One thing people don’t warn you about in a tiny house is the dust. Epic dust. Sure, you might think that a tiny house means a life free of weekend cleaning rosters and 5 hour mopping marathons…well you’d probably be right there. I hope no one actually mops for 5 hours, that’s just ridiculous. But if you think a tiny house gets you out of cleaning altogether, I’m here to burst your bubble.
The dust factor
Lighting a fire in a small space inevitably means that smoke escapes and shoots straight up to the loft. If I’ve been lazy and done a poor job of lighting the fire, you might also find me blowing air into the fire box. This results in extra bits of ash and soot escaping and settling around the house. Dust is also made up of dead skin, pollen, dirt and other little bits of waste that find their ways into the house. Oh, and hair. There’s a lot of that in my house.
I think along with having the fire inside and keeping the windows open, probably the biggest contributor to the dust levels in a tiny house is the size. Obvious, but true! All houses and spaces accumulate dust. The more people/animals entering and living in the space, the more dust. In a tiny house, you’re producing a similar amount of dust but it’s concentrated in a much smaller space.
Here’s an example from sweeping just the loft, just last week*.
*As a tiny house owner, one’s life is naturally full of adventures and excitement and some lofts aren’t swept on the most regular basis. Dust pictured may exceed one week’s (or month’s) worth of sweeping.
Floors and carpets
Most tiny houses will have a hard floor – I haven’t seen many (if any) with carpets. I also have a floating floor but I have two big rugs to soften and warm the space. Even with insulation under the floor, you can definitely feel temperature changes outside through the floor. Rugs make the space feel homely and give me extra spots for leisure activities (yoga, napping, stretching, reading). The downside of the rugs, is of course, the accumulation of dirt, dust, hair and other general grots.
Being off grid, power is at a premium, especially at this time of year. There were certainly some moments over summer that I ducked down to the big house to borrow the vacuum when things got dire, but my inverter wasn’t happy about it. Running a full size vacuum cleaner over hard floors on a small system like mine was one thing. Running it over shaggy rugs that send the vacuum into uber suck mode was a very different ball game. Since then, we’ve have tried resorting to the ridiculous old days of beating rugs outside to remove the dust. Let’s be honest though, ain’t nobody got time for that. I live in a tiny house, not the middle ages.
The sensible solution was to fork out for my own vacuum – one that wouldn’t suck the life from my solar system.
Dyson V6 Slim
Enter, Dyson. In case you’re wondering, no I am not being paid for this. On the contrary, they made a pretty decent buck from me recently!
After a quick search and read of reviews, I decided to stick with the tried and true brand of Dyson, despite the extra cost. Mostly, this is because I believe in frugality. While this usually means spending less money, buying cheap things that won’t last isn’t frugal. Having to replace a cheaper vacuum after a short period of time would be generating more waste and would probably end up costing as much in the long run. A higher price tag isn’t always a guarantee of higher quality, granted, but I’m hoping in this case it pays off.
I found a few cordless stick vacuums from Dyson, ranging anywhere from painfully expensive to utterly and outrageously exorbitant. I called a few vendors only to find that the 6 month old, painfully expensive models were now out of date and no longer for sale. This left me with a number of options exactly the same as the ‘out of date’ model but with a bazillion accessories. Which of course, doubled the price. Umm, no thankyou.
As it turns out, ‘no longer for sale’ means the product is no longer stocked in shops. Dyson however, still sells the products directly from their website. With free delivery. Within a week.
I opted for the the V6 Cordless Slim because it’s basically exactly the same as the Origin, Animal and any other variety currently for sale EXCEPT that it has a smaller head. And only the necessary fittings instead of the bazillion others that you leave in the cupboard to get covered in…you guessed it, epic amounts of dust. Oh the irony! The vacuum detaches from a stick handle to operate as a little handheld sucker, useful for stairs and books and nooks and crannies upstairs. Also, my car might finally get a vacuum. It is battery operated and recharges via a cord in a couple of hours. There’s not a lot of suck time, but at least in a tiny house, there isn’t too much to suck.
Well. I mean clearly my carpets were missing out on a fair amount of sucking:
Based on the whole five minutes that I’ve had this vacuum, I’m happy with the investment. I got accustomed to being surrounded by dust and dirt during the building process. And then I didn’t have a proper floor and I didn’t like to walk around with shoes on, so it still seemed like a lost cause. Now, I hardly have an excuse! In fact, with my partner moving in and bringing his dust allergy with him, buying a proper vacuum seemed like the only sensible thing to do.
I still paid $400 (told you it was painful) but this was $150 cheaper than any models I found for sale locally and included delivery. It wasn’t a cheap decision, but especially after my recent mousey resident, I’m appreciating the ability to give this place a decent going over. If we can maintain the battery life and efficiency of the vacuum for the next few years at least, we’ll be one dust free, happy family! Wish us luck xx