Last week I shared Less in the City, an article about downsizing from 2000 sq feet to 750 square ft. It received more comments than most of the things I share on the Be More with Less Facebook Page, and one of the comments reminded me that downsizing isn’t always a choice, and that there can be quite a bit of negativity attached to downsizing.
Downsizing might indicate …
- financial distress
- health problems
- relationship issues
I remember at the beginning stages of planning our downsize, we wondered if we weren’t going backwards? We have been so trained to believe that success and growth is tied to bigger and better, so a choice to live in a smaller space and live with less brought up some questions.
We knew what would make us happy though, so it really came down to what other people might think and that wasn’t going to be a factor in our decision.
Since making the move more than a year ago, we’ve noticed tremendous upsides to our downsize like less time cleaning, more time to enjoy the outdoors, lower utility bills, no repair or maintenance, and less stress.
When downsizing isn’t a choice
Some of you may be planning an intentional downsize, but maybe it’s a move that is due to circumstances you didn’t choose, like losing a job, divorce, moving closer to a sick family member, or being unable to take care of a big house. All of these things are part of life that sometimes cannot be avoided, but they are events and not patterns that define who you are or how you choose to live. They may dictate the “where” but not the “how”.
You can choose to find happiness and blessings in the face of sadness, suffering and change. Even when, and really especially when downsizing isn’t a choice, it’s important to notice the upsides of the downsize.
1. Fresh start
You can’t ignore the painful circumstances that forced your downsize, but you can consider this a fresh start; a time to regroup, recover, and realign. Don’t feel pressured to replicate your past space, work or life. Take advantage at the chance for a fresh start and write a new story.
2. Less stuff
You are forced to consider what you really need and want when moving to a smaller space. When we found out our new apartment didn’t have additional storage space, we let go of the stuff we thought we would store. Fast forward a year and I can’t remember what most of that stuff was, and we haven’t missed a thing.
You don’t have the excuse of extra space for your extra stuff anymore. Instead of investing in a costly storage unit or burdening friends and family with storing your stuff, only bring the things that add real value to your life.
Treat your new smaller space like more of a fresh start and less of a storage bin.
3. Less to clean
Depending on the floor plan, if your new space is 1/2 the size of the space you left, it will take 1/2 the time to clean. Not to mention, if you own less, there is less to clean around.
4. Save money
Your new downsized home will save you money. When you have less space to heat, cool and light, your utility bills will naturally be lower. You’ll save money on maintenance and other things too.
5. More time
When you have less to take care of, you have more time to do other things. What would you do if you had an extra 10 hours a week? Could you launch your own microbusiness? Spend more time hiking or cycling? Or, organize a simplicity summit and work on a meaningful relationship?
You might want to use that extra time for a quiet walk, time to read a book, or to sit quietly. You don’t have to fill the time with busyness.
If you weren’t ready to downsize, you can still find happiness in the transition. Find ways to enjoy your smaller space by making it a home. Don’t treat it like a temporary move (even if it is) because then it will serve as a reminder of your layoff or other situation that brought you here. Instead, make it a space you can really live in.
An unexpected upside of the downsize is that you may discover that you need far less than you think to be happy.
If you live in a smaller space, what’s an upside that you’ve noticed?