Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Coming Soon- 5 Day Water Challenge

"As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness." -HDT

 There you see it! >> A simple exchange and the decision is finally made. We will begin our five day water challenge next week!

For a refresher, or to anyone just beginning to follow- Dan (ahem, yes, Gummibear) and I decided that it would be important to experience as many different aspects of tiny house living as we can...while we wait. That way, it's not a total culture shock when we finally move in.  A very big part of the tiny house life is going to be the complete de-railing of many, many habits we have developed over the years. 

Water use habits, I have a feeling, are going to be the hardest.  Again, siting that amazing book- The Humanure Handbook (everyone should read this!) - it is appauling how much water we waste.  Not only are we consuming at an alarming rate, we are also steadily contaminating the limited fresh water supplies we do have. Eventually, the world will be fighting over water, not oil.  It's a scary thought, and I'd rather not contribute to that impending crisis if I can help it.

Let me just take a small interlude here and list some of my own worst water habits...
1. I leave the faucet on throughout my entire tooth-brushing regimen.
2. I get impatient with boiling water for dinners, so I run the faucet until it gets piping hot, then put it in the pot and on the stove just to save myself maybe 2 minutes?
3. I shave my legs in the shower, which usually takes an additional 5-8 minutes with all that water still pouring out.
4. I fill the sink with water to do dishes, then I'll get distracted and forget about it. By the time I come back to it, the water is luke warm and I have to start over.
Those are just a few of my worst water habits, and believe me there are more, but these stick out the most. Ever since reading the H-Handbook, I have started working on improving these habits.  

For our water needs, we decided to go with a completely contained system, and

All our water needs are in!
very, VERY primitive plumbing. That way we are not dealing with all kinds of pipes in the walls, electric pumps, cutting a hole in the subfloor, etc. So basically, the only "running" water we will have is the water tank in the loft, by way of gravity, flowing out a spout in the kitchen sink which will be directly below. We will collect gray water in a storage tank directly under the sink and use it to water shrubs and trees. As for showers, we will make use of a camp/bag shower...and the real doozy- we will heat water as needed on the stove.

Yes, I find it intimidating...but how does that saying go?- "You will never know the true extent of your limits unless you push them." And if that doesn't work, this one usually snaps me around:

So, next week, we will be pushing limits indeed. We have all of our water storage needs already at the apartment (15 gallon tank storage and 28 gallons worth of waterbricks)- just waiting to be filled and used.

Waterbricks rock! Stack n store
to fit your space- that's just what
we needed!
Here are the rules:
1. All faucets will be taped as a friendly reminder to keep HANDS OFF!
2. All water will come from our storage, we will not refill during the 5 days to see how long it lasts.
3. Any water that needs to be hot will be heated on the stove top.
4. Water rules apply at the apartment only- we can shower at the gym, work, or a friend's place.
  PS: We certainly can't avoid using the bathroom, so the flush will remain in play.

It doesn't seem like many rules, but each represents a major daily life adjustment. Wish us luck!!

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  1. This is FANTASTIC! You'll be surprised at how an experiment like this will change your water usage habits.

    When my partner, Kai, and I lived in our Tiny House for three months while finishing the build we had to haul water from the main house and use our neighbors bathroom. While it was all very close by, just not being able to turn on a faucet with seemingly infinite supply of rushing water coming out, at our temperature preference no less, was transformative.

    We used a 10 liter camping water bag, black, for showers. Would put it out during the day and by the early evening it would be warm enough for a quick outdoor shower at the end of the day (we hung it from a fence behind our tiny house and out of the way of prying neighborly eyes, plus we did a dusk-dash in and out of the house to prevent anyone from seeing us hanging out in our backyard buck naked. It was pretty fun, actually, in that clandestine way.

    We would fill it again for washing dishes and using around the house to clean up the countertops, wash hands, etc.. I used an Ortlieb wash bowl to do dishes in. I would heat up about two cups of the water in a Pyrex measuring cup in the microwave (we were hooked up temporarily to the main house electrical for lighting and use of a mw)and then use it sparingly to wash dishes. Once you do it this way, you realize you really don't need much water to wash dishes. Then, rinsed them over the wash bowl by opening the spout of the water bag. In the end, I was using very little water for the whole process and then, like you, watered the lawn or shubery with it so it was a 'closed loop' use of the water anyway.

    It felt really good to make these realizations and it helped me drastically change my habits. Like you, I am concerned about our water. Population growth, unsustainable development and usage of water, among many other things, is rapidly depleting our water sources. Water wars are already occurring across the world, even in the U.S. This is important stuff.

    So, I'm supporting you from afar. You're doing really great things here!

    ~Sheila (of 2cycle2gether.com)

  2. Thanks for sharing your experiences! It sounds like it was a lot of fun just taking the road less traveled. After reading your post, I feel more at ease. Just knowing someone else out there who has actually done it and still encourages others to try is a great feeling! I'm really looking forward to all the changes that will be coming along with the tiny house. Now it seems that just finding a place to park when it's all said and done is going to be our biggest challenge. But there's much to do before we get to that!

    Thanks so much for your support and comments! It means a lot to us!!