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Lessons to learn from a tiny home

By Olivia Hughes

Tiny cabins are the latest travel trend taking the world by storm – and we’re well and truly on the bandwagon. With such a small footprint, they can be placed just about anywhere, including smack-bang in the middle of a gorgeous rainforest oasis, like this Robinson Crusoe tiny cabin.

The tiny home packs a big punch.

Run by company In2TheWild, this 12sqm tiny home on NSW’s Central Coast packs a big punch. It houses a kitchen with two gas burners, a cute but functional bathroom and a surprisingly large living area. The loft bedroom (or should we say bed) gives you priceless sunrise views of the treetops.

Even a brief stay here offers the perfect antidote to an environmentally unfriendly existence. Living small, even if it’s just for a few nights, is a good reminder of how to live simply and sustainably in the real world.

A tiny home getaway can’t last forever, but what lessons can you take from it?

Here are five home lessons we learnt from our stay at the Robinson Crusoe tiny cabin.

1. Always save water

When you’re in a home that runs on tank water, heated by gas bottles and powered by solar, you suddenly become a lot more aware of what it takes to generate those long, hot showers.

Eco-friendly tiny cabins generate a portion of the energy they use to run.

Even if you don’t have a water tank at home, it’s a good reminder to stick to four-minute showers. Freshwater is a limited resource.

If your home has a grey water tank (go you!), be sure to use plant and mineral-based shower and sink products that are greywater-suitable.

Greywater-suitable products are a must if you have a rainwater tank.

2. Buy what you need

Getting away from it all can make you realise how little you really needed ‘it all’ in the beginning.

We took only what we needed to Robinson Crusoe – and didn’t even use all of that. From food to entertainment, tiny living is a healthy reminder to scale back.

Forget high-tech TVs – all you need in a tiny home is something decent to read.

Just a good book, some locally sourced produce and (lots of) tea sustained us. Try adopting the same lo-fi philosophy at home by buying fresh, locally sourced produce. Also, try to only buy what you need. If you do buy too much, cook it up and freeze it so it doesn’t go to waste.

Another great way to reduce food waste is by starting your own veggie garden. Say goodbye to giant $7 bunches of basil when you only ever needed a handful of the leaves!

3. Reduce, reuse, repeat

Using reusable items around the home, such as BPA-free water bottles, cloth shopping bags and reusable food containers, are no-brainers to minimise the reliance on single-use plastics. Why are they bad again? Plastic water bottles and other single-use items can end up in landfill (or the oceans), are energy intensive to produce and have a high carbon footprint across their lifespan.

Reusable vessels are ideal for a tiny cabin, but you can also start using them at home.

Where you can’t escape buying plastic, like with your personal care or cleaning products, opt for sustainable brands like that use 100% recycled plastic bottles made from renewable sugarcane; the husks from the sugarcane even generate bio-electricity in the factory where the sugar plastic is produced.

4. Sort rubbish responsibly

There’s nothing like getting back to nature to remind us of the devastating effects of growing landfill.

When staying at Robinson Crusoe, we took our rubbish and recycling with us, then waited until we could dispose of it responsibly. At home, you can set up a proper system for sorting your recycling so it’s not a hassle.

If you have the room, get a composting bin. This will allow natural items like fruit, vegetables, coffee and tea to break down organically – and you can use the broken-down mixture to fertilise your garden!

Nature is pristine, let’s keep her that way.

5. Keep less, store smarter

Let’s face it – many of us hang onto a lot of junk. Whether out of sheer laziness or misplaced sentimentality, these unused items filling our homes aren’t doing anybody any good.

Tiny homes teach us to only keep what we use. So, why not try this principle at home? Sell or donate to charity what you’re no longer using but others could find a purpose for. Responsibly dispose of broken or unusable hardware, furniture or electrical items at your local recycling centre.

Smart storage can help you make room for the essentials.

The Robinson Crusoe design features smart storage, like its under-stair cabinets, to make the most of the small amount of space. Once you’ve decluttered, try looking for similar hidden storage cavities in your own home. Under the bed, beneath the stairs or even on the walls are all places that are ripe for storing some essential items.


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