Tiny living turns to school buses

Credit: Photo provided to CBS
Credit: Photo provided to CBS

(CBS News) - Imagine living in less than 300 square feet in a home on wheels.  The art of living the simple life and downsizing is taking on a new look.

Like many millennials, Lydia Dreyer wants to live debt-free. "I really wanted to own my own home but I couldn't afford it," Dreyer said. "I don't really know too many 20-year-olds who could."

So the college student bought a retired school bus for $4,000 and spent the next year converting it into a small living space called a "Skoolie."  She's part of a growing number of untraditional home seekers looking for affordable housing.

And they're showcasing their tiny homes on wheels on social media.

Gary Hatt of Bus Conversion Magazine says Skoolies are popular in cities with high rents and home prices. "People picked up on the "Skoolie" idea too because they're a low cost option to get into and convert a bus and be very safe," he said.

In a 276-square foot space, every inch counts. The stock tank in the bathroom doubles as a shower tub and washer for clothes.

It has rooftop solar panels and a windmill to generate energy to power batteries.

"I'm completely off the grid," Dreyer said.

The renovation cost $25,000. Dreyer said it was worth every penny. "I only have to pay for school and my land right now because I own a home," she said.

Dreyer leases the land, but if she ever wants to move she can easily pick up and go.

People are also converting commercial buses, like Greyhound buses, into living spaces.