"Stop Dreaming, Start DOING: My (honest) Journey Towards a Tiny Home" a guest post by Jennifer Baxter

"Stop Dreaming, Start DOING: My (honest) Journey Towards  a Tiny Home" a guest post by Jennifer Baxter

Today we have an AWESOME guest post from a Tiny Transition + Downsizing student named Jennifer, who is having her tiny house built right now and is making tons of progress towards downsizing and getting excited to move in! In this post Jennifer explains why she was inspired to build a tiny home, the events that made her realize she couldn't wait forever, and the hardest (and easiest) parts of her downsizing journey.

In the Tiny Transition + Downsizing E-Course, 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. When you join, you get 8 weeks of practical lessons and challenges (lifetime access), 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. 

You can learn more about Tiny Transition and Downsizing and register here. Class starts March 1st!

I'll let Jennifer take it over from here!

I am building a tiny house because my friend doesn’t have cable TV.  Well… that might be skipping a couple of steps.  But my curiosity and excitement for tiny houses can be traced back to a random (or maybe not) night spent pet-sitting at a friend’s house in spring of 2014.

Since they don’t have cable, I ended up surfing Netflix to find something to watch.  While scrolling through the documentary section, I saw a movie called “TINY: A Story About Living Small.”  The description explained that it followed a young man and his girlfriend as they built a tiny house on a flatbed trailer.  It sounded interesting enough so I thought I’d give it a go.  I had never even heard of tiny houses beforehand.  But by the time the 66 minutes was up, my heart and mind were racing.  How had I not known about this??

"Wife After Death: Navigating Grief, One Campfire at a Time" Guest Post by Ginny McKinney

 "Wife After Death: Navigating Grief, One Campfire at a Time" Guest Post by Ginny McKinney

Today I'm excited to share a guest post with you by Ginny McKinney. Ginny completed the Tiny Transition + Downsizing E-Course a few months ago (which is now open for registration for the session beginning on March 1st!) and I've asked her to share her story because it is downright brave, inspiring and fearless. When Ginny sent me an email update about where she's at now - I just knew I had to share her inspiring story with you.

If you want to join my 8-week downsizing bootcamp and join a lifetime group of friends and comrades on a similar journey towards simple living (either in a tiny house, camper, cabin, or even downsizing in place) - you should join us for the March 1st session of Tiny Transition + Downsizing.

I want to thank Ginny for taking the time to share her story with you today. I hope you find it as incredible as I do. Please note, this guest post does involve grief, death, and recovery.

I'll let Ginny take it from here.

The morning dawned with the typical bluebird skies of Colorado. Mr. Virgo and I had been knee deep in negotiations as to how we were going to spend our looming retirement years. We finally settled on getting a travel trailer and to start practicing early. Why wait for retirement to have some fun, right?

We had a leisurely breakfast then headed out to go trailer shopping. It was a lovely drive. We discussed the merits of different size campers and floor plans. We definitely wanted something big enough to take the kids and grandkids with us. We held hands and planned. It was a perfect day. 

Until... We were standing in the fourth trailer, trying to decide which one we liked best, when my sweetheart suffered a massive heart attack and died. He was 62. In a moment, the life I knew, the life we had planned, was just...gone. The next few days...ok, the next YEAR, was a blur. I went to stay with my kids for a few weeks. It was spring break and my older daughter said, "Mom, we're all yours today. What do you want to do?" There was only one thing TO do. We went out and bought a travel trailer!

How to Save Money on Solar Power for Your Tiny House, Camper, or RV

How to Save Money on Solar Power for Your Tiny House, Camper, or RV

PS - TinyCamp, the learning community for people ready to live a tiny life, is now open for registration until February 10th. TinyCamp is 3 months of community, live calls, support, expert guidance, resources and more. So if you need help designing your PV system, or your tiny home, trailer, or RV, and you have lots of questions about this kind of thing - TinyCamp is the place to get answers and personalized help for your unique situation!

If you’re thinking about using a photovoltaic solar power system for your tiny home, trailer, camper, or van, this post is for you.

I have given many presentations and talks about simple solar power (I've spoken at more than 25 tiny house workshops and events in the last 2 years),  and I get the SAME question every single time. Everyone wants to know...

Why We LOVE Van Life

Why We LOVE Van Life

Matt and I have been talking a lot lately about vans, and what we’d like in a vehicle if we ever “moved up” from our little tiny Honda Element micro-camper. 

For the past 2 years we’ve had the awesome experience of traveling around the country (41 states, baby!) in our customized-by-us Honda Element. It has been awesome!!

We lived in the van/Element for one month, and then two months, and then four months - plus smaller little one-month trips in between. We’ve spent about 50% of our time over the past 2 years in the Element micro-camper.

How to Stay Warm in Winter When You Live in a Van or Trailer (plus: alternatives for toughing out the cold weather)

How to Stay Warm in Winter When You Live in a Van or Trailer (plus: alternatives for toughing out the cold weather)

Ah yes, winter in the Comet Camper. Many people have asked how we stay warm and how we deal with our 3 season abode!

I recently received a question from a reader about what I do in the winter since living in the COMET. 

I figured some of you probably have the same question, so I’m going to talk a little bit about how we’ve lived the past 3 winters. If you’re thinking about living in a trailer or a van - I’ve got some good tips for you.

First off - our primary “home-base” area is Massachusetts and the New England area - yeah, it gets COLD. As I write this it is 0 degrees! (I’m inside - I’ll tell you more about why in a minute)...

A Watershed Moment: How to Get Un-Stuck from Stuff

A Watershed Moment: How to Get Un-Stuck from Stuff

Today I'm happy to share with you a letter/note I received from one of my Tiny Transition classmates, Jack Daniel. Jack has thrown himself into downsizing and simplifying - and has caught the tiny living bug as a result (he went to a workshop last year "just to see what it was about" and now he'll be attending another one I'll be teaching next spring).

Jack wrote me this post as a letter - and has kindly given me the green light to share it here. This letter warmed my heart - that sounds cheesy but it honestly made me tear up. It's beyond sweet and touching - it's just amazing to hear about the transformation that is possible when you have the right support and community to back you up.

I enjoyed having Jack in the class at least twice as much as he loved the course and community, so the feeling's mutual.

Tiny Transition + Downsizing is now open for registration for the class starting on January 4th. I hope you join us.

Thank you Jack for this letter. Thank you.

 

Dear Mariah,

One of my all-time favorite old-school reference sources, The American Heritage College Dictionary, defines WATERSHED as:

A critical point that marks a division or change of course; a turning point.

I am pretty sure that Im not the only person who thinks that the eight weeks our class spent together in your Tiny Transition and Downsizing E-Course qualifies as a definite watershed event for us.

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....

A Simple New Year: Tiny Transition + Downsizing E-Course

A Simple New Year: Tiny Transition + Downsizing E-Course

Are you ready for a new year?

More importantly, what are your intentions for the new year? What do you want to be different this year?

Though I'm not much for "resolutions", I do always set some goals and make some intentions for the coming year. I find it's easier to focus and do what really matters to me when I lay it out like that.

What if this year you could...

Simple Living for Everyone - I don't care how many square feet you live in

Simple Living for Everyone - I don't care how many square feet you live in

I want to have an open and honest conversation. 

Not about tiny houses or vintage trailers or living in a vehicle, though I think that those things are wonderful. 

I want to talk about simple living, the power of elimination, saving for later and producerism, without setting any rules about what size home is "right" or "good" to live in.

Simple living looks different to different people. If you have a family, my way of living might seem absurd. I can’t imagine living in a small house with my family growing up - we would have murdered each other for sure. If you are older or disabled, a tiny house might not be a good fit for you, or it might be perfect. If you run your own business, like I do with my vintage clothing store, your needs might look different than someone who works for a company and leaves their work at the office.

I just want to shout out that the number of square feet you live in doesn’t matter. It doesn’t define you. It doesn’t make you smart or dumb. It really doesn’t mean much.

Life in a 70 sq. ft. Pop-Up Camper: The Cricket

Life in a 70 sq. ft. Pop-Up Camper: The Cricket

Today, I'm really excited to be sharing a guest-post with you by Alexis of Curious-Crickets.com. Alexis is a recent graduate of our Tiny Transition and Downsizing E-Course. Alexis and her husband have decided to downsize and travel extensively in the Cricket Trailer - one of my favorite campers! I met with the owner and designer of Cricket Trailers, Garrett, a few years ago on our first Tiny House Road Trip. These are really cool, very innovative campers. I'll hand it over to Alexis, so you can read all about her experience. If you need help downsizing, you can check out the e-course here.

Hello there!

We’ve been dreaming about it for months now, and going through our things in anticipation. Thankfully, our recent visit to see a Cricket Trailer in person has confirmed our hopes: the green and orange popup will be a great home for me and a very tall guy when we embark on a year of U.S travel.