Want to rock your world? Try downsizing. Reduce spending. Reduce stress. Start living!
Why oh why do we think that bigger is better? Let’s really think about it for a minute. A bigger house cost’s more and means more work (cleaning and maintaining). In reality that means spending more precious time taking care of it. And more time earning money to pay for it. More money, more time, more space, more stuff…hmm, I see a theme here.
Sometimes more is less.
I’ll be the first to admit, I thought I wanted more space. Let me give a bit of background.
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We had been living in small cramped apartments for years while my husband was in school. Then an opportunity came to move up as it were.
When we moved into our 3,900 square foot rental, it felt pretty great. I have to be honest! There was finally room for everything we owned (plus a ton more!).
There was room to have a spare bedroom.
There was room to have an office.
There was a whole room just for laundry.
There was a workshop for my husband (separate from the garage).
There was a descent double garage that was dry and usable…
It was crazy.
As we began to settle in, we figure one thing out fast. We didn’t own nearly enough furniture or decor items to fill the house. The rooms literally echoed when we talked. So, we tried to do small, affordable things to make it feel like home.
The dining room was so big, it really had room for a sitting are and an eating area. We went and found some cheap couches and tried rearranging again. My husband built a 8 foot long table to help fill the space.
It looked just ok. We didn’t have big area rugs to ground it all and everything looked random. Same problem in the family room; so much space so little furniture and no big rugs. You guessed it, same issue in the master bedroom… I’ll spare you the details.
We lived in that house for two years. We kept trying to rearrange things to make it work. But really all we did was acquire more stuff and try to fill the space to make it feel like home. It never worked.
We spent money we didn’t have to make it a home and it never worked.
The other thing that happened is that we never got rid of anything. Since we didn’t have to worry about space we would “store” things and forget about them.
What does this have to do with downsizing?!
Well, it’s the back story to how we got to where we are today. After living there for a couple of years, we began to see the need for less. Owning less and spending less. Funny, the more we had, the more it felt like a burden. It was overwhelming.
I found myself reading books like Unstuffed and The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, trying desperately to figure out how to simplify. Why are these types of books so popular right now? I think it’s because tons of people are realizing that all the bounty we have is actually bogging us down and keeping us from leading fulfilling lives.
So we started exploring every option we could think of to have less and spend less.
We were seriously close to buying a 32 ft. long camper with bump outs for an almost family of 5. We decided with a baby coming, maybe that wasn’t the best idea. Ha! But my five-year-old still asks when we’ll get to live in a camper. He thought it was oh so cool!
On a whim we took a look at a 1,300 sq foot apartment in a medium size apartment building. It was not something I ever thought I would live in. But the price was right. The size seemed doable.
And we needed to do something different.
Ever try to cram everything you own into something one third the size of where it came from? Yep, you get it. It doesn’t work.
We immediately had to get rid of lots of stuff. We gave away. We had a rummage sale. And then we boxed up the rest and stored it in our new garage.
Want to know the funny part? A majority of the things we put in that garage are still there. Those things we thought we needed to keep and couldn’t part with. I can’t remember most of them. And there they sit out in the garage.
We have successfully been living in this much smaller apartment now for over 6 months.
The rent is way, way less.
The utilities that used to cost us over $200 average per month are now averaging $70.
The house is cleaner because it takes so much less time to clean.
We still have “enough” space too. No, living in an apartment complex isn’t perfect, but for now it works. And you know what we found out?
We don’t need all that space. It only brought headaches and stress and more work.
Downsizing allows us to spend more time together, achieve some personal financial goals and it made us get rid of stuff. Stuff had been stealing so much time and joy. It feels so good to let it go. Lesson learned.
Next up? Cleaning out the garage.
Ever thought about downsizing? I’d love to hear about it – please leave a comment below!