If you’ve stopped by my blog in the past, you might have seen my posts about how our family decided to downsize. We decided we’d rather invest our money in experiences rather than a big mortgage, so we sold our newly built home and downsized to a much smaller, much more money manageable home. You can read about our journey here, here, here and here. I wanted to create a blog post consisting of my tips and lessons we learned when downsizing. Here it goes:
- Stop giving two “you know whats” about what anyone else thinks. Admitting that you’re in a financial pickle to others isn’t fun. Even if you’re downsizing just so you can have even more financial freedom, it’s hard to explain what you want to do to others who aren’t as open-minded. A big part of the traditional dream in this country is owning your own big house where you can easily fit two cars. The houses are getting bigger in our country even though the families are getting smaller. Going against that tide is going to get some nay-sayers. You have to drown out that negativity or you’re going to get caught up in it. When we decided to downsize, we had quite a bit of negativity come our way, but it’s honestly been one of the best decisions we’ve ever made. Having a more manageable mortgage has allowed us to pay down debt a lot faster and save a lot more. Having less stress is a big plus, too.
- Be very realistic about what your price point needs to be. Figure out exactly what your budget needs to be in order to make you and your family happy. It’s tempting to buy a house that’s extremely cheap, but you’ve got to have the extra cash in order to fix it up to a point where you aren’t miserable and it’s livable. I recommend figuring out what exactly you can afford on your new budget and what you want to afford and staying within that range. Realistically, you may not find exactly what you’re looking for as inexpensively as you would hope. We dreamed of buying a house quite a bit cheaper than what we downsized to, but because our daughter is allergic to cats and dogs, we decided to go with a newly built house so that she wouldn’t have any problems. Therefore, our house isn’t as cheap as we hoped, but it’s still much more affordable.
- Declutter, declutter, and then declutter some more! It will be nearly impossible to take everything you have in your current home to a smaller home. And nothing shows how much crap you have like moving. Trust me, declutter now. If you haven’t used it/worn it/thought about it in a year, donate it, toss it, or sell it. A big family philosophy we have is to only surround ourselves with things that we absolutely love. I’ll do a post on that later, but I think that’s imperative when downsizing.
- Once you’ve downsized, learn how to make the most out of the space that you have. I’ll be honest, I panicked quite a bit when we started talking about downsizing. How were we going to fit everything into a smaller home and still have enough space so that we won’t be walking all over each other. But, this smaller house has been wonderful. I really love how cozy our home is. We’ve learned to make the most of the space that we have and I’ve had a ton of fun coming up with ways to maximize our space. I hope to make some posts about what we’ve created for our home. A big tip here: Pinterest. Pinterest is a seriously amazing website. I couldn’t have maximized our space without it.
- Keep your eyes on the prize. You’re going to get frustrated. You’re going to have moments of “WHAT THE HELL HAVE WE DONE?!” but I promise it’ll be worth it. At the end of the day, just try and be grateful you have a home. Don’t compare your situation to others. Yes, some people have bigger, “better” homes than you do, but you don’t know their financial situation. You’re downsizing for a reason. Whenever you’re feeling bouts of remorse, remember why you downsized and look towards that finish line.
Brad and I have been called crazy for doing what we did. We’ve had people laugh at us too. However, we identified something in our lives that we weren’t happy with and wanted to fix it. We’re constantly participating in trial and error in order to maximize the amount of happiness in our lives. Trial and error doesn’t make you crazy. It doesn’t make you a failure. It means you’re trying, and that my friend, is a truly fantastic thing.
Until the next post!