Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I Got Thinking...

One of the commenters brought up trailers instead of a teeny house. She said I would get a lot more house for a lot less money. I'm actually a huge trailer fan. I think they're cool, again contrary to most of America. I grew up in a five bedroom, three story Victorian on fifty four acres. My husband grew up in a trailer with the largest lot in the trailer park. He says that when he married me, I said nothing about wanting to live in a trailer, but I've been thinking....

I love readers. I really do. Even though I had thought about trailers before, having them suggested in this context really has gotten me thinking! Like crock pot dehydration! You've sparked something in me! So, here's what I'm thinking, trailers are 56' to 70' long, maybe 14' wide, that's what I'm seeing on craigslist. He doesn't want a trailer. We can't have a trailer. But old trailers are being given away for free on craigslist, or being sold for under $1000. We were planning on paying more that that for one utility trailer for our house on wheels.

I'm thinking, gut the trailer, start again from the tailer part, the frame on wheels, building a customized home just as we would have with the teeny house. We'll build a good pitch on the roof, so it is a house on wheels an not a trailer. He likes how the teeny house looks like a house and I do, too. Then, customize the inside into a three bedroom, one for boys, one for girls, one for parents. Voila! Okay, I know it's not exactly that simple, as it is a several year process.
There are a few downsides I see to this. A larger trailer is more complex to move than a Tumbleweed. Tumbeweeds are considered RVs, so the regulations are a little different. Trailers are a home so we will have to be far more cautious with building codes. Also, with older trailers, I don't know exactly what I'm getting into with the materials used to build it, as far as chemicals and lead. Much of the materials from free trailers I'm sure has rotted, which will make the initial move difficult, but as long as the trailer frame is still good, we are in good shape.

My husband and I have been dreaming of Tumbleweeds for a few months, but when a better idea comes along, I'm inclined to take it. My husband likes the idea as well, so I'm pretty excited, and he usually takes a while to come around on these things.

To those who still don't like the square footage, a few hundred feet larger, well, I can still do a series of posts on that. Now I have a whole new dream to plan out. Again, you may not agree with my plans and you may not choose them for your own family. I don't expect you to. I do expect honest feedback and I welcome suggestions.

53 comments:

youngwomanswallet said...

I just wanted to add one thing. I haven't lived in Maine nearly as long as Emily, but my job does bring me around the state - so I have seen lots of it.

Emily and her husband had probably equally common experiences growing up, living in a large Victorian home and a trailer. Raising a family in a trailer(s), on a large piece of land with some animals is not as 'alternative' or 'backwoods' as it would be considered elsewhere. Land is plentiful and cheap here in Maine, but there is not a lot of capitol, especially in the northern parts of the state, where you see this set-up more frequently. Lots of people have land but little money, so they call trailers home.

My point is not that there are no issues with lots of people in a little living space; it's just that the social stigma of trailers is a much less appropritae criticism here than elsewhere.

-Julia

Scottish Twins said...

There is nothing wrong with a trailer! I think it's a great idea for your situation. I'm excited to see your series of posts about it.

autumn said...

That looks like a wonderful idea! We've thought of doing something like this while we build our home.

KAR said...

There have been building codes put into effect for mobile homes quite some time ago so, generally speaking, you don't have any more to worry about in terms of chemicals or lead as these types of homes also have to conform to established HUD codes. It's very doubtful that you'll even find a trailer that still exists that didn't have to meet these codes.

I bought my mobile home in 1999. At that time it was 6 years old and I paid it off in ten years. I chose to buy a mobile home because it was cheaper than renting when you consider that the mortgage, insurance and lot rent ran about $315 a month.

However, as when buying any home, it is important to consider the cost of upkeep. Mobile homes are generally made of cheaper materials that require greater care.

I was hoping to utilize my tax refund to replace the polybutylene plumbing that runs through my house since it's not good plumbing, but unfortunately, I have other house expenses that are going to have to be taken care of first. However, this type of plumbing is no longer used because of its failure rate.

As with any home, you need to thoroughly understand what you're buying and consider the upkeep costs. While I did buy a home I could afford, I was a bit of a young dummy and failed to thoroughly research things. If I had, I'd have known about polybutelyne and the effect of single pane windows on an electric bill.

tomuchontop said...

Hi,

I looked on the site for the small house and they have larger plans why not choose one of those?

Emily said...

KAR, I'm glad to hear that with the materials. Where we will be gutting and rebuilding, it's nice to know we won't have to worry about chemicals.

Tomuchontop, the larger homes are not portable. We want a portable home for a number of reasons.

Cheese said...

this is a much more sensible idea than the tumbleweed. boys and girls need seperate bedrooms - they won't be kids forever.

Lucy said...

We live in a trailer, a 1965. One thing you will find is the glue used to make the MDF (the material used for floors, walls, cabinets, and everything else you would wish was real wood, LOL) fails after about 25 to 30 years and the MDF just turns to sawdust. The floors fall right out - no water damge or insects needed! The heating ducts fall away, the windows pop out, and the cabinets collapse. Great fun. And it's dang hard, but not impossible, to make standard building materials fit into what is left. We are rebuilding our trailer a bit at a time because the new regulations put in place here mean we can't build new (which was our plan when the bought it). It's workable, but much harder than you would imagine!

Emily said...

Cheese, for the record, I actually never said I would have boys and girls share a room. People just assumed. When they're babies fine, but I wouldn't put them together past the age of four or five.

Pam said...

Glad to know my comment was helpful to you! That is one of the reasons I love blogging...is the comments. (Until they get nasty, of course!)

I absolutely love your blog, especially the recipes. I made your tortillas for the second time last night, and your chili recipe is planned for next week. I love not only the economy of your recipes, but the simplicity. Oh, and I ordered soap nuts last night too! You are making a difference in my life. Thank you!

Meg said...

I know some people who have 16 x 80 trailers. I believe that is the largest available.

I know a lot of people have a stigma attached to trailers. I live in such a rural area though, and it's very common for people to have trailers, tight budget or not. Most of them own their own land. I know most people I work with in the city don't feel that way, but I think they're only used to seeing the shady trailer parks in the downtown area...not a trailer on an open piece of land with trees and what not.

I think a trailer is a great idea, and will provide the extra square footage that you need for all the children. With some wise storage ideas and a good floor plan, I think it's doable.

Trailers are made of cheaper materials, so stripping a cheap old one down and building it up is probably a good idea.

Anonymous said...

I think your dream of a large family is wonderful, as long as you are able to support that family without relying on the government (aka the hardworking taxpayers). Being a responsible adult means making tough choices and realizing we can't have everything we want. If your husband chooses to take an extremely low-paying job, then it is irresponsible to bring children into the world that you cannot support on your own.

I enjoy reading your blog and find you to be a very interesting, resourceful person. It is just the idea of a large family, very low-paying job and reliance on the government that I find concerning.

Anonymous said...

MUCH better idea. Your children will thank you for the extra space whether you care about it now or not.

Anonymous said...

I think the trailer is a good idea. I also like how you are open minded and when a good idea comes along, you are willing to consider it! I think the Tumbleweed would be good for a couple and maybe a baby or two, but the trailer would be better for the upcoming "large brood", God willing! :)

Jen

~ said...

I like this idea. I think it's very smart.

By the way, I blogged about you today. If you would like to read it,here is the address: http://deidrasheart.blogspot.com/2009/09/under-1000-month.html

debtfreemommy said...

This is a wonderful idea. You dont have to get the largest size of trailer available. We are actually in the middle of renovating a 1974 trailer Which was originally a trailer that construction companies or carnivals carried from town to town and put in trailer parks for months at a time. It has 2 VERY SMALL bedrooms and a tiny bathroom but the living room and kitchen are decent. Ill have to ask my husband for the exact measurements. But it is a trailer not a RV or a camper. My grandparents owned it since early 1980s and have rented it out for almost 30 years so it was in horrible shape.
Ill post pictures to my blog once we are finished. We has to gut the entire thing except for one wall inside. We replaced all the windows with used ones that are still in great condition and better then the original (10.00 a piece which was a steal!)We also rebuilt around the windows and fixed some of the exterior siding. We are now rebuilding all the walls.
One of your readers said it is sometimes hard to find materials to fit older trailers and we have found that to be true but it can be done cheaply if you research which I know you will do.
We didn't have much room to change to floor plan but we did do a little give or take here and there.
Sorry to write so much because I will post on this topic at some point as well but I wanted you to know that this is a very doable idea. As dedicated as you and you husband are to your wishes I think you could do this very cheaply.

Emily said...

Deidra, from Deidra's Heart, your post brought tears to my eyes. I tried to comment, but couldn't so I wanted to tell you, I sent that link to my Dad! Thanks so much for your kind words.

debtfreemommy, PLEASE keep me up to date with that project and let me know when you post about it.

Anonymous said...

Trailers are okay as long as you don't have risk of severe weather. We live in the Midwest and tornados toss trailers around like they are wiffle balls!
Sooo, it may be okay for Maine but what if God should call your family to live elsewhere?

Rachel said...

Emily, here are my concerns. First, I suffer from allergies, and so do both our boys. Our youngest son has severe allergies. Testing revealed 38 allergies, and that was not even for food. Will you have a child with allergies? No one knows. But you do have to be careful what you expose an allergic person to. A new home can have mold, just as easily as an older home. A home surrounded by trees you are allergic to can make for difficult living. So when making choices in housing, we had to consider our son's health. At one point when we needed to rent for a year, we looked at an older home with window units. I felt uncomfortable just walking through this house. First,the window units were going to lead to higher power bills, and I had no idea of the effect on my sons health since we had always had a central heat and air unit. We chose to pay a bit more and rent a newer townhome. I would be concerned with what allergens might be lurking in an older trailer.

Next, life is full of unexpecteds. Yes, you can control to an extent your grocery bill, your clothing budget, but owning a home and land brings its own set of unexpected situations. We just had to have a dead tree cut down, we paid $500.00 and were able to get a discount and have a smaller tree cut down for $100.00. We had estimates as high as $900.00 for the first tree alone. It had to come down because it was in danger of falling on our neighbors house. My daughters neighbor would like to have a large oak removed and the estimate was $5000.00. One thing I see with you is that you say, this is what this cost, this is what that cost. You are not thinking what will it cost in 5 years, ten years, etc. Or what needs you will have in five or ten years. When we were first married we coverd our entire family with life insurance for $30.00 per month. That term policy matured and went to $70.00 per month. We did not feel that the level of coverage we had was worth $70.00 per month, so we shopped for more coverage, but we now pay $100.00 per month, and this does not include our children. For years and years we have paid $32.00 a year for our car tag refistration. Now the legislature had a vote and we pay double that amount. These are the things I cannot control, but I do have to have. I am not trying to say your ideas are bad. Personally, I would live in a tent before having a mortgage I could not afford. I'm just saying that when the unexpected comes, the money has to come from somewher.

Emily said...

Anon, I'm going to add that, or a similar question to my FAQ, because you're not the only one that has asked about us being maybe called elsewhere.

One thing about a house on wheels, as this would be, is it would be mobile. Where we're uncertain exactly where God is going to have us and if he will move us, this makes us more ready to go.

Anonymous said...

I applaud you for being willing to listen to new ideas and continue to modify your dreams based on new information and knowledge. Your attitude and optimism will only help you and your family! Also, have you considered doing a prefab house? Many are very green and affordable and can be built as "moveable" like a trailer. http://www.prefabs.com/modern_prefab_homes.htm

Emily said...

Rachel, we won't be using most of the materials in the trailer. We will basically be tearing it down and building a home on the base. Any materials we can reuse we will, but we will be cautious.

Anon, thanks for the link, super cute architecture! I'm looking for to moveable ones now.

The Pittsburgh Pair said...

I've been reading your latest update and had a few thoughts:

1. What is the plus sign graphic in this post? I didn't understand that.

2. Is weather a concern in Maine? Do you ever get hurricanes? I have heard that having a trailer in a hurricane is extremely unsafe.

3. What is the plumbing in a mobile home like quality-wise? I only wonder because a large family will certainly be taxing the 1-2 bathrooms daily.

4. Are you a follower of Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover? He is a Christian author/financial consultant. He advises against trailers and recommends purchasing a bricks and mortar home. Trailers are a depreciating asset, while homes appreciate and are a better investment long-term.

Sam said...

Hey Emily, I was wondering, once your family has grown a lot more what are your plans for transportation? One of the reasons I'm asking is because I'm curious how you will move your mobile home if your called to another place. Does a trailer need a large vehicle to move it? Also, are you planning to have your children one after another, or are you going to try to have more space between births? Are you planning to stop yourselves at 10 children, or just conceive what you conceive and 10 is an estimate? Just curious!

Thanks,

Sam

Emily said...

Pittsburgh Pair,

1)The plus sign is a symbol that this idea is a combination of trailors and tumbleweeds.

2) We do get hurricanes, yes, but I've never known of trailers in Maine coming under more damage than regular homes. If we have a serious hurricane, everyone is at risk.

3) I don't know why this wasn't clear from the post, but we will be tearing down the trailer and rebuilding a home on the frame. What is currently in the trailer doesn't matter. We will be replacing most unless it is in good condition, and I woudn't expect the plumbing in a free trailer to meet our standards, although some pieces may be recycled. We will have two bathrooms.

4) No, actually, but it seems like everyone else is. We want a portable home for many reasons, which it looks like will be its own post. Yes, traditional trailors depreciate in value, but we're not thinking of building this for resale. We're going to keep it.


Sam, yes, moving a trailer is a daunting task. But that mobility is key in case we are called to another area. It is a task, but not impossible. We're letting God decide on the kids, 10 is just an estimate.

KAR said...

If you're actually looking for the type of mobility where you can attach it to your vehicle and go, then I wouldn't suggest a mobile home. While they are portable, it's not something you can hook to an F150 and drive off. You need a big rig and that costs a bit of money. Also, moving them very often can cause structural damage.

Sam said...

Emily, I didn't know if you could move a trailer with a heavy duty pickup truck, or if it'd need something larger that might need done professionally? I was just thinking if you had one of those 15 passenger vans you could drive that loaded with kids and if you had a heavy duty pick up (if that worked) your husband could drive it and you'd be covered as far as getting to where you need to go. But, I didn't know if you guys planned on buying a big van, or possibly just two regular sized ones and having a company drive your trailer to your new place for you. Of course these are all things that are a few years down the road. God may not give you 10 kids, you could be carrying your final one and space for 10+ kids might not be an issue. You never know God's plan!

Emily said...

KAR, yes, we would need to hire a big rig, but that is still much more mobility than a non-mobile home.

Sam, we are going to move up to a van when we have four, then a fifteen passenger, and we'll have to hire someone to move the home. I deperately hope that I am not carrying my last, we want a lot of kids. It's not just trusting God, it is our heartfelt desire.

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to back up what Pittsburgh Pair said about trailers and hurricanes. I grew up in Florida (I know you’re not in Florida- but on the coast of Maine) and have lived through 4 hurricanes and can vouch that people who live in trailers are hit hardest- I’ve seen whole parks destroyed and the brick and mortar homes across the street intact due to just wind damage. Here is some information I found:

"No residents are more vulnerable during hurricane season than those who live in mobile homes.
For this reason, mobile home residents
must evacuate regardless of their evacuation level.
According to the National Hurricane
Center, no mobile or manufactured
home—no matter how new it is—can be a safe shelter from hurricaneforce winds.
Never ride out a hurricane in a mobile home—even if it’s in a nonevacuation zone."

(http://www.pinellascounty.org/emergency/PDF/Mobile_Homes.pdf)- this is from pinellas county in Florida.

And

"If you live in a trailer and there is an impeding threat of a hurricane or tornado, leave the area immediately. You have no protection against such winds. The metal can literally rip to pieces around you; the shrapnel becomes a deadly weapon. If you are in a trailer park, see if there is any way to get to a storm shelter for such occasions, or at least a ditch."

(http://www.secretsofsurvival.com/survival/hurricane.html)

This is just some more informative information for you. HTH!

Meg said...

Regarding Rachel's comments about allergies, I have to disagree. I've lived in old homes, new homes, old trailers, new trailers, the country, and the city. I suffer from severe allergies, and it was no different in any of those locations.

There aren't any more allergens in an old trailer then there could be in any old house. Not only that, you're going to be rebuilding it anyways, so the old materials won't be there. It's a moot point. It's not so much building materials, it's more of what you put on the inside of the house...laminate/ hardwood vs. carpet, porous surfaces, etc.

Also, it's true that tornados love trailer parks, but tornados aren't terribly common outside of the ever flat midwestern farm land. You just don't see them in other parts of the country like you do the midwest.

As for paying people to cut trees down...if you live in the country you shouldn't have much of a problem with neighbors complaining about your trees. Our property borders fields, we have a chain saw, I don't know too many DIY'ers who call in professional tree cutters unless it's adjacent to an electrical line or something.

I love the trailer idea, obviously!

Sarah said...

Another thing to possibly consider is a park model. It looks like a mobile home, but is classified as a RV. Typically, park models are smaller than double wides, but it might be an option if you are concerned about regulations.

Devon said...

I have tried to post twice, and maybe it will let me this time...

I think the trailer is a much better idea, at least space wise. And if you're in Maine, I can't imagine that weather would be much of a concern, as far as tornadoes go. Good thinking.

Nota said...

Emily, I have some questions/things to consider in making the plan work:

1. If you buy your own land at some point for the trailer, how are you going to tie into the local water and septic supply? I'm sure you could get a cistern and do a septic tank, but either way it's going to cost and I didn't know if you'd taken that into consideration when doing your estimates. (12 people could run a cistern down fast and do a number on a septic system.)

2. Windows and doors. In the event of a fire, you're going to want to make sure that everyone can get out as quickly as possible as trailers tend to go up quickly. A lot of people in such a small space could compound risk of such a horrible event. You might want to put a few extra windows in and make sure you've got multiple exit points. From the window standpoint, 12 people are going to want an extra window or two after baked-bean night.

3. Bathrooms. I had a 10-person household growing up (youngest of 8 children), and to pull of 12 people, you'll need more than one bathroom if you ever want your husband to get to work on time. 10 people with 2 full bathrooms was a challenge in our house. So, consider at least a full and a half so that a youngster that can't 'hold it' yet isn't having accidents b/c a teen wants a few more minutes in front of the mirror.

Nota said...

Also, tying into electricity could pose a challenge. I'm wondering if the solar panels with a back-up generator would be sufficient for the Maine Winters - although 12 people will generate a decent amount of heat on their own.

Emily said...

Nota,
1) We coudn't determine what type of sewage we'll have until we know what land we'll get, and can see the difficulty of hooking it up to local septic. You're right, that isn't something we've planned out, as it is something we don't know which will be more practical.
2) I love windows, especially on bean night, as the more windows there are, the more it feels like your outside. I think that you need a at least a second exit to comply with fire codes anyway.
3) We plan on two bathrooms, and did when we were planning for tumbleweeds as well.
4) There are a lot of solar options we are looking at, but I am certain that our electrical needs can be met with solar panels, whichever ones we choose.

Anonymous said...

The first North American homes were very small, one room, one-story structures that were based on European building techniques brought by settlers and eventually adapted to the building materials, climatic conditions, and topography of the New World. The majority of these structures had less than 450 square feet of space

The average family had six or seven children.

The bedroom was largely an invention of the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

http://www.moyak.com/papers/house-sizes.html
http://www.genealogymagazine.com/coloandma.html

Anonymous said...

Emily
Have you and your husband considered adopting or becoming foster parents? I also want to commend you for being open to other peoples suggestions regarding housing and eating better.

Anonymous said...

I have read your blog with interest. I think you have a unique writing style and a perspective that is uniquely timely.

However, I was hoping you would expand a little on how accepting government assistance squares with your individualist/economizing/ godly philosophy? From what I've read, you accept:

1. The $4K tax refund, which is basically a form of welfare because you get back from the government more than you pay in through taxes; and

2. Government healthcare.

I understand you justify the healthcare through your intent to homeschool, but how do you justify the tax refund?

Personally, I admire almost everything you post, but I just can't get beyond the fact that 1/4 of your income (the tax credit) comes from the hard work of other tax payers and not your own efforts. Unfortunately, for me, it undermines everything else you write.

Carla said...

I have a bathroom solution...outhouse ;)

I am very claustrophobic so living so small would be hard for me with a big family. As a child I probably would of ran away in the type of living situations you wish to have (nothing personal-that just was the type of kid I was; I have always craved my space and freedom and was always running away). Our first apartment was smaller than what you have now but we were kicked out when I was pregnant because having a third person wouldn't comply with local regulations (as in we needed a second bedroom). It's kind of stupid as now we rent a three bedroom but we only use one for sleeping our family (me, DH, 7yoDS and 5yoDD still co-sleep) but we need the two extra rooms looking like someone sleeps in there or we could lose our apartment. I think that stinks!

Anyway, I respect that you are doing what is best for you and your family and I too think a trailer may be more ideal. However we never know where God is going to take us. He knows us better than anyone!

Emily said...

Anon, my husband and I have been thinking about that extensively, about the healthcare and the EITC. We're thinking we'll be dropping one. I'll be writing a post on it shortly.

KAR said...

Okay, now this is what aggravates me about you. Someone mentions that you shouldn't take the EITC or medicaid because it undermines what they think of you. It seems to hurt your pride and you make efforts to buckle down even further.

Psalm 10:4
Proverbs 16:18-19
Proverbs 29:23
1 Peter 5:5

Why are you allowing other people to dictate what would be best for your family? I can see deciding on a mobile home over a tumbleweed because that may be better for your family. But how is not accepting medical or financial assistance provided for those who live in financial poverty doing anything for your children? That is a matter of pride and that kind of pride is a sin.

I Thessalonians 3:6-12 says that if someone does not work, then they should not eat. If they do not WORK. Which means if they aren't contributing to society in some way. Your husband works and you take care of the children, therefore you are both providing. It doesn't say if you don't make enough money then you're just out of luck. There's a marked difference in what that passage says and how some people are interpreting it.

The number one job of a parent is to make sure a child is provided for in the best way possible. That means spiritually and physically. If that means accepting assistance made available to do so, then it is your job as a parent to resign fallacious pride in self.

What is refusing to accept assistance doing for your children? Not only is it failing to meet some of their needs, but it teaches them haughtiness and pride.

Emily said...

KAR, I wouldn't consider it buckling to pressure at all. Putting all of the details out there in an honest manner exposes us to other people's evaluations of our lives. Most of these evaluations we disagree with. However, some areas of our lives we have not scrutinized as carefully as we are now. I think this is an excellent opportunity for us to line up our ideals with our actions.

KAR said...

Then why are you entertaining this person's evaluation if you don't agree with all of them?

Emily said...

KAR, I don't agree with most people's evaluations, but I do agree with some. If you look through the comments section, most criticism I publish, but I'm not changing because of them. I want my weak spots exposed if it makes me better and is better for my family. Living up to our own ideals is better for our family than being quiety hypocritical.

KAR said...

Then how is refusing government assistance for your children going to make you a better person for your family? How is this a weak spot and what are your ideals?

I fully understand wanting to be self-sufficient, but you're ranging between trying to do just that and drowning yourself with children you are not fully prepared to provide for at this point.

You're fully willing to allow God to lead you in how many children you have, but you're not willing to accept that maybe any kind of assistance, whether from the government or from your mother, is a godsend? God doesn't dictate people to allow the poor to glean wheat anymore in exchange for food, but maybe He's lead others to say the poor must be provided for and hence there is government assistance for the needy.

Emily said...

KAR, I am writing a whole post about just that. I don't really feel like copying and pasting the draft into the comments section. I'm thinking I'll be posting it tomorrow, not sure yet, but I look forward to your feedback.

KAR said...

Okay.

Rachel said...

On old houses and allergies. I am only posting what my experiences have been. My daughter is now living in her second old home in Jacksonville, Fl. She lives in a neighborhood of homes built in the 1920's. Every time I visit, I develop an allergic reaction, sometimes it leads to a sinus infection. So that leads me to believe that her old house has something in it that I am allergic to. I also have lived in trailers, but only for short periods of time. I am just very careful because of my experiences and my childrens. If we decided to move to a trailer tomorrow because it was the best thing for our family financially, I would do it.

As for cutting down the tree. This tree was a huge old oak. there is no way that my husband, even with a friend helping, could have safely taken this tree down. We asked that the logs be left in the backyard. My husband is going to cut them with a chainsaw and give to our neighbor across the street. Her only source of heat is a wood stove. Of course if we lived on huge acreage we could have just let the tree die and fall on its own. But we live on a fairly good sized lot in a neighborhood, therefore we have a responsiblility towards our neighbors. We have already had one tropical storm, and we don't want a strom or hurricane to come through, down the tree and cause our neighbors to suffer.

Elaine said...

Hi there - I'm a new reader and love your blog! I really admire you for being the home economist that you are. I didn't read all of the comments here so I'm sorry if I'm repeating what someone else has said, but I wanted to add another perspective on the trailer vs. house decision. Trailers tend to go down in value over time, while houses tend to go up in value over time. If you're going to be putting your hard-earned money into one of them, I'd put it into a house. Also, this is the best time in about 30 years to buy a house, as they happen to have lost value in the last couple of years. Good luck!

tamjo said...

I just found your blog and I find it really interesting. When I was reading this post I just wanted to comment and tell you about my experience. My Dad worked for the Railroad and so when I was 3 we moved into a 32 ft travel trailer. It was very compact, and you have to be very orgainized, but I LOVE my memories from growing up in it. Your family is sooooo close! As far as being a kid in a trailer park I LOVED it! There are ALWAYS kids to play with, and open lots to play in. They are just big enough to make a pretend soccer or football field. Alot of trailer parks have pools too. I also had friends that lived in trailers on land. That was fun too! I am very very pro trailer!

Inwv said...

I love the way you cook from scratch, but it seems like you could use a few more veggies and fruites. Perhaps you could just buy celery for snacks? It's pretty cheap, especially at farmers markets. A diet that is 50% meat is not very healthy.

Also, I think you could come up with a better idea for housing 13 people on $40,000.

Have you considered alternative building materials, like hay: http://www.solarhaven.org/NewStrawbale.htm
http://www.motherearthnews.com/Green-Homes/1979-07-01/Hay-House.aspx

I would recommend finding some copies of "Countryside" magazine for some great articles on sustainable and homestead living. Hay isn't the only material out there, so if you do a little research you should find something that would work for you.

There is one family living in a tent in Texas, so you could try that. It has electricity and water.

I would pick a yurt, over a tent, though:
http://www.coloradoyurt.com/yurts/yurt_101/index.php

Also, I understand your reasons for going oven-free, but what are you going to do when you have 13 growing and hungry children, along with 2 adults? You will either need a lot of crock pots --or you will have to use the oven. At what point will you stop multiplying crock pots, thereby resorting to the use of the oven?

My only other advice is that if you choose to go the route of building your own house or trailer, then you should definitely use your apartment time to research water access, sewage, building materials, and agricultural and farm techniques. If neither of you have any experience in building things, then you may want to pick some small projects, like shelves or something, to practice your skills and learn technique.

At any rate, I wish you well with the imminent new addition to your family & may you all have a great deal of good fortune and happiness.

Anonymous said...

My husband and I love old victorian homes. It is the DIY in me that drolls when I see them. However in our area they are all out of our price range.
A few weeks back a trailer came onto the market. It has been redone much in the way you describe. It also has had two large and one little addition added. The roof at some point had been removed making for tall ceilings that my 6'2" husband can't reach except for where they slope to join the walls.
The home is lovely. So lovely that I would be left with only DIY yard projects!

Patty said...

Thought you might enjoy this...
http://unclutterer.com/2009/12/03/an-authors-minimalist-home-of-the-future/#comments

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