re-use

Free stuff, Craigslist, and The Side of The Road

Free stuff, Craigslist, and The Side of The Road

So I'm really thrifty, and I've been really thrifty since forever. There is something about scavenging for deals that is really satisfying. Most of my thriftiness and frugality has led me to rely on used or second-hand everything - clothes, shoes, building materials, furniture. I really truly do prefer used items to new ones - I love a soft, worn t-shirt, vintage furniture, and old things (they were built better back then than the crap at the mall today). I've gotten really good at finding just about anything for free or really cheap. I always say, ask the universe, and the universe will provide! Here's some of the free stuff I've found so far for The COMET specifically:

Gorgeous hardwood flooring still in the box, free on the side of the road

Vintage Formica countertops with aluminum trim, free day at the Re-Store in Springfield when they moved

Fabric for curtains, given to me from friends

Textured glass for windows in the exact right sizes, free day at the Re-Store

Bamboo boards and lumber for kitchen, free on the side of the road

Vintage wallpaper, free box somewhere

Sustainability on Wheels: Campers and the Tiny House Movement

"Vintage campers will save the Planet."

That's a pretty bold statement. I do think vintage/used/old campers can play a role in the way people begin to think about their housing in relation to the environment, social responsibility, and sustainability. Vintage campers make ideal Tiny Houses. First of all, they are tiny (of course) and on wheels - two basic characteristics of most tiny houses. Even a large camper is a tiny house! Also, I think it is always better to re-use an existing structure than it is to build from scratch (the exception being if the existing structure is unhealthy or toxic in some way...moldy, asbestos, etc.) Using an existing trailer camper cuts down on waste and keeps these usable little homes out of the landfill. Often, there will be valuable materials that can be salvaged from the existing trailer. Of course, there is personal preference and style to account for: campers don't look like miniaturized log homes or mini-mansions, they look like campers (though I have seen a camper re-done with shingle siding!). I'll admit they aren't perfect for everyone, but it's definitely a really viable option for the future of housing.Another thing to consider is cost. To build a tiny house from scratch will cost much more than retrofitting an existing structure (in most cases - depends on what you want to do of course). I've gotten campers in towable, totally restorable condition for less than $500. Sometimes a retrofit is a pain in the neck: campers are built from the bottom up, so it can be difficult to replace and repair things in the undercarriage area (but it has been done!). However, I think in terms of cost efficiency and eco-friendliness, making a tiny house out of an existing trailer is the best bet. Even if your tiny house was built out of entirely sustainable materials (which would be very expensive), it would still be using resources that an existing trailer has built into it. Buying the separate parts to build a camper would be much more expensive than purchasing one used. Also, campers just look awesome!