Dreaming of a sweet little outhouse… because I am very weird

Aug 11 2017
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I want to build an outhouse. Ok, bare with me on this one because I swear I’m really not quite as weird as that makes me sound! I had the incredible pleasure of visiting some off the grid friends of mine last weekend to see their grounds. Oh. My. Goodness. The gardens, the flowers, the squash growing on the roof of their home (with a sauna built right in the middle of it!) the several sweet little screened in porches/guest homes/summer lounges complete with their own little wood stoves and the wood storage *SWOONS* I was in absolute Heaven! It was SO amazing and then I went to use their outhouse (they have indoor plumbing but use their outhouse most of the time to save on electricity) and I knew it was the first of a long list of things that these folks had built that I wanted!


Building an outhouse because I am incredibly frugal to keep the mess out of the house and to save on electricity and water

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It was the most lovely, pleasant and spacious outhouse I have ever entered. It had screens all along the top, just under the roof line, to keep it aired out and, because of this, it was remarkably BRIGHT. It had all the comforts of a regular bathroom, towel holders, nice padded seat, a large pitcher and bowl for washing. It was designed so beautifully on the inside that if I had taken a photo of it and said that it was in someone’s home no one would have questioned it. They went so far as having a little bucket full of wood chips and a scoop!

Building an outhouse because I am incredibly frugal to keep the mess out of the house and to save on electricity and water

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Ok, so this is my argument as to why I want one and why this doesn’t actually make me weird as hell. As you all know I am incredibly frugal and I live with my own well here and septic tank and, because of that, every drop of water costs me quite a bit more than most folks on city water because I have to pay the electricity to pump it into my home.

Building an outhouse because I am incredibly frugal to keep the mess out of the house and to save on electricity and water

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Well pumps and pressure tanks do not last forever and I’m so frugal that I’ve literally flushed the toilet and thought, “What a waste!” But that’s just when I’m IN the house – when I’m OUTSIDE the house I have even more reasons to get myself an outhouse. I get dirty like, REALLY dirty, I’m the kind of person that says often and with sad sincerity, “This is why I can’t have nice things.” Because I’m hard on stuff even though I really try very hard not to be. (I’ve secretly thought of Pig Pen from Charlie Brown in reference to myself more then once…)

Building an outhouse because I am incredibly frugal to keep the mess out of the house and to save on electricity and water

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I have literally peed in the bushes because I was not yet finished with the task at hand to justify cleaning up enough just to be able to walk through the house to use the toilet. I have completely covered my bathrooms with everything from sheet rock mud, sheet rock dust, wood chips, good old fashioned mud, sand, dirt and the OH-SO-ITCHY hay fragments after moving 120 bales of hay on a hot August day.

Building an outhouse because I am incredibly frugal to keep the mess out of the house and to save on electricity and water

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I’ve literally stripped down to my skivvies on the front porch and just left my clothes there, on the step, to put them back on in the morning because there was no justifiable reason to get a second set of clothes that dirty the next day! And I have spent WAY more time then I want to admit scrubbing caulk, paint, wood putty, stain, poly and sheet rock mud off of my beautiful 100 year old hardwood floor because I was wrong when I thought my shoes were clean… and don’t even get me started on the endless sweeping that hardwood floors require!

Building an outhouse because I am incredibly frugal to keep the mess out of the house and to save on electricity and water

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SO, when I say I want to build an outhouse maybe it doesn’t make me QUITE so weird lol. (Moms with boys would totally get me I think.) We had a birthday party/small family gathering here a couple of weekends ago and we spent a good amount of time around the fire, admiring our flowers and garden and walking about the farmyard. (Summer in Minnesota: none of us want to spend it inside!) If someone had to heed the call of nature it was all the way back to the house, up several steps, through the kitchen and through the living room and everyone is so nice to take their shoes on and off but, what a pain! So, I tell everyone to just leave their shoes on!

There are a couple of smaller points that are kinda awesome with an outhouse as well. Many people use fireplace ash to sprinkle over the “business” and, goodness knows, I have a lot of that on hand! So, it will be nice to be able to utilize that in a more productive way then just tossing it. I also have a couple of leftover windows from when I gutted the house that I can use in construction. On top of all of that, I’ve got friends who would love to bring their tents or campers to stay in my yard and then I would have a convenient place for them to use too.

The addition of an outhouse to any homestead will not only save money and offer a lot of convenience but they don’t need to stink or be unpleasant at all, in fact, they can also be quite comfortable and even pretty! Just check those out that I found on Pinterest! (click on each image to go straight to the pin)

Building an outhouse because I am incredibly frugal to keep the mess out of the house and to save on electricity and water


  1. Cheryl
    August 12, 2017 at 4:54 am

    All great reasons for having an outhouse.
    I prefer to use our outhouse in the summer rather than go inside the house.
    Most outhouses have sliver of moon ?
    on the door. I knew an elderly woman who was raised in Germany who said that they
    called an outhouse, (German word that I can’t recall), but meant ‘A house with a heart’, because on the door was a heart. So our second outhouse has a heart on the door. I loved the image

    • August 14, 2017 at 2:45 pm

      Oh Cheryl I love that too, I think once we build ours we’ll have to put a heart on the door! Thanks so much for sharing that with me!

  2. August 12, 2017 at 10:13 pm

    This is Bruce. Thanks for the kudos. One suggestion. Do not use wood ash or lime in the outhouse. It kills the bacteria, which is why we use wood shavings or sawdust which gives the bacteria food.

    Please visit anytime. You two are special.

    • August 14, 2017 at 2:46 pm

      Bruce, thank you for that note, I read in several places online that they use wood ash I never considered it would be a bad idea, thanks!

  3. August 13, 2017 at 10:48 pm

    I get it! Couple questions- could you retrofit your bathroom with a composting toliet? There are lots on the market and you’re both hard core DIYS. Ever considered a solar powered well pump? Lots out there…

    • August 14, 2017 at 2:48 pm

      Hi Nancy! I have not looked into solar powered well pumps I’ll need to do that, great idea! I did think about a composting toilet, then we could use it for the garden etc. Thanks for coming by!

  4. August 16, 2017 at 2:00 am

    What a great collection! I love it. And I’m all for interesting and unique outbuildings so I say DO IT! In fact, I just might show this to Mr. Menace because we are always talking about need a bathroom downstairs.
    🙂 gwingal

    • August 16, 2017 at 2:15 pm

      Hi Nikki, thanks for coming by! Yup I am convinced we all deserve an outhouse – a friend of mine said how glad she was that the previous owners of her home had one before they bought it! Whenever she works in the garden or her kids spend time in the lake, that’s what they use and its so convenient!

  5. August 17, 2017 at 1:37 pm

    lol!!! We have an old falling down outhouse above the cabin at the lake. I am totally going to fix it. So cool that someone else is on the same page.

    • August 17, 2017 at 2:46 pm

      That’s awesome Winnie! I wish my grandparents’ hadn’t torn down the old one they had here years ago, I would much rather fix up then build from scratch! Good luck on your outhouse!

  6. Fran
    July 26, 2018 at 4:11 pm

    A few years back, 3 grandkids ( who live in the city ) spent the summer with us. We live on a farm way way out in the country. We too have well water & are very conservative on using it. So, about 3 weeks into the stay, NO water! The 2 girls who have very long hair would take showers about 1/2l hour long; grandson 10 minutes or less. Anyway, we couldn’t use the toilet, take showers or do laundry. The neighbors were kind to let us shower & have drinking & cooking water. We had to potty in a 5 gallon bucket w/a toilets seat which was set up outside. Oh how the girls HATED using it & grandson had to empty it in a big hole way way behind the house. About a week later we had a new well drilled. So after these city grandkids went home, I asked my husband to build an outhouse. He used skid/pallets, & we hung an old screen door on front when you are in you can see out but front outside can’t see in..we call it AREA 51! Lesson learned to city kids…use well water sparingly!

    • July 27, 2018 at 8:40 am

      Fran you just said one of my biggest fears: my well running dry. It happened to my grandparents many years ago and they put in a new and very deep one so I think I’m in the clear but you just never know. This last winter one of my septic tanks froze and I took it as a sign that I absolutely needed to get an outhouse built – just in case. But because I am on well water not having everyone using the house saved me money and water as well! I call it a win-win and I totally love that I have it!

  7. Sharon
    May 11, 2020 at 2:01 am

    Hello Tarahlynn!

    I have an outhouse and NO, you are not weird!! It’s been here since I was a kid. I am in the mood to spruce mine up. Love the ideas shown here. Thanks for sharing!!


    • May 11, 2020 at 8:46 am

      Thanks Sharon, mine has been just so handy to have!

  8. Resa
    August 27, 2020 at 11:49 am

    This is a pretty good idea!
    I’ll add one small thought: “Back in the day” when everyone had an outhouse — or “the necessary” — they all planted honeysuckle, a very aromatic plant on the outhouse. Couldn’t hurt to copy that old-fashioned idea today.

    • August 28, 2020 at 11:33 am

      Great idea Resa, thanks for coming by!

  9. April 23, 2021 at 9:13 am

    Do you empty the bucket in the outhouse? How does the waste go away? Or does the waste go directly into the ground?

    • April 23, 2021 at 9:21 am

      Hi Maria, it just goes into the hole in the ground. It doesn’t get enough use ever to be a problem so that works for us.

  10. Carrie Coates
    January 8, 2022 at 6:56 pm

    I live in the city but was raised on the farm as a kid… our outhouse was not a fun place to visit … but I love the ideas you have shared on this board. Does anyone know if there would be problems with having an outhouse in your back yard in residential areas?

    • January 10, 2022 at 10:11 am

      Hi Carrie! You would have to check with your city ordinances which you can do by calling your local court house or city hall. We don’t use ours a lot but I’ve appreciated every time we’ve needed it!

  11. Denise Frye
    February 12, 2023 at 4:42 am

    We just got a cabin and the outhouse is in great need of repair. I have gotten a lot of ideas. Thank you so much.

    • February 13, 2023 at 10:19 am

      Hi Denise, I built mine quite awhile ago and am so happy we have it!

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