Ask Melanie: Should I buy a move-in ready trailer or should I buy a trailer to renovate?

"Should I buy a move-in ready trailer or should I buy a trailer to renovate?"

Today’s question is from a young man named Kevin. Kevin wants to know, “Should I buy a move-in ready trailer or should I buy a trailer to renovate?” Take it away, Kevin!

So I’m 16 and my family doesn’t have much… I’ve always been into outdoor stuff. I ran across your blog somehow and I absolutely love everything. I now have a dream to live in a trailer like y’all have and live life like that. My main concern for my future is providing for myself and future family. I think this could help with those fears because of a significantly lower cost of living. I had a question about purchasing a trailer. I obviously have lots of time. I graduate this coming school year and plan on going to Clemson for forestry, but I’m planning out my future now to be “more prepared”. Do you think it’s better to find a already nice trailer or to find a cheaper one and fix it up?


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Link Love: 49


I re-opened my Etsy store. I sold vintage there years ago. I’ve put up a few of my handmade necklaces. I don’t have a lot of time to dedicate to it, but I figured, what-the-hey, I’ll throw some stuff up there and see what happens. So far, nothing has happened. Ha!

Did you see this? Dear people who live in fancy tiny houses. It made big waves in the tiny house community. Here’s an excellent response to it.

What to do about debt when you’ve lost your job. It’s a bad position to be in, but there’s some options out there.

The “Siberian Mowgli” emerges; boy lived in forest for 16 years. Sometimes I want to just go off the grid too, but maybe not in Siberia…

The case for the 32-hour work week. I’m into it.

This tree grows 40 different kinds of fruit! Is it weird that when I first saw this video I was jealous? One of my dreams is to have fruit trees. One day when we have enough land… Until then, I can only dream, be jealous and maybe learn to graft?!

And the best thing I’ve heard in a while… a profanity filled guided meditation.


A Small Life Book Club: August’s Pick


August’s pick for the book club is Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life.* It’s by the guys who write so I’m pretty excited about it. I think it’ll be a lighter read than the last book. :) God willing, we’ll be discussing it in just a couple weeks on August 3rd. So download your copy today!


*Affiliate link

Tuesday Thoughts: The Real Mistake

A failure is not always a mistake... the real mistake is to stop trying.

“A failure is not a mistake… the real mistake is to stop trying.”

Lately I’ve had a hard time keeping up with this blog. I love it, but sometimes it can be a real slog. I have a full-time job and a life. I see very little income from this endeavor and it’s easy to give up on it. No one is holding me accountable. It’s just me here. Negative thoughts can get to me from time to time, but I know that it would be a mistake to give up. My goal will always be to share my story of living small in order to help others do the same. It won’t change and I won’t stop trying.

Fist bump emoji and love,

A Small Life Book Club: Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much


As always, I “read” this book via audiobook. That may have colored my review. A good book doesn’t make a good audiobook! In this case, I did enjoy the reader’s voice. It wasn’t distracting, but it wasn’t Oscar-worthy either. It was very NPR-neutral, if that makes sense.

I found Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much* a few years ago while perusing a book store on vacation, but I just got a chance to listen to it. And although the psychology of scarcity was fascinating, I had a hard time finishing this one. If I’m being honest, I’ve had a hard time getting motivated by anything lately. I don’t think it was just the book, but I did keep waiting and waiting and waiting for the authors to make some conclusions. The conclusions or ways to outsmart scarcity didn’t come until the bitter end– literally the last 10 minutes of the book. That was incredibly irritating, but I did learn a few things.

The authors, both academics, had a very academic way of approaching scarcity, but explained the psychology in terms easy enough for the lay-man to understand. Basically, the premise is this: We all have a limited amount of “bandwidth” or the ability to make decisions. People who are poor, dieters and people who are busy all have limited bandwidth. Limited bandwidth is bad because it causes people to “tunnel.” When people tunnel, they can’t see all of the options available to them. They then make poor decisions. The poor decisions aren’t necessarily their fault, but instead, a problem of bandwidth. So how do we give dieters, busy people and poor people more bandwidth? Well, dieters can be put on an easier diet– like the Atkins diet that only counts carbs instead of counting calories. Busy people need to take a “sabbath.” One day a week to do no work. And poor people, well, that one is harder. Different things will work for different situations. For example, instead of being given S.N.A.P. benefits at once a month, the benefits could be broken up weekly.

Although this book took me a long time to get through, knowing the psychology behind scarcity will help me to make some positive changes in my life. I tend to be an all-or-nothing gal and I know that if I give myself “slack” in my budget, in my time, and in my life, I’ll be much more successful. I know that I need to have a day (or days!) during the week to do nothing. Right now I don’t have that and it wears on me. I also need to give myself a little slack in my budget. When I feel deprived, I end up spending more.

Overall, I think Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much* was fascinating, but could be skimmed instead of read in it’s entirety.

Have you ever read this book? What did you think about it? Got any suggestions for the next book club book? I’d love to hear them in the comments!


*Affiliate links :)

Tuesday Thoughts: There is No Final Destination to Our Journey

There is no final destination to our journey. As someone who is goal-oriented it can be hard to remember that the end goal is not always the goal. As people, our final destinations are the same, but our journeys are different. And the journey is what counts.

Let me know how you’re making it count in the comments.


Link Love: 48

Link Love Anyone else just having one of those weeks that you can’t get motivated? I feel like I’ve done nothing but watch Call the Midwife this week. I’m all about productivity, but I think I just need a break, knowwhatI’msaying? Speaking of nice little breaks, it’s time for Link Love! So, sit back, grab a cuppa and relax with the best of the Internet!

Finding bundance in downsizing. A 1600 square foot house is still huge to me, but they did reduce their living space by 70% so I gotta give it to them.

Tiny houses skirt cities’ zoning rules. This is a big problem with the tiny house movement that no one likes talking about. Most tiny house dwellings are illegal in municipalities. To have lasting impact, that needs to change.

Is income inequality actually about housing? A really interesting theory that could be solved with you guessed it, smaller houses!

Waste less food by shopping often. This is the exact opposite of the strategy that I’ve been using. I’m not convinced I’m wrong though. Thoughts?

Is it possible to raise happy kids in affluence? An interesting read.

This 30 year old travels the world on $30,000 a year. He doesn’t have an IRA or retirement plans which is too risky for me, but I admire his chutzpah.

This teen paid for college by selling on Etsy. I worked three jobs in college and still couldn’t pay for school and my rent. This girl kills it. All the clapping emoji.

Minimalism is more about living intentionally than owning few things. I couldn’t agree more.

And similarly, Do less and live more.

Email curfews? Yes, please!

How do hotels feel about guests taking their stuff? I’ve always wanted to know.

That’s it, folks!

Happy almost weekend!