It is a shed Life – but mother of four Jessica Taylor would not have had it any other way.
In June 2020, after facing financial difficulties due to the pandemic, she and her husband Lath decided to give up the comforts of their three bedroom, two bathroom home in Northwest Arkansas. The family of six moved into a 500 square meter tool shed. Friends thought it was a very bizarre way to downsize.
“One of the things that people find really weird about us living in a shed is that we use a compost bath instead of a traditional toilet,” Taylor, 30, who now lives in a loft shed in western Tennessee, told The Post.
“It’s a bucket system,” the former bartender-turned-home (or barracks) school explained of her cabin’s outhouse. “And [when] she [urinate or defecate], They cover it with wood shavings every time. After two days, whether the bucket is full or not, we empty it [the waste] in a compost bin in the forest, and then after a few years, [the waste] becomes soil for ornamental plants.”
But indoor plumbing is one of the few amenities the family’s lodge lacks.
“The shed is two stories and has electricity, running water, a heating/cooling system, a 65-inch flat screen TV, a stainless steel refrigerator, an electric range, and fold-out futons that we use as beds,” said Taylor, who shared the clips the chic hut with its more than 66,700 social media followers.
After purchasing the woodworking shop for $6,000 from a roadside hardware stand, she and Lath, 42, spent another $7,000 on renovations that included adding a staircase leading to the attic, privacy screens, and an outdoor porch.
The parents used money from their tax returns, stimulus checks, and unemployment to fund their housing project.
They also invested in a $4,000 well that provides them with water for drinking, cleaning, and showering. (The family uses a long, retractable faucet that extends from their kitchenette to outside the shed, where they shower under the shelter of the trees.)
Their brood, with children ranging in age from 3 to 9, is part of the growing number of people who are abandoning their sprawling, often expensive, digs to live in outdoor storage units, typically housing gardening tools or sporting goods. It’s a no-frills take on the tiny house movement, with a twist of #VanLife for those looking for cozy, frugal simplicity. On TikTok, shed dwellers have stamped videos of their sheds-turned-homes with the hashtag #ShedLife over 22.2 million times.
“More and more people are breaking away from the mindset that you have to have a big, expensive, fancy house to feel like you can make it,” Taylor said of the allure of shed living. “There is value in living modestly. We can spend more time together gardening and enjoying nature instead of working to afford lavish housing.”
Fellow trendsetters Nick and Meghan Lucid recently went viral when they shared how they transformed an 860-square-foot Home Depot tuff shed into a lavish two-story mansion, complete with a bedroom, finished bathroom, laundry room and walk-in Wardrobe. Footage of their renovated cottage has been viewed over 2 million times.
Like the Taylors, the couple downsized for financial reasons caused by COVID.
“Right after the pandemic hit, me and Lath lost our jobs at a restaurant that we had worked at for years,” Taylor told the Post. “Before that, we rented a big brick house in Arkansas for $1,100, but we just couldn’t afford it anymore.”
After moving away for eight hours and moving to her mother’s 6-acre property, where they stationed their shed rent-free, the family’s monthly overhead was reduced from more than $2,000 to a meager $400.
“Since moving into the shed, we’ve become financially stable and are nearing debt freedom,” Taylor said, adding that the inexpensive move has also enabled her to become a homemaker. mother at home. By reducing their monthly expenses, they were even able to purchase an $11,000 garden shed to use as a second home.
“The kids love [our new lifestyle] because we get to spend more time together than when I was at work,” Taylor said. “It was really great.”
And #ShedLife isn’t just for families.
Mia Puhakka, 17, avoided the stress of first house hunting by setting up camp in her parents’ backyards.
“My parents like having me at home, so I don’t pay rent [while I’m living in the shed]’ Puhakka, a part-time office assistant from Ontario, Canada, told The Post. Clips from her humble home have garnered more than 1.3 million views.
Her family bought and renovated the 12-foot by 24-foot building in 2019 for about $9,300 from Old Hickory Buildings, a shed dealer. Puhakka has since outfitted the space with finished cedar and birch floors and walls, a mounted flat screen TV, and a working fireplace.
And if she has to go to the toilet, she commutes a few meters to mum and dad. It’s a perfect setup for someone on the verge of adulthood.
“I get my own space without having to pay for an apartment or house, and I don’t pay for wifi or electricity because my shed is only connected to mine [parents’] house,” said Puhakka.