How a family of 3 lives with books in less than 300 square ft.

An interview with tiny house residents Justin & Dorissa Grimard

Posted by Ben Landau September  23, 2016
 
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For Dorissa and Justin Grimard, taking the big leap to tiny home living was both a drawn out process and spur of the moment decision.

After hearing about British Columbia’s growing micro house movement from a coworker in 2012, Dorissa (who goes by Dori), knew it was something she wanted to try. But with plans to grow the family in the near future, the young couple were unsure if it was the right move.

Fast forward a few years later and the couple finally came to a conclusion. “’Screw it! If we are ever going to be able to do this, we might as well do it now!"

They built the 20 ft. long trailer home themselves and were moved in within months. Justin, a roofer by trade, put together the house on their five-acre lot with help from Dori and their fathers (the Grimards both come from construction families).

We spoke with Dori, a self-described “binge reader”, known to blow through several books a week, about how she manages to live with books in less than 300 square feet with her family of three.

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Why did you decide to downsize?

We went tiny for 4 reasons:

  1. We loved the concept and thought it was just neat!  
  2. We are big environmentalists so we loved the idea of reducing our carbon footprint
  3. Our first kid wasn’t born yet, so we figured that this was the only period in our life that we could pull it off (we hope to have several kids one day)
  4. Finally, we were moving onto a property with no house and figured a tiny home would be much more comfortable than a trailer.

Are you a minimalist by nature?

Oh no. My husband is, but not me. I've had to work really hard at letting go of my attachment to things. I am constantly working at this as I want our house and our lives to be simple.

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What challenges do you face? Is storage ever an issue?

Space. Always space haha. We are lucky enough though to have more space than most tiny house users.  We own a five-acre piece of bare land in Deroche, BC, so we have the luxury of having a storage bin on our property.  Don't misunderstand me though, we still do have storage issues at times and are constantly purging and getting rid of things we don't need.

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When you downsized did you have to get rid of books? How did you decide which ones to keep?

We obviously had to downsize A LOT when we went tiny. To my dismay at the time, that did mean getting rid of many boxes of books.  

Fortunately, we have a storage container on our property, so we kept two boxes, consisting mostly of my Jane Austen collection and a few sentimental books from our childhoods that we’re saving for our son when he’s old enough. To be honest, being forced to pare down has actually been quite liberating.

What kind of reader are you?

I‘m a binge reader I won't have time to read for a long time but when I finally do get the chance to pick up a good book, I will read for hours and hours straight and usually finish it within a day or two.  If it's a series of books that I enjoy, I'll plow through them in less than a week.

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What are you reading now?

Justin has been reading a lot of Clive Cussler novels recently and he is loving them!  I'm currently reading Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling. It's definitely got me laughing!

When do you usually read?

Anytime, but especially at night when my son is asleep and I can read in peace. I love that my eReader has a built-in light so I don’t bother my husband.

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Where's your happy reading place?

You think it would be on our giant plot of land, but to be honest, it’s in the house. Either laying down in my bed or the couch. I guess I really do love my home.

Did you love reading as a child?

I've always loved reading! As soon as I could read chapter books I would fly through them. On a typical trip to the library I would take out the maximum number of books I could (at that time it was around 50!) and read them all before the 3-4 weeks was done!  

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Where do you keep books in your tiny house?

We keep a collection of books we’re currently reading above our couch on a small bookshelf and a few picture books in our we keep our son’s toy bin.

How does digital reading fit into your life?

Since going tiny we have purchased a couple of books to read on our devices. My husband loves that whenever he wants a book now, he can first look at the library and if it's not available there, he can purchase it online.

We only buy eBooks now, as we hate to add to the clutter. That simplification has helped us a lot!

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5 books that made me who I am:

  • Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson: this book really changed our lives. It opened our eyes to all the damage and waste we produce, and it started me on my journey towards living a zero waste lifestyle.
  • Eat to Live by Joel Fuhrman: Fuhrman has so much amazing, easy to understand info on food. His writing has totally shaped how we eat.
  • Crazy Love by Francis Chan: this and The Irresistible Revolution both have similar messages: to get out of your comfort zone, err on the side of action instead of caution, and rediscover what it really means to be a true follower of Christ.
  • The Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claibourne: see above.
  • Ecoholic by Adria Vasil: it’s just all around great. It's my 'bible' that I turn to when I need help making eco friendly/sustainable choices. So much info in one book!
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