Thursday, December 22, 2011

Renovating an airstream. -- this is a very elegant and high cost way of living small, not a lot of low cost materials in there.  But it does show some key points on being clever and hiding things in a very small space. I really like the idea of hiding the Office equipment out of view like that.

I really like the idea, and I think that even if someone was not living in a trailer, doing this to a camper to make a mobile office is a fantastic idea.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Nomadic life while living a lot smaller.

I have been exploring the nomadic way of living smaller.  IT's called "fulltime RV living" and a lot of people have been doing it for decades.  I personally have been exploring it as a "plan B" if I lose my job and everything get's turned upside down.  The problem is if you go looking at  sites about fulltime RV'ing you find it's only old people that have $2million and are driving a $600,000 RV around blowing their money left and right. or you find the other end of the spectrum, the vagabonds that live in a van that looks like a homeless shelter.

There is a in-between that is affordable, but it takes some prep and money.   First, you need to get a "rig" or a house to live in.  Many look at a Class A or B RV.  I look at that as a mistake.  Why?  well if you break down, you get to move into a hotel while the RV place fixes your home over the next few days.  Also this means you get to pay 2X - 3X the repair prices because it is a RV.  I suggest looking at a  trailer and truck combo.  IF the truck breaks down you can leave the trailer in a campground while the truck is fixed. Also the truck can be fixed anywhere, not a special RV repair shop.  Disadvantage is that when you stop driving you have to get out of the truck and go to the camper, and you cant travel down the highway with someone sleeping in the camper.

The other advantage is that $10,000 will buy you a nice truck and nice 27' long camper. While that same $10,000 will buy you a worn out RV.  RV owners tend to think they are still worth more than they really are.  Campers lose their value fast so you can pick up a lightly used 10 year old one for less than $6000.00 that still looks great.  This is a huge advantage over the RV as you are saving money on the purchase, and saving up an extra $6000 over the next 4 years is easily done so you can upgrade your home later. Upgrading your RV at the tune of $20,000 on up is a lot harder to do.

Campers come in a regular trailer and Fifth wheel type.   Fifth wheel trailers require a pickup with a truck bed hitch, this makes them easier to tow but requires a pickup truck.   This makes them lose value faster than a regular trailer as it limits the number of buyers for that trailer.  A regular trailer can be towed with any SUV or truck making them more saleable.  you can get a small 14' super light camper that can be towed by a minivan or mini SUV.   I personally would go with a regular camper and a midsized SUV like a 1st generation duarngo.  You could buy both for a total of $10,000 spent and have money left over for adding the brake controller to the SUV.  Plus a SUV lets you store things in the back using it as more storage space.

I am investigating this further and trying to find real stories by people that have done it and the problems they have faced.   It is an interesting take if you can find a mobile income source.  I would love to be able to meander across the country over the course of a few years at my own pace.  I'll share links and information about this interesting idea as I come across it.

Power when away from an outlet...   Solar is one of the only choices other than running a generator.  Solar panels on the roof and a battery bank will fill most electrical needs for when you are parked where you do not have any electrical power available.  A typical full-time RV solar setup is about 6 golf cart batteries and a 240watt solar kit.  Around $3200.00 if you can install it yourself, more if you have to hire an electrician.

This Solar sizing worksheet will get you an idea of how much solar to add to the RV for your electrical habits.

Basically a solar charger, battery bank, solar panels and inverter are all needed to make a complete system.  the batteries are huge so you will lose some storage, but the trade off is certainly worth it for the ability to simply set up for the night or for a week just about anywhere and not worry about electricity.  I can see this significantly reducing the cost of living if you chose this nomad life, or even adding solar to a micro home to further reduce your impact on the world!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Links-o-rama for the end of the year..,,20177452,00.html -- A nice article about downsizing from this old house. living in 84 sq feet. Some very neat tiny home designs.  living in a small space..

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Quickie Link: Cube homes is following suit with tumbleweed homes and offering plans or outright homes that are small and livable.  I really like how the micro-home is gaining momentum.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Super small quickie for today.

He does not live here but came up with a solution that is interesting.   IT's missing things like a bathroom but an interesting take on using every square inch of space.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Quick tiny apartments.

This is an AMAZING job of living in a very tiny space and living nicely. Too bad most of the United states makes living in less space or re-purposing wasted space cheaply illegal.

A great example of making do with a microscopic space in NYC.. Fantastic!

Finally, you think your apartment is small? Found in japan is 32 square feet micro apartment that is common. Imagine living in a broom closet and using community bath facilities for $280 a month rent!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Some fun and nice Small home links.. and tips on spring cleaning.

I have found a few great articles on some of the smaller homes to share.....

For the more extreme.... Living off the grid in a tiny home.....

Some of the more permanent tiny homes are a bit more interesting to me. I prefer real plumbing of a nice porcelain throne in the bathroom and a bathroom that is big enough that my knees are not hitting the wall.

Apartments and condos....

Spring is certainly in the air and cleaning out the cruft of the winter is very important to smaller living. Time to put away all the heavy sweaters and winter clothing, store the coats and boots. My wife and I use the vacuum bags in plastic storage totes to compress a closet worth of coats, boots, gloves, scarves, and sweaters into 2 medium sized totes. Clothing that is starting to wear out will get donated to the local thrift store(kids like worn out jeans, they pay extra for extra worn out).

WE also take the time to clean out the pantry. Cans of food that are getting close to expiration are donated to a food pantry along with items that we purchased and will not eat. We also take this time to go through all the kitchen and get rid of any pans that are old or items we have not used and are holding on to for silly reasons. Chipped plates and glasses also get thrown away or recycled.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Entertainment in your pocket.... iPad is more than a fad.

Choosing to live in a tiny home, or just to downsize means looking at things differently. Letting go of owning "stuff" is important. But sometimes a item comes along that makes smaller living easier. From my week of iPad exposure, this device does just that. I bought a 1st gen 32 gig wifi only iPad simply because of cost. I was able to buy one used for less than $300.00. And within that short time it has already helped me declutter a lot. I have large bookshelves full of books, After looking online I was able to get 25% of those books onto my ipad for free by grabbing them from project gutenberg. Downloading a free app called "Stanza" it allows me to to get thousands of books that are public domain or even flat out free. I also can read kindle books, Barnes and noble books, and Borders books by downloading the apps for those ebook sources. Add to that Netflix so I can watch movies in a comfortable size on demand as well as Hulu Plus for TV shows on demand, pandora radio, etc... IT suddenly becomes a single device in my home that replaces a lot of stuff. I am able to post to my blogs from it easily, facebook ,twitter, and everything else. I rarely pull out the laptop anymore for basic online browsing or social media.

I suggest you find someone that has an iPad and try it out. spend some time looking at what it does. I find that it reduces my need for things drastically. IT condenses them down into one device. Very minimalist.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Awesome tour of a tiny home.

Living smaller in 2011....

Steps to help with smaller living in 2011.... You dont need to own a tiny place to start on a smaller living life.

Step 1 - Declutter. There is a lot of things you own that you really do not need. Get rid of them via selling, donating, or simply recycling it. That old PC from 3 years ago is worthless. Donate it or recycle it. If you are worried about privacy, keep the hard drive or use a tool from here to wipe the drive first. yes a simple single wipe is good enough unless you have data to hide from the Military. Get rid of the things you do not use. if you have not touched it for 366 days, that's a good indication you do not use that item at all.

Step 2 - Change your thinking. Do you really need that? what are you going to get rid of when you buy that? Changing how you think helps a lot. IF you buy a new Frying Pan, you will be getting rid of your old one right?

Step 3 - Prioritize your life. What do you want? no really what is most important to you? You will never afford that new BMW 2 Sports car if you keep buying junk. Save money, reduce hobbies to only the ones you really enjoy. de-clutter your life to save time, money and stress.. Yes this means friends as well, many of us have that one friend that actually is a drain on us. Time to fix what is wrong there. Stand up for yourself. Be proud of you, Be happy with you.

Step 4 - go back to step 1.

These are basics, but they are needed every day. You cant survive in a 150sq foot tumbleweed home if you dont love yourself and who you are. There simply is not enough room in a small house to get away from yourself if you hate yourself... Some people cant get away from themselves in a 10,000 sq foot home.