The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Low Cost Housing, Part 5

Installing windows in the trailer.Over the next few months, Mark filled the gaping holes in the trailer's walls with double-glazed windows which we'd gotten free or cheap over the last couple of years.  We ripped up ancient carpet to reveal not-too-bad linoleum, hauled out a broken washer and dryer, and mended a few leaks in the roof.  Overall, I'd say we put maybe $2,500 into our 500 square foot home --- $5 per square foot --- and the vast majority of that went to the trailer-hauling company.

There are two major downsides to living in a trailer.  First of all, your snooty friends will sneer a bit (but who cares?)  More important, the insulation is minimal.  However, the positives vastly outweight the negatives.  After our initial startup cost, we can now live on next to nothing.  After all, while most folks around us are paying rent or a mortgage, our housing bill comes down to a measly $200 per year that we throw at the county in property taxes.

I consider the trailer one of Mark's biggest strokes of geniuses because it has let us work very part time jobs and pour our hearts and souls into becoming more self-sufficient.  If you subscribe to voluntary simplicity, you could do much worse than scouring the countryside for a free trailer to live in.

This post is part of our Low Cost Housing lunchtime series.  Read all of the entries:

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Hmm. We've been looking into housing for when we move. I like what you did with the windows; are they south facing? I think the insulation would be a big negative though there must be ways to improve it.

Thanks for the thoughts. I'll have to mention this to hubby.


Comment by TheOrganicSister Fri Apr 17 20:28:34 2009

I highly recommend trailer life! The windows are south-facing, and they do a really great job of passive solar. If we ever got around to it, I'd put tiles in that room to hold the heat (and an awning for early summer shade before the sun rises up high enough to stop shining in.)

The trailer is small and linear enough that with our wood stove, it gets plenty warm. Insulation would be good, but I'm not sure we'd be able to crank down the stove enough to make it worthwhile.

Comment by anna Sun Apr 19 08:15:32 2009

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