About

rp_Melanie.jpg

Hi, I’m Melanie! Welcome to my blog, A Small Life. For almost four years, I lived in a 1978 Airstream Sovereign with my husband, George. We’re now renovating our small home! We chose the small life to get out of the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle and live the life of our dreams. I want you to help you do the same!

A Small Life is a place for

    • The art of living small
    • Small home ideas and alternative dwellings
    • Money-saving advice
    • And tips for minimizing your stuff so you can maximize your life

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41 thoughts on “About

  1. safdarprime

    you know melanie, my teacher once told me that when men fall, they fall over pebbles not over mountains! and that shows how much power small things can possess.good luck for your struggle

    Reply
  2. Heather

    Something tells me we are kindred spirits. It could be that we both work in a library, love food, love style, love books, and love love. Probably. Anyway, from one lovable and loving librarian to another, GREAT BLOG!

    Reply
  3. imagemistress2020

    Absolutely love the inspiration behind your blog, & the passion you have to make this a place of empowerment & creativity!! Fantastic work, I can’t wait to discover more of your brilliant blog!! xoxo

    Reply
  4. littletash

    I’ve nominated you for the Lovely Blog award. I know these things take a while to accept and things, so don’t feel you have to, but I wanted you to know I really enjoy Love Library 🙂

    Reply
  5. Lady Liz

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and liking my post. I’m really glad that you did because it led me to your blog. I love it! I can’t wait to look around more.

    Reply
  6. annachaase

    Hi Melanie! I too am a Librarian by day and crafter, DIY-er, and cook by night! I love your blog! Crafty ladies unite! Airstream cool points!

    Reply
  7. Sam Jary

    Hi Melanie – I’m a winemaker who loves books, libraries and Airstreams… I’m so glad you checked out my blog and made contact! Really like what I’m reading, keep up all the good work. Take care and happy blogging, Sam

    Reply
  8. jsletto

    Hi melanie! Your blog is so interesting. I will love to explore it and get to know you, thank you following my blog as well. 😀 nice to “meet you” 🙂

    Reply
  9. Christa

    Melanie, I wanted to let you know I created a whole new section and just posted about your epic blog! Check it out:

    Reply
  10. Jeff

    Hi, Melanie. I don’t think I’ve ever nominated you for a blogging award, so I’ve given you the “Liebster Award.” No pressure to participate, but I have loved following your blog. Have a great day!

    Reply
  11. Mickey

    Hi, I love reading about your Airstream adventures. Thank you!I hope to do the same- live in an airstream or a tiny house, to save money for retirement. Because, really, in America you can never truly own a house (mortgage or property tax for the rest of your life or bank takes it away). My question is; did you buy your land? You say you don’t pay rent, so do you live family land that is already paid for? Or state or federal land? I’m asking because, I’m really interested in living a simple life and I want to know what is actually possible for me one day.

    Reply
  12. Bethany Tschaepe

    So glad to find your blog through And Then We Saved! I’m also a librarian trying to get out of the cycle of living paycheck-to-paycheck (many librarians seem to be in this boat as well), so it’s great to find a life style blog that comes from a similar perspective on both career and saving money while living a stylish and fulfilled life.

    Reply
  13. Katie

    Love it!!! Stumbled upon your site after seeing you featured on Tiny House Swoon. I’m so inspired. I’ve been thinking I wanted to go the tiny house route, but now you guys may have me converted to the Airstream route…I actually remodeled one for a furniture client of mine too. They are pretty sleek. Thanks for being such rockstars! Will def be keeping up with your blog 🙂 Here’s mine too if you wanna check it out: http://theshabbychicspot.tumblr.com

    Reply
  14. Alicia

    I love what you two are doing for the greater good of living a debt-free and small life. I am a Realtor and although my job is to get people into houses, I also have a passion to get people who normally can’t afford the average $250-$300K house in Austin, into something they can afford, even if it is small. Since I started being obsessed with Airstream and Spartan trailer remodels, now i can truly say I’d offer to anyone that just does NOT want to spend $300K to totally remodel and live out of an Airstream or Spartan or heck…even a single or double-wide trailer. I now have a dream of actually buying an acre of land around Austin to now house the “cool and hip” Airstream / Spartan community. Americans live beyond their means too much and then we buy big houses and fill them with crap that 1/2 might never get used and collects dust and on top of that we are paying nearly the price for an entire house in interest just to live in that house! Its honesty insane whoever thought of the 30 year mortgage! And if people do not have kids yet, milk living kid-free and stack paper as long as you can because when a little one comes along, they cost a lot, haha…Good Luck you two and God Bless. Liberating for me to see young folks like yourself living small, working hard and stacking paper (saving money) instead of those out there milking food stamps or money or housing from the government like some people are.

    Reply
  15. Pingback: Couple Living in '78 Airstream Tiny Home

  16. G.R.I.T.S. by MiMi

    Melanie, this is about the 3rd or 4th (at least) time I have read your posts from start to finish. I love your blog, and your idea to live small. I really want to do this, but my husband thinks I am nuts, he says I have too many hobbies and that I can’t put all my “junk” in a space that small.

    Back in 2009 due to the crash of the economy and building becoming non-existent in Georgia, my husband lost the business he has owned and operated since 1967. That meant we lost our house and most of the fun “things” we had acquired.

    Luckily for us, my mother in law lived alone in a large house, and was pretty sickly so we moved in with her and took care of her until she passed away 3-4 years later. Also luckily for us, my father in law had built the house slowly over the years, every time they added a child he added a new room!

    The house is L shaped and we made a kitchen, bedroom, and living room back there in the back half, with our own entrance yard, and parking area. The bathroom was already there. So we lived in less than 800 square feet for the first 4-5 years.

    We made a lot of improvements in the space. Built in bookshelves and cabinets for storage. We actually put in our own hot water heater, and ran all the kitchen plumbing (well, my husband did) he has been in the construction business all his life and there is nothing, he can’t do. The floors were concrete so for the first year to two years we lived with painted concrete. Then we bought carpet that came out of a new house, because someone didn’t like it

    I found our stove, which was virtually brand new, from a thrift store for $50.00 it is a Kenmore with a self cleaning oven! It was a drop in unit, my husband thought I was crazy because we didn’t have any cabinets to put it in. I had him make a box to go underneath it (to make it counter height) and we slid it into a corner.

    The sink and faucet for the kitchen was $10.00 at the same local Thrift Store, and it is stainless steel. (almost new again, later I learned from the owners of that thrift store, that the couple had bought a new house and this stove and sink were in it, but they were remodeling because they didn’t like the kitchen! Boy was I lucky!) Again, the ever skeptical husband couldn’t see my vision for a kitchen cabinet like I could. I had him make a frame (much like a large, deep book shelf with two shelves) from salvaged two by fours, with a shelf underneath. It fits right next to the stove in the opposing corner. Next step was to figure out a counter top. We went to a local salvage yard and found a small counter top that was just slightly longer than we needed, so he cut it to fit and fastened that sucker right on top! Now we had our own kitchen! I made new curtains for the windows, and one to hide the under sink clutter. We got several of the plastic tubs and used them to store the plastic containers underneath the bottom shelf. The top shelf holds cleaning supplies that are used on a daily basis, dish clothes and towels (in baskets) and serving bowls).

    There was a closet in the corner on the other side of the stove, we debated on taking it out because we were using the room as a kitchen instead of a bedroom. But we ended up leaving it and putting a small, squatty hot water heater in it, and then put shelves above it to store, pots, pans, casseroles, etc. We already had the refrigerator from our old house. Later we added a stacking washer/dryer and a small 18″ dishwasher. A year or two later we found some carpet that somebody was removing, virtually unused when they moved into a new house, and got enough for the living room, hallway, and bedroom for free, and a firefighter friend helped install it for $250.00.

    We have all the comforts of a larger space, without all the work! WE spent well under $500.00 to convert three small bedrooms and bath into a complete small apartment that we truly love.

    Later, my daughter got divorced and needed a place for herself and two children so she moved into my mother in laws space. They actually needed another bedroom, so we gave up our living room, and made it into a bedroom for us, and gave our bedroom to the grandson. It was tight because now we were down to 400-500 square feet, but we survived. Now we are back to the whole space, including my Mother In Laws part. it’s not so fun to take care of a 5 bedroom, 2 bath, huge living room, huge kitchen house, (and we still have the other living room and kitchen too). One of these days another one of the kids will need a place to live and we will lose some space again, but it has been a lot of fun.

    I truly believe living tiny is the key, you have to keep it organized, and you can’t buy much junk! But boy do I miss my thrift stores!

    I am working on my husband now to buy a camper for us to live in, I have been working on him for 3-4 years now! One of these days, we will have it. I have one daughter living in Fla on the Gulf Coast, and two living here in Georgia. The middle one says she is moving to the Gulf Coast ASAP, when her daughters graduate from high school. So convincing the third one to move will be the next step. Then we will move into a camper and we will all be moving to the Gulf Coast! I love it just as you said you do, and can hardly wait!

    I have a blog, I would love for you to guest post on it, sometime. It is called G.R.I.T.S. by MiMi. I am called MiMi because I am just too cool to be call Grandma or MeeMaw! Just kidding, I saw that one on Pinterest! I guess since you said you are from the south, you know that G.R.I.T.S. means Girls Raised in the South! We garden and plan to get a few chickens in the next year. So far I have canned most of the produce from our garden, so we will be prepared for the winter. Our plan is to become somewhat self sufficient and live as much like a “homesteader in the city” as we can. At least until I can convince him to move!

    Good luck to you, I am so jealous! But I love to hear your stories, including the trials and tribulations! Can’t wait to hear more. Keep up the good work!

    Sincerely,

    “MiMi” Sandy Sue

    Reply
  17. Pingback: 8 Big Reasons to Live in a Small Home – a small life

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