Tiny Chores: What can you expect in 135 square feet?

Let’s be serious: NO ONE likes to do chores. In fact, one of the main attractions to the Tiny House movement is the ability to downsize our honey-do-list. But do smaller spaces really equal less work and maintenance? I can only speak from my own personal experience as a Tiny House RV owner. Below I’ve listed my chore lists. How do they compare to yours?

Daily Chores

Below are the chores I do on a daily (or every few days) basis when I am full time in my Tiny House RV.

  • Make the bed – A little challenging because of the loft.
  • Dishes – I do these by hand.
  • Sweep / vacuum – I have a dog. I like to sweep once a day to keep the dog hair to a minimum. That may sound like a lot, but it only takes about 10-15 minutes. It’s part of my morning routine.
  • Empty the urine container in my compost toilet. I have the Nature’s Head Composting toilet with a seperate container for liquid waste. The liquid container needs to be emptied every two to three days. I could also plumb the liquids to mix with my grey water system and then I would never have to empty it. Future goals!

Weekly Chores

Typical chores I do on a weekly basis.

Tiny House Chores

Monthly Chores

  • Fill propane tanks. I usually go through one 15 lb propane tank every 6 weeks. It usually costs around $20 to do a tank swamp at my local grocery store.

Bi-Yearly Chores

  • Dump the solid waste of my compost toilet. My toilet is rated for 90 uses before needing to be dumped. Because I travel a lot, I can go about 5-6 months.

Seasonal Chores

  • Winterize. Protect my plumbing and propane. Click here for more on winterizing.
  • Create a trailer skirt. This increases my heating and cooling efficiency. Usually I do this whenever I know I’ll be staying somewhere for an extended period of time.
  • Empty/clean the chimney pipe. I have a Kimberly wood stove.
  • Snow removal. If I get a bunch of snow, and it’s not shedding from the roof, I will need to brush it off to protect my loft skylight and prevent ice dams. This hardly ever happens.
  • Humidity protection. I haven’t had this happen yet because I have vinyl windows. Some Tiny House RVers have to wipe their window frames down certain times a year to prevent damage from humidity.

Occasional Chores

  • Patch / repair scuffs in floor
  • Patch / retouch paint
  • Change tires

Travel Chores

When on the road there are a few extra chores to consider.

  • Truck maintenance. Oil changes, tire rotations, etc.
  • Grease the ball bearing. When appropriate per manufacturer.
  • Protect the siding. Some siding choices (such as cedar) will need to be refinished occasionally from weathering. My siding is reclaimed wood, so I just let it keep doing its thing.
  • Windows. Make sure to protect the windward side windows from rocks. This can be done with shutters or simply by attaching plywood during travel.

How does my chore list compare to yours?


Jenna BioJenna Spesard is currently traveling around North America in a DIY Tumbleweed Cypress. She writes about Tiny Homes and travel on her informative blog: “Tiny House Giant Journey.”

4 Comments

  1. Mary November 14, 2016 at 12:00 pm - Reply

    Thanks for a great list! Where exactly does one dump one’s urine and other waste? #cluelessinhonolulu

  2. Tom Osterdock December 22, 2016 at 11:16 am - Reply

    Thanks for the Chore list Jenna. It does not sound like it is daunting. I saved it for myself. One small comment is that you probably could save quite a bit of money on your fuel usage if you did not swap out your propane tanks. I only do that when the date on the tank is out of date. Otherwise there are refueling stations for propane all over the place. Much cheaper, with 4 5 gal tanks for my hobby I go thru them in 6-9 days and most of the time, since there is still fuel in them it costs 10-15 bucks to fill. You might want to check into that. Most gas stations will tell you where you can get fuel. I like costco the best but many camping places can refill and many Uhaul stores. You will get used to spotting them when driving and it is not a chore.

  3. Daine December 22, 2016 at 12:28 pm - Reply

    Thanks for sharing your list. I am now “test-tiny-living” in a 5th wheel RV. I noticed many things I needed to do living elsewhere (houses, apartments or suites) do not relate to what I do now or the frequency required.

  4. Honoria January 17, 2017 at 1:19 pm - Reply

    I have a thing about clean windows, so I’d probably add that chore to the monthly list.

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