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From 1600 Sq Ft to 230: Couple’s Skoolie Life in California

Just about 6 months ago Clay and Bridgette sold their 1600 sq ft house and downsized into a 230 sq ft school bus! They’re now living debt-free in San Diego, California with their dog, Piper, and cat, Shadow.

Both Clay and Bridgette (@ourdaggonebus on Instagram) are Active Duty Navy and found they weren’t using most of the space in their larger home. While they weren’t ready to commit to a tiny van, a bus allowed them to downsize and still feel comfortable in their space. They were kind enough to answer some questions about bus life, which you can find at the end of the post!

Make sure you watch their Instagram story tour as well to see all the great storage this bus conversion has. Enjoy!

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Clay & Bridgette’s Debt-Free California Skoolie Life

The couple purchased their bus from another skoolie family and has been making it their own.

Now six months into tiny life, they couldn’t be happier.

Here’s a view of the main living area with the door to the bed/bath closed. The turquoise accents are great!

Bridgette loves to cook and she’s done a great job making the kitchen their own.

Such a cozy and romantic bedroom. Those electric candles are perfect!

The washer/dryer unit is a great addition to any skoolie!

Clearly their puppy likes the tiny life!

The rustic/industrial bathroom is perfect. It’s nice to see a second sink in here as well.

The baskets on the wall are great for storage.

Watch their video tour on Instagram, and then keep scrolling for our Q&A with them! Click the play button…

Our Q&A with Bridgette and Clay

What are your names? Our names are Clay and Bridgette Brown

How many people (and animals) are living in your bus? We have two people, a Frenchie named Piper and a cat named Shadow
living inside our bus!

Where do you live? We currently live in sunny San Diego!

Why did you decide to go tiny? We decided to live tiny because we realized we were buying furniture and filling rooms in our house for our “potential house guests”. We weren’t even using half of our house, we were always in our backyard. We’ve gained financial freedom living in the bus and we’ve become a lot happier watching each other bloom!

How did you first learn about bus life? We knew we wanted to go tiny and did a lot of research. Travel trailers meant we’d have to get a stronger truck, RV’s didn’t feel as safe, and vans were just to small for what we wanted to start with…A skoolie sounded perfect and then we found the Skoolie section of YouTube! We didn’t need another vehicle, it’s safe enough to transport Americas children, there’s freedom with design, and it’s freaking huge! (haha even though it’s tiny)

How long did it take to finish your bus? We bought the bus already converted from a couple named Scott and Mandy! YAY! We have been changing things to make it work better for us and our little family.

How did you find a place to park and live in your bus?  Once we sold our house, our realtor had some friends that were open
to us parking in their driveway/RV parking spot, SCORE! Otherwise, parking in San Diego is hell on wheels… and not the good kind!

Before going tiny, what was life like? We’re both Active Duty Navy so moving was no big feat for us. We thought we would be content with growing some roots in Cali, even though we are both from the other side of the country… But we were soooo much happier the moment we sold our house and flew to pick up our bus!

What benefits are you experiencing after going tiny? The Tiny community (of all kinds) has been amazing! We’ve met people face to face and online that have given tons of advice, life stories or just being supportive when we need it. Becoming debt free has also been a major milestone since being tiny. Long gone are the days of “Oh we forgot something,” or “Park near a port-a-potty,” or “We have to hurry to go home to sleep.”

What about some challenges? Some challenges for us have been parking in San Diego! Getting Our Daggone Bus registered in our names and as an RV in California…whew we spent a lot of time at the DMV! Downsizing has been pretty challenging as well. 6 months in and we’re still finding things to purge. We have tough skin but hearing the way some people judge the tiny living tends to be annoying.

What makes your bus special? US! Any certain “thing” can make a bus special… but we think that our little family and all of our wild personalities are what make our bus special. No matter what we live in we feel as though it’ll be special as long as we’re all together.. I know, I know sappy.

What’s your favorite part of the bus? Clay’s favorite part of the bus has to be the all of the projects that we’ve done to make it more personalized! Shelves, screens, and any parts that we’ve done ourselves. Bridgette’s favorite part of the bus is the kitchen. She loves cooking and we both love eating just as much. We spend a lot of time there and it has full size appliances…everything is within arms reach haha!

What helpful advice would you give to others interested in going tiny/living in a bus? Don’t wait for the perfect time to start living tiny ’cause there usually isn’t one! Take time to explore and research what makes you happy and figure out what you need vs what you want. Also, be comfy knowing you’re gonna have to poop within feet of whoever you’re in your tiny home with 😂

Do you have a blog/social media channels where we can follow along? We have Youtube Channel: Our Daggone Bus & Instagram @ourdaggonebus 

Thank y’all for interviewing us! Hope to see you on the road! 🚌💨💨💨

Learn More:

Our big thanks to Clay and Bridgette for sharing!🙏

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More Like This: Videos | Bus Conversions | Surfer Couple’s DIY Shuttle Bus Conversion | They Live in a School Bus w/ 3 Dogs! | Couple’s DIY Mini School Bus Conversion

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Natalie C. McKee

Natalie C. McKee is a contributor for Tiny House Talk and the Tiny House Newsletter. She's a wife, and mama of three little kids. She and her family are homesteaders with sheep, goats, chickens, ducks and quail on their happy little acre.

Latest posts by Natalie C. McKee (see all)

{ 4 comments… add one }
  • sheebe
    April 7, 2020, 10:33 am

    The first picture is beautiful! Am a Photographer and the one that took that pic of the couple and their dog, did a great shot. Beautiful inside the bus. Love the colors. Relaxing and very well designed. Am in CA also, The Sequoia National Forest. I can’t convince my hubby to go tiny. Not giving up on trying though. Best wishes to this couple and their fur baby. Beautiful bus that you have.

  • michele l fetterley
    October 8, 2020, 5:28 am

    I saw that bus going up the 5 south a few weeks age, I look over and she was driving so I waved. I was driving a big truck. A couple hours later I see her in balboa park. So we waved again. Ill say this she looked so daggone happy it was awesome and brought a big old smile to my face!! Thanks for your service and safe travels

    • Natalie C. McKee
      October 9, 2020, 2:23 pm

      That’s so cool!

  • Marsha Cowan
    February 14, 2021, 8:01 pm

    Really pretty! Nicely done kitchen and living area. I love it! So cozy and homey : )

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