Friday, July 8, 2011

Living Without Plumbing

Tony and I are coming up on a month in the new house and we still don't have plumbing yet. We're hoping to get the bathtub and toilet installed in the next few weeks as long as finances cooperate, and I'll have to hold out on the vanity I want for a little bit longer. Until then I thought I'd share how we're getting by without indoor plumbing. If you had told me four weeks ago that we would be getting by comfortably without plumbing I would have told you that you're crazy. Oh! Here's an updated photo of the house.
Each day we fill up a 5-gallon water container that has a spigot at Tony's work or a friend's house. We have 3 of these containers that we rotate through. We have it set up on a bathroom sink/counter that was given to us by Tony's mother and step-father that had been salvaged from an office building that was torn down. Why am I not planning to use this counter top in this house? It's because of space. We plan to put in shelves or cabinets on either side of the vanity since the bathroom is so small so we have a place to store linens. This counter top we are going to save for another small house we plan to build in future years. The sink drains into a 5 gallon bucket that we saved from adhesive we used to adhere the OSB on the floor to the insulated panels they are set on. We use this water for ornamental plants. For dishes, I have a wash basin that I use and that water is generally safe enough to water my herbs and tomatoes.
For showers, I found a camping solar shower for $6-7 at Walmart. We fill it with 2-3 gallons of water each morning and let it heat up during the day then take showers just after dark before we head off to bed. Our house is located down the side of a mountain in a secluded area so there is very little chance of anyone seeing us. They'd have to hike down or drive down the hill and we'd know they are coming. Tony also built a platform for us to stand on while we shower.

When we started building the house back in October 2010 on the weekends, we simply trekked off into the woods to take care of our "business". Now that we've moved, we use a bucket we purchased at Cabela's years ago for when our house in Texas had septic problems. We use a corn husk based cat litter that is biodegradable and compost that waste with waste from the cat box that once it's broken down I'll use as fertilizer for my ornamentals.
The only thing I'm not really able to do at home efficiently is laundry, so every Tuesday I make the hour drive to Fort Smith, AR and do laundry at a friend's home. Once we have the plumbing set up, then we will haul water at first from the local rural water company or a neighbor that we'll purchase water from. I bought several 300 gallon water storage units earlier this year that we'll store the water in. Later this summer we'll set up a captured rainwater system so we don't need to haul water except in times of drought.

Getting by without the indoor plumbing and learning to conserve water has been a blessing. Once we have the captured rainwater system set up I'm confident we will get by comfortably again and not have to stress over water. I love the idea of knowing we will have little impact on the water tables and help preserve that water.


Crystal said...

Just started following last night and two hours later you posted this. :)

I just wanted to say how inspiring you and your husband's changes in the way you live your lives is.

Not only is it inspiring, but it gives me a solid hope that someday... someday. I'll be able to do this too.

So thanks!

Diana said...

Crystal, you've just made me cry! lol. I feel like if we can do it anyone can. It can be hard at first, but it gets easier. This isn't something that happened overnight. It's occurred over a period of many years in baby steps, beginning with simple things like getting rid of stuff we really didn't need, "shopping" at home before I go buy something at the store, and sticking to my list and budget when I am shopping. Then I keep adding things as the others become habits. If you have any questions I'm more than happy to help answer them and brainstorm with you ideas for your situation.

Crystal said...

I've recently only been buying ingredients. Making my own things. Even shampoo, ketchup and mayonnaise. Not only is the quality improved, but I feel good about what I'm doing for myself and my family.

A lot of self esteem and gratification comes from relying on ones self and skills set.

Also I've found ACQUIRING new skills is a great way to keep your mind sharp and fresh.

I'm sure I'll have questions for you in the future and am really glad I found this blog with such a helpful and informative blogess!

Diana said...

Oh I absolutely agree about how gratifying it is and the self-confidence boost. Over the past several years since I've become a housewife and refused to sit at home eating bonbons and watch soaps and instead challenged myself to learn new things, I feel like my brain is generally sharper now than before.

I'm so glad you found me too! I know I'll be picking your brain as well.