Living small: Lulu’s shipping container home

Nadine Bells

Downsizing was “big” in 2011, but few took the drastic measures Argentinean-born Californian single mom Lulu did.

Lulu went back to school and didn’t want to have to work full-time hours on top of her studies just to pay her rent. Instead, she and her daughter moved into a shipping container — for a steal.

“I think I’m a little claustrophobic, so the storage container was a little daunting, but I got the container for free,” she said.

Lulu went to work, honing her DIY skills on the box that would become her home. She put windows and a door, installed a kitchen and insulation, and then fitted a bed, couch, bookshelf and cabinets into the 160-square-foot cube.

The total cost of her tiny home: $4,000.

Watch the tour of Lulu’s shipping container below:

When Lulu discovered that the space was too small for two people, she built an extension using salvaged materials: a used flatbed trailer became the base for a shed-like second bedroom.

Her brother calls her style “elegant poor.”

The space issues may be a sacrifice, but not having a mortgage tacked onto student loans is worth it, she says:

“I mean this was really a choice about, you know, how many hours do we have to our life and how do I want to spend those hours and really about do I want to go and work more than 10, 20, 30 hours a week so that I can pay rent to have a big house so that I can be a healthy normal mom. So this was my choice and [my daughter's] definitely complained at times, but I also know that we have spent way more hours [together] than I would have if I had to pay rent.”

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