I get quite a few emails each week from people with questions or comments about our home and renovations. While I don't mind answering (I love it actually, sometimes it's the only adult interaction I get that day!) any questions, I thought I'd address some of the things I hear most often.
(this post contains Amazon Affiliate links, this means I'll get a few dollars if you use my link to purchase anything from Amazon)
1. Where are we parked?
We are parked on private property. Friends of ours offered us the perfect little space on their land and we love it! We have a fully fenced in yard, parking and neighbors close by who we know and love. We have electricity and water hook-ups.
2. What kind of toilet do we have?
We use a Nature's Head composting toilet. It works great for us! It is a urine diverting toilet, the poop and pee never mix, which means we never have an "outhouse" smell and it's easy to maintain. We (by "we" I mean Austin) empty the pee every 2-3 days and the poop every month or so. We have never had an issue with smell and it's so easy to use that Lulu (3.5) can do it by herself. It was an expensive purchase ($950) but has been so worth it! We would not be able to be parked like we are if we needed sewer or septic hook-ups. We have so much more flexibility and never have to deal with a black water tank.
3. How long did the renovations take us?
I first mentioned this crazy idea to Austin on March 12, 2016. We bought the RV on March 19, 2016. Yes, we move fast! We immediately began selling everything, we had a huge garage sale on April 16 and moved out of our house on April 20. We lived with my parents while we worked on the renovations. The bus was parked at their house and my dad (who was out of work at the time) helped us a lot, we readily admit we could not have done it without him. While Austin was in school and working full time, Dad and I often dedicated 40 hours a week to the project. We moved in on May 19 and moved it to our current location on June 6. It was an incredible amount of work and very overwhelming most of the time.
4. How much did it cost?
We figure the whole project cost about $10,000. We bought our RV for just over $5,000 and spent another $5,000 remodeling and renovating. This includes buying new flooring, replacing the ceiling, painting everything, compost toilet, tankless water heater, new fridge, lumber, alternator, new wiring, light fixtures, water filter and plumbing, furniture and curtains. By living simply, we are able to save almost $1,000 a month compared to our old living situation. If we live in the bus for only 1 year and sell it for dirt cheap, we'll still come out ahead!
5. What will we do in the winter?
To be honest, we're not entirely sure yet. We have some ideas, but we're kind of sitting back and waiting to see what's necessary. We don't have super cold winters, thankfully, but we'll see if we're able to stay warm! We are investing in a few good space heaters and we have a heavy duty dehumidifier to keep it dry. We'll keep you posted!
6. How did we build the bunk over the cab?
This was one of the selling points of this RV. We wanted something without cab doors so that we could easily use this space as our "bedroom". We removed both seats, but made sure we could install the driver's seat again when needed. The passenger seat is gone for good. Austin built the bed out of 2x4's and 2x6's and a sheet of plywood. It's very simple construction and comes apart quickly when we need it to. It has 9 legs, 3 that rest on the dashboard, against the window and 6 on the platform of the cab. It's a queen sized bed and fits perfectly with a little space around it so we're not right against the window. We LOVE having our own space, and it's really nice to be able to put the kids to bed in the back room and have the rest of the house to ourselves.
7. How do we do laundry?
Our bus came equipped with a wonderful washer/dryer combo machine that we love! At first, we considered taking it out to give us more kitchen cabinet space but I'm so glad we didn't! It works really well (after some minor repairs) and I can't imagine not being able to do laundry at home!
8. What kind of RV is it and does it run?
It's a 37' 1989 Safari Serengeti, we bought ours for a really wonderful price ($5,000). On average, a rig like ours sells for around $12,000. It does run! Austin replaced the alternator when we first bought it and it actually runs very well. We do not plan on traveling and it's definitely not set up for that, but it's nice to know we could pack up and move if we needed/wanted to.
9. How long do we plan to live in the bus?
Austin has two years of school left, and we'd love it if we could live in here until he's done. We have no plans for what's next, but we do know that this isn't a permanent plan. Our kids are young and love living like this now, but we know that in a few years, they'll want more of their own space and privacy.
10. How do you juggle nap times and sleeping schedules with the kiddos?
Lulu (almost 4) doesn't nap and Abram (almost 2) naps for 2ish hours a few days a week. When he does nap, I lay down with him in his bed while he falls asleep. During that time, I set books or a quiet activity out for Lulu to do. She knows she has to be quiet for that time. We always have music playing in their room while they sleep and that seems to help with the noise. After he's asleep, the noise doesn't bother him. I can even vacuum while he's napping! The kids usually go to bed at the same time and one of us stays in the room until they're sleeping. Again, after they're asleep, the noise doesn't wake them. We haven't had any sleep issues relating to tiny home living so far! (Just regular toddler sleep issues!)
*Let me know if you have any other questions in the comments and I'll edit this post to answer them!*