flawed system. For more information read this post about the true meaning of zero waste. It's so long, it got it's own audio file so you can listen while on the go! 

Don't look at what you can't do, always look at what you CAN do. There's so many things you can do that don't involve medication. And, seriously, if you changed everything in your life except medication, that's freaking amazing!! 

Celebrate! Cause you're awesome. :) 

This post contains affiliate linking. It's denoted with an asterisk. This means if you choose to purchase one of these items I will make a slight commission for referring you. You can read more on my disclosure page