This post is based on a video created by Kirsten Dirksen of Faircompanies.com about a woman living in a shipping container and a tiny home on wheels with her family.

A friend suggested she build something after being forced out of her last home where she was renting.

After that she was able to attain a shipping container for free that used to bring things back and forth from China.

The homeowner spent $4,000 to convert the container into a home so that now there’s a kitchen, living room, tiny playroom, and more- all crammed into the small space. She customized everything without any previous carpentry experience.

You’ll also get to see the awesome tiny house on wheels that the woman built right beside her container house so that she and her children can enjoy more space.

woman living in shipping container and tiny house on a flatbed trailer   Mother Builds $4k Shipping Container Home and Tiny House on Wheels

Photo Credit Kirsten Dirksen/Faircompanies.com

One thing that I like about what she said in the video, towards the 3:55 mark, is how it helps to be able to take your time if you’re using reclaimed materials.

Go ahead and take a tour of this unique shipping container conversion and tiny house on wheels living combination. I think it’s a great example of how you can combine two tiny houses for more comfortable living. One can serve as the bedroom and office while the other is the kitchen and bath with a deck or nice outdoor area to bring it all together.

If you liked this, you might also enjoy We The Tiny House People, a full length documentary on tiny homes by Kirsten Dirksen of Faircompanies.com.

If you liked this video tour of the shipping container home conversion and tiny house on wheels, “Like” and share using the buttons below then if you want to talk about it in the comments. Thanks!

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   Mother Builds $4k Shipping Container Home and Tiny House on Wheels

Alex

Alex has been living in small spaces for more than 7 years, he's the founding editor of TinyHouseTalk.com and the always free Tiny House Newsletter, and has passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. Send in your story and tiny home photos so we can share and inspire others towards simplicity too. Thank you!

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{ 28 comments }

  • Mark May 13, 2012, 12:41 pm

    I don’t have sound on my recycled computer, so I don’t know if she discussed the following ponts:
    1) the kids in the loft sleeping area need a safety rail to keep them from falling out and getting hurt.
    2) Don’t know what part of the country she is in, what issues did she have with permits, if any, always a concern when you reach a certain floor space.
    3) How is her waste water handled–drained onto open ground, into a cess pool, or?
    4) Where does the fresh water come from. The garden hose to the instant on water heater is probably not for potable water, they need a safety rating for fresh water from NSF or you are drinking chemically polluted water that is REALLY BAD for anyone, but especially for small children.
    5) looked like she had a cool stockpile of recycled materials. I’m jealous.

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    • Alex June 26, 2012, 11:54 pm

      Great questions/concerns, Mark, thank you so much. Great point on safety rails for the kids.. As far as permits I’m really not sure and I don’t recall that being discussed on the video. I’m pretty sure she is in a remote area so she probably has to drive quite a bit to get to most places.. Not sure how her water situation works exactly either but there are so many options. She can collect rainwater and filter it or she can make water runs as needed in town. Thanks again Mark!

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  • Tanya May 13, 2012, 6:42 pm

    I TOTALLY love seeing stuff like this being done! But it leaves me with questions….. how did she find somewhere to put that and build it without getting in trouble with legal issues (permits, etc). Is her toilet composting or does she do something else with the waste? Where does she get water from? A well? Do her kids go to school? Is it close by? The questions plague me because I just want to pick peoples minds on this topic. I am in Florida and would love to do something this unique and self-sufficient but the restrictions here are difficult to get around. Aargh!

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    • Alex June 26, 2012, 11:50 pm

      Thanks Tanya these are all great questions but unfortunately I’m unable to answer them as I don’t know the exact location but I imagine it’s farther away from schools, work, etc. than another ‘legal’ and less remote location. Thanks again for the questions!

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    • Chris August 22, 2014, 3:15 pm

      Tanya, Only in the United States is there a problem with building, Anything… In any other country, there are not as many restrictions. I can understand regulations for the safety of the people but, it’s mostly padding for the ones we elected to give us, regulations. I’m seriously thinking about moving to Ecuador myself (but not where all the Americans are, way too expensive)(or maybe down south). The way the Americans were brainwashed to live in the states is just unbelievable. (I’m sure this will kick up some dust :) cgr)

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  • sesameB May 14, 2012, 1:12 pm

    This was so smooth– shipping container living. Yes, I noticed th stockpile of recycled materials—- nice. Very Nice. We have a small amount of stockpiled recycled materials on our 4 acres too. We do not mow either, so it was nice to see just a meadow-like setting, much like my own here in rural south central sunny Arkansas.
    Kirsten Dirksen is truly an artist. The arts, if I can be brief with my definition, are about communication. Put simply, someone who works in the arts notices things: emotions, actions, remarkable and humdrum elements of their lives and the lives of others and – of course – the fruits of their imaginations. The artist generates and captures material, analyses it, crafts it and then presents it. And the artist expresses. Something only they know about and have come to understand is given to us – we are made richer by a stranger, who takes us into times, places, situations and personalities which we could not otherwise experience. Ms. Dirksen certainly does this with her work. Excellent, just plain excellent.

    Painters will see and see and see: the fall of clothes, the combination of colours, the alteration of faces, the endless effects of light. Actors will pick up minute alterations and inaccuracies in inflection, will assess strangers with horrible rapidity and accuracy and, having spent years making themselves deeply accessible to their emotions in a way that allows them to pay their bills, will cry at the drop of a hat. To repeat, the artist generates and captures material, analyses it, crafts it and then presents it.
    Years ago, I looked at possibly buting a new/old shipping container here in rural Arkansas, but chose my current small home with a loft, with no regrets. My next choice would be to live in a shipping container and/or a used steam boat. I love the lakes here in the state of Arkansas.

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    • Alex June 26, 2012, 11:54 pm

      Thank you so much SesameB!

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  • sesameB May 14, 2012, 2:07 pm

    This song — A Change Is Gonna Come, Sam Cooke, 1963, truly applies to the tiny house movement.

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    • Alex June 26, 2012, 11:54 pm

      I’ll give it a listen, thanks!

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  • Tom May 26, 2012, 11:19 am

    This young lady seems to know what is realy important in life!She has a wonderfull attitued.She shows what can be done with some creative thinking.

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    • Alex June 26, 2012, 11:50 pm

      Thanks, Tom, glad you liked it!

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  • Kat June 26, 2012, 9:52 am

    She may say she lives in “poverty” but she is truly rich ~ in life, with her child, and with the wonderfully creative way she chose to live her life. What an inspiration she can be to other young, single people. Would love to see this go viral!! Blessings to her and her lifestyle!

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    • Alex June 26, 2012, 11:51 pm

      Thanks you, Kat, blessings to you too and I’m glad you’re inspired by the way she’s living.

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  • Sylvia July 9, 2012, 10:33 pm

    I LOVE her attitude, her personal strength with a twist of humor, her dedication and ingenuity! I also love the statement she made “since when does it take a pink room, pink curtains, pink toys to make a happy childhood?”- bravo Mom, way to go! Oh and to the person on the recycled computer- she said the little girl sleeps with her and they enjoy the night sky view from the large windows for astronomy lessons- thats the only child she addressed as her own. I think she’s so amazingly awesome!

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    • Alex July 12, 2012, 4:57 pm

      Glad you enjoyed it Sylvia, thanks!

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  • Carl in SC July 12, 2012, 4:14 pm

    That lady did a great job creating living space on a tiny budget. I’ve seen a lot of used shipping containers in the Greenville area and would love to find one at a great discount,probably a 40 ft size. I surely can find some free or discounted building materials here.
    Living in a rural area and with just one acre I believe I could put it in the back yard and use it for storage temporarily. Maybe later putting in a few small windows and a door. I like the idea of keeping the original doors on the end and build a separate wall with a door and side glass just inside those doors as I saw on one of your featured units. It would then be a guest house and may be where I’ll put my home library also. Thanks for posting the different container homes to give us ideas.

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  • jade August 6, 2012, 2:56 am

    The woman has certainly has guts, creativity and the passion to make the best out of life. Her story should be an example to other people who are the same situation and should know that life is not yet over and anyone can start again with a good plan, a lot of faith and grim determination. I admire her and compliment her for what she has done to and for herself and the children.

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    • Alex August 19, 2014, 2:10 pm

      Same here, thanks Jade!

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  • Jo September 9, 2012, 1:31 pm

    This woman is awesome, She saw the big picture to what is really important. I really like what she did with that shipping container. This is what I have in mine for the one I own or a hobby shop. I have a 40ft and it’s presently on one of my friend’s land at the moment. I need to get some land and get this project rolling! I want to use mostly recycled things to build up mine as well. I use my shipping container as storage for a whole lot of stuff I don’t use any more right now. I’m so excited to have one. More so after watching this video! I saw a container, at the yard in which I purchased mine, that the end with the big doors still in place and about the first ten feet remained the same for storage and then a wall was put in place. A door and window was cut on the side and electric, more walls and installation was add to make the rest of the container into a office. I really like that they left the big doors and made that first part a storage room and added a door in that first wall so you can go from the office to the storage without having to go outside. I think I will use this ideal in the future. Then I think I will add a small cut-out for a pet door. Thanks everyone for sharing. I love getting new ideals from everyone. Thanks Alex for having this website I love to see what everyone is doing. I’m praying to attend one of the Tumbleweed workshops one day so I can build my very own Tiny House. God Bless Jo

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    • Alex August 19, 2014, 2:10 pm

      Couldn’t agree more with you Jo, thank you so much! And blessings to you too :))

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  • Dawn August 19, 2014, 9:47 pm

    This lovely woman is awesome and so are her buildings! Ditto on what Kat said.

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    • Alex August 20, 2014, 10:54 am

      Couldn’t agree more. She’s amazing.

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  • Rebecca August 20, 2014, 12:09 am

    Awesome woman. Great value system and good use of materials. I like the on demand water heater. I found one for $189 but it is 110 volt. I want solar power one day.

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    • Alex August 20, 2014, 10:52 am

      Isn’t she awesome? She’s a great example. Thanks Rebecca.

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  • Dee October 17, 2014, 11:26 am

    Remarkable lady, so much strength and talent. What a blessing that the container was free. I looked into containers here in Tampa, FL – which has a large port, and found they run at least $3,000 to $7,000. Does anyone know why these used, no longer useful for their original purpose, containers cost so darn much? They sit in huge stacks, just waiting for the next hurricane to knock them kit over kaboodle – one would think their owners would be delighted to get rid of them. Such a waste, when we have so many low income and homeless here. And the building codes aren’t any help, either. Dee

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  • Dug October 18, 2014, 9:18 am

    Hi again guys
    Just like to point out that it’s NOT only the US that would potentially go all out to stop such development of a shipping container or other similar self build home, the UK are as bad if not worse in this respect as it’s virtually an impossibility to obtain and build to planning office specs and conditions in this country also, which is a pitiful shame as it doubtless puts a great many would be self builders with plentiful “original” not seen before housing ideas that if this continues will never be seen either as I stated in another post I added to earlier even in the far North Highlands of Scotlnd you wouldn’t be able to easily if at all build anything resembling this either.
    Come on!! Planning authorities get off your poverbial drawing board seats :) and smell the roses (or coffee) and part the wood from the trees and allow a few even to be passed which I am sure would open many minds to utilising otherwise waste materials which cuts down on extensive and expensive land fill materials by using or indeed reusing and up cycling as much as is possible surely that can be a bad thing can it? The strange thing is that both the US & UK are striving for Eco and zero waste figures but yet allow these types of vast wastes to carry on undetected nor attended when they could easily be in the bulk of areas solved by allowing this type of development — We have were told free speech now allow us free building consents to allow us to strive to help, assist and promote reuse of waste type materials for you!!! Up in the Highlands and Islands it’s often prohibitively expensive to buy new and have delivered materials to build with thus on so so many levels this just makes so so much sense as I am sure possibly for the same or similar reasons In the US

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