Trailer Trashtastic

on a mission to live in & love our mobile home

Posts Tagged ‘bargain hunting


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I know that nearly every time I finally get around to posting on Trailer Trashtastic I start with a big fat apology for why I’ve largely abandoned this blog… this time isn’t much different but I’m feeling the need to blather on awhile about my reasons.

Obviously Sugar Dish Me keeps me busy. New posts go up there 4 or 5 days a week and my forays into web design/monetization are pretty time consuming. That doesn’t include all the hours I spend in the kitchen. You understand that excuse, right? It’s a pretty good one, I think.

But lately I’m really frustrated..

When I launched Trailer Trashtastic I was pretty excited to try to morph this itty bitty living space into something tolerable while we save up to move into a much happier, permanant, and larger place… preferably one that isn’t mobile. I still have a brain full of ideas and things that I’d like to do “if”, but the “if” is my biggest problem. I am COMPLETELY OVER living in this trailer. My family is rapidly outgrowing the limited space.

The boys are bigger every day and their room is small. Small would be fine, but there’s barely room for two beds and a dresser in there, much less all the toys and things that little boys need. I’ve been looking into purchasing a bed like this.twin over full bunk bed with storage
It would totally help with the space issue in their room, I think, but it’s kind of an investment. And when we move into an actual HOUSE where they can have their own rooms, I’ll have to purchase another bed and then deal with the argumentative aftermath. Who keeps this bed? Who gets the new bed? Blah Blah Blah. Let’s not forget the mattresses that will need to be purchased in addition to the beds. The moral of the story is that this option ain’t cheap.

So I’ve been putting it off.

I’d also like to buy the boys new bedding. They’re bigger now. It’s about time. But bedding has to fit the bed and since I’m up in the air about beds and mattresses, then bedding is in the same boat.

See? Frustrating.

Add to our limited space the fact that we have NO outdoor storage. Which, in retrospect, seems sort of weird since our landlords require us to handle all the yard upkeep. The lawnmower lives under a cover locked to our back porch. So do the bikes (and they are a little weather-worn from all the year-round outside exposure). But the most gimantico problem that having negative outdoor storage when you co-habitate with a fella like Chad is that he has LOTS of things that belong outside.

But they are inside.

Tools to work on the rail buggy. Tools to work on the car. rail buggyTools to put together and take apart all the remote control cars he and Evan have amassed. The pepper plant stuff that went from hobby to obsession rather quickly. Workout gear to infinity. Parts and pieces to ehvureeething ever. And let’s not forget the at least 5 computer towers that live in my bedroom closet.

Please don’t misunderstand me here… I wouldn’t dare complain because my guy can seriously fix anything… I know I am very fortunate. But there is nowhere to put all the fix-it stuff and it gets in my little corners of our home and I always feel like my whole entire space is invaded with boy and sometimes it make me pretty crazy. Like right now.

Frustration #4,287: Norma Jean.

Ohhhhh my kitty… who would have ever thought I could develop such serious affection for a cat? Not me, that’s for sure. But Norma Kitty Jean is special. my danger kittyAnd she’s actually not supposed to be here. A little over 3 years ago when I moved in, the terms were NO PETS. But when we found Miss Norma in our yard, nearly starved, in the dark, so teeny tiny she fit in one of my hands, and was basically just waiting to be eaten by an owl, we just HAD to bring her in and give her some love.

She’s been my faithful and annoying companion ever since. I love this crazy cat. So I ignore the No Pet clause because did they really expect me to leave her out there to die?!!! If I were the property owner, I would evict my tenants for NOT saving a tiny kitty. Not the other way around.

Since we are essentially not supposed to have Norma, I have to do stupid things like hide out in the bedroom with my girl when repairs to our home are being made (we recently had a water leak under the house). It’s probably only a matter of time before we are found out.

So while we’re on the topic of animals, those of you that follow at Sugar Dish Me will know about the puppy that visited our house on New Year’s Eve. If you need to catch up, you can find that article HERE. Anyway, that little puppy has been out in the rain, the cold, and the dark on my neighbors’ porch since they thanklessly retrieved her from me. She has no shelter. And whenever I walk out my back door she pleads at me with these sad eyes. She also told me she hates them. They ignore her.

Usually I try to be kind of politically correct when writing about real life people around me, because WHAT IF they stumbled upon this written word and then freaked out, right? But not this time. My neighbors are total dirtbags. And I’m not okay with the whole puppy situation. Take care of your pets!!!! Because if you don’t then you’re a dirtbag. ‘Nuff said.

Let’s add energy inefficiency to my list of trailer gripes… we can’t keep it warm or cold in here to save our lives. I’ve lived in houses 3 times this size and the power bill was 1/3 less. I’m pretty sure there isn’t any insulation anywhere. So our cheap rent is wasted on an outrageous power bill.

I’ve also decided that socially & culturally this area is just not for me. I’ve had a hard time with this aspect since I moved out here, and it has really isolated me. When I was single with my 2 little guys, no one took me seriously about ANYTHING. When I made a million and one phone calls to find housing before I settled on this place everyone kept asking where my husband was? They all acted like it was completely unfathomable for a woman to take care of herself. They really didn’t want to talk to me. I had to go way above and beyond to prove myself. It was ridiculous, and after growing up in a city (not even a large city!) it sort of blew my mind.

I can’t get used to the idea that everyone needs to ask me who my parents are? Or when they want to know the origin of my last name because they’ve never heard it before (they are looking for a COUNTY of local origin, not a genealogical family history). They do the same thing to Chad whose father wasn’t from this area and I think he’s been offering up these explanations his whole life. The teachers question my children. It’s weird. wine Family names have a whole other meaning here. It bothered me TREMENDOUSLY that the entire community assumed that the crabby old man I used to work for was my dad just because I worked there.

There are no decent restaurants. We have only one super lame movie theater. The mall is definitely close to closing up completely. The “international” aisle in my grocery store consists of a few cans of refried beans and a bottle of soy sauce. There is no art. No theater. Nothing inspiring. Everything closes at 9; 10 if you’re lucky. This is a dry county. That’s right. Buying and selling alcohol is illegal. Prohibition is alive and well in 2013.

But perhaps what’s been most disturbing for me out here is that racism and homophobia are socially acceptable ways to be. That’s not okay for me and my children. And it’s never gonna be.

All of my moaning and groaning is to say that I’m fed up. I feel done with a mobile home. I’m antsy to plant my feet somewhere that feels more like a HOME, even if it’s only temporary. I can’t move my boys in the middle of the school year, though, so in the meantime we are searching. Trying to find someplace we fit. Hoping to find somewhere to be.


Written by Heather @ Sugar Dish Me

January 14, 2013 at 1:52 am

Chalkboard Command Center

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chalkboard wall project

If you also follow me over at Sugar Dish Me, then you’ve probably already seen this post. If not, then forge ahead! But also, if you fit into the “not” category, it would be super great if you’d go there and subscribe! ( )

So I’ve had a few projects in the works and figured it was about time to put a few of them up so you all don’t think I’m full of empty promises.

The Kitchen Chalkboard Command Center. I love it.

John Lennon quote

Like many homes, the kitchen is at the center of ours. Maybe it’s because I am literally ALWAYS in the kitchen? Maybe it’s because we almost always come in and out of the back door into the kitchen? Or that there are almost always muffins or cookies on the table? It’s probably a combination of all these things. It makes me happy and crazy at the same time.

Our kitchen becomes a dumping ground for all things: permission slips, homework that needs to be checked, the calendar, bills that need to be paid, coupons, the mail, Chad’s tools (MAJOR pet peeve). Also- our refrigerator is nestled in the little walkway between the kitchen and our bedroom with the closet door for our heating unit situated across from it. There is room enough to open the fridge and rummage around accordingly, but anything that gets pinned to the front of it has little chance of being seen. My kids LOVE to plaster their artwork to the fridge, but  it falls down into the floor whenever you walk past one too many times. The coupons I stick to the freezer are forgotten and out of date. Evan had 3 unused homework passes from last year- that’s how inconvenient and out-of-view that space was.

The wall where I hang my calendar is pretty big, but if you have any experience at all with the walls in a mobile home, you know that they are suuuuper flimsy, the chances of finding a stud are slim, and they are covered in wallpaper that is completely atrocious. So I nail the calendar to the wall… and it falls down into the floor. I put the nail back in. It falls out again.

organizing the kitchen

The solution for me was to remove EVERYTHING from the front of the refrigerator, throw out all the out of date things, and then make a plan.

The plan was chalkboard paint.

So if you read the post (linked at the top of this post) about our trailer not being trashy, you know all about the offensive wallpaper. I am campaigning to systematically eliminate each and every bit of it, but it is time consuming.

To Paint Wallpaper – I HIGHLY recommend one of two products : 1) Glidden Gripper (available at Home Depot) or 2) Valspar’s Bonding Primer (available at Lowe’s)

These two primers are made to adhere to slick surfaces. They work great on furniture, faux wood paneling, and in my case, the ugliest wallpaper on earth. I’ve used both products and don’t really have a preference of one vs. the other, but to cover the wallpaper effectively I did have to use two coats so I didn’t have pattern bleed.

I taped off my area, primed two coats (using a regular old 3/8 nap roller), and let them dry completely. I wanted to prime part of this wall with magnetic primer, which is really a cool project. But magnetic primer USED to be like $10-$15/quart. And now it’s closer to $30. I will probably still do a portion of this wall as a magnet board, but only after I’ve price-shopped nearly everything and am convinced that $30 is actually the going rate.

In the meantime I affixed a cork board square (about $4/pack of 4 at Wal-Mart) to the wall using wall anchors (CRUCIAL to trailer crap wallboard hanging efficiency), and punched up important things like homework passes with thumbtacks.

functional kitchen space in a trailer

The chalkboard wall gives us adequate space to write lists, leave notes, and scribble inspirational quotes everyday.

I’m sure you’ve noticed our defunct smoke detector in these photos. It’s wired into the house (because when this place was built that must have been cutting edge technology- we also have a built-in AM/FM stereo!! Yeah!) and is disabled because it likes to shriek whenever I boil water and there is steam. I might have hit it with the broom. Don’t worry. We have others.

To Apply Chalkboard Paint – follow the instructions on the product you purchase, I used THIS and it has worked wonderfully every time I’ve ever used it. Make sure you STIR IT WELL before applying. I like foam rollers for applying chalkboard paint because they give a really smooth finish. On top of the primer they do seem to slide around a bit, and this WILL take a couple of coats, but the end result looks great.

You can see that scribbling on the wall is fun for everyone. Evan likes to add things to my shopping lists.

This little central hub for family activity adds lots of charm to what was a really boring and out-dated space. I have plans for a mini-version on one of my cabinet doors over the stove, which may be a good idea for those of you that don’t have spare wall space. The smaller version will be for meal planning and grocery lists. Magnetic primer would be excellent there, too.

The tools that kept landing in my kitchen are disguised behind the simple tab-top curtains that we originally bought from Target, but are actually hand-me-downs from my little sisters’ old bedroom. The mounting hardware is from Ikea, and if you have one near you, I guarantee you won’t find stylish window hardware any cheaper.

The refrigerator is free of clutter! Notes and lists go up and then get erased.

So that’s it. Go paint something.

easy chalkboard wall project


Written by Heather @ Sugar Dish Me

October 11, 2012 at 7:22 pm

Home Invasion

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Let me begin by apologizing for being the worst Trailer Trashtastic blogger ever.


I do spend most of my time at Sugar Dish Me, so those of you that follow me there know that I’m not really missing. It’s just that I cook EVERY DAY, so taking a little extra time to photograph my efforts isn’t a big stretch, and there certainly isn’t any financial commitment beyond my usual grocery budget. I’m pretty proficient at doing things in a budget-friendly way, and while I would love to spend every bit of spare cash on home improvements and furnishings, mostly I just can’t really justify it.

Anyway… let’s talk about what prompted me to be here today instead of my usual Sugar Dish stomping grounds:

My home is in limbo (you know, the place Dante writes about that exists between Heaven and Hell when you just don’t know what to do or where to go? We are THERE.). It is not a happy place right now. We have been invaded.

It all started when I pulled up the rugs in the master bathroom for their weekly run through the wash. We have a really big bathroom (I mean disproportionately big… it’s almost as big as the master bedroom; I’d throw out measurements for you but math is not really my strong suit), complete with a pretty garden tub, flowy curtains, double sinks and a separate stall shower. There is a skylight that lets in lots of natural light. Our bathroom is generally a very happy bright place to be. Also – NO LITTLE BOYS ALLOWED.

So I pull up the rugs and start scrubbing the floors. Chad comes home for lunch and notices that against the bare floor the toilet looks sort of crooked. He messed around, pulled up a floor tile, and poked around for the source, but everything looked okay. Definitely crooked, though. When I returned to my bathroom scrubbing chores I noticed some light water marks at the bottom of the baseboards behind the toilet. Uh-oh.

It was a day or two before we had a few minutes to run over and inform our landlords of the issue. Some background on the couple we rent from: a very super nice retired couple that love to share fresh veggies from their garden. We are really very fortunate; I’ve rented from some real lame-o’s. These people are like hitting the landlord jackpot. BUT! They like to talk. So if we walk over the road to tell them anything, or even just to pay the rent, we can plan on being there for awhile. Sometimes it just doesn’t fit into our schedules.

By the time we went to let them know that the toilet is crooked and we suspect water damage from some of these crazy storms, the toilet was noticeably more crooked. That was Friday.

I took this picture on Monday morning before the work started. Even. More. Crooked.

So our very nice landlord/handyman wanted to do the work himself. Cheaper and faster, right? On Monday he got the ball rolling and took everything apart. He measured, made a list of materials, and got a good sense of what needed to be done. Basically there is a leak in the skylight or something that is routing water down the back of the house. The wall has water damage and it is now attacking the floor.

trailer bathroom remodel
When he finished working at 3 pm Monday this is what it looked like. At a glance, not too bad.

Tuesday morning arrived, and with it my early morning workout. Workout = Shower. The construction disaster should technically only affect one half of the bathroom. It’s a big enough space that I should have a clear path from the door to the shower. This half of the bath also includes access to the sinks and countertops.


Important stuff like 42 bottles of lotion. And make-up. Jewlery. Face wash. Deodorant. Tweezers. THE MIRROR. My toothbrush and dental floss!!!!!! On my way to the shower I discovered that all of my clean towels have been thrown in one of the sinks and there is the great big mirror that’s been removed from the wall, moulding and all, just sort of leaning all heavy and dirty on top of them. The candles that usually rest on the tub are lolling on the counter waxing up bobby pins and a stray necklace. The bathmats that I washed, dried, and carefully laid over the side of the tub (remember the rugs that got this whole ball rolling? Yeah. Those rugs.) have dirty boards leaning on them. The lid to the toilet is in what was my sparkly clean bathtub. Also there is some unidentified dirt in there. Tuesday morning on the way to the shower I started freaking out.

mobile home bathroom remodel
Another thing about Tuesday:

At the end of Tuesday everything looked exactly like it did at the end of Monday. Rain was in the forecast, and even though it never rained and was 86 degrees and sunshiney bright, Tuesday must have been like the bathroom re-do Sabbath. Time to think and reflect maybe?

While we were sleeping Tuesday night/Wednesday morning it rained. A LOT. So at 4 am I woke up to a really cool watery dripping sound . That’s because it was raining in my bathroom.

mobile home water damage
I don’t know how much you can decipher from this, but the material you see with the horizontal slatted appearance is THE SIDING. That little bit of vinyl is all that exists between us and the outside world. The soaking wet board and insulation still hanging out in the middle of the wall are confusing for me…

water damaged mobile home sub-floor
My favorite part of Wednesday morning was this rained-on rotted sub-floor grossness.

After this I became afraid to enter the bathroom at all. Also I have been air-conditioning the backyard since noon on Monday… because I have room for that in my budget. I have become very worried about my washcloths, hand towels and PRODUCTS. How do you disinfect Argan hair oil?

By 8 am this morning I’d passed the point of no freak-out return. I called my best friend. She talked me down. Sort of.

Work began about 9:30 am (after the Tuesday hiatus… P.S. this morning it was actually rainy). The siding came off, the rest of the wall came down, and I resorted to frantically typing this post because I need to vent. FORREAL.

I can’t cook, can’t bake, can’t think with all the banging. I am terrified that we will be taken over by spiders since we have no wall. I think I may have to sell my soul to the power company at the end of all this.

When work stopped for lunch I poked my head in the bathroom. I have a blue tarp for a wall and why yes, that IS my back yard you see there!

I don’t know how many more days this will go on, but I do know that I am a girl and I need my bathroom. I really wish someone would have asked me where I would like my clean towels? Or told me that I should just go ahead and rescue all bath products before the work started. Or let me know that I’d have no wall…

Do you have any crazy remodeling experiences? Tips for how to survive this?

Written by Heather @ Sugar Dish Me

July 11, 2012 at 9:26 pm

Project 1: De-Clutter

with 4 comments

Okay, so this looks pretty trashy.

This is the handicapped, waaaay beyond second-hand shelf where my children shove everything that has no home. When I ask them to pick up the living room this is the result.

This shelf makes me crazy.

I decided to take stock of the things that haphazardly live on this shelf. We have remote control cars that no one plays with. VHS tapes that no one watches. Vehicles made of legos that are supposedly very important, but you would never know it the way they are thrown on the shelf beside a stack of Woman’s Day magazines and a pile of broken crayons.

I’ve been shelf-shopping online for a pretty long while now, trying to find a replacement for this bizarre piece of furniture that used to be built into the wall of an old Craftsman style home. I’d settled on a shelf that matches my existing bookshelf- an Ikea purchase I made a couple of years ago.

But we live in the middle-of-nowhere and trips to Ikea have to be planned and budgeted for.

I got antsy.

So I took it upon myself to completely unhinge the entire living room one day while Chad was at work and the kids were at school. I got about halfway through it before I realized that I needed Chad to help me move the furniture. He was pretty excited when he came home for lunch.

I mean, who wouldn’t get excited about moving heavy furniture in the middle of the workday?

With everything off the shelves and in the floor it was really easy to see that no one needs any of this stuff.

So I got rid of it.

Well not the books. But everything else.

Kept my stack of magazines, too. Because I USE them! But I put them in this pretty metal bin that I stole from my boys’ bedroom.

I made another trip to Ollie’s and bought this pretty little pot for $2.99 and stuck some ivy in it.

Now the shelf is too barren instead of too junky. But that’s a better problem to have in my opinion.

Do you have an area in your house that makes you crazy?

Written by Heather @ Sugar Dish Me

May 4, 2012 at 1:53 pm

Adventures at Ollie’s

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This weekend, while wandering through what seems like an endless stretch of strip malls in a nearby city and attempting to shop for Andrew’s upcoming birthday, Chad steered us into an amazing new place.

Okay well it’s not new, but it’s new to me. Have you ever been to Ollie’s Bargain Outlet? It’s a place I’ve never been because really, from the outside, it looks sort of yucky (perhaps this is just the store closest to us and there are others that don’t suffer from being less than visually appealing). I was expecting piles of useless junk and all things knick-knacky (I am not a trinket girl – I don’t need more things to dust- sorry!).

Instead, as soon as we walked in the door, we were greeted by BOOKS. Two huge floor to ceiling walls of books! Brand new books at that. That’s when I knew Ollie’s had me. Chad, Evan, and I (Andrew spent the weekend in the mountains; LUCKY.) took our time and navigated every aisle in the store thoroughly. There was something for each of us— and probably the most for me! They carry everything from cleaning products to pretty painted ceramic pots. There were overstock rugs in all shapes and sizes– and of surprisingly good quality! Patio furniture, kitchenware from Rachel Ray and Paula Deen, and hordes of picture frames happily distracted me.

Evan thumbed through a book of photos from memorable demolition derbies (one of our favorite things) and then discovered an aisle full of board games (Oh no!). Chad was sufficiently placated with gadgets and tools of all varieties. I spied an aisle of prints on canvas and fell in love with a painting of huge red poppies. It’s on my list of things I want to buy, but at $59.95 it didn’t fit into the budget this week. Sigh.

I would have snapped a photo, but I was busy trying to avoid an employee that seemed intent on running over me with a palate full of baseball helmets, mitts and other goodies. Sometimes bargain shopping is hazardous.

So here’s what I ended up with (besides a little heartache over a print of poppies that WILL be mine)…

The metal trash cans were so adorable I just couldn’t resist- the retro green and yellow flowered one will go to live in mine and Chad’s bathroom, the strawberries in our bedroom.

Somehow the children managed to snap the inside of the lever in their toilet; I’m pretty pleased with my $1.99 fix (thanks to free plumbing, courtesy of my handy boyfriend). The skewers I grabbed because it’s grilling season and they were less than $1. Overpriced local grocery store: take that! The cook book, of course, will soon make an appearance on Sugar Dish Me; there’s a Baked Banana Rum & Lime Crumble that is calling my name.

So Ollie’s is going on my list of super great and cheap places to shop for housewares; right up there with Target and Big Lots. No, I was not kidding about Big Lots; it’s where I’ve found many awesome picture frames for less than $5…

…and a whole assortment of decorative metal signs…

like this one that lives above the washer and dryer advertising laundry (like as if laundry needs advertising).

Where are your favorite discount places to shop for good, cheap housewares? What are your favorite finds?

Written by Heather @ Sugar Dish Me

April 16, 2012 at 6:37 pm