Selling, packing, setting up new living arrangements, unpacking, organizing, and still working and living your life in the meantime is a nightmare. We wanted to make moving less stressful and it’s what prompted us to say: why can’t we just back up our new house, load everything into it, and drive off? Why does it have to be so complicated?
And then our neighbor drove by in one of these beautiful set ups! They’re weekend warriors and their lifestyle is so inspirational that it prompted us to really look into it. If they end up starting a blog, you’ll see us cross linking to it like crazy!
Now I know what you’re thinking: “Are you guys nuts?!” Yes and no. It isn’t the norm at this point, but you wouldn’t believe how many people go this route. Michelle behind Making Sense of Cents is a well-known example. And many retirees are already doing it. With housing prices going up, more and more people are trying for a more flexible option. And that’s exactly what it was for us.
Without going into a long story — we’ll save that for another post — let me list out why buying a travel trailer made moving less stressful for us!
1) We literally loaded things directly into the trailer
As in, we parked it in our driveway and walked our cal-king mattress, all of the clothes we could fit, our kitchen ware, the kid’s toys and beds, and food — among many other things — directly into it. We even added the remaining food from the house into the trailer’s refrigerator before we dropped the keys into the lockbox and left the house for good. Literally one of the best ways we made moving less stressful!
Moved out and loaded in!
2) We knew what we had room for from the get go
Most times when you downsize, you have to guess how big of a storage unit you’ll need. And many people end up getting another one for leftover items, giving away some of their favorite things because they won’t fit, or throwing treasured items away. In our case, we knew the amount of space we were working with — and the weight capacity on the axles — so we were able to plan accordingly.
A spot for everything!
3) We didn’t have to find a house right away
…Because we had a temporary option in the meantime. All we had to find was an RV park to rent a spot from — and those were much easier to come by. In our case, we had also found remote jobs (we’ll write about that soon). So as soon as we left the house, we took a three-week “staycation” at the beach.
Why was this such a big deal for us? The biggest reason we couldn’t imagine making moving less stressful was knowing we’d have to have something lined up afterwards. Voila!
No rush, no fuss!
4) We could still give our kids a familiar home, but with flexibility for us
It was extremely important to us that our toddlers weren’t going to have to sacrifice for this new — albeit temporary — lifestyle. And even though there was less space than our house, we still had the essentials for them. They have their own room in the back with all of their toys and stuffed animals, along with their original beds. And instead of having to constantly clean up every room where we kept their toys, we now only have a 8’ x 12’ space. That means more time for us to spend with them instead of tidying up in the evenings.
Home, sweet mobile home!
5) We proceeded to take it on many vacations right away
Talk about making moving less stressful! Who gets to vacation right after moving? Most people spend weeks unpacking in their new place. We sold the house in early July, closed at the end of the month, took a three week trip to the beach, and left at the end of August for a September wedding in Seattle. Talk about a blast! We spent the weeks staying in one place before driving on weekends. Ultimately, we went from the Texas hill country to Denver, then to Salt Lake and Boise before landing in Seattle.
Now that we’re back in Texas, we’ve gotten to stay with family for a while, bounce between Houston and Austin, spent some time at the coast for my birthday, before landing in wine country for the month.
It’s important to note that while we had a plan initially, we ended up changing destinations with little hassle. As long as we gave a three-day notice most places, we only lost a $15 deposit at most. And we were able to extend our stay elsewhere without a problem or find something comparable! This was great in Seattle as we got to add two weeks to our trip and ended up taking a detour home due to inclement weather.
Go wherever, leave whenever!
6) We could deduct the interest paid on the trailer from our taxes too
We were wondering if this was possible given the tax deductions we were used to on our home. Since our trailer had a kitchen, a bedroom, and a bathroom, it qualified for a second home deduction. Imagine our excitement to learn that.
Tax friendly option!
7) We cut out property taxes and home maintenance issues
Imaging being a homeowner without the hassles of maintaining a home. We immediately cut out a $6k property tax bill, which left us with another $500 a month. We also no longer had to spend our weekends doing household chores. In the past six months, the only thing we had to fix was an awning and a leaky pipe — both took a total of two hours. They’re also cheap enough that we could have just paid someone to do it for us.
No property tax, no monthly tasks!
8) We don’t have to worry as much about natural disasters
Another way we made moving less stressful, and life less stressful overall, was knowing we had flexibility to move our home. Our house used to be west of Austin where we experienced issues like lightning storms and tornado warnings quite a few times over the four years that we lived there. It was never terribly crazy in our neighborhood, but it did give us a few scares. We loved the Texas coast too, but couldn’t justify building a place there with how bad hurricanes were in the last few years.
While we can’t outright avoid all natural disasters, we can better plan for them. A place is prone to storms? We move to a different area. A large category hurricane is predicted? It takes an hour to pack up and leave. When we plan our trips, we know when to avoid wildfire season. And if we’re tired of the heat, we drive somewhere cooler (or vice versa).
One thing we were sure to look at before we chose this option is what to do in case of tornadoes. Most RV parks have a concrete building or safe building next to their office to hide out at if it happens. Otherwise, we find out where the safest place would be to go in town when we get to a new area.
Load ‘em up, move ‘em out!
9) It allows us more money for our favorite things
In downsizing and selling off furniture we didn’t need, we put money towards an OLED TV that the hubby had wanted for a while. And with less hotel costs on vacation, we can eat at places we really enjoy. In Seattle alone, we had dinners at Din Tai Fung five times over the course of three weeks. And that would have been the same as two nights at a hotel. While it’s more expensive to drive our rig to the next place, we end up saving money when the spot is less per month than a week at a hotel.
I also have to mention that it’s pretty awesome driving around an Ford F-450. It’s not something we could have afforded with the house, but since it’s our only vehicle — and technically part of the “home” — it’s been a nice perk!
Mo’ money, mo’ fun!
There are definitely downsides to moving from a house to a trailer — the most obvious one being less space. But for a temporary set up while you’re looking for the next place, planning to build once you find land, or just to give yourself time to figure things out, it’s definitely worth considering. Just be sure to look at how long you’ll need to live in it to break even and do some research on what you’d like.
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