What’s It Like to Move a Tiny House?

Michelle

Moving a tiny house is a lot like having a baby. You can eat right, you can go to the doctor, you can read baby books, and watch videos; but in the end the baby is going to come out and be what it is. It’s stressful, and amazing, all at the same time.

After fourteen long months of construction of my tiny house, moving day arrived. Let me tell you, there is only so much planning you can do and eventualities you can attempt to control, and then you just have to let go. And “letting go” is not my strong suit so this was not an easy part of the adventure for me.

My moving day came a bit earlier than I really wanted. For some unknown reason, the landlord suddenly decided it was time for me to move it and in a rather dramatic fashion, she informed me thusly. I could have chosen to fight her and I’m not sure that her objections were/are a legal basis for the threats she lobbied against me. But, I chose instead to put my emotional energy towards finding a solution even if that meant finding a short term one, and then a long term one, sooner than I had planned.

Of course, I then had to find a place to put my tiny house. I had already been looking around for a place and had found one that is very affordable and only minutes from work, but almost 50 miles from my “home”. (I commute that far, one way, every day) Since my college aged children are not quite ready to leave and I have vowed to house them for as long as they are in school and working; keeping a “home” base is still a priority. The problem with the parking spot I had found is that I did not feel as if my house was really done enough to make such a long trip. There are still a few minor “TO DO’s” that need to be crossed off my list. And, the other problem with the spot I have found is that it is not really conducive to having a House Warming Party, or taking all of the Grand Reveal pictures for my many sponsors. (I do realize that these are not scenarios for most tiny house builders but my sponsors have been a huge part of my build and I owe them the pictorial payback.)

So, I did what any social media savvy person would do and I started asking on Facebook for anyone who had a spot I could rent for a month. (I also drove around the neighborhood handing out flyers but that didn’t really pan out) A neighbor answered my Facebook plea for help and talked to her husband (who is a huge Tiny House Nation fan) and they agreed to let me use their “back 40” for my final projects, staging, photos, and my House Warming Party. I am still in awe at their generosity…..

OK. So I found a place to put it. Now. Who’s gonna’ move it? NOT me, I can tell you THAT much!

Since I designed and built my own tiny house so there was no precedence that had already been set, regarding the stability or weight distribution. I have no idea if my tiny house was tongue heavy, or would lean to one side. I have no idea if the roof design would hold up to 35 mph sustained winds. And, I still don’t know how much it weighs. All of these factors are MAJOR when planning a move. But, I had to let my fears go and part of that process involved hiring a reputable towing company. The one I used came very highly recommended from another tiny house builder.

Secondly, I wasn’t sure what should stay in and what I should take out. I’m not planning on moving out of my tiny house every time I move it, but my boyfriend recommended that approach. He and I heatedly discussed the implications of the appliances tipping over or the house weighing too much for the trailer. I made the decision to leave the appliances in, and strap them down, as well as all the major pieces of furniture. Because I didn’t yet have a travel-savvy packing design for the incidentals I had already loaded in, I agreed to take them out for the first trip. I will, however, be leaving them in for the second trip and plan on having a more secure/well-planned packing method for those.

  • Place to move to? Check!
  • People to move it? Check!
  • What stays in, and what moves out? Check!

Onward to Moving Day!

moving in the rain

Getting ready!

Moving day was divided into three stressful parts: 1) Prep 2) Move and 3) Set and Level.

Prep

Prep work involved taking it off the blocks it has been sitting on for over a year. I decided to wait until the driver arrived before unblocking the house. (another un-popular decision in my household) But I am glad that I did because his “hitch stinger” held the house up while we removed the blocking from underneath and the whole process took less than 15 minutes. (and there was not chance of it rolling down the hill of my driveway because it was already hitched up) Because the wiring on my trailer was too short for the massive tow truck to reach, he then added his own lights to the backside of my tiny.

Move

After I started building my tiny house in my driveway, the city added curbs. So, what once was a nice wide gravel driveway would now require a bit of needle threading to fit between the curbs and then turn 90 degrees down a steep hill. Yikes! And just in case that wasn’t stressful enough, the electrical wire to my neighbor’s house was hanging lower than my house so that would force the driver to turn on the high, pitched, side of the driveway to avoid it. I swear, I almost fainted as I watched the driver pull around that corner. It was over in a flash and I suppose that’s a good thing because at one point only three of the six wheels where on the ground.

pulling out

Yikes!

down the road

Whew!

We drove only five miles to my new spot. I drove as the “pilot” vehicle with my flashers on, and held my hand out the window to warn oncoming cars of the load behind me. The tow truck had to veer, often, to avoid low hanging branches which put him in the direct path of oncoming traffic. My son rode with the driver, and radio #1. My boyfriend drove in back with radio #2. (Channel 5) Yes. We had radios. Remember that “control thing” I talked about earlier? The radios were mine. I insisted.

on the road

The driveway of my new spot was level and paved but very, very narrow. We scraped the iron propane-source pipe on the bottom of the back of my house, as we pulled in. We pulled through a gate that was less than 2 feet wider than my house and less than one foot wider than the tow truck. We slid less than easily alongside a hedge of evergreen trees alongside the driveway. But, nothing broke. No drama. No cracked drywall. No fallen tiles. No doors sticking. No flat tires. No broken windows. No heart attack.

Set and Level

Have I mentioned that during this entire process it was raining? And, not just a little rain. Over an inch of rain fell during our little 3 hour project. And, nowhere in the process was it more of an issue than during the set and level portion. Mark knelt, in the mud, for over an hour after we parked the house to get it level. I’m not talking almost level. I’m talking laser guided, perfectly level, level. He’s a genius. I swear.

tiny house new home

I can breathe now…

I am very, very happy and relieved that despite the rain and the difficult decisions and the $179 I spent for the mover and the landlord drama and the stress; it turned out great. All my planning paid off. And my boyfriend proved, once again, that he is there for me when the going get tough….and wet…..and stressful…..and muddy……and icky.

Now, where did I put that bottle of celebratory wine?

Have you moved your own tiny house? Share a quick sentence about your move in the comment section.

Michelle

Michelle is an outgoing single mom, published author, speaker, patented inventor, blogger, craigslist stalker, enthusiastic Glamper, and Northwest native; as well as a tiny house enthusiast, designer, and builder. Her Tiny House, aptly named “My Empty Nest”, is the culmination of a life spent dreaming of a tiny reclaimed space, all her own. If you’d like to follow Michelle’s tiny house build, you can find her at: http://mytinyemptynest.blogspot.com/.

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deb bushee - October 27, 2015 Reply

Loved your story, gives me hope on getting mine accomplished. ty deb

Rhi - October 27, 2015 Reply

This is yet another argument for (and condemnation of) town and city halls to allow and allocate small plots of land for tiny homes, whether individually or collectively.

Catering to corporations that build McMansions (that no one can afford) benefits no one but corporations and politicians on the take.

Lisa E. - October 27, 2015 Reply

When I moved from MA to NY, I hired a moving company that also performed a “cross tying” of my goods. I hope as more and more Tiny Houses appear on the horizon, that moving companies will add this service.
I’m really glad I did this. Yes, it was an additional cost, but everything arrived safely and the cross tying gave me peace of mind.

alice h - October 27, 2015 Reply

Never moved a tiny house but winching a 13′ Boler trailer down to it’s spot 10′ steep feet below the road with no driveway was pretty hairy. Then winching it along from the first resting spot to a better one about 50′ further down, alternating winching and pumping up a rapidly deflating tire. I had help for the first part but the rest I did by myself over the course of a few days. What took the longest was unhooking and re-hooking my chains and safety ropes to only allow a small amount of slack at any one time and I’ll just say redundancy is a very good thing.

Jen - October 27, 2015 Reply

Oh my gosh! I stumbled across this article, as I am now working on my own “tiny house” adventure and realized I “toured” your house this last year as you finished the shell and I lived on the same street that you moved from! Good luck to you as your complete your home! I am excited to start mine! Happy “tiny” adventures to you Michelle!

Dave - October 29, 2015 Reply

Interesting! Thanks for sharing!

Pam - November 15, 2015 Reply

Enjoyed reading about your experience. I have become obsessed with building my own tiny house! Now I have some insight into moving it…once I get it built that is!

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