Moving House

My boyfriend, Steven, and I moved our tiny house this week! This is a project we’ve been working on since July, with little success (see Tiny Adventures in Housing). To move it off the property it started on, we had to move it around a right angle corner and down a narrow, infrequently maintained dirt access road. The house had been stuck in one place for a month, while we tried to figure out how to fix our main mechanical issue.

Sarah Zeiger's tiny house

A happy end to the story: Aly’s tiny house at Steven’s Dad’s house (Photo: Barbara Blood).

In short, the wheels of the trailer got stuck on the bottom of the house when we tried to inflate them, acting as brakes and preventing the house from rolling forward. Dragging the house forward without wheels was not feasible. How, then, to make enough space between the house and trailer? Steven devised a bold plan, and this week we set it in action.

Day one started out at one of our local hardware stores. Next came the tense work of lifting the house on jacks, separating it from the trailer, and inserting 6”x6” beams in between the house and trailer. We had the front fully attached, and the back attached to the beam but not the trailer, when we noticed that both ends of the trailer were closer to the ground than we expected. Further investigation revealed that the trailer frame had bent over the axle.

We were thoroughly disheartened. It was getting late, and we clearly were not going to be able to fix this new problem that night. We spent the evening looking at flatbed trailers on Craigslist, the nearest of which was in Anchorage, more than 500 miles away.

Day two began with little optimism, but karma, luck, or whatever you choose to call it was on our side. Steven’s dad offered us a flatbed trailer. We still had to get the house out of where it was on the old trailer, but this was a huge improvement in our fortunes and further incentive to get the house moving. Our first task of the morning was attaching the back beam to the trailer. Once this was done, we decided to go ahead and try to inflate the tires. As we did so, we realized that there was more headroom over the tires than we expected: the house was acting as a splint and keeping the trailer straight. We hitched up, and finally, finally moved the house.

There was one more small adventure between us and the road: the end of the trailer was very close to dragging on the ground, so we went in search of a way to lower the ball hitch on the truck. We ran into a friend who had the very device we needed and offered to loan it to us. Attached to the truck, it did raise the back end of the trailer a crucial inch or two. Steven drove slowly and cautiously down the road to his dad’s place, and I walked behind him, watching to make sure the trailer didn’t hit the pavement. Not once did we hit the ground, and we parked without further incident.

Sarah Zeiger's Tiny House

Delivered safely! (Photo: Barbara Blood).

With luck, perseverance, and a lot of help from our community, we moved the tiny house. We will enjoy that accomplishment for a few days, then plan to switch the trailers next week.

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2 Responses to Moving House

  1. Ekij says:

    What is the end destination for the house?
    I assume not on your dads properly as I can’t imagine you moving this along the trail (it’s small, but not *that* small) or getting it offloaded onto the rocky shore if you managed to float it to the property.

  2. Mark Zeiger says:

    Ekij, answering for Aly, the destination is yet to be determined. She’s looking at property around Haines on which to put the house. In the meantime, a friend has offered her driveway, which will help a lot, although will, of course, only be temporary.

    Your assessment of the logistics moving the house are correct. The only way I could see moving it out here would involve a cargo helicopter . . . .

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