Renovating an Old Trailer for under $1,200


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I’m touched by Nicolettes’s story. She found an abandoned structure and with no money and no tools she managed to build herself a tiny house out of trash and scraps and donated supplies. In total it took her a year an a half and about $1,182 to make this space a home.

This structure was given to her for free in exchange for its removal. The wagon (as the Germans like to call it), somehow in its 20 years as a backyard garden shed had its wheels sunk 2 feet into the ground. It had to be excavated and moved 25 miles to its new location in Mainz, Germany, where the renovations would begin.


“Nikki, you’re not going to be able to fix up the whole wagon without any money.” The words of a non-believer. “You’re going to need materials, tools.”

“I can borrow all of the tools. And maybe in the end I will have to buy a few things, it’s looking like stain and paint right now, but so far I’ve found everything I had on my “to buy” list when I started. It’s turning out to be a damn good thing I didn’t have any money then. The longer I wait, the more I’m finding.”

He shook his head, thinking I was naive. I shook my head, thinking he was mighty skeptical for someone who also regularly dug through the trash.


Of course with makers of all sorts her “trash house” project is never quite finished but I’m happy she shared these photos with me.

On Nicolette’s blog you’ll find well-written stories of dumpster diving adventures, the brutally honest struggle of DIY home renovations, and life in a wagenplatz community in Germany.

Photo credit: Click Clack Gorilla

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