Downsize? I don’t know how and why should I?

I started this blog with the intent to show others that downsizing can work at any stage of life.  Part of the reason I felt the need to do this was to connect with others  as I didn’t know many people around me who were downsizing, I was breaking new territory here.

Now only a year after my move, I am noticing a large number of American’s who are foregoing the large McMansion or the house with the extra guest rooms in favor of smaller, cozier, and more comfortable homes.  Some are selling their current home and buying something smaller, some, like me, are deciding to rent.

I decided to start anew to strip away what I had been taught…Georgia O’Keeffe

First, this isn’t a contest.  This is your life.  Just as many people have tried to acquire more and more things to keep up with the Jones-es, now the trend is to compete to see who can live in the smallest home, or own the least number of possessions.   If living in a tiny home suits you that’s great, but don’t do it because you want to prove something to someone else. If you do you will never feel the sense of happiness you would find after locating the perfect fit for you.

Have you  ever seriously considered what it might be like to live in a tiny home on wheels and how in the world you would ever fit all your things into a space that small?   I considered a tiny home, but decided it wouldn’t work  for me at this time in meeting my needs.   Here’s a good article to show you how to downsize to a tiny home and why someone would make such a drastic move.

If you are thinking about downsizing for the first time you will probably have a lot of questions.  When downsizing from your current home you may find that each member of your family has a different idea on what they would like to find.  Avoid the stress by looking at all the questions first and take your time.  There is no hurry to make a move today. This couple downsized from 3000 square feet to 850 sq. ft. after considering their options for five years,  so they know what they are talking about.

Another family wanted to move to a smaller home for the simplicity it would bring. They realized their guests would just have to get used to the idea of not having their own rooms when they stay over.  They filled their home with sleeper sofas and futon to still enjoy overnight guests.  No matter how large or small your home is, using multiple use pieces of furniture will make your home work harder for you.

There are many options out there that are being tried.  Some people have moved into an RV, which is something I seriously considered.  Why would I consider that?  Well, I have two gown children who between them have given me three grandchildren (so far),  they  live one hundred and thirty miles from each other.  Each geographic location offers unique experiences. I  considered living part of the time in each location.

The final decision came down to the problems to heat an RV and other problems that can be encountered in a colder climate like I live in, and the extra use of natural resources to heat the RV.  Since I’ve traveled extensively in my life, right now I want to stay closer to home so the idea of traveling down south each winter wasn’t something I wanted to do.

What about rehabbing a garage?  Here is a beautifully re-done garage that works with less than 500 square feet. Can you see how little outdoor maintenance is required freeing them for other activities they would rather do?  Have you considered renting out your large home and living in the converted garage.  The money you could make off the house would be much more than you would make renting the garage.

One mother and daughter duo decided to give up fancy amenities and move closer to the mother’s work allowing them to use one car between them.  The initial savings was $400 a month, but after paying off the car a couple of months later  Stephanie says they now have an additional $600 a month.  Instead of renting a two bedroom apartment the women live in a one bedroom apartment and were able to convert a den into a second bedroom.

When you are ready to downsize make sure you get rid of all the things you aren’t going to take with you into this new phase of your life. You won’t have room to store it in your new home.   A great resource at this point is freecycle. Not only can you get rid of that huge dining room set that won’t fit in your new place, but you can find a table and a couple of chairs that will fit perfectly in your new space.  If you haven’t heard of freecycle before,  it’s totally free. What could be better than furnishing your new home for nothing?

Finally, downsizing your life doesn’t mean you have to move.  You could section off a portion of your home to rent out, upgrade your current home to live greener and less expensively, or the easiest of all….you could take the time to let go of anything that doesn’t serve you today.  This will open up your home to feeling more open and spacious, then simplify your schedule.  Learn to say no to demands on your time that don’t enhance your life and yes to the things your heart wants to explore.

So how do you downsize?  You get rid of everything you don’t love. Be tough and let it go. As for why you should consider downsizing your life…. Here’s why I did:

  • I wanted a better location, more central to amenities
  • I wanted to live greener, a smaller space would be easier to heat and cool, and a better insulate apartment would save even more.
  • Eliminate my need to rely on my car to get anywhere
  • Wanted to know my neighbors
  • Wanted to be more connected to nature
  • Finally I wanted to save money, not that I couldn’t afford where I was living, but I felt I was paying too much for not enough of what was important to my life.

So why have you considered downsizing?  Are you downsizing your home, the demands on your time, or both?

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