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Waldrop creates home in old school bus

Waldrop+and+her+husband+stand+outside+the+bus+they%27ve+been+renovating.
Waldrop and her husband stand outside the bus they've been renovating.

Waldrop and her husband stand outside the bus they've been renovating.

Photo courtesy of jordanbakerphoto.com

Photo courtesy of jordanbakerphoto.com

Waldrop and her husband stand outside the bus they've been renovating.

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Sarah Waldrop, an art teacher in her first year of public school employment, soon won’t have an average living situation.

“This time last year my husband showed me a couple Youtube videos of tours of other school busses that have been turned into tiny homes, and said, ‘Look at this. We should do this!’ and I was like, ‘No, that’s so much work!’ Then we watched a lot more videos and we decided, yes, that it would be really awesome to live in a school bus,” Waldrop said.

Building a tiny home will allow Waldrop, along with her soon-to-be husband, to live adventurously. The thing that sets Waldrop and her husband apart from many other tiny home owners is that Waldrop is creating a tiny home inside of a motorized vehicle, a bus. For those who aren’t knowledgeable about the tiny home community, the more traditional way of living in a tiny home is to have a small house on top of a trailer that is pulled by a truck. Waldrop wasn’t intrigued by this idea of living due to the bigger overall expenses. Tiny homes in general increase mobility, reduce a person’s carbon footprint, lower taxes, decrease maintenance and create for a self-sufficient home.

“We did some math on it and rent for the next five years; if we paid 500 or 600 dollars a month, it would be 40,000 – 80,000 dollars. Living in a school bus is the cost of gas and insurance, which is significantly lower,” Waldrop said.

The average tiny home costs $23,000, according to restoringsimple.com. Waldrop is hoping that their tiny home costs only two-thirds of that amount.

“This build we are trying to do [will cost us] about 15,000 dollars, including the cost of the bus,” Waldrop said.

Without knowing the small amount of money they spent on the bus, 15,000 dollars seems like a very optimistic goal for a place to live.

“[The bus cost] $2,600. It’s a 1994. It’s got about 140,000 miles on it, which means it’s about halfway through its life because it’s a diesel. Which means we have another 140,000 miles to put on it, which is very exciting,” Waldrop said.

One of the biggest expenses, on the other hand, is going to be the solar electric system. Waldrop decided using solar electric so they wouldn’t have to ever plug the bus in to be supplied with electricity. In itself, the solar electric system will cost a couple thousand dollars.

Along with these other expenses, Waldrop also has all of the appliances needed in a house.

“We will have a kitchen, with a stove and an oven, we’ve got a sink with running water, we have a giant 100 gallon tank that we are going to mount under the bus. We’ll have a hot water heater and a shower, we have a composting toilet. Oh my gosh, composting toilets are expensive, the one we are getting is 900 dollars. It’s absurd. It’s the fancy kind that doesn’t smell bad,” Waldrop said.

Waldrop has stripped everything on the interior of the bus and has finished making the ceiling out of reclaimed hardwood.

Even though Waldrop is planning on having a number of appliances, she still has to keep in mind the huge constraint of her living space.

“I think it’s about 115 square feet, which is very small. I am constantly stressed out about how much stuff I have and have to get rid of or put in a storage unit. We will see if I hate my husband after being in such a tiny space. I think we will be okay, but we will see,” Waldrop said.

On the contrary, having an easily moveable home brings up more opportunities for traveling.

“I’m so excited to be able to travel. I’m a teacher, so we have summers off, so we are just going to drive across the country this summer. We are going to go to Wyoming. We are going to rock climb all summer and our house will be with us. We will not be camping, like I can shower, It’s going to be great,” Waldrop said.

When Waldrop is not traveling she plans to live and keep the bus in friends’ driveways for a few weeks at a time.

Waldrop’s tiny home is on its way to being finished, but she is racing against a deadline.

“We are currently living on [my husband’s] parents’ farm. They want to sell the farm, so we need to be done by the end of June. We did some math on funding, and [my husband] is going to quit his job in May and June, maybe April also. So, [he will be there for] the last two or three months of the build to make sure we get everything done,” Waldrop said.

Waldrop’s tiny home has induced stress and required timeliness, but in the end, the adventures she will experience along with her husband will make up for the hardships.

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Waldrop creates home in old school bus