Sunday, March 17, 2013

Flushing Out Some Tiny House Truths.

There are probably a dozen reasons why you shouldn't build a Tiny House. Maybe a hundred. Here's one: Poop. 

Not only are Tiny House people a bit off their nuts, as far as most other people are concerned, Tiny House folks are also obsessed with poop. I mean it. On top of that, everyone inquiring about your Tiny House is first and foremost interested in where the poop goes. It’s like we all turned four again. “Where do you poop?” And that only comes up if they haven’t actually mistaken your Tiny House for the Out House to start with. I mean, you can see how that could happen, right?

I’ve found this one question has the potential to transform the subject of your Tiny House obsession, which while weird is still suitable table conversation, into something surprisingly riveting and much less palatable.

“What about the bathroom? Where do you poop?”

Two words: Composting Toilet. What it boils down to is a five gallon bucket, your, um, stuff, peat moss, sawdust, or something else kinda cat box-like, a pretty lid, maybe a nice wooden box, and a corner to put it in. And, you know, some kind of door or curtain.


Of course, a composting bucket isn’t the only solution for Tiny Houses. There are Incinerating Toilets (some of them, like the Incinolet, running over $1,800), composting toilets with screens and whatnot, and RV toilets with full on flush features. These tend to come with a whole bunch of stuff poking out your walls, through your ceiling for venting, and down your beautiful hardwood floor. They’re great for the faint of heart, though I’ve heard incinerating toilets produce an unpleasant stink-cloud out the back of your simple abode. Flies. Ewww!

As far as I’m concerned, vent pipes spoil your Tiny’s profile aesthetics, turning your lovely Tiny House into something more akin to a Hillbilly Cabin (no offense Hillbillies, I like you, I like your cabins, but they’re a much harder sell for suburbanite backyards than little Frank Lloyd Wright knock-offs or Victorian Doll Houses). Suddenly, you’re stuck with a big black stove-pipey thing snaking out through your lovely siding. Ugh! I’ve filled my Pinterest “Tiny House Dreams” Board with links to a half dozen different toileting options, each a bit uglier and more expensive than the last. Personally, I’m going to start with a bucket.

Besides, I like the simplicity.  Simplicity, after all, is a major appeal of the Tiny House movement. At least for me. Humans managed poop for thousands of years before they lit on the bright idea of flushing it away with gallons of pristine drinking water for someone else to deal with. Seems like there are better solutions out there, even if they aren’t necessarily 100% legal everywhere. Anywhere?

But then, I haven’t read the great bible on this, The Humanure Handbook. Once I’ve digested that, I may have a different take on it all. I have it on my wish list, but I thought I might start with buying framing plans and a trailer first and resolve the great toilet debate when it’s time to go there. Hehe.

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