Why Downsizing Makes Sense

In Searching for simplicity on September 27, 2010 at 3:52 am

About two months ago I stumbled upon a news article that spoke about a lady (Tammy Strobel), who had made some drastic changes to her lifestyle and both she and her husband were now living a simple, great life on an income of $24,000.  One of the things Tammy mentioned in this article was that they got rid of their debt.  I compared my situation to hers.  We have no debt to speak of.  I mean, our credit cards are at zero, we have some humble savings going on and we are very conservative in our spending, and yet we are not close to living the relaxed, simple life she speaks of.

So, I decided to dig in deeper in our finances.  It turned out we are slowly eating into our savings and we are in debt.  Not credit card debt, but mortgage debt.  My first reaction was: we need to pay that off, fast.  In trying to come up with a way to pay more into the principal to lower what we pay in interest, a question crept into my mind.  Why do we want to pay for this?

We will be paying for 30 years before we can call this house ours.  At the end we will have bought a 30 year old house, one that’s been used and patched up as best as we can patch it up, and we will have paid for it 3 times its worth during that time, not counting all the costs of regular maintenance and patching it up.  This house will never, ever be worth that much.  It is not a bad house or neighborhood, but it is not more than regular middle class.

Then, in 30 years most likely we will be looking into downsizing to a more manageable space for our age, we will be then trying to sell this 30 year old, used house to get some money back.

My husband and I talked, and the more we talk about it the more attractive the idea of downsizing feels. It’s gotten to a point where we have started clearing out closets and going through our books.

Yesterday we went to look at apartments.  2 bedrooms,  2 bathrooms, close to work, within the school district we want our son to go to.  I want to move in now, today.

Unfortunately we have to wait.  There is a lot yet to do at home, but I’ll write about that later as we go through it.  What I want to express on this post is the sense of reality that visiting the apartments brought to our downsizing project.

We gained a great sense of what it looks to be that size.  As an example:  we have 2 sofas and 1 loveseat at home.  In an apartment the size we want to rent we can only fit a sofa.   We will be donating a lot of our stuff before we can move!

We also gained things to look forward to.  The apartment complex we visited has a cool looking pool, a 24/7 gym and they take dogs.  The apartments have an attached garage and you can go into the apartment through the garage, which is something that I’ve gotten to appreciate.  Both because there’s not a lot of pleasantries you have to exchange with your neighbors and because you can be sheltered from the elements if the weather is crazy.  Yes, I am a bit of a shy person when it comes to neighbors.

I am excited about the gym.  Maybe the gym will aid my exercise goals, maybe not, but it is an option that will be available.

We now have the start of a plan.  De-escalate possessions (and we have a good idea of down to how many), deep clean the house, fix the inevitable details, show the house: fresh and minimalist.  The kind of space I would love to live in.  Sell it and move out.  Presto.  Our biggest and only debt gone.  We will be lighter, able to add up to our savings and living in the area where we want to be.  We will be closer to that simpler, more relaxed life style we want.

If my post resonated with you and you know other people who would find it interesting, practical or inspiring, please share it with them by email, facebook or twitter.  Sharing is the only way my writing will reach new readers.  Thank you!

  1. What an interesting post and very well written. My wife and I are going through something very similar right now in our lives. It’s uncanny. Best of luck with the downsizing. I really like the look of your blog and your style of writing.


  2. Well, thank you! I really appreciate your comment. I wish you and your wife the best of lucks in your downsizing project. It just simply makes sense to do it.

  3. […] My husband and I are in the process of downsizing, of  going from a 2200 square feet house to a 1000 square feet apartment.  There are many reasons we are doing this, you can read about the main ones in Why Downsizing Makes Sense. […]

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