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Katie T 02-03-2014 11:53 AM

I am very interested in building a tiny house 200-250 sq ft on a trailer so we can live in it and have the freedom to travel. We have land to put it on with water, septic and electric on it. (my parents land where they live with 12 acres). We would then sell our almost 2000 sq ft home and live in this full time. (I am thinking after DD1 is off to college so we will just have the 2 kids and dh and I) 


Has anyone done it with 2 kids? They will be 12 and 14 ish by this time. If so do you have pointers? Things you wish you would have done differently? Things that were perfect and you were so glad you did? My parents home is almost 4000 sq ft so we have the option to spread out if needed and we work the farm all summer long so are rarely in the house till after dark. They have wanted us to move out there to help with finances so this would be perfect as we would still have our own space but will be able to provide the help they need as they get older. 


I would have it hook up like a camper so we can travel with it and I want a storage tank for water in one of the lofts as well as a gray tank but want a incinerator toilet or compost or something. I don't want to have to worry about sewage if at all possible. One big concern is we live in Iowa and how do I prevent plumbing freezes in these harsh winters? I know heat tape but I know this winter that has not been cutting it for people that I know living in mobile homes. 


This has been a dream for the last couple years but just trying to see if this is something we could really pull off.



Any stories, advice, pictures very appreciated! : )

PreggoInLove 02-03-2014 12:29 PM

We lived in our RV for roughly 2 years on and off as we bought our land, moved down here and built our cabin. We moved in about a month ago, it's 500sq ft. Our girls are young, but the RV living really didn't bother me at all. We are a family who uses little space. My only complaint was not having a bigger kitchen and that's it. LOL!


I'm happy in the 500 sq ft cabin, but we are building another 500 sq ft onto it and will live in that until our permanent stone house is built.


Small sq ft living is totally possible and enjoyable ;)

crazyms 02-09-2014 06:02 PM

Definitely doable! I lived in a 38' camper with 2 and then 3 kids for 2-3 years off and on while we traveled with dh for work. I actually quite enjoyed it and kind of miss it. I LOVED that I could clean the whole house with all the "extra" cleaning like wiping walls etc in hardly any time at all. I really enjoyed the small space and it kept my decluttering mess down since I couldn't add much to the house without the space to do it. You really HAD to have a place for everything and everything in its place but if the house got turned upside down it was nothing to get it back right and that was great. 


Things I wanted add/done differently:

Outdoor space - I wanted one of those camping popup rooms to expand our lounging space plus give the kids more room to play when weather prevented a lot of outdoor time.

Dining - We didn't have a good dining solution but we quit traveling before I fixed that. 

Murphy beds - I really wanted murphy beds for the kids so that they could put the beds up in the day and have their whole floor space during the day. I considered loft beds as well.


Thoughts: Plan the space really well. Declutter to the limit and make sure that you really love/need everything in the home. Being careful with the layout and using multiuse items and creative storage makes a huge difference in a small space. We remodeled to have a bed against one wall in the living that would be our bed plus couch space and added a bookshelf on one end plus storage space above and below and that was amazing! Definitely fit better once that was done. I did a ton of things to save space in there so could help with ideas if you wanted to pm me. We started traveling when the kids were 6 and 4 and me pregnant and continued until the kids were 8, 6, and 2 so it's totally doable! 

Katie T 02-13-2014 10:43 AM

This is wonderful! I am so excited but am worried I am not realizing just how small of a space it is that I will be working with. I just feel like this will really reduce the stress in our daily lives. I am hoping to have the sink in a peninsula and as little bar for breakfast for the kids. A lay out like this is what I was thinking though would like a longer trailer than a 24 ft and we are planning on using a 5th wheel.


As for family dining I was thinking of getting/making a table where the sides fold down and the chairs are folding chair hidden inside. It make it so it is only a ft wide or so. 


I think we are going to tour campers once it warms up so we can have a better idea of space and layout options we are not thinking of. : )

crazyms 02-13-2014 01:15 PM

There are tons of options. Ours was something like this one:  only the slide out had been damaged and removed. It had the triple bunks in the back and had a small laundry closet across from the shower/sink. Very nice! We had a 36' 5th wheel before that years ago and it was nice too but didn't have the bunks for the kids. I really enjoyed our last one. It had a sliding glass door in the 'living room' and that made a HUGE difference in feeling homey and cheery. Across from the kitchen sink and fridge area I installed a double door pantry from Lowes and then our deep freeze so we had food storage. It takes getting creative but lots of people do it. I actually enjoyed my little camper home. :)

Katie T 02-13-2014 01:40 PM

I am wondering if a 30 ft will be long enough. I guess I am not even sure they make longer 5th wheel trailers for a pick up. I have not thought about a deep freeze since we will be at my parents for probably at least the first 10 yrs. with it. But after that I will probably need a small deep freezer. We get my parents farm when they pass (which they are not old so won't be for a long long time) but we are for sure staying there till all of our kids have left the nest. Then we will probably sell and buy a little piece of land out in the country closer to town. I'm excited at the prospect of finally getting my tiny house though building is still at least a yr off! 


I also want to figure out how I can put a slide (or 2) into my tiny house. I have seen some online that have done it but worry it won't stand up to Iowa winters with how cold we get here and still be hair tight so as not to waste our heat source.

crazyms 02-13-2014 01:42 PM

I'm not sure about how to build a slide out onto a tiny house but I do know you can do longer than 30' on a 5th wheel. We had a 36' fifth wheel originally.

Katie T 02-14-2014 08:19 AM

I think 36 would be a better size. That extra length will come in handy. I feel like the slide out would be nice with the kids but no longer needed as my husband and I age and no longer have little ones full time in our tiny house. With possible energy loss is the little added space worth it? We have found a 30 ft 5th wheel that would be perfect in our price range but holding out for longer. I'm excited to think we could get started in this next yr though this project will take us some time esp paying cash as we go. Thanks for your help, it is much appreciated.

crazyms 02-14-2014 11:35 PM

You're welcome :). I'm glad for anything I can do to help. Honestly I have to say having been in campers and other small spaces I don't see the benefit of the slide out. I can see how it *might* be beneficial but the added possible problems doesn't make it worth it to me. I would seriously look into some of those easy pop up outdoor screen room types that are sold for camping stuff though. That could give you a good bit more "living area" that wouldn't affect the actual camper/house and it'd still be easy to move if you chose to. If you're going to be in one location for some time though I'd consider building a large covered porch area or something similar around/near/off the camper to give you more covered space as well without affecting the move ability if you wanted it. We have butted ours up at times to covered porch areas and that was nice too. 

Katie T 02-15-2014 04:17 PM

I agree the more I think and research the slide out I think it would be more of an added cost, stress and potential for future issues. We could build a covered porch as well as I plan on being in one location for quite some time though we may move it around the property in the beginning till we find the perfect spot I'm not sure. When I ask my dad where he is thinking we put it he says who cares its on wheels! Don't like the view or how the snow drifts just move it! lol 

crazyms 02-15-2014 11:57 PM

LOL true! You could always wait to build the porch til after you test the spot a little. I think the added porch is a great idea. The slide outs are definitely a potential problem. Honestly you could even build a "room" off the side while it's in one position even. The ones we had always had two doors (one in the living area and one in the back bedroom) so that was why I wanted the pop up room. I could then put the pop up room off one door and we could enter/exit out the other door if we wanted. 

Katie T 02-17-2014 01:30 PM

Yes that sounds like a good idea. Being on a farm in the summer we spend most of our time outdoors anyways working in the garden (its over an acre). Winter is my only real concern and we always have my parents house we can hang out in if it gets too crowded in ours. Theirs is almost 4000sq ft so plenty of room! 

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