The Mad Dash & Another Book Giveaway

** NOTICE **
At least one aspect of the following post differs from that which we implemented
in the end-design and/or the actual construction of our Tiny House.
For the most accurate and up-to-date information please refer to our eBook.

The Last Two Weeks!?!

I can’t believe after years of preparing for our round the world cycling expedition we’re still making a mad dash to the finish (or start!) line.  I’ve been having a hard time rolling with the chaos we’re experiencing lately.  I wanted everything to be in its place and had imagined we could relax the last couple of weeks before leaving.  I pictured us meandering around on our bikes, visiting friends, and generally filling our memory-bank with all the special things we love about the current place we call home.

Instead, we’re spending every spare second of our time building the Tiny House envelope – we need to get the house wrapped, windows in and the roof installed before we leave.   Our work has been seriously delayed by the constant rain (causing record flooding in Vermont), and it was in no way helpful that we received the trailer we’re building the house on 6 months later than expected.  We had planned on having our new home built by the end of last fall, giving us plenty of time to not only finish it’s interior space but to also focus on the things we’d like to be doing right about now – like test-packing our panniers and preparing our route.

On the up side, I feel extremely grateful for all that we have and each day we get one more thing done we grow closer to living our ideal life.  I have to remember – this IS the dream, not the idea of the dream, this is the REAL DEAL and I’ve been given this opportunity.

I suppose that this is also a good example of what we might experience on the road.  We will have to roll with setbacks and delays.  We will be physically challenged.  We will experience deadlines and mayhem.  And I imagine that when I’m on the road I may look back and laugh at how I thought this period of “chaos” was difficult.

FINAL Launch Date June 15, For Real (we think)

If you haven’t noticed, I’ve updated our launch date to June 15.  New occupants are moving into our apartment on that date, so we really do need to get everything done by then so we can roll out of town.  And, we’re ready to go – now if that Tiny House could just finish building itself, we could be on our way….

Selling the Family Jewels

We’ve sold almost everything that we can bare to part with and are left with only the items we need at this time in our lives – Tiny House stuff (tools to finish the work, a kitchen table, a couple of chairs, our mattress, kitchen utensils/appliances and some clothes), personally important stuff of sentimental value, and our bikes and gear.  It is cathartic to get rid of the clutter.  Every thing we release seems to leave us with more room to focus on our priorities.  The money we make off of sales also helps replace the funds we’re spending on supplies to build our Tiny House and to mitigate the unexpected costs of living in an apartment (and not out of our tents) for the past two months.

“Little House on a Small Planet” Giveaway

As we’ve whittled our stuff down we’ve come upon a few books we just couldn’t part with easily, so we’ve made efforts to find good homes for them.  We thought one of these books, “Little House on a Small Planet: Simple Homes, Cozy Retreats, and Energy Efficient Possibilities” by Shay Solomon (Photographs by Nigel Valdez), might be of interest to those of you who are reading our Tiny House updates so we’re offering it as a giveaway!

To be eligible, you must live in the U.S. and you must leave a comment on this post describing why you’re interested in learning more about small homes.  We’ll close comments on June 8th, when we will randomly choose a winner.  We’re looking forward to reading your responses!

Future Detailed Updates on the Tiny House

We’re in the midst of Week 4 of building our Tiny House and Week 3’s video will be released in the next few days so stay tuned for that.  If you missed the last two videos you can find them here.

We plan on updating our blog with more photos and detailed posts about how we built the house once we have more time to breathe (and write).  We’re learning a lot through this process and hope to share what we’ve learned with you soon!

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59 comments to The Mad Dash & Another Book Giveaway

  • Amy Higgins stambaugh

    Would love to spend hours imagining the possibilities this book will present.

    • Shelley

      I love the tiny house movement! I love the thought of being more self sufficient while also having a smaller footprint and being able to conserve so much more energy, materials, etc. A good portion of the world lives this way so I want to follow. My adventure started three years ago. I am constantly searching the internet and library for anything I can get my hands on regarding simplifying my life. It is my passion. I finished two purges of my belongings and have one more to go as I search for my tiny home plans. I am a walking billboard in my community for the tiny house movement! I look forward to the day when I will be building my tiny home! May you have many wonderful tiny home adventures!
      Shelley

      • Hi Shelley – We love the movement too. We’ve experienced so many benefits from simplifying and can’t wait to experience living in our Tiny Home. Good Luck to you in realizing your tiny home dream!! We know you can do it!

    • Amy – This book will definitely give you some ideas to ponder…..thanks for leaving a comment!

  • et

    I’ve read the book, so not interested in the give away. When you write: “To be eligible, you must live in the U.S.” do you mean that you only want to give the book to US residents or that you only will ship to US addresses?

  • Well leaving on your adventure would certainly be easier if you weren’t building a house…but I completely understand you wanting a dwelling to return to. And I do understand the rain…living in Vermont also. I think we have a week or so coming up of dry weather, so hopefully you can finish things up in the sunshine.

    The book sounds cool, I would love it! Our plans are to sell our old Vermont farmhouse, and keep 14 acres (of the 44) to build a small, energy efficient home. We were able to rent our house out while we cycled in SE Asia last winter, but it would be easier to come and go without that hassle. And cycling out there in the world is where we will be!

    Which way are you heading first? If it is west toward NY, consider staying with us the first night as we are just 4 miles south of Middlebury, on the way to the Ft Ti Ferry. Judy

    • Hi Judy!

      Yes, we’re getting some wonderful-weather-working-days right now – it’s beautiful out there!

      Good luck with your plans for the smaller efficient home. Sounds like you have everything you need to make it happen!

      We were planning on heading North through Canada over the Great Lakes and into the Midwest to start…..but no plans are final yet. We will definately let you know if we’re headed that way – would love to meet and say hello.

  • YM

    Hubby and I have 60 unimproved acres in Texas. Hope to put a tiny home on it and retire there one day. The book would certainly give us some great ideas!

    • Jordan Smith

      You know it would be neat to subdivide the 60 acres and have a whole tiny home community

    • Hi YM – thanks for stopping by and leaving your comment. Much luck on realizing your retirement dream!

    • YM

      We really like having a lot of space, as we grow our own vegetables and have chickens now and hope to expand to cattle when we move, and maybe even before we move. There are only small towns in the area (populations 900-3000 people) so there aren’t many folks interested in living that far from ‘civilization’. I was born and raised there, so I will be going home! Of course, retirement is 25+ years away, so subdividing may be an option by then!

  • Jordan Smith

    I have tripped upon this idea a few months ago and am starting to research this idea more and more. I am married with a wife and 3 kids and are currently residing with the in laws. We have talked about moving out this year and getting a place to stay but with the economy in the shape it is in I am having a hard time seeing how to afford everything and I dislike the idea of an apartment because it isnt yours to fix. I am trying to get my wife on board with this but she is a little skeptical on the whole idea. I like my idea of space too but I am sure there is a happy median where we can live with in our means and work to get out debt. I have started to agree with this idea more isnt always better. I was poisioned with the idea of big cars big houses means importance for a long time but I am beginning to understand you can live a happier life by living with less. Free from the chains of affording those possessions. I have noticed that there isnt much on the web about tiny houses yet ( that or I am not looking in the right places) I feel this book could help forum my ideas and my wants to streamline our lives and be able to live with less.
    Thank You for your time

    Jordan Smith

    • Hi Jordon,

      Thanks so much for sharing your story. The current economic climate has affected a lot of people and based upon the influx of stories on Tiny Homes that we’ve seen coming from major news sources lately, there are many people considering going small.

      When we first considered building small, we had a lot of concerns and it seemed a little crazy but once we started looking at all the benefits (no mortgage if you build as you have cash, less space to maintain/repair/heat/cool/clean, minimizing belongings to what you need (thus feeling less of a need to spend money buying new things & spending less space/money on maintaining/storing all those things) – all of those benefits allow you a lot of extra cash in the end (which would be very nice to have to pay off debt or allow someone to work less) and time (isn’t that everyone’s dream after all – to have more time and money to do the things you want?). For homes on trailers there is the extra benefit of being able to move them anywhere when you need to.

      I think you have it right when you talk about freeing yourself from the chains of affording possessions. From personal experience, it has given us a sense of freedom we’ve never experienced before.

      To find out more about Tiny Homes, check out the links we’ve posted on our Tiny Home page. One blog that covers a lot of tiny home builders and DIYers and has given us a ton of leads on new information is the Tiny House Blog.

      Wishing all good things as you search and discover what will work for you!!

  • Our little family of four is currently living with extended family in the country. I don’t know what the building codes are for our area, but it would be wonderful to have our own little space on the property. We’ve already managed to “size down” quite a lot – even with two boys 10 and 13 years old. We need a little more solid information about the practical side of building though. I have no doubt that we’re capable of learning how to do it (and our kids are old enough to be a big help) – but we need to figure out how (and where) to go about getting the information we need. Thanks for pointing out a book that is a good resource – even if we don’t win it, we’ll know what to look for at the library!

    • Thanks for leaving a comment Nonna and sharing a little about your life!

      Check out our links page for Tiny Home resources. Several folks sell plans for building and there are several places that offer workshops for folks to give them hands on experience building small homes. We had to do a lot of research before we took the final leap too. One thing that really helped us realize that we could do it was following the blogs of regular people just like us as they built, made mistakes, learned lessons and eventually, succeeded in having their home realized. Maybe these will help lead you in the right direction. Good Luck!!

  • Sherri Pierson

    Your trip sounds fascinating and adventurous for the current times!! Look forward to following your journey. Also look forward to your small house videos….I’ve built and lived in sheepherder wagons, Caravans, small rock houses and tipis all my adult life.
    I currently am dreaming up my next creation and would love the Little House book for inspiration but mostly enjoy connecting with other small house enthusiasts.
    Best of luck and keep us posted!
    Sherri

  • David Cooprider

    For the last 5 years I have been dreaming of building my own place. Everyone has left the house now so I don’t need a lot of space. I have recently moved into a one bedroom space and I am getting rid of all the stuff I have acumulated over the past 30 years. All the Tiny House books are great. When I’m ready to build it will be a creation of my own design from all the great features I have read about in all the Tiny House books. I look forward in reading about your World Wide Tour (Adventure). I’m excided.

  • Hugh W

    The book, LITTLE HOUSE ON A SMALL PLANET, looks very interesting. I would really like to read it in it’s entirety and then pass it along to someone else… kind of a way of spreading knowledge of the tiny house movement.

  • Hugh W

    I just watched your video on “Purging Possessions”. Extremely interesting and very close to home with me as I went through a divorce three years ago and pretty much left everything behind minus my personal items such as clothing etc. I’m now down to sixteen plastic tubs and a few other miscellaneous belongings, no furniture to my name at all. I would dearly love to someday build and live in a tiny house. I’ve donated much over the past three years… things that just are not necessary for everyday living.

    • It’s amazing how much of a journey you go through just sorting through and ridding yourself of personal possessions. It’s only once you’ve gone through this process that you realize how much time, space, energy these possessions really take from us.

      Good luck in realizing your tiny house dream!

  • Bob Bradley

    I’ve been surfing the web for the past couple of years in search of small house info. The movement has grown quite a bit in that time and I was thbrilled to discover your website through the Tiny House Design group on Facebook. I enjoy your style of writing….it’s very easy for me to understand. Your thoughts and ideas about living in a small, comfortable, afordable home ring true in me.
    I see you used Google Sketchup to design your house. I downloaded it last year and haven’t spent much time with it, but I’m curious to know how much of a learning curve there is. I’m a surveyor, so I’m very familiar with AutoCAD which should hopefully make Sketchup easier to learn. Did you design your home from scratch, or buy plans for it? Your repurposing of building materials such as the redwood for siding, maple trim from the school, and lumber from the shed are great examples for others to follow. Regarding your book give-away, I would enjoy receiving it, reading it, and passing it on to someone else. Good luck with your project, and safe travels on the bike adventure!

    • Hi Bob,

      Thanks for the kind words – it gives us the encouragement we need right now!

      As for Sketchup, although I’m an IT support technician and pick up on most things software related relatively quickly and a trained artist and have a decent understanding of design, I found Sketchup difficult to use and learn. I am still learning and it was frustrating for me, to say the least. However, it was a great tool to help lay out and discover problems, to help us think about how to lay out and build our home, and to generally give us a sense of how our ideas would look in real life, so I would definately recommend using it. I wish I had known about this series of Sketch Up tutorials by Tiny House Design before I had started using the program. They are extremely helpful. Since you have experience with AutoCAD you might have an easier time with it.

      Good Luck!!

  • Susan B

    I think what you are doing is awesome. I hope you have a wonderful adventure! I’ll be certainly be checking back for updates.

  • Art Carlson

    With every move I’ve made during the past 10-years, I’ve worked very hard to divest myself of about 50% of my ‘stuff,’ knowing clearly that less material goods is the only way to sustainability and fundamental happiness. With the recent sale of my house (finally!) I’ve moved to an apartment with less than half the space and it is my fervent hope that retirement will finally afford me the opportunity to build and live off the grid with minimal distractions. Your story and soon-to-be adventure has grabbed me like nothing else! News of your journey will be the news I focus on, for it’s the interpersonal stories that truly make us what we are as a society.

    All good wishes on the road!

    Art

    • Thanks for letting us know you’re out there Art and for following and supporting us. We love hearing from people who share our same dreams of sustainable and off-grid living. Congratulations on how much you’ve accomplished in realizing your dreams and good luck in continuing to increase happiness in your life.

  • jackson

    My wife and I are nomads, moving every 2-4 months (for work). We have a bit of land in north central Washington state and would like to build a tiny place to return to. We try to stay as car-free as possible, use our bikes to do the shopping and daily commute. Leave as small a foot print as we can. Feel good about our choices, Set a good example, Enjoy life.

  • Tara N

    I have started planning our tiny house recently. Our son is a teen and in the next few years we will find ourselves with more house than we currently need. Living in small places hasn’t been an issue with us as a family, prior to our relocation 4 years ago we lived in an 800 sqft duplex and found filling our much larger 1500sqft home difficult. Living life simple is the way to go. Enjoy your adventure!

  • Mike Ellefson

    I am getting very close to retiring. The housing market offers large under insulated,very expensive, and questionable quality homes. A smaller more efficient home makes perfect sense for us for all the oblivious reasons. Besides it would be fun doing it.

  • Diana K

    It’s always been my dream to live in a tiny house in the country someday. I could probably fund that dream with all of the stuff accumulated over the years!

    • Hi Diana,

      We were surprised at how much money we made off of selling things we no longer used, needed or had served their purpose. They were sold at a loss but it still added up to help with our savings, so if you’re minimizing for the long term, selling items is one way to go.

      We hope you realize you dream of a home in the country one day!

  • It is my dream to live as simply as possible. I hope to live in a small house, being self sufficient and close to nature. I think that is the best thing someone can do. Not only do you help the earth, but you realize your roll in the world, saving it for future generations of all species. (I always wanted to travel the world too.)

  • Hi! I have just purchased a trailer for my new home. I am building it with the help of a good friend who has more knowledge then I do. I was in a flood in 2009 and lost 95% of my belongings. But I discovered that I loved living with less. I have been living in 500 sq feet apartment ever since but really want to have my own home and a tiny one at that,Being a single woman my family and most friends think I have lost my mind but I think it only makes sense. I am looking forward to finally being in my own tiny home. I am playing on going green as much as I can. I have gotten a lot of my material recycled. I wish you well on your new adveture,it sounds very exciting. I look forward to reading more of your journey. God Bless.
    Laughter Always,
    Suzy

  • * that should say planning on not playing on..

  • leo

    I think its great what you’re doing and hope to see many followers… I know we crossed the threshold of living in harmony with the planet long ago. Wouldn’t it be awesome to make a community of small houses and be a role model for the rest of the WORLD?

    • Hi Leo – that would be fantastic! I really like the “Pocket Neighborhoods” that Ross Chapin designs – homes around 650 square feet with lofts, focus on community, central yard, shared space & cars/roads are left on the outside of the area (not the central focus like most homes/neighborhoods). It’s the type of neighborhood design that I think would work well with tiny homes on trailers too.

  • Karen

    I absolutely love reading your story. We have been inspired by the tiny house movement for sometime and we are building a community in the next year or so. Our plan is by the end of the summer to have a couple of homes built for our friends and family on our property of nine acres. This book would provide us with some great ideas on how to be sustainable in our building techniques and know about others that have an interest in tiny homes. If you are biking through Iowa, please look us up. You are welcome to camp on our land. We have many people that do this weekly and would welcome you here.

    • Hi Karen,

      Thanks for letting us know you’re out there. We may be heading through Iowa since we’ll be visiting my family in Missouri before heading toward the West Coast and we’d love to visit your place and see the homes you’re building. Love that you’re sharing your property and sharing space for tiny homes.

  • Sharon

    I love the tiny house and minimalism movements. I’ve been doing research on both for some time now and have made efforts to streamline my life. My dream is to someday (hopefully soon) build a tiny house. I will be modifying mine, however, to be all one level due to some disability issues with my back and knees. I would love to win the book you are offering in order to inspire my future tiny house blueprints. Love the blog and can’t wait to read all about your cycling the world adventures.

  • Bradley

    Love the idea of travelling around the planet. Your adventure will be amazing and will continue long after your return. I myself have been dreaming of creating a small house but still need to learn more. Would love to win the book so as to have more references. Enjoy your journey!

  • Michelle Lavergne

    I am on in a movement of SIMPLICITY. Not due to financial reasons or greener grass necessarily but because I am done with consumerism. I have a little girl and a wonderful husband and would love to spend more hours with them instead of mopping floors and pulling weeds. At the end of the day (or life) time spent with others is way more valuable than stuff.

  • Holly

    hi there, i’m dreaming of building a tiny house. in the midst of divorce. while painful this opens the door to new life experiences and transformations. my tiny house dream started with my desire to work less, pay less rent, and to live in a beautiful space. i love to idea of building it myself–learning all the skills needed–and living in a small but beautiful and functional little nest. i love the principles and passions that flow from people in the tiny house movement. i also think it is important to hold principles gently and to not become overly rigid or dogmatic. best to you! h

    • Hi Holly,

      We, too, love the passion that flows from people excited about smaller spaces! We can’t speak for the “movement” as a whole obviously, however, we think folks within the movement who may hold strong views probably don’t see themselves as rigid or dogmatic, but instead, as realistic and practical, especially considering we’re in the post-peak-oil age and still gobbling up resources as if they were infinite.

      Thanks for leaving a comment. May the coming transformations bring you closer to your dreams! 🙂

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