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I am a pencil in the hand of a writing God who is sending a love letter to the world. -Mother Teresa

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

DIY home for less than $3500

"Do something today that your future self will thank you for."

I wrote this on my hand after a friend shared it on my facebook page. Although I've decided to wait until about August to buy my trailer & start building my tiny house, I'm not waiting until then to "do something." By the 1st week of July, I should be able to have my student loans paid off, and then I can save money for the trailer. It seems so far away, but I know it will be worth it. So for now I'm still coming up with ideas, meeting new people, & reading all the awesome links people are sending me now that they know I'm going to do this. I'm already at the point of thanking myself for things I've done in the past.

This is the video that first inspired me to undertake this task.

After seeing other houses being built, I had begun to think that my goal of spending less than $5000 was
absolutely impossible. I didn't even remember that this one had only cost $3500 until my aunt posted it this week, & I watched it for the 2nd time...& the first time since I decided to start building this year. I'd love to build it for even less, but I also want to be realistic & not limit myself to the point of making it un-enjoyable. I also believe it's a valuable learning experience...& let's just take a moment to
think about the fact that I spent 5 times that much on a college degree that did not come with a house.

This week I also decided to try selling these headbands (with a heart!) that I crochet in order to raise money for missions.


I love going on mission trips myself, so I also love supporting others. I have many friends currently in other countries & many more going soon. This year I have already been able to give to people in Tanzania, Israel, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Thailand, & India for a total of $205. I'm also making a donation this week to a woman in Rwanda. I would love to do more! If you'd like more information about these mission trips (some are long-term, some short-term), you can email me at mcstarbuck{at}gmail{dot}com. I'd be happy to answer any questions. If you know someone who might be interested in...

(1) Supporting missions

(2) Buying crocheted items

(3) Gaining support for a mission trip they are taking

(4) Selling crocheted items

 ...you could really help me out by spreading the word. This way I can still give while building a tiny house.

I also created a facebook page to make it easier to keep up with these little things I'm doing. Please go "like" it; I only post to it a couple of times a week, so it won't overtake your feed. :)

This is me doing something TODAY that my future self will hopefully thank me for. What will you do today?

Monday, March 17, 2014

Tiny House, Lots of Stuff

Memphis, here I come! I've gotten off work & sent in half of my payment for the tiny house workshop. I also worked this weekend in addition to my regular hours in order to help pay for that trip without getting behind on my student loans. 

Unfortunately, the Home Depot workshop was disappointing. I might try it again some other time because the person who led it mentioned that someone else normally does it. There were 10 people there trying to listen to him speak quietly over the bustling of the store behind us. What I could hear was really good information as far as knowing what materials to use & what's the best price for what you want.  I would bring a notebook & pen next time. There was no hands-on work done, though, which is what I thought it was supposed to be. 

Other than that, I haven't done much this week, which is really a relief after all of the time this project took up last week. I'm taking it much slower now, knowing that a lot of the questions I have will be answered at the workshop. I've looked at some other houses to gain ideas. 

Here's my favorite! I've definitely seen windows at antique shops that I've wanted but didn't have a use for...til now.

I also decided to count my stuff. Space is obviously something to consider when moving into a small house, & I've read about people getting their possessions down to a certain number. I've wanted to do this, but didn't know where to start. I have no idea how many pieces of clothing I have in order to determine what number to get it down to. So I've decided to count them. For now it's still just an idea, but perhaps you'll hear about it in the next few weeks. 

Speaking of space, my younger brother had the brilliant idea of measuring my room at my mom's to see how big of a trailer I should get. We decided something like an 8x10 would be good so that with the loft it could be about 100 square feet. I plan to keep kitchen stuff in my mom's house since I won't need it until I build my 2nd tiny house.

Anyway, I also watched this fun interview with Grant Cardone (I'd never heard of him, but he quickly gained my respect & gave me an even greater respect for my boss). And no, I don't plan to be a millionaire. He says to make your goal 10x what you want it to be because you aren't gonna reach your goal anyway. So, maybe I'll try building 20 tiny houses. :) Who wants one? :)

Apparently I did more than I realized this week. I hope your week is full of inspiration & ideas for whatever dream you have!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Tiny House, Big Dream

A week ago I decided this was the year for me to build myself a tiny house.

My reasons:
  • More independence. I'm living with my mom & whoever else will have me but am ready for my own space. I want to be more self-sustained & do things like have my own land & garden & do some sewing & crocheting.
  • Money. My student loans will be paid off by August, & I don't want to go back into debt. I imagine it will be a slow process, but I want the freedom to travel (without a mortgage to pay) & still have a place back home for all my stuff. I also want to use the money I earn to give to missions & other projects.

My findings:
  •  http://www.relaxshacks.blogspot.com/ This website is where I found a 3-day hands-on workshop that sounds just like something a beginner like me needs! Not only will I (if I get to go) be able to tour several tiny houses, but I will also be able to build & ask questions & network. This one's in Memphis but there are others in different locations although they aren't all hands-on. They teach how to build a house on a trailer & just on the ground.
  •  This TED Talk My house doesn't have to be perfect. I want it to be cheap & not moldy or falling apart or letting the weather damage my stuff, but it doesn't have to be just a smaller version of other houses common today in the U.S.
  • FREE Home Depot Workshops These are weekly & another way to get hands-on experience especially if you're a beginner like me. (The only thing I've built is a crate out of pallets.) I haven't been yet, but I'm signed up for one tomorrow. I'll have to post about that next week.
 I spent about 7 hours researching to find this stuff, so I'm hoping to help others save some time. (There are other resources I've found but haven't looked into enough to give an opinion on.) I wanted to find a blog like this where someone could walk me through the process. This is the closest thing I've found. It's a lot to sift through because she's almost finished with her house. She also spent $25k which I don't plan to do. She's downsizing whereas I don't have my own house to downsize from. I found her through participating in Jon Acuff's 30 Days of Hustle, which brings me to some advice I have for anyone else wanting to do this (or some other Big Dream).

My advice:
  • Find other people doing something similar. After sharing about my goal with people in 30 Days of Hustle, I found several others with the same goal. We're all at different places in our journey (some have land or chickens, some are on a 3 year plan), but we started a group for 11 of us to share ideas, advice, & experience. We're spread out across the U.S., but I have a feeling some of us will meet at some point. It's difficult doing something big alone. Don't make things harder on yourself!
  • Have a plan. This is some advice I read early on, so I started a notebook to keep my findings & ideas in. This is where I'm getting most of the info for this post. I wrote down my 
    1. Time-frame (by my birthday on March 1, 2015...we'll see!)
    2. People I have in mind to help me (always thankful to have 3 brothers!)
    3. Reasons for doing it
    4. Financial investment I hope/think it will take (I gave a range & realize that I may go over it, but that's ok since I've never done this & have no idea.)
    5. Other sacrifices (such as time, comforts/conveniences, brain power, sweat...& blood & tears?)
    6. Things to research (salvage yards, Craigslist, house plans, materials, blogs/videos)
    7. Small goals to help me along the way (post a blog a week, spend 5 hours a week researching)
    8. Ways to keep it fun (read Little House on the Prairie series, which I haven't read since elementary school...the influence has stayed with me, though! I also plan to visit her house/museum in Missouri. And finish reading Thoreau's Walden.)
    9. People who know more than me to talk to about it.
            Having this notebook will give you something to refer to & remember why you started out. Plus you can use all the information to help others wanting to start. I'm sure I'll forget lots of these details after I've gotten started on other steps. The plan will  make it easier for you to share what you really want in your house & not just what other people want it to be or think is best or easiest. Then you can decide what you are willing to give up or change. It will also keep you more organized.

This post is getting long, & I really hope to keep it manageable. So, until next week!


P. S. What is your big dream? Are you interested in doing something like this? Do you know anyone else who wants to build a tiny house or already has? Do you know any good resources I missed or have any other advice? Would love to hear it!