Being in real estate, I often meet people in varying stages of their lives. In common is the endless pursuit of happiness and because I am older, I encounter more people in a later stage. One where contemplation of lifestyle is a huge factor in the decision to move.
It’s this that has me thinking back to four years ago when my husband and I decided to downsize. We were working hard to pay for a large home on a large lot that we didn’t use most of, to house stuff we didn’t love or use. We spent our spare time and money working even more to maintain and update it. It just wasn’t making any sense to me.
Improving the quality of your life can come in many forms but sometimes it comes through simplifying. Throughout the years, we have been 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, may feel “wrong”. Downsizing a home is gaining popularity as a choice; it isn’t always about going backwards. There can be quite a bit of negativity attached to downsizing too if you let others influence your decision making. It can give the impression there is financial distress, health problems, relationship issues or failure. That said, the relief that comes with a simpler life more than makes up for it.
Since making the move four years ago, we’ve noticed tremendous upsides to our downsize, like less time cleaning, more time to enjoy the outdoors and playing with our kids, lower utility bills, less repair or maintenance, and less definitely less stress. There’s a lot to be said about the freedom that comes from not worrying about money.
Here are what I feel are the top six upsides to downsizing:
- Fresh start. If you’re at the point of downsizing either by choice or not, it’s likely you’re not happy, but know this: downsizing is refreshing! It’s 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 – you are in control so design it.
- Less stuff. You are forced to consider what you really need and want when moving to a smaller space. When we found a home in an ideal neighbourhood where we wanted our boys to grow up, we had to let go of the stuff we accumulated over the years. Fast forward four years and I can’t remember what most of that stuff was, and we haven’t missed a thing. We live with what we need and are surrounded by things we love that add real value to our lives.
- 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 and pick up to put away.
- 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.
- Treat Yourself. Whatever your goal was for downsizing, be sure to treat yourself with the extra money you saved. Do what you’ve always wanted to do; take that vacation you always wanted to take, go to the spa, go to your favourite restaurants. You can also put it aside for your future retirement or helping your kids’ education.
- 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 a new microbusiness? Spend more time hiking or cycling? Travel? 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 downsizing wasn’t a choice in the beginning, 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 there. Instead, make it a space you can really live in; a place that will make you come alive.
An unexpected upside of the downsize is that you may discover that you need far less than you think to be happy. If downsizing is in your future either in one week, month or year, I am here to help. Call me for a free Home Merchandizing Consultation to help you prepare for the transition.