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How she turned her van into an 80-square-foot rolling tiny home


This is the story of Lindsey’s 80-square-foot rolling tiny home. It’s a 2011 Sprinter Van that she and her dad converted into a stealthy motorhome.

They did it together, while she worked part-time, in just under 6 months using about $8,000 in materials. Take a look and let us know what you think below. This is our exclusive interview with her. You will also find a treasure trove of resources on help with converting your own van at the bottom of this page, after the interview. Enjoy!

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Lindsey’s 80-square-foot Sprinter van conversion

How she turned her van into an 80-square-foot rolling tiny home

Images © WhereYouMakeIt.com

How she turned her van into an 80-square-foot rolling tiny home How she turned her van into an 80-square-foot rolling tiny home How she turned her van into an 80-square-foot rolling tiny home How she turned her van into an 80-square-foot rolling tiny home How she turned her van into an 80-square-foot rolling tiny home How she turned her van into an 80-square-foot rolling tiny home How she turned her van into an 80-square-foot rolling tiny home How she turned her van into an 80-square-foot rolling tiny home

Images © WhereYouMakeIt.com

The construction/conversion process of her 2011 Sprinter

Lindsey's Sprinter van conversion

Images © WhereYouMakeIt.com

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Images © WhereYouMakeIt.com

Interview with Lindsey and the story of her Sprinter van conversion

Tell us how you first become interested in tiny homes?

I first became seriously interested in tiny homes when I was planning a road trip from Miami to Boston. I started researching fun road trip stops and stumbled across some blogs talking about van life and converted vans. I instantly fell in love with the idea of a DIY project and the freedom to travel as often as I wanted! I also loved the idea of living as minimally as possible. The less you have, the less you have to weigh you down.

So, what sort of tiny house did you decide on?

I am currently living and traveling in a converted van! I have a 2011 Sprinter Van that I converted into a tiny home with solar panels, lights, electrical outlets, a fridge, a hand sink, a toilet, and a bed in about 80 square feet.

Wow! That is so cool! Can you tell us about life before the van?

Before I made the transition into my van, I was already living relatively tiny because I had a temporary job in Italy. Going back and forth so often required me to have a pretty minimal wardrobe and overall possessions. Obviously, a van is even more minimal than a few suitcases and a studio apartment but luckily it wasn’t too difficult of a transition. I’m hoping to continue my ability to get by on very little and reduce my overall spending and unnecessary waste. We live in a consumer-driven society and I want to break out of that.

That’s great! So how long did it take you to convert your van into a ready-to-move-in tiny house?

While working a part-time job, it took my father and me a little over 5 months to build my tiny home. I am SO lucky to have a handy father who is just as excited about DIY projects as I am! He flips houses for a living and has about 45 years of experience building and remodeling houses. He had all the tools and most of the know-how for the construction aspects and my job was the lighting and electrical parts. Overall we spent about $8,000 on our build, not including the cost of the van.

That’s amazing! So, I always ask, how do you handle finding places to park and live in your van?

Fortunately, my tiny home is mobile so it comes with me wherever I am! I tend to park in one spot for a few days while I am staying with friends or family and then move on to the next spot. Eventually, I will be stationary in one location for several months as I get another job.

What do you think has been the most challenging part of your van so far?

The most challenging part about my tiny house has been really having to work to keep it clean every single day. Because I can’t drive without putting everything away in its place (or else it will fly around and break), I am forced to put everything away several times a day. This gets a little exhausting for someone who is not inherently neat! Sometimes I just want to leave a dish out on the counter to deal with later but I know I have to clean it and put it away. Luckily this is a good habit to build anyway so hopefully, it won’t be so bad after a while!

What benefits are you experiencing from your van conversion so far?

Oh wow! I have experienced the greater benefits of traveling – seeing new and exciting places almost every day and getting to explore different parts of the country. I’ve also been able to see friends and family I haven’t seen in up to 10 years. When it comes to living and traveling in a tiny home, it is INCREDIBLY convenient to have everything I need/own right with me at all times. “You don’t have a can opener? Be right back!” I have changes of clothes if I get too hot or cold, food, first aid, and basic tools that allow my inner Girl Scout to always be prepared.

What helpful piece of advice would you give to others who are interested in going tiny or maybe doing a van conversion? What mistakes do you think you can help them avoid?

Before you jump right into tiny living in a tiny house, try out tiny living lifestyles for a few months first. Pare down your wardrobe and practice getting by on just a few staple pieces. Don’t buy anything unnecessary for a year. This means resisting funny and fad pieces, no new purses and accessories, no new makeup or beauty products, resisting new sporting equipment, and no decorative pieces for your house/apartment. Basically, you need to change your mindset to: if this wouldn’t come with me in the van/boat/tiny home, I don’t need it now. If you find you really can’t live without 10 different pairs of sneakers or your record collection or 3 different mountain bikes, tiny living may not be for you.

Do you have a website, blog, or social media pages where we can connect with you and follow along with you on your journey?

Yes! I have a website that has contributors for different types of alternative living and how to build a tiny home. The website is whereyoumakeit.com and my personal Instagram is @whereyoumakeit where I document my traveling adventures in my van!

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Images © WhereYouMakeIt.com

Helpful articles on how to do your own van conversion

By the way, Lindsey has written some pretty helpful articles related to her van conversion. If you’re interested, here are some of them:

And more at https://whereyoumakeit.com/

Our big thanks to Lindsey of WhereYouMakeIt.com, @wander_woman_go, and @whereyoumakeit for sharing!🙏

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Alex

Alex is a contributor and editor for TinyHouseTalk.com and the always free Tiny House Newsletter. He has a passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to tiny cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. We invite you to send in your story and tiny home photos too so we can re-share and inspire others towards a simple life too. Thank you!
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{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Avatar Don Robarge
    June 11, 2019, 2:38 pm

    Wow! Best in Class award, really nice, and hats off to the girls with power tools. Great job, go dad.

  • Avatar maria
    June 12, 2019, 6:45 am

    Great job! Well Done!

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