How a Designer Transformed a Dumpster into His Cozy Home for $5,000

London is one of the most expensive cities in the world to live in.

The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is around $2,000 per month, which is more than most people can afford.

That’s why Harrison Marshall, a 28-year-old designer who works in London, decided to look for a creative and cheap alternative to renting a flat.

He had spent a few years working abroad in Central America and Southeast Asia, where he enjoyed a low-cost and adventurous lifestyle.

But when he came back to London, he realized he had been priced out of the housing market.

The Solution: A Dumpster Turned into a Tiny Home

Marshall didn’t want to spend his entire income on a cramped and dark apartment. He wanted to have some savings and enjoy his life in the city.

So, he came up with an unconventional idea: to live in a dumpster.

But not just any dumpster. Marshall transformed a metal skip into a cozy and functional home, with a real bed and everything.

He spent about $5,000 and three weeks to build the tiny home, using the dumpster as the foundation.

He added a timber frame on top of the dumpster, covered with cedar shingles to make it waterproof.

He also insulated the interior with plywood sheets and used recycled plastic and aluminum for the roofing.

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The Features of the Dumpster Home

The dumpster home may look small from the outside, but it has everything Marshall needs to live comfortably.

Inside, he has a mini fridge, a tap and sink, an induction cooktop, and a bed. He also has some storage space for his clothes and belongings.

The bed is accessible by a small ladder, and has a window for ventilation and natural light. There is enough room to sit up and relax on the bed.

Marshall admits that some things are not very convenient, such as climbing up to the bed and having a very small fridge.

But he says he doesn’t mind, and that he likes his simple and minimalist lifestyle.

The Challenges of Living in a Dumpster

Of course, living in a dumpster is not without its challenges.

One of the main ones is the lack of a bathroom.

Marshall doesn’t have a toilet or a shower inside his dumpster home.

Instead, he uses a portable toilet that he keeps on site, and showers at his gym or his workplace, which are both a 10-minute bike ride away.

He also has to deal with the changing weather, which can make his home too hot or too cold.

He says he has a fan and a heater to cope with the temperature, but he admits it can be uncomfortable sometimes.

Another challenge is the security of his home.

Since his home is essentially a dumpster, he has to worry about someone stealing it or breaking into it.

To prevent that, he installed a Ring Doorbell Camera at the front of his dumpster, which alerts him if anyone approaches his home.

He also has a lock on his door and a fence around his site.

He says he hasn’t had any major problems so far, and that most people are curious and respectful of his home.

The Benefits of Living in a Dumpster

Despite the challenges, Marshall says he enjoys living in his dumpster home.

He says it has many benefits, such as:

  • Saving money: He only pays $200 per month for the site rental, which is much cheaper than renting a flat in London. He also saves on utilities and other expenses.
  • Having freedom: He doesn’t have to worry about landlords, contracts, or deposits. He can move his home whenever he wants, or even sell it if he changes his mind.
  • Being eco-friendly: He uses renewable energy sources, such as solar panels and batteries, to power his home. He also recycles and composts his waste, and uses water sparingly.
  • Being creative: He says he enjoyed the process of designing and building his home, and that it reflects his personality and style. He also likes to decorate his home with plants and art.
  • Being happy: He says he feels happier and more fulfilled living in his dumpster home, than he would living in a regular apartment. He says he has more time and money to pursue his hobbies and passions, such as traveling and photography.


Marshall acknowledges that living in a dumpster home is not for everyone, and that it has its pros and cons.

He says he doesn’t plan to live in his dumpster home forever, and that he may eventually upgrade to a bigger and more comfortable home.

But for now, he says he is happy with his choice, and that he doesn’t regret it.

He says he hopes his story can inspire other people to think outside the box, and to find their own ways of living affordably and sustainably in the city.

If you want to see more of his dumpster home, you can watch the full video by CNBC here!


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