4 Tiny House Questions Answered

Thanks to everyone who suggested questions for me to ask at the Tiny House Workshop I recently attended, I have the answers to a variety of questions about tiny houses. I’m including mostly information on trailers, much of it for beginners like myself. If you have more experience, I’d love to hear any other advice from you.

1. What are key things to look for when buying a trailer to build on? While it was recommended that we purchase a custom trailer as that’s what they do in their business of selling tiny houses on trailers, I knew that wasn’t what I wanted to do since I’d like to make mine as inexpensively as possible. Here are some of the things I learned about buying a trailer:

  • You can find a good 16′ used for $1000 or new for $2000

18′ for $4500 new

20′ for $5500 new

  • For the 16′ trailer, you want each axle to be able to hold at least 3500 lbs. Honestly, I didn’t even know what the axles were, so it was helpful for me to be there to see the trailer! For the 18′ trailer, you want the weight capacity to be 5000 lbs. for each axle. For the 20′ trailer, it’s 7500 lbs. each.  I was most interested in the 16′ trailer because it’s cheaper and can be pulled by a V8.

 

  • Before purchasing a used trailer, watch out for serious rust…meaning rust that has already caused holes. The guy’s advice to me was to bring a hammer to see if the trailer chips away.

 

  • Good leaf springs are curved. I had never even heard of leaf springs.

 

  • Tires are expensive, so keep that in mind when buying used. Once the trailer is parked, take the tires off or make it where the weight isn’t on them so that they will last longer.

 

  • For the foundation you’ll want to make layers as follows: trailer, pressure-treated plywood, 3-inch-thick insulated foam board, 3/4 inch subfloor.

2. What are the top 3 things not to “cheat” on (as far as trying to get a deal or save money by doing it yourself)? Framing, plumbing, and electric. Lucky for me, my brother is a plumber/electrician. As for framing, keeping it level is priority. The wood for it also needs to be straight with no splits in it and no knots near the ends. If you’re building on a trailer, the trailer would also be at the top of this list. It was also suggested that you turn your plans over to an engineer, which is what they do for their business. That lets them know the details of what they need their trailer to have.

3. Pros and cons of building over the wheels? Basically, their advice was to never do it. Yes, it adds space, but it’s not worth the strength you lose in your structure when you have that break in the foundation.

4. How tall are trailers? It varies from trailer to trailer but usually about 20 to 22″ from the ground to the top of the trailer where you would begin your foundation. (I had this question because I knew tiny houses on trailers couldn’t be over 13′ 6″, but I didn’t know how to calculate how much room I could have for my floor to ceiling height if I didn’t know how high up the floor would be starting!)

I hope this has answered some of your tiny house questions and even some you didn’t know you had. So thankful to Chris and Joe Everson of Tiny Tennessee Homes for taking the time to share what they’ve learned through experience. I have lots more notes from the workshop that I hope to share in the next few weeks.

If you’d like to keep up with my blog through facebook, you can click here to like my page.

 

How will you live tiny & dream big this week?

5 Reasons to Attend a Tiny House Workshop

After planning, paying, packing, driving for hours, and setting up my tent upon arrival, I was ready for Deek’s Tiny House Workshop. And it was so worth it.

I love that we got to work almost right away! It took 4 of us to do it, but we made this chair (painted a different day…& covered in pollen in this picture). You can also see some of the other chairs people made that we used around the campfire.

These reasons to attend a workshop are not in order of importance, so I’ll start with this one since it goes along with the picture of the chair:

  1. Creativity. I’m not sure exactly how many people were there (40? 50? and about 30 more had been turned away), but there was always so much going on. A yurt was being set up, a wall of windows being made, benches being dreamed up, and tiny houses being put together. People shared their ideas from ways to find and use recycled material to washing clothes in a bucket.
  2. Information. Even though we spent tons of time actually building, we did have a few times of gathering to learn about materials (such as what I want to use for my roof or what kind of trailer to use), tour a few tiny houses, and share our plans and why we’re interested in tiny houses. There were also people there who had begun building and had mistakes that they were able to share to keep me from doing the same.
  3. Networking. I was hoping to meet more people from Georgia, but so many people came from up north! However, even some of them have been willing to come help build my house or let me come help them in order to gain experience. Probably the most unexpected thing for me was meeting so many people with similar interests besides tiny houses. There are other people trying to pay off student loans, wanting to help in 3rd world countries, and interested in hiking the Appalachian Trail. I even met someone who had gone to my tiny little college that usually no one has ever heard of! I plan to share some of the little interviews I did with people who are already living in a tiny house. Great stuff! I just have too much to post & not enough time. 🙂
  4. Fun! There was a really easygoing atmosphere. We had a campfire. Of course there was singing and guitar playing. We were camping, and the weather was beautiful. We spent tons of time laughing and joking around. If you know me, you know that I love to eat! Well, so much great stuff was going on that I hardly paid attention to food. I quickly grabbed some snacks here & there, but on the last morning a couple of people made delicious blueberry/banana pancakes for anyone that wanted one! And eggs and bacon. Yeah. Also, this happened:

Photo

That was quite possibly my favorite moment of the weekend. Never shake a can of paint even if it looks closed. Lesson learned. (Below is a photo of him without brown paint all over himself.)

          5. Experience. There were so many people there who had experience build tiny houses on and off wheels. Everything from my list of about 20 questions got answered (I hope to share many of them here next week). I was able to talk to them specifically about what I wanted to do. Plus, I gained experience by working with different tools and getting practice in. There are so many little things you can learn by working with people who know what they are doing. 🙂

The overall experience of the workshop was amazing, too. People with completely different backgrounds and goals were there, creating this new experience for all of us. It’s kind of indescribable, but I did my best.

 

If you aren’t yet convinced that these workshops are great, let me just tell you that I already signed up for another one in May!

 

If you’ve attended a Tiny House Workshop, what was your favorite thing about it?

How to Start a Traveling Guest Book (& Why You Should)

Do you ever feel like you’re meeting amazing people in passing? People you’d like to get to know a little more? Or would you like a unique souvenir to help you remember the awesome places you went?

I started my traveling guest book for my road trip to Alaska. I had no idea if it would work. Would people want to take the time to sign it?

Well, they did. And I loved it so much that I didn’t stop once the road trip ended.

So here’s my advice on starting one yourself:

  • Find a journal. This one was given to me by a friend from college. She knows I love handwritten letters and also journaling, so this fit perfectly what I was doing. You could also use a travel journal or anything really. Just keep it cute and make it something you wouldn’t be embarrassed asking all sorts of people to sign.

  • Write/type your questions. Make sure the questions are easy to read. I wrote mine on a separate piece of paper so that they don’t have to keep flipping to the front of the journal to see the next question. One of my questions was, “What’s another question I could add to the list?” This has led to these great additions in mine:

One thing on your bucket list?

Favorite quote?

If you could meet anyone, who would it be? Why?

What’s one thing you can’t live without?

Favorite ice cream flavor?

I highly recommend that variety of questions from easy (such as “Oceans or mountains?”) to more thought-provoking. When I ask people to sign it, I always ask them to include their name and where they are from. Then I tell them they can choose 3 or 4 from the list because I don’t want them to feel like they have to spend an hour on it especially if we’re parting ways soon. But I have had people answer them all, which has been fun. Make them questions you’d like to know the answer to. One of my favorites is, “What’s the most life-changing book you’ve read?” I’ve gotten some great reading suggestions from that!

 

  • Keep it in a waterproof bag and with a pen. I travel outdoors and in the rain so much that I have kept mine in a ziplock bag for a while. I would just hate for it to get ruined. Just a suggestion. I always keep a pen with mine, too. It just keeps things simple not to have to search for a pen every time.

 

I look forward to sharing some of the entries people have written in my guest book! It’s funny remembering asking people to sign it those first few times and being so nervous, but I’ve never had anyone refuse. I have since taken it to the Grand Canyon, Thailand, and a Tiny House workshop. I love flipping through it and being reminded of such good times. There are so many other people I’ve met that I wish I’d gotten to sign it.

If you plan to start your own traveling guest book, I would love it if you leave a comment telling about your plans!

And if you love journaling in general, you might want to check out my other site.

Missionaries I Support

So far, my site has 12 countries represented with missionaries I support through selling my creative works (crocheting, painting, etc).

If you would just like to make a donation, go here.

 

Here are the amazing people doing great things:

https://www.charitywater.org/birthdays/

Kayla Wadford, Peru

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I met her at her yardsale to raise money for her 2-year medical mission trip with Campus Outreach. She has a great story and is obviously a courageous woman who loves God and people.

 

Phanith Ngy, Cambodia

I met Phanith Ngy while I was in Cambodia, and he has a great heart for his country. He has an amazing story that he shared with us and took us to the place dedicated to the lives of those lost in the Cambodian genocide of 1975-1978 (pictured with him above). You can see that inside the building are bones of many of those people who died at that time. He is an assistant pastor who teaches English to people in his country using English Easy Reader Versions of the Bible. Everyone there wants to learn English, so it has been a great way to also teach new people the truths in the Bible. He needs about 50 of those Bibles per year because he gives them to the students. He has been able to buy them in Cambodia, but hasn’t been able to find them recently. They are $10 on Amazon, & I have his address so that I can hopefully mail at least 4 at a time in order to have free shipping.

 

Abby Twarek, China

I met her on Jon Acuff’s 30 Days of Hustle. She will be working with preschool children in an orphanage. She has been to China before and is excited to return! She is selling super cute t-shirts on her blog to raise support.

 

Audria Ratterree, Haiti

I met Audria when I when to Thailand and Cambodia with her in October of 2013. I’m so excited that she’s going on another trip! She will be working with children and teaming up with churches there.

 

Heidi Newberry, South Africa

A friend from college, Heidi is raising money to spend 2 years in South Africa. For such a young person, she has already done tons of mission work. So glad she loves it like I do!

 

 

Christina Langley, Cuba *Update: Funded!

My college roomie & friend for life has been a youth pastor for about 3 years now. She is raising $1500 to go to Cuba this July. I have gone with this girl to Israel, & she has also done short term mission work in Africa, England, & South America.

 

 

Nicole Shute & her friend Alyssa, United States (All 50!)

I met Nicole through an amazing, inspiring group of people who set 30 day goals. It’s like New Year’s Resolutions that actually last. 🙂 Anyway, she will be traveling in 2015 to all 50 states with a friend and stopping to do some type of volunteer work in each one. I’m so excited to hear about all she does. You, too, can follow her plans on her Facebook Page. Also, you can sign up to be a prayer partner for their huge undertaking. They will send you prayer requests as they go.

 

 

Faith Campbell, Haiti, Update: Funded!

I went to school with Faith for many years, and she will be going on her first mission trip this July! She’s an amazing woman with a lot to offer. She will be working with some other wonderful people I know, visiting children in an orphanage.  All the kids who know her love her, and I believe those in Haiti will, too.

 

 

Stephanie Berbec, Tanzania, Full-time

I had the privilege of traveling to Kenya & Uganda with this fun, creative college friend. She and her husband are now preparing for a move to Tanzania to work side-by-side with coffee farmers. I can’t even describe all the great things they’re doing, but you can donate to them directly on their site if you like what you see there.

 

Catherine Smith, The Grace In His Eyes

Catherine works with the XXXChurch to help people with sexual addictions, and they give away “Jesus Loves Porn Stars” Bibles to those in the porn industry. Her blog shares her stories and answers many questions about this important program. I’m so encouraged to know something like this exists.

 

Niki Hester, Thailand

She drove a few hours to a spaghetti dinner that was to raise money & awareness for my mission trip to Thailand. We had never met, but it was great fun! She really loves the people there and wants to be a long-term missionary there.

 

Heather Heisey, Dominican Republic

We became penpals through Brio when we were teenagers! So of course when I found out about her trip, I wanted to help.

 

Ashley Atkins, India, Update: Funded!

Another great college friend! So excited that she has this opportunity to go with her church.

 

Chris Pochiba, Cycling across America to raise money & awareness for refugees in Thailand, Update: Funded!

His video says it better, but he is traveling with a group from Seattle to NYC! If they don’t raise the money by May 22, they don’t receive any of it. The site he’s using seems similar to kickstarter, & I personally am excited about the perks of receiving postcards from them or of getting a disposable camera of photos from the trip! Check it out. *If you decide to donate, I’d like to know so that I can add it to the total that has been donated through this website. No pressure, though. Thanks!

Chris Bushby, Rwanda, Full-time

I found out about her at a writing conference when a woman there said I remind her of her friend who was in Rwanda. I have been receiving Chris’ newsletters ever since, & they are wonderful…short but full of inspiring work and beautiful pictures. She is a full-time missionary doing so much! They host different classes for women and children and have all sorts of celebrations. So glad I was introduced to her! And as you can see, she is pregnant. I was so excited to read this announcement in her newsletter, and she is returning to the States to have her baby and to raise funds as being a missionary with a little one is way more expensive.

 

 

I hope to get more images uploaded into my shop soon so you can choose from other items I have for sell. But if you would just like to make a donation, you can do so here. Please let me know if you have any questions!

 

If you are a missionary & would like to be included on this page, please let me know more about what you’re doing! I’d love to support you. If you send people to my shop and they make a purchase, they can just let me know that they want their donation to go to you specifically. Hope this helps! I remember the days of raising money for my trips. So grateful for everyone who helped me. Just wanting to pay it forward. Keep dreaming big, everybody!

 

Decluttering Guide

If you’ve felt like throwing your possessions out the window, we just might become best friends.

While I didn’t resort to doing that, it sounded way more fun than decluttering. But you can find joy and freedom while decluttering without having to clean everything up outside your window later.

Decluttering Coach

Maybe you’re just wanting weekly tasks personalized for you. I’d love to guide you in decluttering through my coaching sessions.

I remember those feelings of being overwhelmed, and I realize that not everyone is at the place in their lives where they can spend lots of time researching the best methods for decluttering, making a plan that fits their style and schedule, and doing the actual decluttering.

I want to eliminate some of those steps for you and make it easier (and even fun!) to implement the daunting task of decluttering.

Here’s how it works:

  1. You send me an email with your top three questions about decluttering as well as any questions you have about whether these coaching calls are right for you or not.
  2. I’ll send you the link to sign up for a 15 minute phone call as well as the $25 invoice through PayPal (refundable for 30 days).
  3. Once the payment is made, I’ll do research to answer your questions from multiple perspectives.
  4. Then I’ll call at the agreed upon time and give you about three tasks for the week.
  5. Then I’ll send a follow-up email with links to any resources we discussed as well as a reminder of the tasks we agreed on.
  6. At the end of the week, you let me know how you did in meeting your tasks.

These calls are really fun and encouraging. And we cover so much in just 15 minutes.

You can listen to this one to get an idea of what it will be like (and to learn how to get your family involved in decluttering!). 🙂

I look forward to hearing from you!

mcstarbuck{at}gmail{dot}com

Living Tiny, Dreaming Big

 

Handtowels

Looking for a house-warming or wedding gift? These kitchen or bathroom towels make great additions to gift baskets.

Sick of finding dishtowels on the floor? I love that you can lift these towels up to wipe your hands on them, & they don’t fall off! My sister has 5 kids and loves these.

 

These are two I have finished with a few more in the works & several more waiting to be crocheted. The towels are new, & I add the crocheted part along with the button. They are $10 each or $15 for two. This includes shipping, and at least half of that money goes to missions.

 

Which one is your favorite? What colors or theme is in your kitchen? (This could influence my future purchase, so I’d appreciate your input!)

5 Ways This Site Can Benefit You

Why are you here?

I mean, thank you for visiting my site!

There are many ways that I hope you can benefit from it.

1. If you want to build a tiny house, I have been to one of Deek’s workshops and am planning to attend one by Dan Louche in May. I will be sharing the wealth of information from these as well as my own journey, which continues to change. I began thinking I would save up to buy land and then build a small house on it. Then I decided to build a really cheap tiny house on a trailer and then start saving up for land to build another house on. Right now I’m considering returning to my original plan. We’ll see!

2. If you want to be debt-free, I’ll be attending one of Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University series’ this year. I am currently working on paying off my $25k in student loans, which will be finished this June after only 3 years since graduating. It. can. be. done. I would love to offer any advice I can on how you can do it, too.  There are definitely some things that worked and some things that didn’t work and some things that surprised me while reaching this goal.

3. If you’re interested in travel (or journaling!), I have been on:

  • a cruise to the Bahamas
  • a literary trip to England with 3 friends
  • a 40-day road trip from Georgia to Alaska with my brother
  • a 17-day rafting trip down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon with 8 co-workers

It wasn’t until the trip to Alaska that I decided to start my traveling guest book. I really wish I had started it sooner! I will be sharing how and why you should start one, and I’ll post what different people have written in mine along the way.

4. If you’re interested in missions, I have also been to:

  • Miami
  • New York (with Metro Ministries)
  • Kenya (where we also went on safari!)
  • Uganda
  • Israel
  • Thailand

I have also volunteered at SIFAT, which is a wonderful organization in Alabama that trains leaders from other nations and in the summer teaches youth groups ways they can help people worldwide and also in their own town. I now support many of my friends in missions and hope to do more by selling items I’ve crocheted. If you’re going on a mission trip, I would love to help you out. If you’d like to browse items, make a donation, or view the list of people I’m supporting and where they are going/what they’re doing there, you can do that here at a later time.

5. If you’re interested in fun, unique jobs, I have worked as:

  • transcriber/editor for NPR
  • camp counselor at a camp for adults with special needs in Texas
  • teacher for an outdoor program (where students come on a field trip and we take them on hikes, teach them to build bridges out of rope, canoe, make soap and candles, do a ropes course, and more!)
  • instructor for a therapeutic wilderness program for troubled youth (where we were backpacking in National Forests in North Carolina).

I now have a job as a nanny. And I’ve loved all of my jobs! They have allowed me to do all of my traveling while paying off student loans even though these jobs mostly pay by the day and provide room and board, so the money I was actually getting was less than minimum wage. I can share how I came across these jobs as well as the ups and downs.

 

 

As you can see, having a tiny house is a big dream but it also will help me make my other dreams bigger because it will allow me to have more time and money to spend on other things I believe in.

 

Please leave a comment below stating which section(s) most interests you so that I can focus on sharing about that first, or in other words: why are you here?

Thanks again for joining me on this journey!