5 Days Living Life in a 200 sqft Tiny House

Imagine living your life with less. Everything you own has a purpose, and you’re not burdened with an astronomical mortgage payment that is slowly burying you alive. A way of living that is untraditional and considered taboo. That was the allure of living in a tiny house that’s stuck with me to this day. You could say I have quite the obsession with tiny homes, and damn near pulled the trigger on building one myself. Like an absolute maniac, I was going to dive head-first into constructing a 400-500 sqft home without ever staying in one. I know, crazy, right?

What’s even crazier is that my girlfriend, Kacey, had these same exact thoughts about the tiny house life as I did before we met. We both wanted to live with less and we’re definitely not against calling taboo our friend. 

Naturally, my tiny home flame was hotter than ever after we started dating. I was itching to begin our tiny adventure together. 

I will say, thank God for Kacey as she’s the grounded one in our relationship. She kindly recommended that we try to, you know, actually stay in a tiny house first before doing anything too drastic. If not for her, who knows, Tyler here might have made a not-so-good impulsive financial boo-boo that may or may not have had him sleeping in the metaphorical dog house.  

So, together, we planned a nice little 5-day Airbnb adventure up north to the mysterious lands of St. Croix Falls, WI. A place neither of us had ventured before. Here, we would finally get to stay in our very first tiny home. Which, I should say, from the pictures we saw, was absolutely stunning. The house was brand spanking new and had a beautiful view of a giant valley below. 

You could say our expectations were much larger than the tiny home itself.  

Our First Impressions

After a 3.5-hour drive, we finally arrived and found ourselves in literal BFE (bum fuck Egypt) territory. Basically, that’s the middle of nowhere for those unfamiliar. We took a right onto a semi-hidden gravel road that had a small incline. We started ascending over the peak, and there she was. Our home away from home for the next 5 days. All 200 sqft of her. 

Immediately, I noticed the iconic large windows that let in a ton of natural light. A neat building trick to make such a small space seem much bigger. Surrounding most of the tiny house was a wrap-around deck that had some Adirondack chairs situated to look over the huge valley below. 

Note to self, definitely gonna be drinking my morning coffee in those and watch out over the valley like I’m on Pride Rock.

There was also this wood siding that was completely charred, something I had never seen before. It looked like they took a torch to the entire place.

Approaching the door, we punched in the magic keycode to unlock the portal into the unknown lands of the tiny house world. Hearing the successful unlocking click, I swung open the door and was greeted with the familiar smell of fresh lumber. Ah, gimme a candle of that smell, please. 

Looking around, this place was the definition of a rustic, yet modern vibe. The walls were a sort of unfinished wood paneling that was slightly rough to the touch. My honest to god first thought when I saw the walls was, “Man, what if I spilled red Kool-Aid on the wall? It would be fucked, entirely.” Needless to say, there was a no Kool-Aid rule established at that very moment. I wasn’t going to be the cause to have the wall replaced. No, sir.

Looking up, there was a loft where the bed was. The fun part? It was only accessible by a  ladder. That was probably going to be my least favorite part of the experience. I’m an old man, for Chripe’s sakes. These ol’ knees of mine may go rogue on my valiant climb to bed. 

The part that blew me away most about this house was the bathroom. I know, it’s just a bathroom. But, the space was huge. Bigger than most bathrooms in houses 4 times the size of this one. The shower was spacious and had a black granite look to it. Call me strange, but I couldn’t wait to shower here.   

I have to say, there was so much character to this 200 sqft space. Aesthetically, it couldn’t have been better in my mind. 

the outside of our tiny house

Day 1: Settling In

Dropping our bags on the floor and unloading the car, we quickly realized how fast we were filling up our 200 sqft of space. It felt like our bags were small children that we had to keep stepping over to walk anywhere. 

We needed some solutions here. 

Ok, where can we put our bags? Well, that corner over there looks like a nice home. Perfect. 

Next, where do we put our food and snacks? 

Luckily, there was a full-size refrigerator for our food, so that was a piece of cake.

For our snacks, well, that’s a different story. See, all of the snacks we brought were, of course, Sam’s Club sized. We don’t take our snacks lightly around these parts. Taking a look around to try and spot a nice little home for our treats, we spotted some big boy drawers in the kitchen. So, as any good person would do, we played the real-life version of Tetris and jammed our snacks into the drawers. 

Bingo, now we’re making progress. 

Officially unloaded, it was now time to dig in for the night. Being that we arrived later in the evening, we planned on just bumming around the house and getting our little behinds acclimated to our new home for the next 5 days. 

I plopped down on the couch, as I do, and gave it the good old-fashioned cheek test. Can confirm, my buns gave it a 6 out of 10. Not the greatest, but I’ve sat on worse. 

Kacey, on the other hand, gave this weird-looking leather chair a trial run to see if it would pass with flying colors. Needless to say, that chair received a 1 out of 10. I’d reckon sitting on concrete was better than that thing. I can’t even call it a chair. A torture device would be a more fitting name. You know what it reminded me of? Something that a serial killer would make. Out of skin. Yeah, it made me uncomfortable just looking at it. 

On a brighter note, being drained from the drive-up, we were only awake for a few hours. Our behinds craved something other than a car seat and a serial killer chair, so off to bed we went. We had our midnight snack before bed and made our way up to the loft. Thankfully, the ol’ knees kept a steady course on the climb. And what a valiant climb it was. 

Day 2: Where Are The Curtains?

Ah, there’s nothing quite like sleeping like a baby and waking up fully refreshed, ready to tackle anything that life throws at you. Except, I would have no idea how that feels. 

I honestly think I slept maybe a total of 3 hours our first night. There were the usual hurdles of getting comfortable in a brand new environment, much like sleeping in a hotel the first night. The mattress is always too damn soft. My back demands a little support. Something in the Goldilocks zone of firm. Not too hard, but not too soft, either.

This actually reminds me of the time I slept on a pool table when I was younger. I never thought felt would be that comfortable. Maybe my body craves felt?

Anyway, what I’m saying is, usually, the quality of sleep sucks the first night for me. Literally anywhere I go. And our cats weren’t there. You’d think not having those furballs sleep with us would’ve been better, but my sleep recipe seemed to be missing the familiar feline ingredient. 

But the worst hurdle of them all? There were no curtains. Not one in the entire house. So, at the buttcrack of dawn, the sun came blazing through the giant windows and pierced my sleepy little eyeballs. 

Ah, the joys of the sun. 

Did I mention I love basements? I’m sure you’re not surprised by that. 

So, admitting defeat to sleep, I turned over to look out the giant window next to our bed and I see Kacey sitting outside next to the fire. Well, now that looks like a beautiful way to start the morning off. But first, I need to get my IV drip of coffee started to get this sleepy wagon moving. 

I get dressed, and with extreme caution, descend down the ladder. Yes, my body was shaking the entire time, but I made it down safely. I tried to boil the water for the coffee on one of those fancy-ass electric stove tops that are built into the countertop. 

These damn things, I attempted to press the on button probably 6 or 7 times like I was some aggressive Neanderthal. “So easy a caveman can do it”. Bullshit, I say. 

Finally, I was able to get the thing fired up, water boiled, and that sweet sweet coffee in my mouth. On this semi-green Earth, there is nothing better than a cup of freshly ground Columbian brew with a splash of hazelnut creamer in the morning. I made Kacey a cup as well, slipped on my Birkenstocks, and trudged my feet over to the fire.

Well, the beginnings of a fire. The damn thing just wouldn’t stay lit. Thankfully, my aggressive Neanderthal brain was still kicking. 

“I make fire. Have not worry.” 

So, without hesitation, I grabbed a nice handful of dry, dead leaves that were sitting next to the fire pit. That was a huge mistake. Some of you might already know where this is going. You see, being that this summer has been hella dry, unbeknownst to me and my Neanderthal brain, dry leaf piles are home to the lovely parasitic tick. 

Before I knew this, I already had grabbed a good number of handfuls and thrown them on the fire. 

The positive here was that the fire was lit, and the logs that Kacey had already put there were catching flame. Ah, what a beautiful sight. The sounds of crackling of the sticks, the smell of the burning logs, the delicious coffee passing my lips, and OH MY GOD WHAT THE HELL IS CRAWLING ON ME!?

Well, we’ve arrived at the negative. 

Good ol’ Mr. Tick hopped off the leaves and decided that I was going to be his next host. I think not! I flicked that son of a bitch towards the fire. Ha ha! You’ll never get me! Feeling proud of myself for only panicking slightly, I sat back and took another sip of my coffee.

Mid sip, I hear Kacey give a scream of her own. Damn near choking on my coffee, I look over at her and she’s flicking a tick off of her arm. Ok, there’s only been two ticks. No big deal. This is nothing. We’re tough like bulls. Ticks can’t phase us. 

Except we’re the weakest fuckin’ bulls, I swear to god. 

Kacey had another tick crawl up her pants and was damn near mid-thigh before she fished it out. I had 2 more parasitic bloodsuckers try and take over my body after that. You bet your ass we called off our “relaxing” morning fire excursion. Fine, ticks. You win!

Being that it was such a beautiful morning out, we ran over to the deck to the Adirondack chairs. I did say I was going to watch over the valley while drinking my morning coffee. So, maybe the tick invasion was destiny. Maybe my butt really just wanted to experience these cozy chairs and the view. Yes, that’s what I’ll tell myself to keep what shred of sanity I have left. 

Me sitting in an Adirondack chair, looking down into the valley
Our view every morning.

Ohp, guess what? Kacey found another tick on her after moving away from the fire. I’m here to tell you, during tick season, outside sucks. 

Having gone through such a traumatic outside experience, for the rest of the day, you bet we kept our behinds parked in the safety of the tiny house. I know, we’re a bunch of babies, but Jesus, I’ve never had a tick make me his home before. There was no way this was gonna be my first time. Nope. 

So, the remainder of our day consisted of us pacing around the house, eating our delicious snacks, grilling up some tasty chicken and corn on the cob, and watching some tennis on my laptop. At one point, Kacey fell asleep on my lap for a bit while we were sitting on the couch and I proceeded to stare down into the valley. In total, I’d reckon I spent 8-10 hours of my life staring into that valley’s soul that day. To be honest, I couldn’t tell you how I was capable of such a feat. But, I’ve never gotten so much thinking done before. And it was tremendously relaxing. If it sounds less crazy, I was watching two horses eat grass that entire time. They’d occasionally spice it up and walk a couple of feet and do some rollie pollies as well.

Still crazy? Yeah, I thought so…

Lying in bed that night, simply exhausted from the strenuous staring contest with the valley, I gave the ol’ legs a stretch, as I do every night. I prepared my winter hat next to me to pull over my eyes when the sun starts bleeding in through the windows. 

Why did I have a winter hat in the middle of summer, you may ask? Well, this is Wisconsin. You gotta be prepared for winter to hit at any point in time. Lesson number one right there for the non-Wisconsinites.

As I closed my eyes, about to dream of horses frolicking in the valley, I felt a familiar tickle on my arm. In a flash, I threw off the cover and saw a goddamn tick running up my arm, merry as can be. I flicked that bastard off the loft in an absolute panic. Hope he brought his parachute. 

Here I thought the tiny house would be our safe haven from ticks. Well, that was a crock of shit. 

Now, I know I made a mistake here. You’re supposed to either burn the bastards or flush them down the toilet. Well, for one, I don’t carry matches with me to bed. And two, there’s no way I’m climbing back down the ladder again unless it’s an absolute emergency. 

Call me lazy, but I’ll fight that tick battle in the morning if he shows his ugly mug again. You bet from that day forward, every single itch I had was greeted with laser-like focus to ensure I didn’t have a tick on me. Did I look like a meth addict in the process? Yes. Was I going to let a tick invade this temple of mine? Absolutely not.

Day 3: Adapt. Survive. Overcome.

Today, well, this was a monumental day. A day of celebration! Not only because it was my birthday, but because the sun would no longer erase the darkness from my slumber. Oh, no! My dreams of frolicking horses would continue until I decide they’re done. Not the sun! 

For I had my winter hat! I pulled that cotton savior right over my eyeballs. Ha, I win! But, I looked like a goofy son of a bitch I’m sure. Goofy or not, you bet your ass I slept in until 10 AM. Oh, what a world of difference more than 3 hours of sleep can do for the psyche. 

Feeling on top of the world from sleeping like a baby, thank God, a sense of adventure started brewing inside me. You know what, these bloodsuckin’ tick bastards can’t win. Hell, I just beat the sun at its own game. Ticks, I’m coming for you next. 

But first, I needed my coffee. Duh. Kacey and I felt pretty spicy this morning, so instead of making our usual morning brew, we ventured out into BFE and found ourselves a nice little coffee joint. This place was called 3 Arrows and was quite the snazzy little spot. It had your usual coffeehouse vibes. 

Now, if you know me, you’ll know that my favorite coffee beverage is a dirty chai with an extra shot of espresso. Dirty chai is literally chai tea with espresso if you’re unfamiliar. Holy hell, I could drink them all day. However, there’s only one place I’ve tried so far that has the chai that I get down with, and that’s Java Vino in La Crosse. Good lord, get me on that Chai drip ASAP.

The problem with most coffee places, at least in my mouth’s opinion, is their chai has a flowery flavor to it. It reminds me of soap in my mouth, quite frankly. Mix that flowery soap with espresso, well, that’s a recipe for disaster. 

Well, unfortunately, that was my experience at 3 Arrows. Soapy chai, god damnit. To be fair, my gut told me to try their home-brewed coffee, but I didn’t listen. I saw chai and the rest was history. I will say though that we both ordered breakfast burritos, and those were by far the best I’ve ever had. They’d provide the necessary fuel for the adventures ahead. And boy, we needed it. 

Fueled up and caffeine flowing through our veins, we got into the car and headed down to the first trail of the day. The first of many, I should say. Our initial plan was to hike the Ice Age Trail that went through St. Croix, but I can’t say for sure if we stepped one foot on it or not. 

The first trail we went on led us to a tent campsite that sat right off the lake. 50 feet or so behind the site sat a completely exposed concrete pit toilet. Yes, you read that right. There were absolutely no walls. No privacy. Imagine a jolly hiker strolls by and he sees you mid-push. Not a flattering sight.

I’m telling you right now, you couldn’t catch me dead using that god-forsaken “toilet”. The last thing I want in my life is to sit on there and a family of flies greets my undercarriage. That’s a big negative for me, Rubber Ducky. I’ve experienced that once already, and I swore to the boys that would never happen again. I aim to keep that promise.

Finishing that trail rather quickly, we still had much more hiking left in the tank. Plus, our goal was to hit 20,000 steps, so hiking was in our future whether we liked it or not. Lucky for us, we didn’t have to drive far at all. We drove a whopping 200 feet to get to the next trail. Up next, 5 miles of unknown terrain on the Trail of Myths.

Kacey and I outside the Trail of Myths
We have no idea about what kind of hell we’re about to step into…

I don’t know who decided to open up a portal into mosquito hell, but I felt like we fell right into it the moment we started. Don’t get me wrong, the trail itself was pretty and the groomers were on top of their game here. The mosquitos though. I must’ve been a total dingus and completely missed my legs when applying bug spray. No lie, these once glorious hairy calves had close to 40 mosquito bites. All equally itchy. 

I thought I was going to war with ticks. Boy, was I wrong. The mosquito massacre was upon us, and my legs were the first victims.  

Unbelievably, Kacey and I made it through the trail. Our mouths were numb from all the bug spray we coated our bodies in, but no big deal, right? Getting back to the car, we took a look at our Fitbits. Son of a bitch,  we needed about 5 more miles to hit our 20,000-step goal. 

Well, let’s fuckin’ get ‘er done.   

The third and final trial, I mean trail, resided in the town of Osceola. You may have to Google how to pronounce that one. Osceola is home to a number of great trails we found. In our pursuit of 20k, we decided to knock out not 1, not 2, but 3 different trails.

Yes, we’re absolute psychopaths. 

We conquered the Simenstad Trail, Eagle Bluffs Trail, and Cascade Falls. I’m sure you could guess, but the prettiest trail by far out of the 3 was Cascade Falls. The waterfall there was on the smaller end, but beautiful nonetheless. Kacey and I of course had a lovely Kodak moment in front of the waterfall. I look like I’m in pain in most pictures, but I’m happy I assure you. 

Kacey and I at Cascade Falls
The definition of a Kodak moment right here.

However, Cascade Falls was also a pain in my ass. Literally. Residing in somewhat of a valley, there are 135 stairs exactly to climb back up to get to the top of the trail. My ass and mosquito-bitten legs were on fire. Sweating absolute bullets, we arrived at the top and I plopped my sorry ass down at a picnic table. I immediately craved some ice cream. I don’t know why, but every time I work out I crave ice cream in my mouth. That goddamn stomach goblin in me, I swear to god.   

Being that Osceola is a small little town, you bet my first thought was, “Man, this place has got to have a local ice cream parlor.” Sure as shit, there was an antique store that also offered ice cream. I saw waffle cones and cookies and cream and I about died and went to heaven. Into my mouth, they went. Kacey got the Superman flavor, which I honestly can’t tell you what that flavor actually is. Regardless, mysterious flavor or not, Superman is still easy on the tastebuds.

You’re gonna think I’m full of shit when I say this, but at this point, our goal of 20k still wasn’t achieved. With our new source of ice cream fuel coursing through our veins, shit, what’s one more trail? 

Now, I apologize upfront here, but I don’t quite remember a whole lot about the last trail we hiked on. I think it was the Interstate Trail. Don’t quote me on that though. The only thing I remember clearly is we stumbled upon a family of turkeys at the entrance of the trail. I mean, it was like we were at a petting zoo. That’s how close we were to them. The momma Turk kept squawkin’ and pacing anxiously, so we took our pictures and trudged along. From there, it’s an absolute blur. 

But hey, we hit 20k steps getting back to the car. Wooooooo! Kill me now. 

My memory returns when we arrive at the supper club, Tippy Canoe. I don’t know why, but I think that’s a great name. Love it. I order a Moscow Mule because I damn well deserve it after the mosquito massacre and 10 miles of hiking. I’ve never had a drink go down so easily. We, of course, order food which is great. Also went down rather easily. The highlight of my foodie life was the dessert here though. I’m going to make a bold statement here and say that Tippy Canoe has the best damn dessert I’ve ever had the pleasure of putting in my mouth: The Skillet Cookie. 

Holy dear baby Jesus and all that is holy in the land of desserts. A chocolate chip and salted caramel cookie is baked in an 8-inch cast iron skillet and topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The cookie is fresh, it’s ooey-gooey, and tastes like heaven on Earth. Having the vanilla ice cream is a wonderful touch because it just melts blending in with the cookie making it taste that much better. I’m drooling like a dog thinking about that cookie. 

What a perfect way to end the day. I mean, I totally ate the calories back that I burned from walking 10 miles by eating that skillet cookie, but hey, this is America. 

Calories aside, I can’t recommend this dessert enough. Please, do yourself a favor and allow your mouth to experience what I experienced. 

I'm about to consume a delicious skillet cookie
The final moments before I inhale this skillet cookie.

Day 4: We Hate Our Feet

Ah, another beautiful morning waking up in this tiny house. So far, outside of the serial killer chair and ticks, this place has been a fantastic little getaway. 

Rolling out of bed, I crouch my way over to the ladder because I’m a smidge too tall for the loft and shimmy down like an absolute ladder expert. Today, after my ruined coffee experience yesterday, I’m brewing the classic stuff. I know this black gold won’t disappoint me. Like every morning, I brew Kacey’s cup as well. I grab my laptop, and we plop our little behinds in the Adirondack chairs outside. This morning routine of drinking our coffee outside and watching over the valley is quickly becoming a Tyler favorite. 

Being that today is Thursday, I start hammering away on Friday’s article. Yes, I’ve procrastinated just a smidge, but I do my best work when the clock’s against me. Trust me. I’m about an hour in, and I look up at the valley below to ponder on an idea. Five seconds later, here comes this black bear just waddling on through. From what I can tell, it’s a pretty decent size. He’s no more than 30 yards away from us. As quick as he appeared, he was gone. Thank god he didn’t notice us. I have to say, that was my first time ever seeing a bear in person. I puckered up a little bit, but pretty neat nonetheless. 

After yesterday’s hiking excursion, it felt so nice to sit and listen to the wildlife, type away, and relax with Kacey. The kind of mornings I live for, honestly. But, being the busy little bees we are, that was short-lived. Our thought? You know what, there’s this hiking trail called the Gandy Dancer that’s 58 miles long. That sounds fun! Let’s give it a whirl. Shoot for another 20k steps? Oh, you fuckin’ betcha!

Have I mentioned we’re mildly insane? 

This trail, being the same distance as we hiked the day before was a lot harder. Instead of walking on softer dirt trails, the Gandy Dancer is all gravel. That’s great for a short period when you’re walking, but damn it’s hard on the feet. Especially after 10 miles. 

The biggest highlight of our hike? 

Our bathroom breaks, honestly.  

On this trail, you’ll find a complete absence of a porta-potty. You’re basically SOL if ya gotta go. So, a little improvisation came into play. 

I turn one way and do my business, and Kacey turns the other way and does hers. One time in particular though, Kacey squats on down, and no lie, a mosquito went rogue and bit her left cheek. As awful as that is, I couldn’t help but laugh. The fuckin’ luck right there. 

Toward the end of our Gandy adventure, our feet were absolutely raw. I mean, pins and needles with each step. That’s probably a no-brainer after hiking 20 miles in 2 days, but hey, we hit our 20k goal again. To be fair, I had to make up for the skillet cookie I devoured the day before. 

Arriving home, we were starving. As a treat for our 10-mile hike, tonight’s dinner special was surf and turf: New York strip and tuna steak. Talk about Captain Protein over here. I could have that combo every single night.  

Being absolutely exhausted from our hike and in a mild food coma from dinner, we passed out on the couch to the familiar sounds of tennis balls being hit back and forth.     

Day 5: Rest and Reflection

Today was all about rest and reflection. 20 miles and 40,000 steps in two days, sheesh, my dogs needed a break. 

The plan for the day was to do absolutely nothing. I needed a day to be a complete veggie. I also had an article I needed to finish, so that was my plan. Remember the procrastination I mentioned earlier? Well, it was Friday now, and the article still wasn’t finished. It may have taken me a good 10 hours that day to complete. I definitely wrote three different drafts because my voice was completely absent in the first two. Something I’m always working on, to be honest. Thankfully, Kacey has an ear for how I write. She’ll tell me straight up if what I write is hogwash or not. Something I’m definitely grateful for.

Kacey’s plan for the day was entirely different. She entered a deep think mode as soon as she woke up. For her, that looks like a whole lot of pacing. She puts her headphones in, turns on a podcast, and she’s gone. I probably saw her go up and down the driveway 6 or 7 times before I joined her. 

After having some surf and turf leftovers, Kacey and I reflected on our adventure so far. This would be our last night here. 

To be honest, I was ready to go. As much as I loved the tiny house experience, it wasn’t home. I’m a Catdaddy through and through, and I missed our little fur babies. I couldn’t wait to sleep in our bed, either. Oh, and have curtains. I never thought I’d miss curtains so much. 

Outside of being a little homesick, I will say that the tiny home was an amazing experience to get away and think. And boy, between Kacey and I, we thought a lot. Basically, we formulated a plan for world domination, but that’s not ready to be seen yet. Soon though. Prepare yourselves. 

But seriously, getting outside of our comfort zone and living in such a small space for 5 days gave us a ton of perspective. We questioned everything. Daily, we talked about what was important to us, and what we wanted our future to look like.

We were really test-driving this tiny house because I felt guilty about our 2000 sqft behemoth of a home. But, as we talked more about our future, like having kids and hosting the classic spaghetti dinners, game nights, and holidays, well, 2000 sqft seemed to be just right.

As a couple, we grew closer because of our tiny house adventure. In all aspects, I’d say. Even hiking together and experiencing the mosquito massacre. If we can get through that, shit, life is gonna be a breeze. Being as close as we are, I didn’t even think it was possible to get closer. Our adventure proved me wrong. 

In the end, I’d say my tiny house flame is a little dimmer. But my experience living in one for 5 days will always be remembered. Yes, there were some negatives, but the positives I took away from such a tiny experience will last a lifetime. 

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2 responses to “5 Days Living Life in a 200 sqft Tiny House”

  1. Mariah Avatar

    Loved every second of this post! What a week long adventure! Glad to hear you’re still planning on hosting game nights!

    1. Tyler T Avatar

      Thank ya kindly! Yes, game nights will happen until we die. That’s what we signed up for 😂

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