The Downsizing Discussion

I read a really great post this morning by Tammy Strobel of Rowdy Kittens and I wanted to re-post it for you all to read.  She discusses her and her husband’s journey toward downsizing and I was surprised to find out that it was actually her husband that pushed for living in a smaller house….and she was initially very resistant to the idea!

Here’s the article:  How to Negotiate Downsizing – On Becoming Minimalist

My story is similar:  Shane and I were living in a two bedroom house that we were renting – paying about $1,200 a month after utilities (which is relatively cheap in the housing world).  We were spending way too  much of our income on mere shelter and kept hitting a wall when we talked about our dream of building our own house on some land.  (and raising chickens etc.)  How were we ever going to save enough money to buy some land outright and build a house?  Given the unlikelihood of winning the lottery, and our failure to win big at the slot machines, it was not going to be possible if we were spending all of our income on our current shelter.

When Shane suggested living in a Tiny House I instantly bristled – “how many square feet is it?  so it’s the size of some people’s closets?  where will I do yoga?  where will I work on my projects?  where will I put all of my furniture?  how will we get enough space so we don’t fight all the time!?”  And finally… “NOOOOOOOO!”

After I realized Shane was NOT letting go of this idea, I spent about a week researching tiny houses, minimalism, and voluntary downsizing.  I found so many people (including Rowdy Kittens) who have found great happiness in paring down their belongings and getting back to a basic form of shelter.

I was inspired to try something different and get back to basics.

Wishing you all great courage to follow your dreams…

- Carrie

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Categories: Living In the Tiny House | Tags: , , | 6 Comments

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6 thoughts on “The Downsizing Discussion

  1. So Carrie-

    Are you finding great happiness in voluntary downsizing? I know sometimes ideas seem so ‘romantic’, I am scared I am going to freak out in such a small space and I don’t even have to share it with anyone, I’m worried I may like the concept of it but maybe not in reality??? Is it a struggle for you so far or has it been fairly easy?

    • hi Macy!
      good questions… the short answer: both. living in a small space has been both a struggle and fairly easy.

      the struggle seems to generate from several issues: one, smaller areas to accomplish mundane tasks makes them feel cramped if you try to go about them the same way.
      two, I am a collector. I gather and collect things compulsively. scraps of fabric, string, metal, furniture… rocks. you name it, I want to bring it home with me! this activity doesn’t bode well for tiny living. I can still collect SOME things, but I need to store them well, and let go of some of my inventory that I haven’t used yet.

      So my struggles have revealed the maybe obvious fact that moving into a tiny house involves a change in lifestyle: a change in daily habits (no more baths or giant stash of “beauty” products) and a change in my relationship to stuff. the more I live without things, I realize I never needed them! but thinking I can bring my entire kitchen and bath collection into a tiny house would be a mistake.

      it’s like camping maybe. we are simplifying shelter down to the basics. and maybe you’ll find you can add back some things you left out… or maybe you’ll realize you never needed them.

      you might freak out… in fact, I’d be surprised if you didn’t! any change causes unrest. but do not be alarmed, instead, watch your reactions in the tiny house – are you clamoring for your basic needs? or just pining for the luxuries we’ve grown accustomed to, living in America?

      our home is beautiful, embodies months of our loving labor, and ultimately I adore living in it. It’s cozy, it’s clean, it’s spare, and it allows us to save money, and spend time and money doing other things besides maintaining an overgrown place to sleep out of the rain!

      feel free to inquire more as you get closer to moving in! I think you’re going to love it though…. :)

      – Carrie

      • I’m glad to hear. Thank you for being so honest and straight forward! I can’t tell you both how appreciative I am of your guts and gun-ho attitude! It’s very inspiring!

      • the guts and gung-ho is ALL Shane! haha. seriously though. thanks Macy! you’re awesome! and you’re going to LOVE your house! everyone who sees it is going to love it, you’re going to be FAMOUS!
        – Carrie

  2. My partner and I live in a rented 2-bedroom townhouse. The living space is about 600 square feet. We spend the majority of our time either on the couch, in the kitchen or in the bedroom (which also doubles as a home office). When you think about it, we use such a small amount of the overall space. I’m letting this fact build the inspiration in me to voluntarily downside.

    All my life – well, up until now – I have yearned for bit spaces but have never used them. I once lived in a shoebox of an apartment. I complained that it was far too small. Yet, I hardly used 50% of it. There was a dining room where I had my little dining table that never got used other than for the odd dinner party. But even then, it was only a 4-seater, so if I had more people over, we’d all dine around the ample sized coffee table.

    • thanks for the comment Paul! so true, we lived in a two bedroom house prior to moving into the tiny house and I realize now that we had TONS of empty space (that we had to sweep and clean) and we also spent a lot of time walking from one space to another!

      when downsizing I think it is important to not just downsize your space… but also downsize your stuff. or maybe downsize the stuff first – then you’ll realize how little space you need! but don’t try to cram all your goodies into 300 or 400 square feet.

      built-in furniture works wonders for using space efficiently. and a small space needs to feel spacious and uncluttered. we did that with a high ceiling and smooth white walls and ceilings.

      a few posts ago I wrote about a cool built-in dining room table that might be perfect for you – It folds down out of the wall. can’t collect junk and doesn’t take up floor space until you need it.

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