Author Topic: Any downsizing stories of encouragement?  (Read 3339 times)

Freddie

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Any downsizing stories of encouragement?
« on: July 04, 2017, 06:37:32 PM »
Might anyone want to share any stories of having downsized to freedom?  Those of us who have not, and may be a little afraid to take the plunge, could use the encouragement.  Thank you.

extremedefense

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Re: Any downsizing stories of encouragement?
« Reply #1 on: July 04, 2017, 06:41:43 PM »
My wife and I switched from a 890 square foot apartment at $675 a month to a 730 square foot apartment for $955 a month, and we are so glad we did.

Although we lost some square footage, the layout of the new one has much more USABLE space, so we didn't mind losing the dining room we never used, and our energy costs are lower because we aren't cooling any rooms we aren't using.

If the downsizing makes you have more usable space, absolutely go for it, you won't feel more cramped.

Miss Tash

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Re: Any downsizing stories of encouragement?
« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2017, 09:50:13 PM »
About a year ago I moved from a 3000 sq ft house in a very desirable area to an 1100 sq ft house in a lower COL area.  My former city was experiencing a super hot real estate market so I knew I could sell without an agent.  I put word out with the neighbors and found a cash buyer with no agent in less than a week.  I saved about $35,000 in real estate fees! 
The smaller home cost just under half of what I sold for so I became instantly FI. That was the point, of course.  Also, it really bothered me having all that space that I never used.  The thought of paying high property taxes forever was getting me down, too.  The big house had become a real emotional burden for me.
After a summer of remodeling I have the new place looking mid-century marvelous!  I loved having the cash to do it right.  The new neighborhood is closer to my work and I think it's appreciating at a good rate, although I often miss my old town.  But it's only 8 miles away so I can go back to visit friends and still do some spin classes there.
It's been an adventure, for sure, but I'd do it again.  I can easily manage this size house as I age.  I made sure during the remodel that it is wheelchair compatible, for example. 
Now if the politicians would just figure out healthcare maybe I could actually retire!

joonifloofeefloo

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Re: Any downsizing stories of encouragement?
« Reply #3 on: July 04, 2017, 10:50:10 PM »
Kid and I peaked at a large, two-level, three-bedroom, two-bathroom townhouse. It was clearly way bigger than what we needed, but was the only thing available to us. We left there and have bumbled about from place to place, most around 450 sq feet. Every move, we give away more stuff. Last month was our tiniest haul yet (one compact car full). The more we give away, the happier I am. The smaller our home, the easier to keep clean and tidy. The cleaner and tidier, the more free we are to explore, play, connect. We've whittled down to what is most joyful or helpful for us each, which has made for a funny collection but much happiness.

Our space is bright, clear, spacious, zen, easy to move around in, easy to breathe in, easy to do stuff in.

I feel a lot of energy and peace in a lifestyle and home that is pared down to what thrills us.

Have you also watched shows on tiny house living, etc? Those are fun :)

onemorebike

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Re: Any downsizing stories of encouragement?
« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2017, 06:05:07 AM »
We downsized when moving from CO to MN from 1800 to about 1150 with a family of four. Mortgage is similar but the neighborhood is much more conducive for walking, biking, hitting parks/trails and accessing fantastic resources like museums, libraries, etc. We sold a good deal of what we owned, kept our favorite things and used the move as an opportunity to reevaluate our stuff. Life changing in all the right ways.

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Cwadda

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Re: Any downsizing stories of encouragement?
« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2017, 07:36:26 AM »
-You don't need a dining room
-You don't need nearly as much space in a living room
-You don't need an office room unless you work from home several days a week
-You don't really need a guest room either

SailorGirl

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Re: Any downsizing stories of encouragement?
« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2017, 09:34:05 AM »
I moved into this (the one on the left).  I don't miss anything I got rid of.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Any downsizing stories of encouragement?
« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2017, 10:49:14 AM »
Moved from a 3200sf house to a 2000 sf twin built in 1910. We are so much more financially comfortable now, and the five of us fit in the house just fine.

Aegishjalmur

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Re: Any downsizing stories of encouragement?
« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2017, 10:58:23 AM »
We are in the process of doing this as we plan to retire early next year (March for DW/April for me) and will be moving fulltime  from a house of ~880 sg ft 1st floor w/ unfinished basement of the same size into a Ram Promaster where the back cargo space is so approx 11.5 ft long, 6 ft wide, 6.25 ft high.

So, here is our process: Pick a room(bedroom, kitchen, library, ect).
Pull EVERY item out of that room and put in one spot. Physically touch every item and make the determination if you want to keep it or not. Start piles for goodwill.

So for example, we went through every item of clothing we had. The clothing and bedding that was worn/ratty/stained and we had just never got around to tossing(like socks that no longer had a matching pair) we tossed. The items we had bought and could no longer wear because we both have made a priority about eating healthier and gotten into better shape we either put in a bag for goodwill or gave to coworkers. Overall, we got 4 closets worth of clothing condensed down to comfortably fitting 2 with room to spare. once we retire, we will be able to get ride of a lot of work cloth and cut down on winter clothing as well.

We had 5 -ish book shelves stuffed with books(I say -ish because one in the basement had double rows in some places, and books stacked on top of the books). We pulled all these out, looked at every one and gave boxes to good will. For some of our authors we figured out what we could get on Kindle so we could give up the physical copies. We gave a box of books from one author that my mother likes to her as a Christmas present.

We went through the kitchen and pulled out all our containers, bowls, appliances, ect and tossed ones or gave away a bunch that we no longer use or need.

Same thing for all our boxed goods, we went through everything. We have cleaned up our diets a lot so we no longer eat certain things, so those got tossed.

Overall, I think we probably loaded up the car six or seven times with items for goodwill, and probably gave away 4 or 5 boxes of clothing, appliances, books and miscellaneous electronic cords and parts to friends, family and coworkers.

You will be surprised by how much you have accumulated. Even with us, we aren't very materialistic but after owning a house for 8 years and not having to pack up to move, you accumulate a lot of random stuff.

It's been great though, we have a lot more room and it's great to think that someone else is now using things that would otherwise go to waste.






apricity22

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Re: Any downsizing stories of encouragement?
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2017, 12:31:05 PM »
I am in the process of downsizing due to a relocation for my fiancee's job at the end of August. Part of our motivation is we are moving to a HCOL area so we must downsize to keep expenses the same but we mainly we want to get rid of space that we simply don't need.

We have started the process of selling and donating our extra stuff. I will tell you that it was hard at first. There was always that "what if..." voice that would pop into my head that would create an obscure scenario where I might actually need the item that had been in a box for 5 years and that I was finally going to get rid of. We adopted a system that said if the item hadn't been used in the last 6 months and we couldn't see any immediate need in the next 6 months it pretty much automatically went into the donate or sell piles.

I learned that it is a process. For example, when I went through my closet on the first pass I simply categorized items by "definitely keep", "maybe keep", and "definitely donate". Returning to the "maybe keep" pile after a week or two it was a lot easier to put more items into the "definitely donate" category. I guess it was just psychologically easier to not get rid of so many things at once. I love my closet now, I can find things so much more quickly. From this point forward we have adopted an item in/item out system and my fiancee volunteered on her own to use an item in/2 items out system since 75% of the closet are her items.

I took pictures of some items that I wanted to remember but not necessarily keep. For example, my mother kept many of the toys I played with as a kid. Seeing those brought back a lot of memories and that was nice but I don't actually need the actual item because I don't want to play with these anymore. I took pictures of a lot of those things so that when I'm feeling sentimental I can pull out my computer and look at those old toys but I gave most of them to charity or nieces and nephews that will hopefully enjoy them as much as I did. There were a few items that were very, very sentimental to me so I kept those.

I'm still going through this process but it is very liberating. Things are easier to find, the things I have kept are very useful or very meaningful so I am more surrounded by objects that actually mean something rather than them being lost in the clutter of meaningless items.

Zero Degrees

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Re: Any downsizing stories of encouragement?
« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2017, 06:26:14 PM »
I'm in the process of going from a 3,700 sq foot home to 1,100 square feet.

I sold a bunch of stuff,  donated a bunch of stuff,  and tossed a bunch of stuff. I already feel more free just downsizing my stuff. I can't wait to get into a smaller space.

MayDay

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Re: Any downsizing stories of encouragement?
« Reply #11 on: July 05, 2017, 07:41:59 PM »
We've moved around a lot, bigger and smaller.

We had a 2700 sq ft house for a while. But the thing is it just had bigger rooms with more wasted space. Like an entry that was 12 ft square. Or a master bath as big as a bedroom.

So downsizing to a much smaller house that is laid out efficiently doesn't feel like losing space.

We are currently moving from a 2000 SQ foot farmhouse that constantly felt off because it has larger rooms but no closets, to a slightly smaller house that feels huge because it is laid out well.

batemama

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Re: Any downsizing stories of encouragement?
« Reply #12 on: July 05, 2017, 08:04:17 PM »
We went from a 2700ish sq ft house to a 1500ish sq ft townhouse, and it's been fantastic. Less places for clutter, cheap cheap utilities, and simplified living. We are only living in 2/3 of the house while we finish the basement, so  we are talking about downsizing again when we move. The plan is to get this place rented, and then move into a different house to live in and fix up for a rental. We think that 1100 sq ft would be ample room to give us and the 2 kids our own "space" and still have enough of a living room and kitchen to have extended family over for dinners.

It might seem daunting, but once you start going through your stuff, you realize just how much you don't beed or use. Plus, downsizing gives you the extra push or excuse you need to let go of things, and it helps to stop the well-meaning people giving you crap. Do it!

SimpleCycle

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Re: Any downsizing stories of encouragement?
« Reply #13 on: July 05, 2017, 08:10:26 PM »
We downsized a bit, from a 1500 sq ft 3br +office to a 1200 sq ft 2 br.  We've added two kids since the move and won't be getting a bigger place anytime soon.

There are pros and cons, honestly.  The new place has a better layout and two floors instead of one, which makes it feel like more space.  We downsized our possessions substantially but still have a ways to go.  With the kids we are constantly getting rid of stuff as they outgrow it to make room for the next stuff.  It takes some upkeep but is mentally freeing to let things go when you don't need them anymore.

If downsizing meant I could be much closer to FI I'd do it in a heartbeat.  As it is, we have a ton less stress because of our low mortgage.

ixtap

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Re: Any downsizing stories of encouragement?
« Reply #14 on: July 05, 2017, 08:39:17 PM »
DH bought a large suburban home straight out of college. When we got together, he moved into my smallish condo and rented it out. He hadn't been there two weeks when he declared that it felt like home in a way the house never had. Maybe it was just having a partner instead of a roommate, but I think it had to do with how we used the space, as all.

Since he hadn't been living there, getting rid of everything in the house once we decided to sell was easy. But because we had already picked through the remainder, it was a bit harder when we downsized from the condo. We just asked how we were going to use everything. We still do this. We will empty out a cupboard on a regular basis and ask each other about everything before it goes back in. We do not ask if it brings us joy. The extra power cord does not being me joy, but it does let my guests plug in devices.

As someone else mentioned, it is all in the layout. We love that our small space is laid out like a great room. When we are cooking or doing dishes, we face the living area and can interact with each other or guests.

FrugalZony

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Re: Any downsizing stories of encouragement?
« Reply #15 on: July 05, 2017, 09:34:17 PM »
Downsized from a 4 bed 3 bath house (2700+sqft) into an RV (roughly 240sqft)
http://thefrugalhumanist.com/downsized-4-bedroom-3-bathroom-house-rv/

Not missing a thing. Still feel I have to much stuff.
We have plenty of space and often wish the RV was somewhat smaller (it was difficult to find a good deal on a smaller one,
so we went with this one, although it was a bit bigger than we needed).

Have no fear, you can do it!