In Minimalism, Nomadism, Stories, Travel

I once lived in a mobile home for 6 months

Before I became a ‘minimalist’, or rather, a nomadic minimalist, I already had a growing tendency towards the lifestyle.

I lived out of a 200 square foot mobile home for 6 months, and I rather enjoyed it.

This was in that between period of giving up my apartment for the first time (before I knew it was the move towards minimalism), and not being on a project to be able to live in a hotel.

Sure, I had to go outside of the mobile home to take a shower or use the washroom in the communal area (otherwise you have to try and hook up the sewage from the mobile home to go out, and not accumulate), and I couldn’t cook anything that required more than a single burner and a microwave, but it was still a great experience.

I learned that all the space I really needed was a bed to sleep, and a desk to read, write and work on.

For basic things like washing my face or brushing my teeth, I’d head out to the communal area.

The rest? It was just what could fit in the space.

As I couldn’t cook much, I only had a pan, a pot, 2 sets of cutlery, plates and bowls, and that was about it.

Food had to be purchased fresh each day, and I had a small bar fridge to hold the meat, some milk, butter and cheese. I didn’t need much space because I tended to buy fresh, raw food anyway.

Photograph-Paris-Heirloom-Tomatoes-Food-Grocery


My clothes took up most of the space in the trailer, but by the end of the year, I was ready to cut that in half and get rid of 90% of it.

I didn’t have books, as I went to the library on a regular basis, and I only had one set of linens, so I would do the laundry that day, and have fresh sheets at night.

Not much cleaning to be done, it was 200 square feet for goodness sake, and I never felt claustrophobic — more cosy than anything.

Mail would come in to the main mailbox for the area, and I’d just pick up my mail. Of course, I tried my best to stop all physical mail by refusing to give my address out to anyone, and it was the first time that I felt free.

Photograph-Travel-Macau-Asia-Mailboxes-Mail-Email-Letters

In winter, it was the worst part of it all. I had to go out in freezing cold snow and weather to get to the bathroom and back, and I had an increased sympathy for folks who lived with outhouses in the past.

That said, I could have just asked them to hook up the sewage, but I wasn’t quite sure how long I’d be there, until 6 months had passed.

Chalk that up to laziness.

The main takeaway from the whole thing was I felt like I could go anywhere, and be able to live simply, but most of all — FREELY.

It was the first time I felt like that in my life, and it was addictive.

It was quite liberating, and that experience stuck with me all throughout and up until the point I decided that  freedom and liberty would be my way of life, which is what led to permanent and final minimalism.

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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

I got out of $60,000 of debt in 18 months using TheBudgetingTool.com. Since then, I have worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K (savings rate = 85%). I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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17 Comments

  1. Donatella

    I’m amazed at the people who think that a trailer won’t hold up to a tornado, but a regular house will. A short look at photos after a tornado hits will tell you that NOTHING holds up to 150+ mph winds, except perhaps earth sheltered or dome houses. Those expensive mortgaged stick-built houses are built like crap and love to burn. And the odds of your having to deal with tornadoes is actually pretty slim to none. Also consider the weather – if you can work from anywhere, pick the kind of weather that makes that doable, to fun. You can live on the beach, or in another country… something to think about also – which would you rather be in, a in an earthquake? A regular house, or a trailer that would move with the bumps but not fall in on your head, and that you could get out of in a flash if need be?

    Reply
    1. save. spend. splurge.

      They also had trailer homes that had foundations put underneath them like real homes. They weren’t mobile any more but it was a cheap house on the fly.

      Reply
  2. KC @ genxfinance

    Yeah, it would give you the peace of mind if oyu know your house can withstand storms.

    Reply
  3. DC @ Young Adult Money

    I hope you understand that after reading this I still have trouble imagining living in a 200 square foot home : ) I’m sure I could do it if I had to, but I really have a long way to go on the whole minimalism thing 😉

    Reply
    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      *laugh* No need to turn into a minimalist. 🙂 I just found it interesting that 200 square feet was totally fine for me as a living space.

      Reply
  4. MelD

    What about the Tiny House movement?
    It all seems very doable to me, either tiny or just small…

    Reply
    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      Yes, that does sound doable but you would need warmer weather for it to be okay, or to be a singleton.

      Reply
  5. Michelle's Finance Journal

    That’s a great story. I never even thought about mobile homes as an option. Not that need it right now, but it’s a different way of thinking.

    Reply
    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      Thanks!

      It was one of the many starts to my thought process changing to something more minimal.

      Reply
  6. jane savers @ solving the money puzzle

    Nothing wrong with living in a trailer as long as it isn’t tornado season.

    Reply
    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      Gosh I didn’t even think about that. Do you know that they have trailers that are actual homes with foundations and everything? It’s a trailer, but a permanent home.

      I discovered that by accident when I did more research on trailer living.

      Reply
      1. PK

        Tossing a foundation on it won’t do much in a tornado – even a stick built house doesn’t offer much defense (that’s why they say to go to the most interior part).\

        Give me a basement with think concrete walls, maybe…

        Reply
        1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

          Good point. I still would prefer a house with thick concrete walls (saw some in Portugal that really hold up well), but it was an interesting experiment nonetheless. I considered doing it for longer than 6 months.

          Reply
  7. Do or Debt

    Crazy! What city if you mind me asking? I think living humbly can teach you a lot!

    Reply
    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      Middle-of-nowhere Ontario 🙂

      It was a small town and it was an opportunity to try something new and not sign a lease for anything. I rented the place week by week while I waited for news on my next project.

      Reply
  8. eemusings

    When T came back from the army and went back to his mother’s house, he lived in a little caravan on the lawn.

    We really enjoyed our South Island campervan trip last year, too, but having a small kitchen and bathroom helped with that…

    Reply
    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      Was there a kitchen and a bathroom inside? I think that’s what would stop me from permanently wanting to live there if I was a singleton or a DINK.

      Reply

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