December 7, 2016

Professor Dumpster

Dr. Dumpster's diminutive dives.

Jeff Wilson, a Texas teacher of biological sciences, is a person dedicated to teaching by example. He didn't just live in a tiny home the size of a dumpster - his home for a year long experiment in sustainability was a dumpster.

Therefore his nickname, Professor Dumpster.

The Dr. of Dumpsterism perfected the craft of thriving in a 33 square foot former waste receptacle on the grounds of his school in Austin. Rather than lament the loss of luxury, Wilson sings the praises of really small footprint living.

Some of the immediate advantages he found were:

  • lower rent
  • lower utility payments
  • owning fewer things
  • less time spent doing chores
  • shorter commute (about 90 seconds on foot)
  • less money spent on unnecessary possessions
  • more community involvement
  • reduced mental noise

Most of all, Professor Wilson said that living lightly gave him a new sense of freedom. And while shacking up in his humble abode involved some sacrifice, he said that he cried when his project ended and he moved out.

You don't need to dwell in a dumpster to feel the goodness of small footprint living. Its benefits can be realized anywhere in any place, one decision at a time.


  1. Love this. Especially the bit about reduced mental noise. That resonates with me. I feel like these days everything is so NOISY. Not just aurally but in other ways. The internet. Facebook. Smart phones. Everything is always ON. I recently took a break from Facebook for a month and about 4 months later I am dreading going back to it. My 'friends' are cross that I'm not back on but the longer I'm away from it the more I don't miss it at all. The mental clutter and the noise of it.... yuck. :( I would love to do what this professor has done. Whenever I've mentioned staying in our lovely 1185sq foot home forever, people look at me in disbelief that I don't want to ├║pgrade'. A tiny house looks even better to be honest. Best not mention that considering our place is deemed tiny for our family of 5. :( I just want to live quietly and build real life community. Don't want or need much else. I wonder if in a community of tiny houses there would be more of the same stuff the professor experienced happening?

    1. Karen,

      I like the idea of a tiny home community. It could have a central larger building so that there was space for a large kitchen, washroom facilities, shared meals, conducting celebrations, play space for kids and adults, and an area to gather to learn from each other.

      There is so much pressure to "upgrade" everything. Seems like a useless race to the bottom. Those with infinite desires will always remain as slaves to the system. No thank you. Good for you for resisting the insanity.

  2. Fantastically brilliant.

    1. Frugal,

      Linda and I lived in less than 600 sq ft for 10 years. But Dr. Dumpster has that beat with his 33 sq ft. I wonder if his dumpster was wheelchair accessible?

  3. Anonymous12/08/2016

    Simple living is best. Reminds me of Richard Stillman, open source software activist and creator of Emacs. He lived in his office at MIT for many years and owns little, dedicating his life to activism.

    1. Alex,

      Own little = be free.

      Richard Stillman = smart guy.


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