* If you’re looking for solid advice, you’re not really in the right place. If you’re reading for shits and giggles, carry on.
Over Fourth of July weekend, we moved our house from Santa Cruz to Sonoma County.
Two weeks and some bumps later, our house is now in its designated parking spot (shown above). I’m not sure where to start, and I don’t have the energy to go into detail about everything. Let’s just say moving and parking a little house on wheels can be stressful. (And we weren’t even the ones who physically towed it.)
I’ve said a number of times that this blog is all about what not to do when it comes to tiny houses, and I’m considering renaming it Tiny House Tantrums. The past several weeks have been frustrating — I’ve cried a fair bit, maybe even thrown a few things — and I’ve wondered numerous times if we’ve made a mistake.
We aren’t living in it full-time yet. We’ve spent the past two weekends in the house, and I’ve learned a lot already in this short time. I’ve got a number of “Things I Learned” lists in my head, so here’s the first.
Things I Learned From Parking Our Tiny House for the First Time
- When looking for land, think hard about the practicalities of how you’ll set the house up. Don’t just fall in love with the view — a tiny river on a whimsical property is not enough.
- If you plan to set up solar panels, remember: trees are pretty, but are not your friends.
- If you’re hiring someone else to tow your house, pay them to scout the entire route and location beforehand. Photos, videos, and written explanations may not be enough. They weren’t for us.
- Caution: tree branches in your rearview mirror appear further away than they really are. They can and will damage your roof, as they did ours. A heavy-duty tree pruner pole is a must.
- When it comes to trucks, size does matter. (And eight wheels are better than four.)
- If you don’t have your own truck, level the trailer before the hired truck leaves. (Effing stupid, I know.)
- If you manage to find another truck to help you with your leveling woes, make sure you have the right hitch ball size. (Facepalm.)
- Have all of the necessary equipment when you park the house, and know that Andersen levelers won’t work the way they’re intended if you don’t actually have a truck to drive over them.
- Don’t try to lift your trailer with one of its corner scissor jacks. It will break. (Sad face.)
- If you borrow a hydraulic jack from your uncle, make sure you know how to use it.
- Don’t park your trailer so your graywater pipe points uphill. (We couldn’t avoid this, unfortunately.)
- This is obvious, but worth saying: make sure the ground is flat.
If you’re curious about any of these scenarios and are interested in details, just ask. These are all mistakes we’ve made — some foolish, yes — but at the very least we’ve learned a few things along the way.