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The Tiny House That Grandma Built: Downsizing from 1600 to 144 square feet

The Tiny House That Grandma Built: Downsizing from 1600 to 144 square feet

Today I'm excited to introduce you to someone who I find to be particularly inspiring, Dani Moore from The Tiny House that Grandma Built. Dani is a member of the Tiny Transition and Downsizing E-Course (registration is now open for the session beginning on January 4th). When Dani started posting about her project and story in the class forum, I knew I wanted to interview her and find out more about her life. Dani's here today to share with you how she's building her own tiny house, what it's like to downsize in a major way, and how you can make major life changes no matter where you are (or your age!). If you want to be a part of the next Tiny Transition and Downsizing class, you can read more and register here.

 

CometCamper: Tell us about you and your journey up until this point - what is your motivation for building and moving into a tiny house?

Dani Moore: I was raised Bretheren (Think Mennonites in regular clothes) With a "Use it up, wear it out, make do or do without" attitude. We were taught NEVER to throw away anything unless you were sure that no one could do anything useful with it. Great for not wasting, but bad for downsizing!

It was very helpful after my husband died when my daughter was 2 years old. I was already disabled and we had to be really careful about our spending. We went without hot water for 9 months after our water heater died, until we could get a new one. My Husband had spent our entire marriage showing me how things worked and how to fix them. Skills I have been forever grateful for. We also built or remodeled a business and a couple of houses, So I had some basic construction knowledge as well....

Explaining Tiny Houses to High School Students

Yesterday Matt and I made our long awaited return to the amazing Anne Richards School in Austin, Texas. You might remember our visit last year, where we were brought in to teach the all-girls engineering class for 2 weeks, as they were doing the first COMET Camper-inspired curriculum, Project  Ventura. The girls had to design an eco-friendly trailer to be used by the school community.

This year, the girls of the Anne Richards School have a bigger budget and a bigger project: to turn a huge Airstream trailer into a teacher's lounge powered by solar panels. We are so excited to be in Austin again hanging out with these amazing high school girls. Their passion and innovation is incredible. I keep telling them how lucky they are to be restoring vintage trailers as a school project! I think they realize the importance of the project and the opportunity it creates.

So yesterday Matt and I gave the class our introduction to Tiny Houses. I'm used to giving this presentation to groups of older people - people living on their own already, and people with jobs and kids. But giving the presentation to high school students was totally different! They could see the COMET lifestyle (either in a trailer or tiny house) as a way out of their parent's house, or as an alternative to expensive college dorm housing. We heard many of the girls exclaiming "I have to rethink my whole life now!!", which was awesome!

Where Do I Fit In?

Where have I been?It's a good question! I've been really busy the past two months, but haven't made a ton of progress on the COMET. Other vintage camper people out there, have you ever tried polishing the pitted, foggy aluminum back up to a mirror finish? It takes forever! It also requires a large angle grinder, which I'm embarrassed to say I can't really lift up in the first place (so it becomes Matt's job). We've been working on it little by little, but it takes many hours and is a crappy job. It's the one thing standing in between me and a beautiful exterior paint job (also Matt's forte because he used to do fancy pin striping and decals on cars).

SHAMELESS SELF PROMOTION ALERT: www.planetqueenvintage.etsy.com The reason I have been so busy is because I really need money to complete the COMET and I had to put a lot of time and energy into my Etsy shop, where I sell awesome vintage clothing. My shop is called Planet Queen Vintage (based on the T Rex song but also referencing awesome ladies that do cool stuff to positively impact the planet) and I would be so grateful if you guys took a minute to check out all the new stuff and hard work I've been putting into the shop the past few months. I added 100+ new items, took better photographs, and increased the overall awesomeness content. Bet you guys didn't know I run a business on the side in addition to the COMET?!

Tiny House people: The future belongs to us!

Tiny Houses and campers/RVs are great because they can be awesome living situations for young people with a young-person's budget and mobile lifestyle. Today I learned about a couple of other people my age (college kids and other early-mid twenties crowd) who are building their own tiny houses. This is fantastic! When I was a kid there was no way I thought I could ever afford my own house when I was 20. This really changes the way we think about independence, autonomy, mobility and opportunity. So I wanted to point out a couple of other people who are working on and documenting their own Tiny House adventures. I would love to create some sort of network for connecting young people that are building their own (first-time) homes on a college-kids' budget. We can really get creative with our homes.  Salvaged materials, free-cycling, DIY! It's very exciting to see other people my age caring about the things I care about.

Also, I'd love to connect with other young people looking to live in a camper or RV (or other converted mobile situation) for the first time. I'm sure we could all learn a ton from each other. If you are living in a camper or on the road, or in the process of becoming a full-timer, I want to hear from you! Tell me about it in the comments and leave your website if you have one!