Finding a Place to Park Your Tiny Home

In the past year, my husband and I have lived in 6 different places and are about to move to the 7th. These moves were not choices so much as absolute necessities, and we never could have anticipated that we would have to move so much. Reasons for the moves included our water pipes bursting in the travel trailer we were living in, forcing us to live with a friend for a month, getting kicked out of a neighborhood because they had a HOA that did not allow people to live in a mobile structure, the person who owned the land putting the house up for sale, and a slew of other reasons that were not related to how we were as land renters so much as extenuating circumstances around us.

Each time we unfortunately find out we have to move, stressors include who we can find to transport the house on a low budget and, more importantly and more difficult, where to move the house with the best chance of getting to stay longer than a month or two. Moving day is always stressful because the house is like our newborn baby that we think will injure itself beyond repair at any moment, but finding somewhere to park has been a consistently difficult endeavor. I can understand why many people build on family members’ land, but since we did not have that option, here are the following types of places we have lived with the pros and cons of each:

  1. RV/Trailer Park
    1. Pros: We did not have to worry about needing to move the house sooner than we wished, we had one of the coolest houses on the block, and we had so many awesome opportunities to talk to others about why we were living Tiny
    2. Cons: It was difficult bringing friends and acquaintances to the house because there was very little parking, and it wasn’t the spiffiest location/area so we didn’t want people who didn’t know us very well stopping by on a whim.

  1. Private Home in Rural Area
    1. Pros: It was the only place we could build a tiny home without worrying about hardly anyone caring because we were closer to the countryside than any town or city.
    2. Cons: No restrictions on animals so, unfortunately, there were dogs barking every day for multiple hours, typically at each other. I’m not exaggerating. Much of the barking was coming from the woman’s dogs from whom we were renting the land. I love dogs, but I do not love hearing them bark day after day, call me crazy. Well, it did make me a little crazy in all honesty. The land was also about 25 minutes from my work and 35 minutes from the closest downtown area so we felt somewhat isolated at times.

  1. Private Home in Subdivision
    1. Pros: nice area with noise control and plenty of room
    2. Cons: many subdivisions have HOAs and this was no exception. We had to move because the HOA would not allow us to stay, so if you do want to live in a neighborhood, make sure you are very friendly with ALL of the neighbors who can see your house. We had talked to the neighbors on either side and the one in front of us, but there were still complaints from some people who did not like the fact that we were living in the tiny house. Also, if we had been trying to build in the subdivision, we could have received noise complaints.
      1. **I would just like to throw out an honest disclaimer that my husband and I are very quiet, respectful individuals. We had our lights out before 9pm, were never loud, don’t have pets or children, and generally look like friendly people (I think).**

How did we find the places?

  1. Craigslist: We found people who had listed their land as up for rent to RVs or Travel Trailers. We also posted our own ad, explaining what we were looking for.
  2. Flyers: We posted flyers at local coffee shops and natural or whole foods stores in hopes that some alternative people would take pity or be interested in what we were trying to do.
  3. Facebook/Social Media: I am going to graduate school so I posted on my university’s graduate school facebook page that we were looking for a place to stay. Posting on forums in the area or facebook pages for people in the area may also be helpful.

We are currently looking for somewhere to stay for the next year or two while I finish my graduate degree and using all of the knowledge we have gained so far, but I’m not going to lie. This is not my favorite part of Tiny Living. So find a place you feel confident you can stay at if you are looking for a more permanent life and try to avoid the mistakes we made. Happy Travels (or lack thereof) 

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6 thoughts on “Finding a Place to Park Your Tiny Home

  1. Michelle in Michigan says:

    Courage, Kristen, you and Dave have already accomplished so much! I am awed and inspired by your THOW.

    My THOW is largely being built by professionals as I have few tools or construction skills. I am lucky, though, for I have a place to put it–a campsite at a small, private (cheap), sporting club here in Michigan. I had been looking for an RV for it, wondering how I could winterize it adequately, when I stumbled upon tiny houses. I am grateful to have this solution, since, as a Detroit teacher, I don’t think my district will exist for very much longer and other teaching jobs here are hotly contested. This way I could work part-time at Starbucks and live well!

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    • I do think it is worth it to live tiny, and thank you for your warm thoughts! I guess parking just wasnt an issue we had heard of before encountering it ourselves. My friend actually worked in detroit for a while before moving to Phoenix when she couldnt find a teaching job. We wish you lots of luck with your tiny house!!!

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    • Best of luck to you Michelle. We know all about being poor teachers. We certainly admire you for sticking it out in Detroit. The nomadic appeal was high on our list of reasons for making this transition as well. Thanks for the kind words.

      Dave & Kristen

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  2. I live in Canada and there are similar rules and regulations about where and when someone can plonk down a home. My parents owned 50 acres in the northern countryside of Ontario, but even then, I wasn’t able to build a small shack for myself to live in when visiting (their retirement cabin was very small.) I understand how the township didn’t want to overload the infrastructure (although hell’s bells, everyone was on a septic system anyway) but it seemed unfair.

    I would have been actually very happy if a young couple had been able to avail themselves of some of the mostly unused 50 acres – in exchange only for perhaps providing the occasional drive into town (my dad became less adapt at driving as he got older.) I would also have had piece of mind knowing that someone was there, since I live so far away. They could have had tons of room to garden to their heart’s content as well. It seems so wasteful to have such restrictions in place – if people act responsibly and intelligently, someone in need could have benefited from that vast amount of land – and saved money on rent.

    I guess we live in a wasteful world in the West.

    I can’t believe the dogs didn’t bother the woman who owned the land. I know in the country, dog barking is pretty standard. Most hunting dogs are kept outside. The only downside of a small house is that you can’t easily get away from noise.

    Right now I live in Winnipeg in a very old house that I purchased for only 75,000 dollars ten years ago. Winnipeg is one of the cheapest cities in Canada because the winters are so harsh and long here (as opposed to the more temperate cities of Vancouver and Toronto – where you have to be a millionaire to own a house now.) It’s a trade-off to be sure but nothing beats having your own home, no matter how small and humble. It is, at least, solidly built since it is over 100 years old.

    I wish you great good luck in the future! Consider making more videos – perhaps vlogs. Cheers.

    Lisa Dee

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    • Thank you for your input! It is pretty crazy that there are so many laws against something so harmless, but then again I know I am biased :). We have talked about doing more vlogs, and hopefully we will get some extra time in the next year to do them.

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