3 Years Living Fully Off-The-Grid in a Tiny House

Why This Couple Sold Their Tiny House After 3 Years Living Off Grid.

Pat & Mel built this off-grid tiny house as a way to stop paying rent, and to start living a simple, minimalist lifestyle. They lived in it for 3 years while it was parked on a friend’s land, but they recently decided to sell the tiny home and buy a house because it was cheaper than buying vacant land.

Sound weird? Here’s why: the down payment on a piece of land in Ontario is often 35%, while the cost of a down payment on a home is often as low as 5%. So even though they might be buying a home that’s more expensive than just land, it’s easier to buy the home.

They built their tiny house themselves and designed it to be fully off-grid with a wood stove for heat, solar panels for electricity, propane for hot water and cooking, and they collected rainwater for all of their water needs. They used a composting toilet (Nature’s Head) since they didn’t have access to a septic system.

This is the first tiny house we’ve seen that used 100% rainwater collection and this is how they did it:

They added a gutter to the side of their tiny house and collected rainwater in 4 barrels that had screens to catch any leaves and other gunk that might wash down the spout.

Once the barrels were full, they used a sump pump to transfer the water from the outdoor barrels into a large holding tank inside a trailer beside the house. They had the water tank inside a trailer so that they could heat it in the winter to prevent the water from freezing during the winter.

To transfer the water from the trailer into the house, they used an RV water pump and pumped the water through an insulated and heated pipe.

To ensure the water was extra clean, they’d add a couple of tablespoons (approx.) of bleach to each barrel of rainwater before transferring it into the main tank.

Living in a tiny house allowed Pat & Mel to save money, and to live with the bare essentials, which they found very pleasant. They felt that they didn’t spend as much time and money shopping for things they didn’t need.

They did have some challenges, including a week without water during their first winter when the pipe between the trailer and house froze. And they also sometimes found it difficult to entertain large groups of people, or to host a dinner party in such a small space.

Thanks for watching!

Mat & Danielle


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Music & Song Credits:
All music in this video was composed, performed, and recorded by Mat of Exploring Alternatives.

Editing Credits:
Mat and Danielle of Exploring Alternatives

Filming Credits:
Mat of Exploring Alternatives

Tiny House Build Photos by Pat & Mel

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42 Replies to “3 Years Living Fully Off-The-Grid in a Tiny House”

  1. Henrik Silberstein

    As already commented elsewhere: if I imagine, the world would consist only of so-called "independent" individualists … then the earth would soon be filled with millions of "off-the-grid-tiny-houses" … the technology for such buildings is not feasible in Africa or Asia or South America, because people in 95 percent of the cases do not have the money and the climate would not allow: heat, monsoon and really in the pampas …

    I understand the enthusiasm of the commentators … and I really like the little egg shells in the "wilderness" … but they are not realistic in the millions!

  2. 1234

    LAND is always the bottleneck. A tiny home to me is worthless unless you have the land to go with it. When you OWN land and have a tiny home, that's when the savings and financial freedom really kick in.

  3. Jenny V

    Why don’t they just take the tiny house to their new property and live in it there? They could rent the stick house to someone else and basically have that pay for the property……
    Sort of a no brainer…….

  4. Fashy Dad

    Definitely feel for them, my wife and I had to live in a small duplex for 6 years before we could finally afford to buy the acreage we wanted but we will has to come up with over 100,000$ for a down payment. After selling our duplex we could do this. Most ppl watching these shows don’t realize how expensive land is in Canada. And the rules regarding down payments, which is why we have a strong housing market.

  5. Shane Reeves

    Off grid living was cool in Colorado until weed became legal. Then every useless dope grower in the country moved here to grow.
    Property is cheap some places. But the catch is before you can place any permanent structure on the land you have to have septic and a well. And some of these cheap, remote properties your well is going to be 300 ft deep. So you are looking at 30k for that.
    So you can get 5 acres for 5 grand.
    But you have to invest damn near 40k to be able to live on it. These remote counties changed land use regulations so that you can only camp on your own land for 2 weeks.

  6. Lakario Davis

    I could understand why it feels like a step back. but depending on your own personal situations it may not be. The biggest issue people have is with leaving home with not much of anything and getting stuck trying to stay on top of the bills without actually saving enough. Now that you guys were able to save in the tiny house you can go on to bigger and better things with more of a secure foundations. And in the event that you ever had to be without the house again you would know how to live from your past experience! Congratulations on the new home!

  7. gregory891

    Very nice, put hay bales around the perimeter of the house in winter, it will cut down on cold creep into your flooring and lower your heating needs (wood or propane).

  8. Madison Daily

    Cant imagine living like a hamster. It is sad owning a normal sized home is.out of reach for so many people. The more people let into countries the more expensive cost of living for everyone. Supply and demand. They can keep charging more for things. This is a proven fact.

  9. Henry Cruz

    Another one bites the dust. This fad is funny when young couples do it. Especially when they say they like to entertain.
    This fad is crazy when couples with kids do it (no regard for the kids).
    Now when older folks do it, they know what they want in life by now and what they need (go for it).
    Dont worry, You've join many other young people that didn't know any better and bought into this pipe dream.
    Now go sell it for pennies on the dollar and learn the next lesson. Don't go cheap only to buy again. That's more money you lost, not saved.

  10. murphyc

    I'm glad you decided to sell, lol. I don't get the "tiny" house thing, not for two people. Having some room is nice. Space is nice. You can afford it.

  11. H D

    I would add over hangs for a cover patio around as much of the house as possible. It would afford more comfortable living space when it's nice out and keep the snow more away from the house. Very nice though. Great job.

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