Tiny House Insurance

Your Tiny House may be the most valuable asset you own in your life. Protection for it may very well be second most important. After all, weather damage, fires, and theft are all real world situations and although tiny houses on wheels can run, they can’t always hide.

 Take it from Dee WIlliams‘s friend, Kim Langston…

Saturday, April 4th - the discovery of the fire - and Sunday, April 6th after starting the cleanup process.

Photo:Tinyhouse43.com

Meg and Brandy of Tiny House 43 who accidently,improperly disposed of hazardous materials after a long day of building…

The paver driveway leading up to the tiny house of Casey Friday was destroyed when thieves towed the home away while he and his wife were gone. Photo: Photos Courtesy Of Casey Friday

Photo:Casey Friday

and Casey Friday, whose tiny home was stolen and pawned.

While no one relishes being an example of the unfortunate, there were things we all took away from it.

That is the beauty of the Tiny House community. Remember when everyone came together to crowdfund Kim Langston’s rebuild after her tiny house was caught in a barn fire? or when Tiny House 43 restored what they could from the ash covered sheathing? Or when news was shared of Casey’s quest to get justice from the thieves and reunite with his long lost tiny home?

We watched, were moved to help and encourage until all those challenges were overcome. The harder the struggle, the sweeter it was to celebrate their victory! And we all learned what NOT to do.

While some factors we can control (parking farther from adjacent buildings, taking the time to properly dispose of hazardous materials, or buying hitch and wheel locks). Some, we simply can not. Insurance for Tiny Houses under all unique circumstances, settled in one place or rolling along a highway, is non-existent. However,there are efforts in progress and it is a great opportunity for insurance agents to hop on board the Tiny house market.

Tiny Housers who creatively received insurance:

Photo: Runway Shanty

#1 – No matter what insurance you pursue,work with an insurance agent to work through the loopholes. It will also help other tiny home owners in the future by being able to recommend them to an agent that has already written an accepted coverage.

#2 Look for a reputable insurance agent already exploring the Tiny House insurance market.

Darrell Granz Insurance finalized a deal that will allow them to offer tiny home coverage in all US states (except Alaska & Hawaii), not just the West Coast states they currently serve. Even better, they will have coverage for transporting your tiny home and the unique solutions.

Coverages that will soon be available: moving Tiny Homes on wheels, full-time residents, self-built, construction type, tiny home rentals, AirBnB, and other alternative structures.

Archambault Insurance, CT, used by Runaway Shanty Tiny House.

Insurance Resource Center,Neil Gritz, Fairfield, IA, used by Aleks Lisefski.

Foremost Insurance (related to State Farm Insurance), only rumored to be able to insure tiny houses since they cover mobile homes, boats, etc.

 

Where there’s a will, there is always a way. Don’t let a gap in insurance discourage you to build tiny. BIG things are happening!

Choosing a Trailer

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Something exciting is about to happen! You are searching for the most important feature of your Tiny House to be. The cornerstone.

What should you be looking for in a trailer that is about to carry a house?

It should be defined with an appropriate GWVR (Gross Weight Vehicle Rating), equipped with heavy duty axles, high load radial tires, emergency brakes,running lights,dual chains, steel beams and flange,and a flat deck. It shouldn’t have any extra rails unless you incorporate them into the design and it definitely won’t help having a ramp or tilt feature.

Tiny House Trailers

 You can buy a custom trailer OR restore a used trailer. It’s a DIY revolution! Take that used trailer, though, and you will have to make changes that aren’t so cost effective or timewise. Try searching the toolbar on social media sites for previous experiences. You will find warnings and even tragic posts from tiny house DIY’ers who discourage others from repeating the mistake…using RV,rusted, poorly welded,and even just lightweight utility trailers. Sure, circumstances related to budget, time, skills, and energy might still have us searching craigslist OR it might send us clicking on a Tiny House custom trailer URL. Like the saying goes,”Why reinvent the wheel?

Is that a pun? 

To quickstart your build safely and efficiently, a custom trailer is what’s up. After all, investing intelligently in the foundation will keep your tiny home in it for the long haul! (pun!)

 

Let’s get know the possible types of foundations for your future tiny house on wheels.

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If you’ve ever seen the MiniMotives home, you would see a tiny home built on a gooseneck trailer. It’s a great option for a platform bedroom without having to climb into a loft. The gooseneck offers stabilization when towing.

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These trailers have a deck over the wheels. You won’t have to worry about a strategic layout of cabinets over wheel wells, but you will lose about 3-4” of headroom due to maximum height restrictions. Make sure it does not tilt, another feature common to deckovers.

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Most tiny houses are built on a utility trailer with the deck that is inline with the wheels. It is very popular to customize this type of trailer with drop axles. It will increase your headroom since there are max. height restrictions, but there will be less ground clearance which may effect your plumbing lines.

The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

                                   Used Trailer                                         

Pros +

Cons –

Spend within your budget.Pay for improvements as you go.

weld reinforcements

search within distance

saw off extra rails

choice of 5th wheel, deckover,utility

sand off rust,paint

more wear and tear

possible tire/axle replacement

strip off decking

 

No VIN/ tougher DMV process:temporary plate, inspection upon registering as handmade trailer

New Trailer (manufacturer or non-custom trailer company)

Pros +

Cons –

GVWR (weight it can carry) is defined.

must provide plans to manufacturer to get special customizations.

No wear and tear

$$

less knowledge of appropriate specifications for Tiny Houses

Tiny House Custom Trailer

Pros +

Cons –

fully licensed VIN***

Pick up can be distant

Can register as camper van vs. homemade***

Choosing between Tiny House companies

1 Year Warranty on axles ***

Steel Flange for attaching tiny house***

Minimally squared fenders for easier sheathing/siding***

Heavy duty axles

No wear and tear

Delivery Option

Customer support specializing in tiny houses ***

Costs as much (or even less) as a new non- custom trailer***

bragging rights?

*** special and unique feature of Tiny Home Builders compared to other brands.

Size

Size matters. Not only will you have to consider the space and layout for your needs, but a few other factors:

  • =More length means more square feet of materials.

  • = More materials means more labor, time, and weight.

  • = More weight means you will need a heavy duty towing vehicle.

  • A length over 24 ft will may require additional axles and tires.  If you plan on traveling with your tiny house,your toll rate will increase per axle.Cha-Ching!

  • Places and spaces to park.

This is not to discourage you from buying bigger. No way! Tiny doesn’t have to be so tiny at all. It is just to help guide you to the best decision for YOU. Overall, if you plan to stay settled in one place for a long period of time, a larger trailer will work out. If you plan on traveling,living incognito, and/or living urban, the smaller the better.

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Can you guess which trailer I chose? :)

Before I even started contributing to Tiny Home Builders, I signed up for their trailer (pictured above). It was very economical and high quality. Naturally, we, tiny house people, are always looking for the best value! The biggest difference I noticed with this company was how much expertise and honest advice the owner supplied before even purchasing. I could tell if I had any questions, I would get an answer from the tiny guy rather than corporate.  As a result, came this shiny, 20 ft. custom trailer with drop axles.

Here are some resources that might help you in your quest,too.

Trailer 101 Learn all about the terminology of what makes up a trailer, the special features of a custom trailer, and pickup and delivery details.

Customize and Price your Trailer Get an instant quote on custom lengths up to 32 ft ,axles, deck widths,number of axles, and pickup/delivery.

Take a video tour! Must See! Dan will lead you around the trailer and tell you what to look for in a custom trailer. Seeing this video really was the deciding factor in my own search.

Tiny Investments are a BIG Payoff

The idea of living simpler has inspired homeowners and homebuyers of BIG houses to evaluate their quality of life and desires. As appealing as it is though, getting involved in the Tiny House movement may seem unattainable, or dare we say, “unrealistic”.

“Have you ever heard of Tiny Houses?”

 “Oh! The ones that are like 1000 sq ft. I could never do that! “

“Actually, most are under 200 sq ft.”

“What!! That’s crazy!” 

…………………………………..Sound familiar?

 No doubt, downsizing to those parameters barely seems possible. Entertain these thoughts though; What if letting go of a lifetime of possessions could be replaced with liberation? What if your partner, who doesn’t have the same tiny dream, could find a reason to accept yours? What if you owned your home and your home didn’t own you!

Well, with some creativity, those inhibitions can be swayed! No matter what your situation is, there IS a way to get involved in the tiny house movement, increase your income, and ultimately, get closer to living debt-free.

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Income property. For the person who loves the idea of tiny houses, but not actually living in one; they, too, can still reap the financial rewards. There are three options;

     1.   Backyard Rental. Generate steady income year round by renting it out to long term  tenants, in laws, or college students home for the summer.

  1. Bed & Breakfast/Hotel . Many Tiny Homeowners, like Nashville’s Music City Tiny House, use Airbnb.com to rent their Tiny Homes day by day.If a Tiny House is rented out daily for $100, that’s about $3,000/month.The best part is you can choose to rent it out as little or as much as you want. This is a win-win because budget travelers are looking for a local pit stop and Tiny House enthusiasts are looking for a trial run of the Tiny lifestyle. See some Incredible Tiny Houses available on Airbnb to get some ideas! download (2)

  2. Apartment To-Go. OK, so you don’t have much of a backyard, not even for a 16 foot trailer.  Rent it to a trustworthy tenant who will care for it on their own property or an RV park/campground. To avoid any problems, do a background check and install a GPS locator on the trailer just in case.

 

Temporary Housing. With such an unpredictable economy and all the foreclosure signs lining the sidewalks lately , its no question why homebuyers would be disromanticized and homeowners would find a way to payoff their mortgage ASAP. There are two options for these folks:

       1. Live in a Tiny Home temporarily as you build the BIG home of your dreams debt free. Ever hear of the Berzins family? They moved their family of four into a Tiny Home so they could save for their pay-as-they-build, “right-sized” home.

  1. The Berzin's Tiny Home (left) and BIG home (right)

    The Berzin’s Tiny Home (left) and BIG home (right)

  2. Rent out your BIG home while you live on premises in the Tiny House. Whether it’s avoiding foreclosure or doubling up on mortgage payments, simply enjoy someone else paying your mortgage with the outcome of owning a home.

 

Backyard Office. Tax write off! Work from home and use your return toward your mortgage.

1.  Working from home, but not AT home is a way to keep family life and career separate. Not to mention, less gas,wear and tear on your vehicle , and no traffic.

2. Be a traveling merchant. Use it as a concession stand for coffee and baked goods, sell roadside art,flowers,or antiques, or offer services like a mobile hair and nail salon.The possibilities are endless to earn an income with a Tiny House.

 

Home Sweet Home. Live in your dream tiny house full time.

  1. With a roof over your head and no mortgage bill in your mailbox (or P.O Box, for that matter) , take pleasure in knowing you won’t have to lug around that ball and chain for 15 or 30 years. Have more energy to enjoy your family and more time and money for experiences.

Whether you are current homeowners or looking to buy a home; hosting a tiny house can be an opportunity to get a BIG payoff for only a tiny investment.

THB-Banners-s-2With debt-free living within reach, it makes sense to ask questions. Tiny Home Builders understands the unique needs of every customer and offers quality customer service.

For a free consultation or to inquire about plans,trailers, and guides found on our website,please email us at [email protected]. For updates and special promotions, LIKE Tiny Home Builders on Facebook!

Saruse Family Tiny Home

Welcome to the Saruse Family’s Tiny House! Although tiny, it is filled with a lot of love; Johannah, her husband,Caleb, their four year old daughter,Carli, and two labs.

The Saruse Family

The Saruse Family

I had met Johannah about a year ago,through the “Dreaming of Living In a Tiny Home…” Facebook page, where she would occasionally post her journey of downsizing and the build. If it’s any indication of how appealing Tiny Houses have become; at the time,the Facebook page was under 50 members.Now,it’s already at 7,752! Johannah is one of the first to go from “Dreaming of Living in a Tiny House…” to actually living the dream! Thanks for taking the time to answer some questions for us, Johannah.

Before the BIG Move

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unpacking

What was life like before the move?

We had a 3 bedroom, 2100 sq ft house in a nice neighborhood with almost an acre lot. We had lots of upgrades and did lots of remodeling. It was perfect until…see next question :)

 

What inspired you to try living with less?

I came across the book “You Can Buy Happiness (and It’s Cheap)” and its all about living with less, minimalism, and downsizing. It mentioned Dee Williams and her tiny house and of course I didn’t believe it was possible to live in something so small so I had to google it. The book was great, I was intrigued by all of the minimalist ideas and in love with tiny houses by the time I was done. I started cleaning out our house and getting rid of the excess immediately, my husband panicked and didn’t want to leave the house for fear of what I would get rid of next! I cleaned out the clutter and organized room by room. Then we decided to see if we could live in less square footage so we sold off the extra furniture emptied the bonus room and closed it off, then the spare bedroom, then the breakfast room. Somewhere in the process we attended a tiny house workshop and decided we would build one. We ordered a trailer thinking we would build a tiny house just as a fun project – either travel in it or sell it for extra income. After lots of begging and pleading and making my case, I finally convinced my husband we could do this, we could really live in a tiny house.

What other tiny homes inspired you?

I’m not sure that any one tiny house inspired me to build one (even though they are just ALL adorable). I built one because the ideals inspired me…Minimalism, Freedom, Flexibility, Being Debt-Free, More Time with my Family, etc

 

What were your fears going into this lifestyle?

Without a doubt my #1 fear was the composting toilet. #2 was have we lost our minds. #3 How do our two large dogs fit into the picture? We really didn’t have many fears, we knew going in that at any time this situation is reversible. We can always sell the tiny house and rent or buy a traditional house if we are miserable.

 

 

Building the Tiny House

What kind of trailer did you use?

We bought two 20 ft trailers from Tiny Home Builders, one for us and one for my dad who is in the process of building his. I don’t remember the exact name for it but we have the lower trailer that gave us the extra few inches in the interior. We also ended up extending it 2 ft making it 22 ft long. Because our original intention was not to live in it ourselves, we thought 20 ft was plenty.

 

 

Tiny Home specs?

We maxed out everything, width and height and weight.
How long did it take to build? We started on Mother’s Day and moved in the first week of December so almost 7 months. We primarily worked only on the weekends.
How much did it really cost to build?

We stayed under $20K and there were lots of things we chose to splurge for and spend extra on so a tiny house could easily be built for less.
What was DIY and what did you leave to the pros?

We did everything ourselves.
Did you salvage materials or use all new? What would you recommend buying new?

We came across the doors at habitat for humanity but really we bought everything new. It was just easier to us.
What were your MUST HAVES?

Separate bedrooms with doors (and enough room for our king size bed), mini split heat and air system, full size appliances in the kitchen with plenty of counter space and of course the big screen TV.
If you had to do it all over again, what would you change the second time around?

We would have definitely started with the 24ft trailer it was a huge project to extend 2ft and those extra 2ft would have given us a little extra space in the bathroom or living room. We don’t think the sink in the bathroom is necessary you are so close to the kitchen sink so this space could have been used for something else. We didn’t put a fan/vent over the oven and the house is so insulated it holds all of the heat in, even in the middle of winter by the time dinner was on the table (aka tv trays lol) we felt like we were in a sauna. I do miss my disposal, this is such a little thing but I’d love to have this item back.

First wall up!

First wall up!

 

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Tiny House Living

How has life improved for your family?

We have so much more free time because we don’t have a huge house or yard to maintain/repair or clean. We just went on a week long cruise vacation and by day 5 my daughter said “I miss my tiny house.” We are living in close quarters but having so much fun and enjoying it. We spend lots more quality time as a family and do many more family activities. We have really gotten a lot closer the last few months. Especially with the winter behind us we are spending lots more time enjoying the outdoors than we have in the past.

What is the biggest challenge?

Climbing the ladder to the loft after leg day at the gym :P But seriously, while that is a true story the biggest challenge is the dogs. They get in our way and we have to step over them all the time. They don’t have much space so we have to be sure to let them out often and walk them A LOT.

What are you most proud of?

I’m very proud that we did this all ourselves…from design to the finished product. We literally have people betting on how long we will last in the tiny house so I’m very proud to be proving them all wrong. We haven’t been this happy in a long time and we have no plans of moving out anytime in the near future.

Any Advice to future tiny housers?

Spend a lot of time on design and really think through how you use your house. We had to come up with new systems for everything. You really can’t be dirty or unorganized in a tiny house or your house will feel extra tiny. For example, we have to immediately fold laundry and put it away or we can’t sit on the couch. I think people overlook things like where will I put my dirty clothes or fold my dirty clothes, where will I put dishes while they dry since I don’t have a dishwasher. When you think about how much stuff you have did you really think about everything? What about the cleaning supplies or extra toilet paper? You still need those, not in the same quantities but you still need them. We rarely eat out and mostly cook at home, in our original plan we didn’t have a pantry. It was something we just forgot to think about. At the last second during the build, we tweaked our plans and added one. I am so thankful we did, I can’t imagine what we would do without that pantry.

What is in your Tiny house’s future?

Temporarily we are in an RV Park, we are planning to relocate to a new city or even state soon and buy land to park the tiny house. Probably at some point as our daughter gets older, we may build a bigger house 500-800 sq ft and do it debt free while we live in the tiny house but for now, we are loving the tiny life.

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Let there be light!

Let there be light!

Inaugural Trip to the weigh in station!

Inaugural Trip to the weigh in station!

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Are Tiny Homes for Families?

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With the Tiny House movement on the rise, more and more of us are considering going tiny. But first, there are some hurdles to jump; loan approval (if you don’t mind the debt option), scraping and saving, getting out from under a current mortgage or lease. Oh! And if children are in the picture…it can be even MORE intimidating.

Just think of all their STUFF! Where would we put it? What would their friends think? What  would his friend’s mom think of ME? What address would we give the school? Do I have to be worried about Child Protective Services? Are there pamphlets on potty training via composting bucket? Don’t panic!

As a mother myself, in the planning stages of building Tiny, I have had to do my own research. What I discovered was that Tiny House Families have good reason to be firm stakeholders in the movement. Moreover, there are already many, many, many families successfully living tiny.

To name a few of those brave pioneers:

Kasl Family with their large 207 sq foot tiny home situated on a family farm.kasl.jpg

Berzins Family living tiny so they can grow a mortgage-free homestead.very-small-house-family-virginia_24c7d1956f22ef1a0bbc2f91ee5017b3_3x2_jpg_600x400_q85.jpg

Macy, James, Hazel,& their dog,Denver living more with less.macy.jpg

Consider this:

  1. Define your values. Prioritize what you think is important in life; ex.Career, Family, Leisure, Pursuing dreams. In reality, how much time are you devoting? You may find that a Tiny Home will help you balance your values and goals with your way of living.
  2. Children learn to value life experiences more than material possessions
  3. “Forced” to enjoy outdoor space. More fresh air and exercise!
  4. Tinier homes are easier and less costly to maintain and, therefore, safer
  5. Ability to afford higher quality foods
  6. Less pressure to “keep up with the Joneses”
  7. Less sq. footage means less time needed to clean
  8. Less stuff means less tidying (downsizing your closet means less laundry,too!)
  9. Less space to accumulate clutter = more pocket $ and less overwhelming
  10. More financial stability
  11. Pay off debt faster
  12. Work Schedule and projects on your terms
  13. More time to pursue dreams
  14. More funds and time to explore leisure opportunities and relaxing vacations.
  15. More quality family time (eating together, activities together)
  16. Less arguments over money means happier marriage. One of the best indicators of marital discord is “financial disagreements”. (2009, Dew)
  17. Homeownership!   Bonus: Parents who own their own home may be helping boost their children’s education achievements and even reduce behavior problems. (Harrin, Professor of Economics at Ohio State University.)
  18. Stability in that no matter where you go, no matter if you lose your job or some unforeseen occurrence, your family will have the same four walls and a roof over their head.

Precautions:

  1. Ignorant people exist. Educate the naysayers and take comfort in knowing that your child is happy and healthy.
  2. Risk of eviction. This might mean a devastating change in school system and loss of community. Check with Zoning in the city you will reside.

There are so many benefits of Tiny House living. As long as families are prepared and plan for any issues that may arise, tiny house living can be an easy transition. After all, there is no denying the positive physical and emotional impact that improves the whole family’s quality of life. And I promise, it’s not anything like an episode of the Alaskan Bush People :)

 


 

Check out the inside of this van, It’s amazing!

Recently Logan, who is buying a trailer from us for his upcoming tiny house build, was passing through Atlanta and wanted to hand deliver his deposit to me. When I was talking to him on the phone beforehand he told me that when we meet he was going to show me the inside of his van Disappointed smile I told him that was probably not the best thing to say to get people to meet with him Smile

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When I ended up seeing what he was talking about I was pleasantly surprised. Logan has spent the last couple years remodeling the inside of a used Sprinter van to best meet the needs of his active lifestyle, and he’s done an amazing job.

The first thing you’ll notice is the outside looks like a standard work van. He added the extra side windows, but other than that it looks pretty plain. That’s important since he wants to be able to park, and sleep pretty much anywhere. If you park an RV in a parking lot for the night, there is a good chance someone might hassle you. But a work van just blends into most places.

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When you open the side door is when you first notice this isn’t a work van.

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Directly in front of the door is a seating area with a cool custom RV/marine table that rotates depending on the need. He designed it so that it would perfectly fit his favorite cups so that they wouldn’t move when the vehicle moved.

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Below the seating area is storage as well as batteries and an inverter to supply the van with AC power.

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Above the seating area is a compartment and a book shelf (the book shelf is out of view in the picture) with a really cool cut away design.

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The front seats also rotate if he has extra guests.

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Turning toward the back there is a kitchen countertop with running water on the left, a storage area on the right, and a bed in the rear.

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The countertop was probably the single most thing I was impressed with. It definitely draws the eye as soon as you walk in. It’s actually scrap pieces of plywood all glued together, sanded,  and then covered in an epoxy. The scraps are placed at an angle and looks fantastic!

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Below the counter top is a drawer and refrigerator. Both are orientated such that they can be accessed from either the inside or from the outside without entering the van. This keeps the interior cleaner and saves precious seconds when you need that beer when coming back from an excursion Smile

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Under the other side of the counter top is the fresh water tank, pump, and water heater. The water heater is interesting as it just stores the hot water and the vehicles engine is used to heat it up.

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Across from the countertop is the storage area. I love this idea as the compartments can be easily switched out based on the activities that you’ll be doing on your trip. There is also a ledge on the bottom of each shelf that prevents the compartments from sliding out while driving.

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Moving on to the back he has a bed up top (which folds out of the way if needed), and storage for his bikes and camping gear below.

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When the back doors are open, he’s also devised a system so that he can take a shower in privacy (trust me, he has clothes on here)

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Finally, the entire roof is equipped with a wire system allowing for the storage of additional light items and/or for drying clothes.

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Logan estimates that he has about $50K into this project, but considering the expense of the vehicle itself and that an outfitted Sprinter van from Airstream runs about $150K (and probably wouldn’t meet his needs), that’s not too bad.

Logan has set up a website with additional details that can be found here: [coming soon]

5 Things To Downsize Today

Guest Post by Mariah Coz of CometCamper.com

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Downsizing your stuff to prepare to live in a tiny home or other small space is probably the hardest part of the whole process of going tiny. There are a few reasons why it’s so difficult to downsize: emotional attachment, money or time invested, and the fact that many of our “things” represent an identity we want or used to want.

In the Tiny Transition + Downsizing E-Course, the 8-week e-course that shows you step by step how to downsize, de-clutter, clear your mind and space, we go through this in detail. The practical weekly lessons and private student-only forum allow you to make progress at your own pace within a group of like-minded friends on the same journey. I’ve been told that the group is a catalyst for lifelong change. That’s because we not only go through how to eliminate all sorts of crap from your life and space, but because we fundamentally change your relationship with “stuff”. It has the cascading effect of positively influencing every area of your life. You can learn more about Tiny Transition and Downsizing and register here. Class starts March 1st!

But, as hard as downsizing can be for some of us – I’ve found a few good, easy places to start. And that’s the hardest part – getting started! We call this “low hanging fruit”, and it’s the kind of stuff that is easier to let go of and builds momentum for tackling the tough stuff later on. So here are five things you can purge this weekend to feel awesome about making progress towards a simplified lifestyle.

1. Luggage and Bags
How many pieces of luggage do you have? How many purses? Probably more than you use! I used to have a bag problem. I had ALL different shapes and sizes – one for each occasion. But ultimately, you only need one or two great bags to make most of your luggage collection seem obsolete. If you’re hoarding this kind of item in your attic, time to let it go.

2. Craft supplies
This is a big one for a lot of people. Maybe you started a project or collection of quilting, sewing, or other craft supplies years ago but never found the time to actually use them. You keep telling yourself you’ll use all that yarn someday, when you have more time. Then you look at it and feel guilty – so you stuff it further back into the closet. Sound familiar? Craft supplies often represent a “sunken cost” of either time or money and therefore are difficult to let go of. BUT – once you DO let go of them – you’ll feel so much lighter and more free. You won’t have that guilt hanging over you. So if you haven’t picked up the half-done quilt, the knitting needles, or the yarn in a few years – give it away to someone who WILL use it. You’ll feel so much better!

3. Sample-sized lotions + bathroom stuff
Those tiny tubes and little hotel-sized shampoos and lotions? Get rid of them! That stuff is gunky, funky, and probably past it’s expiration date. You don’t need a drawer full of “just in case” lotions and stuff. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a simplified, relaxing bathroom? This is an easy item to toss. Ask yourself, “why is it so hard for me to let of things that were FREE?” And while you’re doing this, throw away any old makeup or the lotions and products that are more than a few years old. That stuff DOES expire!

4. Your “some day I’m going to get this tailored” pile
I used to have a bag of clothes that were “going to have tailored” – dresses that were a little too big, pants that needed hemming, and other things that just didn’t fit me quite right. If you’re holding on to a pile of things you haven’t made the time to bring to the tailor, ask yourself why. Are you really willing to spend money making those things fit you? Do you have enough clothes in your closet already? Why haven’t you had them tailored yet? This also goes for shoes that you’ve been meaning to have cobbled but haven’t found the time to get them fixed.

5. Quitters
If you have a sock and underwear drawer that you haven’t seen the bottom of in years, it’s time to find and toss the quitters. Quitters are the underwear whose elastic has given out, so they no longer stay up. Quitter socks just droop down on your ankles all sad and uncomfortable. No one likes quitters. So go through your underthings and socks and get rid of all the old ones, stained ones, orphans (one of the pair is lost) and the quitters. This can be a yearly exercise to keep your undergarments in check.

These are just a few things you can downsize this weekend without getting into too much emotional territory. Downsizing is a LONG and sometimes very difficult process. My journey from 1200 square feet (plus storage) into a 100 square foot vintage camper and then into a backpack for extensive travel took me almost 2 years! It doesn’t happen overnight. BUT the good thing about starting now is that every tiny little baby step you make gives you momentum and confidence to keep making progress. Once you’ve tackled the easy stuff, you’ll have the tools you need to start the big bad stuff – heirlooms, paperwork, personal items, clothing and more.

If you want to downsize your stuff, clear out the clutter, create mental and physical space in your life for more joy and happiness, you should join us for the next session of the Tiny Transition and Downsizing E-Course. Class starts on March 1st, and you can register here. You’ll get 8 weeks of practical lessons and challenges, guided step by step help, lifetime access to the private class forum, accountability, support and motivation from me and your classmates, and the tools you need to simplify your home and life.

I hope you’ll join us and I look forward to supporting you on this journey!

Getting the Internet in your Tiny House

Getting the

If you are anything like me, having access to the internet is right around as important as having access to water (not really, but you get the idea). So how do you get access to the internet in your tiny house? The answer depends on where you are located/parked.

Since a tiny house isn’t on a foundation, it’s hard to request services that are otherwise easy for a conventional homeowner to get. Installing the service wires cost money, but the providers expect to make it up (plus a lot) over the lifetime of you paying for service. On the other hand, they aren’t so keen to running service to an RV or tiny house. Since it’s not a permanent structure, they have less assurances that you will be a long term subscriber, and thus not as sure you will make it worth their while. So you will likely need to get your service from another source.

Get it from your nearby host

If you are parked in someone’s backyard or in their driveway, there’s a good chance that you can just connect to their wireless router just as you would at your local Starbucks or cafe. The big difference is that they will likely have a password set that you will need to get from them in order to connect. At one time most routers came unsecured so that they were easier to set up. But in the last few years there has been more of a shift to security with many routers coming with security features turned on by default and even some routers NOT performing as well or as fast unless they are secured. As a result, you can’t find nearly as many unsecured routers as you used to. So whichever router you want to connect too, you will likely need to ask its owner for their password. Offering to chip in on the monthly bill might make that conversation a little less awkward. If your host is nearby, the only equipment you will need is your computer/tablet/phone. Do be aware that when you connect to someone else’s router, unless you are connecting through a VPN (Virtual Private Network) or are on a secured site (HTTPS), it is possible, although probably unlikely, that someone else on that network can see your traffic (what you are looking at).

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Get it from your not so nearby host

If you house is parked on land that is a little more rural, and perhaps your host is not as close, then you may find that your computer isn’t within range to connect to their router. In this case, assuming you don’t want to run a cable all the way from their house, you’re going to need some additional equipment.

One option is to add a longer range antenna to your computer. While this option works well, it’s not very convenient. First, the antenna takes up a lot of room unless you mount it somewhere. Second, since laptops don’t often come with antenna connectors you will also need an adapter to hook it up. This results in more wires which makes your computer a little more difficult to move. Finally, the biggest downside is that this only provides internet to the computer with the antenna, and you still won’t have internet on any of your other devices. While there are ways to share this internet connection, it can be a pain.

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The image above is an example of an external antenna attached to a network adapter that would then get plugged into a computer with a USB cable.

A better option is a setup that includes a device called a bridge. An example of a device that can act as a bridge is the Engenius Enstation 5. This bridge includes a high gain antenna that allows it to pick up your hosts internet signal from much farther away than your other devices can receive. It can also be mounted outside and pointed at your host to extend its range even farther. You then hook up your router to the bridge to create your own network within your house for all of your devices to connect to. The bridge can also act as a firewall keeping people from your host network from connecting to your computers.

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Above is an example of a external bridge/antenna

Finally, if you are so far away that even the bridge can’t connect to your host, you can add another Enstation 5 on their end to extend the internet signal so that you can be as far away as 5 miles!

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Get it from your phone

If you simply don’t have a host you can get internet from, consider using your phone. Many smart phones can be set up so that they can be used as a hotspot. What this means is that your phone shares its internet connection via WiFi, allowing your computer and other devices to connect. Depending on your signal, the speeds can be great or absolutely make you want to poke your eyes out slow. Be aware that your phones service plan likely has a data cap, meaning that they will only let you transfer a limited amount of data per month. So don’t plan on watching too many movies on Netflix or streaming Pandora. Even if your phones service provider says that you don’t have a data cap and are on an ‘unlimited plan’, they will still probably throttle your speed to painful levels once you exceed some threshold.

Get it from a Satellite

The final option I would consider is getting internet from a satellite service provider. There are two companies that offer this service that I know of, Dish and Hughesnet. I have a somewhat remote piece of land that I needed internet at and so I am a subscriber to Hughesnet. While it is good in that you can use it to get internet where you have no other options, it’s not great in pretty much every other aspect. It’s a little expensive at around $90/month. The speeds and lag are unimpressive. It has a monthly data cap, although not nearly as restrictive as the phone option. And finally, the dish hardware is pretty large. It’s definitely not something you would mount to your house and it can be a little bit of an eyesore. So all in all, if you have another option I would pursue it.

Do you have a unique or different way of connecting to the internet? Share it in the comments!

Happy connecting!

New Trailer Pickup Location In Toronto

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Are you in Canada or the northeastern US and in the market for a tiny house trailer? In the past we’ve delivered trailers as far north as upstate New York from our Florida location. But as you can image the delivery costs can get pretty expensive when travelling that far. Well we’ve now added a new pickup location in Toronto, Ontario Canada to service the northeast!

We’ve also simplified the process of ordering a trailer with all the available options on our website. Just go to our trailer page and click “Build & Price Your Trailer”

New Workshop Date Added

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Our next workshop, scheduled for April 11-12, is still over two months away but we have only 6 spots remaining! Because it’s selling out so quickly we decided to add a second date for the spring. This one will be a 3-day workshop from May 1-3.

At our previous workshops, while 100% of the participants have said that they would recommend it to a friend, some have requested that it be a little longer. So for those out there looking for a little more, this is it :)

Learn more about our workshops here.