We built our tiny house about ten feet away from the screen "house" we built first. The screen house is an open air living space for about 8 months of the year. It's part of what makes our tiny house not feel quite so tiny, and we walk between our two living spaces several times a day. In the screen house, we have a primitive kitchen (cooler for a fridge, a sink that empties into a bucket), a table for dining and a much-used lounge area. But back to the slate...
Two sets of stairs lead down from the tiny house to stairs up to one of the screen house doors. For more than a year, we've had to step down on to dirt or mulch to cross between our living spaces. (Imagine all my dirty feet and socks...) We had a few hundred ideas about what to do in the gap between the houses, and we actually took the time to weigh them. What would each cost? Would they reflect or clash with what's already on site? How much time would be required, time taken away from other projects? We thought long and hard about what we wanted, and we came to this conclusion: we wanted a walkway of slate slabs between the houses.
The next lesson in patience came when we looked at the cost of slate slabs. At local nurseries and hardware stores, we found prices between $200 and $300 to buy enough slabs the size and thickness we wanted. The walkway wasn't enough of a priority to justify the hit to our bank account. That's when Bill turned, once again, to Craigslist.
He kept his eye out for slate (among a few other wish-list items) and, after a few months, he found it. We paid $15 a slab for pieces larger than what we had been looking at. The walkway cost us only $30, once we realized we could make use of a couple pieces of slate we already had on hand. The 2x3' slabs were so reasonable, we spent another $60 and had enough to put slate at the bottom of another set of stairs off the deck and under a little table and chairs that had previously teetered on dirt.
That's neither our first nor, hopefully, our last Craigslist find. The set of wicker furniture that we lounge on in the screen house cost less for all four pieces than the price of some new chairs. And then there's the beautiful, metal Emu chairs and table on the deck—in great shape and also a fraction of the price if bought new. We've also scored free landscaping stones and lumber.
Yes, you have to wade through a boatload of ridiculously hideous and/or overpriced items, not to mention scams, on Craigslist—but, with a little patience, Craigslist can be the tiny house builder's best friend.