FAQ

So, since we have announced that we are turning a van into a tiny house and it is going to be our home, we have had like 10,000 people ask the same 20 questions. If you are good at math, that means answering 200,000 questions. If you are bad at math, that means answering a butt ton of questions. So, in an effort to save our vocal cords for karaoke at the local bars, we have listed these 20 questions and posted the answers.

Why?

Why not? We figure most people would do this if their life didn’t tie them down so much or if they weren’t so afraid of being unconventional. Plus it is super cheap and we are broke.

Where are we gonna shower?

Don’t get grossed out, but studies have shown that with a good diet and no bathing, the bacteria on the skin balances its own ph and you don’t stink any more. You just smell like a person.

How will we eat?

There is actually a lot of food that is thrown away in a city. You would be surprised. Don’t judge us for dumpster diving, but we will be eating better than you most nights. Some of the best restaurants throw away some of the best food. Pan handling is always an option as well, although that will be something neither of us has done up to this point. If all else fails, our city has 24 hour free soup kitchens and food pantries for anybody who needs food.

Where will we do laundry?

We won’t. If we are careful with our clothes, they should last a week at least before starting to look raggedy. After that, we toss them and hit up the nearest second hand store. Clothes are super cheap there and we just pick whatever we want to wear for the week and wear it until it gets nasty.

What happens when somebody tries to break in while we are asleep?

OK folks, that was a thing in the 80’s but it doesn’t really happen today. If there is somebody who has been in a coma since the 80’s and just now woke up and isn’t aware of modern culture, however, we simply announce to them that we are in there and that we don’t have anything of value.

How will we stay warm in winter?

Lots of cuddling. There is also lots of wood in the dumpsters in the more industrial parts of town, and we have considered a steel bucket in the middle of the floor and having a cozy indoor camp fire venting through the fan on the roof.

How will we stay cool in the summer?

If we are outdoors, sweating the way God intended humans to stay cool, and if we are indoors, nudity.

Where will we go pee and poop?

Primarily in the bushes, but if a bush or other cover cannot be found, then as a backup we will have a trap door in the floor of the van that we can open and squat over.

What will we do all day?

Hang out. We have considered joining the local culture and smoking pot when we are not working or sleeping. It seems like an enjoyable way to pass the time.

How long will we do it?

Currently, we are looking at retiring in our early 30’s – Ben and late 20’s – Millie. We will need almost no money to maintain this lifestyle and see no reason not to do it until we die.

What kind of a van is it?

It is a 1999 Dodge B3500 maxi cargo van. It has a 318 V8 and a 4 speed automatic. It has a 3.92 axle ratio. It weighs around 5000 pounds and has an 8700 pound GVWR. Antilock brakes, dual air bags, heat, ac, radio, and that is about it. All the doors are manual lock and manual windows, which we both prefer. The bad part is it is so basic it doesn’t have cruise control. Ben will install that. The good part is that it only has 69000 miles on it. In stock form, it is 6’8” tall.

Where will you park?

Pretty much anywhere we want, but the ghetto is probably the best place because the cops mostly leave you alone there.

Isn’t it illegal for your home to be your vehicle?

Very, in fact, and you will be fined can even do jail time for it. but only if you get caught. Our van will blend in very well, however, and we don’t anticipate getting caught.

How much space is in it?

It is 53 inches high, 6 feet wide, and the living area is 11 feet long. All told, 66 square feet. The bed will be 5 feet wide and 6 feet long.

How much will it cost?

The van with tags and insurance was about $3500. We anticipate about $3 each per week for replacement second hand clothes.

What about the dogs?

The dogs will actually be turned loose during the day to enjoy their lives. If they want to come home and sleep in the van with us at night, they are welcome to.

How are you going to live without all your stuff?

People have too much stuff anyway, and we don’t mind getting rid of all of it.

So, if you read the above section and believed it, then hopefully you will be desensitized for how we are actually going to do it. We wanted to do a tongue in cheek answer that matches the horror and awe most people have when they initially hear what we are doing. The first reaction people often have is that we haven’t thought it out, done the research, and don’t have a clue what we are signing up for. In fact, we have talked about and considered doing something along these lines for years. We have done many, many hours of research, looked at scores of other people’s tiny house vans online, shopped through around 600 vans to find the right one, been to every van life forum on the inter webs, drafted up the interior in a 3d modeling program, priced materials, checked state laws, and personally interviewed and had tours of people’s van homes. We feel we are prepared to make this step.

The real answers are below. If you think of another question that hasn’t been answered, feel free to reach out to us and ask!

Why?

We are young and childless by choice (other than our sweet pups, Jackson and Savannah) and like to travel. We like adventures and life experiments. We have been talking about something along these lines for years. We like the concept of minimalism. Rent will be non-existent. We feel like our apartment is huge even though it is only 575 square feet. Whenever we go to visit family, we will always have a place to stay and so will our dogs. When we go on trips or vacation, we can spend $100/day on vacation and having fun instead of paying the same amount to sleep in somebody else’s nasty bed. Spending weekends in the mountains  or the woods will be no big deal at all.

Where are we gonna shower?

24 hour fitness has locations across the USA and is open 24 hours a day. We will shower and work out there daily, not in that order.

How will we eat?

We will go out to eat a little more often. We also have a camp stove and a couple of cast iron skillets as well as a couple of plates, spoons, and cups. We will also have a thermo electric cooler/fridge that will hold cold water, milk, whipped cream for Millie’s coffee, and a few random veggies. We will do the majority of our dishes at Ben’s job. We will keep our meat in a freezer, also possibly at Ben’s job, and pull out a pack for the day that we want to eat it. Ben eats a custom health shake for breakfast every day made from milk and ground alfalfa along with some vitamins, minerals, and joint support. Ben’s lunch is whatever is left over from supper the night before. Ben’s supper is whatever we have for supper. Millie’s breakfast is always boiled eggs and coffee. Millie snacks for lunch. Millie’s supper is whatever we have for supper.

How will we do laundry?

Laundromat.

What happens when somebody tries to break in while we are asleep?

Ben destroys them. Or if we are feeling merciful that night, we just shoot them and then run over them a few times.

How will we stay warm in winter?

A heater and blankets and snuggling.

How will we stay cool in summer?

Acclimation, vent fans, and air conditioning.

Where will we go pee?

OK, don’t get grossed out. Our city has somewhere in the neighborhood of 500 toilets per square mile. Public restrooms are everywhere. In the middle of the night, however, if we don’t feel like walking 20 yards to take a pee in a toilet, we pee into an empty container that gets thrown in a dumpster the next day.

Where will we go poop?

Public restrooms, or if we don’t want to get up in the middle of the night and walk 20 yards, there is always the kitty litter in a grocery bag in a 5 gallon bucket trick. Put a lid on it and properly dispose of it the next morning.

What will we do all day?

Ben usually works. Millie will do laundry, chill with the dogs and read, visit one of the gazillion beautiful parks or open spaces, go to bible study, do volunteering, help Ben at work, go grocery shopping, etcetera. On weekends, we will live it up or visit friends and family.

How long will we do it?

As long as we enjoy it. If we do it for a couple of months and hate it, then we will move back into an apartment. If we do it for 17 years and love every second, then we might do it for another 17.

What kind of a van is it?

It is a 1999 Dodge B3500 maxi cargo van. It has a 318 V8 and a 4 speed automatic. It has a 3.92 axle ratio. It weighs around 5000 pounds and has an 8700 pound GVWR. Antilock brakes, dual air bags, heat, ac, radio, and that is about it. All the doors are manual lock and manual windows, which we both prefer. The bad part is it is so basic it doesn’t have cruise control. Ben will install that. The good part is that it only has 69000 miles on it. In stock form, it is 6’8” tall.

Where will you park?

There are a million parking places in our city. We already have several scoped out. A lot of the parks have free parking as well as Sam’s club, Walmart, Kroger, King Sooper’s, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Barnes and Noble, any truck stop, any rest stop, Best Buy, Malls and other shopping centers, any of the industrial areas, several people have offered to let us park in their driveways, and the list goes on and on.

Isn’t it illegal for your home to be your vehicle?

In some cities, yes. In our city, it is perfectly legal. 

How much space is in it?

It is 53 inches high, 6 feet wide, and the living area is 11 feet long. All told, 66 square feet. The bed will be 5 feet wide and 6 feet long.

How much will it cost?

The van with tags and insurance was about $3500. The parts the van needs are about $100. The cruise control is $250. Insulating and outfitting the van will be around $1500. The most variable cost is the appliances and electronics we put in. Thermo electric coolers range from $40 to $1500. Solar panels and auxiliary batteries and inverters all cost money depending on what you want. It will have a full time back up camera and eventually a good sound system. We figure we will start basic and upgrade as we see a need or have a desire.

What about the dogs?

They hang out with Millie most of the day and sleep in their crate at night. The crate goes on the floor between the driver and passenger seat.

How are you going to live without all your stuff?

One word, minimalism. Or a hybrid of minimalism at least. Ben has a huge step van parked at his parents house in Kansas where we will store the things that we don’t want to get rid of permanently like our bicycles and some of the furniture that we have custom built for our rental houses over the years.

What are you doing on the outside of the van?

Ben will custom build an aluminum lumber rack, a ladder on the back door, and a nice brush guard on front. Solar panels on top with a ventilation fan. Some beastly mud tires on the back. On the side will be stickers that say Lacy Enterprises with our company logo. A full time rearview camera for merging into another lane and backing up. Other than that, it will be completely stock.

Hopefully this has helped answer some of your burning questions.  I know it has helped us…not really but we didn’t want you to feel alone.  In closing, here’s the answers to the most important questions:

Do we think this is the right thing for us? 110% yes.

Do we have a backup plan?  Yes we always do.

Do we feel peace about it? Yes. We wouldn’t be doing it otherwise.

Are we doing this as a team? Duh.

What will we have for breakfast tomorrow? Probably bacon.

The end!