Arkansas Family of 6 Lives in a Tool Shed and Loves It

by Jonathan Howard

Now, I know we could all downsize a bit. But, this Arkansas family of 6 is taking things to a whole new level with their tool shed home. The tiny home craze has really taken a hold of many out there looking to get back into the outdoors. While I can appreciate the ingenuity and efficiency of these homes, it’s hard to imagine a family of this size living in just 500 square feet.

This story sounds like a lot of tiny home stories. It was June 2020, and the pandemic had made the financial situation of the family a little uncertain. So, Jessica Taylor and her husband Lath decided that they were going to get rid of the three-bed and two-bath house in the northwest of the Natural State.

With four kids, they decided to move into a home with less than 100 sq ft per person. That’s a tight fit. To tell you the truth, Outsiders, my wife and I shared a 425 sq ft apartment in college, and that was a little cramped for my liking. They also moved from Arkansas to the comfort of west Tennessee.

Here’s a great thing that family does, but probably the most difficult thing they do as well – a natural composting bathroom. Yeah, no flushing at the Taylor household.

“One of the things people find really weird about us living in a shed is that we use a composting bathroom rather than a traditional toilet,” Taylor explained. The 30-year-old explained the process. “It’s a bucket system. And [when] you [go to the bathroom], you cover it with wood chips each time. After two days, whether the bucket is full or not we dump [the contents] into a composting bin in the woods, and then after a couple of years, it turns into soil for ornamental plants.”

It does have some creature comforts, though.

Arkansas Family Still has Electricity, Plumbing

Just because they don’t have a traditional toilet, the Taylor family does have the things you would expect out of a normal home. Everything you need to live a modern life, but on a much smaller scale. This is another example of a high-efficiency home.

“The shed is two stories and has electricity, running water, a heat/cooling system, a 65-inch flat-screen television, a stainless steel refrigerator, an electric stove and foldout futons that we use as beds,” Taylor said.

Of course, the family is a big proponent of sustainable living. So, they have some gardens, and they make sure to do what they can when it comes to reusing resources. As you can tell from their toilet situation, I’m sure. However, they think that even with the quirks of their lifestyle, it’s attractive to people.

“More and more people are breaking free from the mindset that you have to have the big expensive, fancy house to feel like they’re making it,” the Arkansas mom explained. “There’s value in living modestly. We’re able to spend more time together gardening and enjoying nature rather than working to afford lavish accommodations.”

So, Outsiders, would you go with the compost toilet or not?