So you live in a box??
Yup! I live in a “tiny home” on wheels that I bought on Craigslist and built out in a week and a half before moving in. My friends and I fondly call it “The Box,” since it really is a sad looking homemade white box from the outside.
How long have you lived in the box?
Since moving out of my apartment on May 31st. I’ve only slept on a couch once and in my car twice since then. By the end of this month, the Box will have paid for itself compared to how much I’d been paying for Boulder rent.
Your box doesn’t have windows?!?!?
Nope, but it does have a “fantastic vent” in the roof, which lets in enough light that I usually sleep with a face mask on and can get ready in the morning without opening the doors or using an additional light to change and pack up. Also the vent is excellent for helping to keep the box cool and not smelling like feet.
Not having windows in the sides is great. It means the box is better insulated, I didn’t have to spend the time or money to put in windows, and the Box looks way less like I’m sleeping in it and way more like a storage trailer (what I’m going for).
Can you stand up in the box?
Not fully. With the insulated ceiling and floors, the box is a little under 5 feet in height on the inside. This rarely is an issue though, as most of the time I’m in there I’m asleep, getting ready for bed, getting ready for work, or lying in my bed listening to podcasts in an attempt to fall asleep.
Doesn’t it get hot?
No, not as hot as you’d think. It’s white and decently insulated and sits in the shade for part of each day. The vent in the top also helps keep it cool. Sometimes, on 90+degree afternoons, it’s a little cooler in the box than outside, and it’s always cooler in the box than in my car. Also, the great thing about Colorado is that it cools down every night. So even if the box is a little warm at 10 p.m. when I’m headed to bed, I can just open the doors for 5 to 10 minutes to let cooler air in. I can only think of a handful of nights I’ve had trouble sleeping this summer because it was too hot.
Wait, you can’t currently move your box?!?
Nope, it’s stayed where it’s been parked since I bought it. Most people find this horrible, but it means I don’t have to pay to register it or deal with dragging it behind my elderly Subaru, which doesn’t have a trailer hitch on it anyway. Unless you live in a van, truck, or small camper, you probably don’t bring your home with you to work, the grocery store, or on single-night camping trips, so not being able to move my home is really quite normal and never a bad thing–I’d much rather save myself the gas and parking hassle of bringing it around with me since I don’t currently live on the road.
Why didn’t you get a van like all the cool dirtbags?
Buying a van would have been way more expensive and difficult, since anything I could have paid cash for probably would have needed a lot of work to pass emissions and be safe to drive. I also didn’t want to sell my commuter vehicle and really just needed a safe, little place to sleep instead of the expensive room I was renting in Boulder that came with a crazy, stressful landlord (who lived in the same house). The box seemed like the cheapest, easiest way to get out of the stressful living situation I was in, and I’d already lived in the back of a truck for two months, so being able to sit up in bed sounded great in comparison to that.
What about running water, bathrooms, showers and electricity?
Most days, none of those things are an issue, since I spend most of my time at EVO Louisville, the gym I work and train at, which has running water, bathrooms, a small kitchen complete with dishwasher, refrigerator and microwave, showers, electricity, and wifi. I can shower, eat, pee, poop, charge my phone, use the wifi to complete my freelance projects, etc. all at EVO from 6 a.m. till 10 p.m. on weekdays and from 8 a.m. till around 7 or 8 p.m. on the weekends. The only time it’s inconvenient is on Saturday and Sunday nights when I’m climbing till late and can’t shower afterward, but that’s what wet wipes are for.
How do you cook in the box?
I don’t. I’ve gotten creative with microwave and toaster oven cooking at EVO, and I occasionally purchase discounted pre-cooked chicken at King Soopers. Sometimes I miss cooking, but it frees up time that I now use to work, climb, sleep in, and occasionally repair the Box. I only eat out a maximum of twice a month, which keeps food costs dirtbag-friendly.
What are you going to do this winter?
Honestly, I’m not sure yet. I might rent out a friend’s closet or try to stick it out for the winter with a small heater.
Does it suck?
No, for the most part, it’s great. If I didn’t work at EVO or another place where I could shower regularly and that let me have a small corner of the refrigerator to stash perishable foods, it would be less awesome. But, for now, it’s really nice. I love having my own little space to sleep, not paying rent on climbing-gym and freelance wages is a godsend, and not having to spend time cleaning my nonexistent kitchen, bathrooms, etc. is awesome. I like the low-stress simplicity of the Box.
Have more questions? I’d love to read and answer them in the comments below.