I recently made a big change with my family. It’s a really big change that I have been so excited to share with you. I’ve hinted and teased, and now it’s time for the big reveal!
We sold our big house and moved to a small apartment in the city.
After years of slowly selling and giving away our stuff, we discovered that we didn’t need as much space as we thought.
I remember when we bought our house eight years ago. It was another step towards the American Dream. We already had the cars, the stuff, the credit cards, the debt and the stress and now we had our very own home (that the bank owned). We bought into the myth of ownership and immediately started investing in our new space.
We spent money on:
- indoor furniture
- outdoor furniture
- lawn tools
- a new deck
- a new fence
- storage stuff
and all the other things you need for a house.
When we started simplifying our lives, a new space wasn’t on the table, but as we continued to downsize, it only made sense. We started to look at smaller houses and condos that were around 1000 square feet (1/2 the space of our home).
When we found a 750 sq. ft. apartment, we immediately thought, “That is small.” We walked through it for the first time before it had walls and thought, “This is small.” Paying for storage space was out of the question so even with our downsizing efforts, we would have to make more edits. We knew it would be hard and maybe even stressful, but we were up for the challenge.
We’ve been in our new space for just over a month and are already noticing the benefits of less in the city …
- Less space means less cleaning. I can clean our entire apartment in the time in took to clean 2 rooms in our house.
- It is easier to be car-free downtown. We can walk to the grocery store, restaurants, the library and the farmer’s market. We live in the “free zone” for public transportation, so there is no need for a car.
- Less time in the yard means more time in the world. Instead of spending weekends mowing the lawn, trimming the hedges, washing the fence or shoveling snow, we can hike, ski, travel, walk the city, and spend time doing things we love.
- A smaller space yields smaller utility bills. We are saving money on all of our monthly bills.
- An apartment building offers new opportunities for community. When your neighbors are across the hall, you meet new people every day. We are looking forward to knowing our neighbors and being an active part of our new community.
While we’ve already noticed some immediate benefits, we know that we’ve only scratched the surface. Living small will mean bigger lives for us and our community. What we are giving up in space, we will make up for in time. Having more time to spend together, volunteer, and doing things we love is so much more important than having an extra closet to store our stuff.
Even though we are so happy to give up our big house, garage, lawn and storage shed, we did have wonderful moments there. We’ve learned so much in the past eight years, and are completely open to the fact that things may be completely different in another eight years.
I think the most important lesson we’ve learned is this: Where we are doesn’t matter nearly as much as who we are and how we treat each other.