Build Your Tiny Home From Recycled Materials

People are turning to tiny living in order to save money. Living simply is about getting back to the earth, leaving a smaller footprint on the planet, and also, for many people, about being frugal. Why create a mountain of debt when you can build a home from recycled materials that can be found for free?

Building your tiny home from recycled materials is not as difficult as you may think. In fact, when you learn what to look for, it’s actually not hard to find the materials and put your imagination to work.


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What Materials Do You Need?

Most small homes need wood unless you’ve got other ideas. Earthships, for example, are made from used tires that are filled with rammed earth. These are fantastic because they are their own insulation and dirt is free if you’ve got enough property. The tires can be picked up all over the place. People toss them in ditches, in the woods, and dump them in ways that other people are left seeking others to come and get them. You could be that person.

Pallets make great finished floors, walls, decks, furniture, and outbuildings. They are often given away free from industrial plants that don’t want them after receiving their materials on them. They’ll be tossed in huge piles behind businesses and companies that consider them trash.

You know what they say about one man’s trashing being another man’s treasure. Sure, disassembling pallets takes some time, a crowbar, a saw, and a lot of muscle, but it’s free wood and nails. If you are careful, you can save enough nails that you don’t even have to buy them to build your little home.

Places to Find Goodies

Feed stores tend to throw out pallets. Large manufacturers will toss all sorts of pallets in odd sizes and crates too. Quarries that sell rocks have crates that are made from wood and the frames can be used to fashion all sorts of things, such as chicken coops, watering troughs for livestock, small fish ponds with a plastic liner, and a thousand other things.


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Old windows are being sold on Craigslist and if you roam that site, look at the “free” section. You can roam around on your day off and pick up all sorts of things that people are just getting rid of. Sometimes you’ll score items that are like brand new.

Look for places that are seeking construction clean-up crews or inquire with insurance companies for jobs cleaning up wreckage after fires, tornadoes, etc. I was lucky to come across a couple of people who had old mobile homes that weren’t worth anything and would cost them a mint to move. They allowed them to be demolished on the property and then burned what wasn’t able to be used.

The aluminum side, wood paneling on the interior walls, insulation, light fixtures, kitchen sink, bathroom fixtures, hot water heater, stove, and more were all salvaged material that could be used. FREE. Old campers are also a great source for axles, a frame that you can strip it down to and create a whole new house on.

The appliances, plumbing, and fixtures are often salvageable materials. This can cost you little to nothing. I’ve seen old campers that are basically junk to others that you can pick up for a hundred bucks and strip $1000 worth of goodies out of. Aluminum siding can be used as roofing material or sold for extra money. The same goes for any copper wiring that you don’t want.

All that is required to find cheap materials for your tiny home building project is to think outside the box and scan through the things that other people consider garbage. This applies to homesteading, prepping, and tiny home building and living. Think outside the box and constantly be on the lookout for new ideas. Join groups, message boards, and use apps like Pinterest for ideas.

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About Salman Zafar

Salman Zafar is the Founder of EcoMENA, and an international consultant, advisor, ecopreneur and journalist with expertise in waste management, waste-to-energy, renewable energy, environment protection and sustainable development. His geographical areas of focus include Middle East, Africa, Asia and Europe. Salman has successfully accomplished a wide range of projects in the areas of biomass energy, biogas, waste-to-energy, recycling and waste management. He has participated in numerous conferences and workshops as chairman, session chair, keynote speaker and panelist. Salman is the Editor-in-Chief of EcoMENA, and is a professional environmental writer with more than 300 popular articles to his credit. He is proactively engaged in creating mass awareness on renewable energy, waste management and environmental sustainability in different parts of the world. Salman Zafar can be reached at or

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