Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Story Behind Our Decision To Downsize

It's been interesting to observe people's reaction to our downsizing decision. Some have gotten it while others are simply puzzled. Right before the sale sign was to hit the front yard I said to my husband, "I'm nervous, what if people don't get what we are doing?"

I know, you can't really care all that much about what people think. But here's what lead us to the decision. It started with a rough fall, there was a lot of uncertainly with work and for the first time in years we had to reassess our priorities and were reminded not to take good fortune for granted. It all worked itself out, but the experience had us stressed, prompting discussions about what is it that we really need, what's most important and is there possibly another way we want to approach how we have set up our lives and where our resources go. The defining moment was probably the day my husband and I took a long walk in the neighborhood to touch base on our thoughts. Returning home, opening the garage, he looked around at all the STUFF piled along the walls, unused, gathering dust, not providing any real purpose and shook his head, "Why am I working so hard to pay for all this, possessions we don't use, to store it? What's the point?"

Via here

We had already talked about the rooms in the house we rarely use, but in this moment I knew something had to change. "What do you want? I can let go of this. I love our house, I love many of our things, but they are not what is most important."

Easier said than done. For the next two months I mentally practiced "liquidating" the house and many of its contents. I went through the motion of imagining selling and moving out of the house and then selling many of our belongings; some pieces were easy to picture letting go of, others were more challenging. This process got me comfortable with the idea of downsizing and the reality that doing so would require letting go of about a third to a half of our belongings.

And now we are on the other side, in an apartment waiting for our much smaller and less expensive house to be completed. Some days I am really really excited about this next phase and the flexibility it will offer to our family, and others I feel less sure. What I'm less than thrilled with is some of the finishes and details - or lack thereof - in this next house. While I'm on board with our plan, I still really appreciate a pretty home! I wish the builder would just deliver the house to me empty so that I could finish it off to my liking rather than go through the hassle of tweaking what's put in. It just seems backyards. But we wanted to stay in our current neighborhood, which is quite popular, while having the numbers work to give us a shot at our goal of being debt free in five years. Not the scenario that provides the option of buying the best house... that's what we sold!

So, yes, there is going to be some "house hacking" going on. It's a good thing I'm resourceful and it'll be fun to share the projects and progress here!

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