Category Archives: Planning

Downsizing and ordering a trailer!

I am in Prince Edward Island, where my not-so-big house is.  I have spent the past week with the help of my mother and my best friends downsizing my belongings in the house, meeting with a real estate agent and doing some small chores to get the house ready to sell.  It has been a big week.

My mother and I arrived first and our first day here we were able to go through almost all of my belongings left  in the house and decide what should stay and what should go.  We did pretty well, moving quickly and getting rid of much of what I really didn’t need.  I managed to avoid being overly sentimental and parted with a lot of things.  I managed to get rid of that which I was parting with in 2 ways.  By chance we met a couple who are moving to the Island for the next year or so.  They have lived a nomadic lifestyle and have few belongings.  I am happy to know that I can help them out.  I spent almost a decade being fairly nomadic, it’s nice to get the chance to settle somewhere for a bit, but getting all of the housewares you need can be daunting.  That which they did not need was donated to a couple of local organizations.  I was able to donate to the local women’s shelter, the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store and to the Salvation Army. I work for a not-for-profit and it felt right to give some really useful and some beautiful things to the women’s shelter.  It is difficult to restart your life when you left the old one with just the clothes on your back.

IMG_0325 2I was also able to help friends with their tiny house build, which was fantastic.  My nomadic life was in theatre and I can handle a drill, but haven’t had the opportunity to use saws much.  One of the couple who are building their tiny house in PEI is a cabinet maker and she set me to work using a skill saw and a mitre saw.  I built 2 boxes to cover the wheel wells of the trailer.  I also made a bunch of terrible box jokes.

They ordered their trailer from a welder in New Brunswick, who has built trailers for several tiny homes now and I ordered my trailer this week!  So excited.  It will be ready a year almost to the day that I first learned about tiny houses.  That makes me rather happy.  So I will be back in this part of the world about a month from now to pick up my trailer.  Not that I’m excited or anything…  I ORDERED A TRAILER!!!!!

Plans, A Workshop and A Dream

Last summer I heard the term tiny house for the first time.  I was in Prince Edward Island for the wedding of two dear friends and the day after the wedding a group of friends were gathered around a table eating a fantastic selection of breakfast foods when the subject of the upcoming build of a tiny house came up.  The soon to be builders were talking about how they were expecting their trailer to arrive, a double axle,  10 ton capacity trailer that would be arriving from New Brunswick in the near future.  Little did I know when I heard them talking about their trailer that trailer shopping would be in my future.

I have lived in 5 different Canadian provinces over the last 10 years, moved countless times and owned 2 homes more than 3000 km apart.  The idea of leaving each house that I have owned has been heart breaking and terrifying.  How can I leave this house I call home? How can I sell my house when I work more than 1000km away? Will my house sell? Will I be able to pack up all my belongings alone? Et cetera.  When I started looking into tiny houses everything seemed to click.  A house on wheels that allows you to reduce your footprint, reduce your belongings, live simply and  in a more sustainable way?  It just makes sense to me.  The homes I have owned have both been small by many standards, under 900 square feet and I had more than enough space and more than enough mortgage.  A house that I can build myself, that I can take with  me if my life takes me elsewhere, seems like a gift.

I immersed myself in the online world of tiny houses, compared floor plans, looked into trailers, insulation options, condensation, ventilation, appliances, wood stoves, propane stoves, tiny bathtubs, learnt about composting toilets, downloaded the Humanure handbook, read blogs and watched videos, learned the names of Jay Shafer, Deek Diedricksen, Dee Williams, and Tumbleweed amongst others, bookmarked pages upon pages of resources.  I purchase a set of plans and a ticket to a Tumbleweed workshop in Boston this past February.  I was ready to go, rearranged travel plans 3 times because of the impending winter storm and cancelled those plans when the Mayor of Boston asked people not to come to his city the morning before the workshop.  Heartbroken, I spent a weekend snowed in with my freshly printed plans.  I was determined to go to a workshop in Boston or Chicago, somewhere with similar weather concerns so that I could build my home with my climate in mind.

The last weekend in April, I was finally able to go to a the workshop in Boston.  A friend from PEI attended the conference with me and it was a fantastic experience to be in a room with almost 100 other people who were there to learn more about tiny houses.  Our presenter was Ella Jenkins, whose blog had me fall in love with her tiny house – Little Yellow Door and it’s horse trough bathtub.  I learnt a great deal, met people who knew more about insulation that I do, who are also dreaming of their downsized life in a tiny house.

Right now I am in a holding pattern.  I have a house in another province to sell and can’t do much about it until my brother gets married in July (I am very much looking forward to the upcoming nuptials).  There is just too much going on right now to add resolving the logistics that go along with building your own home, let alone one on wheels.  So I am starting this blog as a collection of my thoughts and to move forward with my home in whatever way I can.  I hope to keep track here the process of building my home, share my discoveries, frustrations and joys along the way.