Our plan suddenly got very, very real last weekend as we signed on the dotted line. We bought a 2005 Airstream Classic from a dealership up in Mesa, AZ as our next home and will take delivery of it March 31st. Then, the fun truly begins.
We got up bright and early that morning even though the dealership didn’t open until 9am. About 45 minutes away from where we were staying that night (at my in-law’s), we hit the road at 8, filling the car with talk about customizing the Airstream to make it truly ours. We already knew the Airstream that we wanted to see. We also had cash-in-hand.
About a year ago we sat in the very same unit. At the time we were too unsure about what we wanted, so we took this unit as a bullet point and moved on. But as the month’s passed, our target got more defined. Based on our budget and price range, this was looking more and more like the one for us. It was used, but clean. Move-in-ready, yet prime for upgrades.
We sat in the trailer for a while. We opened cabinets and chipped back and forth about where our things could go. Pots here, cups there. We looked at all storage spaces and drawers. We sat on the couch, trying our best to objectively envision ourselves living in the space.
In the end, we made an offer on the trailer. After a couple back and forths with the dealership, we settled on a price and signed on the dotted line. We are paying 100% cash.
Here is a quick picture of the nook area taken from the “family room”. Note my wife’s purple water bottle on the right; it adds a splash of color to the decor! 🙂
The trailer was fairly clean, especially for a nearly 12-year old model. The dealership will give it a top-to-bottom detail before handing it over to us, but we plan on doing quite a bit of detailing and renovating of our own after we live in it for a while and get a feel for what we like.
Our renovation plans
We have a few items that we plan to take care of soon.
First, we need to either clean or switch out the mattress before our first night, if possible. Mattresses are not cheap, so we are looking into whether a deep clean would be possible for us to do without having to purchase another one. Placing a separate pillow top on the mattress is another idea that we are exploring to increase mattress comfort.
Second, we’d like to reupholster the couch, pictured below. The couch itself is actually very comfortable, but it is also very well used. A little love will make the couch new again.
Note the two wooden features on either side of the couch – those are flip-up tables, which provides a place to work while on the couch. I’m sure my laptop will find a nice, comfy home on one of those flip-up tables at night!
In the longer term, we would like to rip the carpeting out entirely and put in hardwood floors, or at the very least, “wood” vinyl. This won’t be an immediate upgrade, however. We need to carefully manage our budget, especially before we sell our homes.
We also would like to remove the nook and replace it with a longer desk, which will provide a more functional work area for us and our computer equipment as well as offer a little extra room to walk around inside the Airstream. This will probably happen at the same time that we switch out the floors.
Other than that, we anticipate smaller fixes like taking down some wallpaper here and there, switching out light fixtures, painting the cabinets, etc. These will come in time as budget allows.
The remaining schedule
The schedule is ambitious (read: insanely quick) but doable. Here is what we are thinking.
- Tour campgrounds around the local area throughout March; we need to be ready to move into a camp site the first week of April.
- Find a 3/4-ton diesel truck to tow the Airstream in the next couple of weeks (Done – 2008 Dodge Ram 2500HD 4×4 Diesel).
- March 31st through April 3rd: Everything happens! Take possession of the Airstream March 31st and park it temporarily right outside of our home. Use that weekend to move into the Airstream as well as get used to towing it, backing up with it, etc. Basically, practice owning the unit and going through the motions of working with it, filling/emptying the water tanks, filling the propane, etc.
- Officially move OUT of our current home and INTO the Airstream, in a local campground, April 3rd. The preparation work we did by looking at campgrounds throughout March will hopefully come in handy as we select our first spot.
- Put our current home on the market the first week of April after we officially move out.
If all goes to plan, we will be out of our current home in less than a month. Wow – talk about quick. Shit is getting real.
Once we are living full-time in the Airstream, our current home will be 100% ready at all times for showings once it gets put on the market. We have a realtor already and is awaiting our phone call to push this process forward.
I will probably make weekly trips up to the house to clean the pool, dust the wood, and maybe do a couple loads of laundry. Basically, make sure everything remains “show-ready”. We want this house, which has a fantastic view out the back as well as an in-ground pool, to sell for top dollar.
New blog coming soon
My wife will be starting a new blog all about our adventures in the Airstream. As many of you know, we already have a photo-heavy companion blog, Full Time Explorers, that is focused entirely on the photo/travel side of our lifestyle. My wife’s new Airstream blog will focus entirely on mobile living, like how we organize our things, cook our food, upgrades we do to the trailer and anything else related to living on the road.
That blog is coming soon. Watch for it!
In our excitement, I neglected to take pictures of the outside. Here are a few pictures I quickly snapped on the inside of the unit. Once we get the Airstream, more pictures will be made – believe me!
Steve is a 38-year-old early retiree who writes about the intersection of happiness and financial independence. Steve is a regular contributor to MarketWatch, CNBC, and The Ladders. He lives full-time in his 30′ Airstream Classic and travels the country with his wife Courtney and two rescued dogs.