What is it like to downsize with a family?

Last year, we moved out of a somewhat small/medium size town home and bought a smaller home. We needed out of the town home and buying made sense- we wanted stability of one location with the added bonus of owning instead of paying to nothing, so we found a cute home but smaller in the area where he grew up.

We only went down 40sqft but that was enough to see a difference.

We now generally have lower utility payments, which is a perk of moving to a smaller home. We also have a smaller home but bigger yard. Moving from a town home joined with several other homes to a single family in a rural area gave us a garage as well, so he is able to do side jobs in the comfort of our garage.

We did move from a 4 bed with two closets the sizes of rooms to a 3 bed with closets in the bedrooms and a linen closet in the bathroom, so we are having to get creative with storage.
We have taken pieces of wood and turned them into key and jacket hooks to hang on the walls, bought book storage and extra children’s toy boxes to handle larger toys and the kids’ books, had to buy a new shoe rack and we use as many wall hanger storage systems we can get. I also went through most of my stuff and have donated bags of clothing, outgrown toys and fabric I’ll never use. We have cabinets from Walmart and Lowes along most walls and have a lot of furniture that doubles as storage.

If you’re moving to a smaller house out of a larger town house or apartment

You will likely have more of a yard and might have a garage. You will be able to make up the storage you’re giving up by adding in a storage shed in the yard and putting seasonal decor and other items in the garage. Storage sheds can be bought on credit at places like Lowes or Home Depot, they typically can range from 1-2/3k depending on the dimensions and material.

Home Depot also has portable closets that can be set up on the wall to give you a makeshift closet. That would require extra wall space, and space can be limited.

For larger budgets, watching the Netflix documentary series about tiny houses can give ideas for mods to make to give storage in compact areas. One I personally liked was a sewing center under the bed- pull it out and the sewing machine pops out and it fit snugly under their bed, so it took up no space.

Finding things like storage ottomans, storage benches that work in the kitchen as seating with lids for storage works as well.

 

If you’re moving from a larger house with a larger yard and more storage space to a smaller house or apartment, the best way to handle lack of storage is to hold a large yard sale, sell stuff on Facebook or Craigslist or donate. When you downsize and there is less opportunity to create storage (and renting a storage building is out of the question), downsizing your belongings (and making some extra cash) is the best way to go.

Have you ever downsized? How did you handle going from lots of storage space to practically nothing?

Book Review: The Year of Simple Living

The Year of Simple Living is written by Steph Parrell

She is the creator of ScaleitSimple.com. She wrote this book as a guide to living a more simple life over the course of one year.

The book starts off with the author listing the benefits beyond financial to living a more simple, back to nature lifestyle. She also goes into how her grandparents lived and how she started exploring their way of life a little more.

The concept of the book are working through 12 different areas in the span of 12 months. The challenge is to take the full month and do every part with an open mind, so I cannot tell you how much of an impact it has had already, I’m just getting started with month one but I will update over the course of the 12 months.

If you’re feeling stressed, frazzled and you’re wanting to live a less stressful, simpler and more natural life, this book is definitely worth the read. Remember, nothing happens literally overnight- so how this book is broken down month by month and all the aspects of your life are laid out, this makes it easier for beginners to the lifestyle to ease into the change.

I Watched Marie Kondo’s Show

All January, people have been talking about professional cleaner/organizer Marie Kondo’s new Netflix reality show. Like most of the people in her target market, I decided to check out the show myself, so my kids and I have spent the last week watching it. I have gone through my kitchen, book closet, bed room and both of my kids’ bedrooms and have cleared out over ten bags of items to donate or sell. On top of that, we threw away at least 10 bags of broken or unusable items we hadn’t got around to getting rid of. Watching the show gave me a lot to think about, some of the things she said didn’t really apply but some of it resonated with us quite a bit.

Here are the top five ways watching the show helped me in declutter my home

1.Piling all my clothes on the bed together. Making my pile helped me sort and see exactly how much for each season I still had. I didn’t have as big a pile as some of the people on her show, but I go through my clothing on a regular basis. I only had one bag by the end and it wasn’t even completely filled because my last purge was less than a year ago (my first purge gave me three full bags of donations). I like her way because it helps you see how many and gives you a chance to really go through

2.Only keep items that really “spark joy.” Although, my toaster doesn’t spark joy, it is needed. It’s a good piece of advice to follow with items that serve no actual need and are only there for sentimental reasons. Most of the time, if you have something shoved in the back of a closet “just in case you need it,” you won’t need it so if it serves no purpose and doesn’t make you feel good, you don’t need it.

3.Take the time to “thank” items you’re going to get rid of. It seems a bit cheesy, if you’re not familiar with her religion, but when you stop and thank an item you no longer need, it can help you respect the item itself, even the process. It gives you a few moments to really think about the service that item gave you. You don’t even have to be a practitioner of her religion to get the benefit of taking the time to express gratitude toward the item.

4.Her folding method may not be new to everyone, but it really helps with saving space and storage for clothing. Putting underwear and bras in containers makes the underwear drawer look a lot better.

5.The biggest thing that influenced me was simple “peer pressure.” Not peer pressure from people I know in person, but a kind of feeling of peer pressure from watching the show. Watching other people go through everything was motivating me to go through our stuff, even if their homes still seemed cluttered, the show is most definitely not a minimalist show, but it can help start down the path to minimalism.

The show has received a fair amount of criticism, but it has also mixed with New Year’s resolutions and caused many viewers to go through their homes, donating larger than usual amounts of stuff to thrift shops everywhere. Getting rid of everything that doesn’t “spark joy” may not be possible to a lot of us (really, certain foods may not spark joy, but we need to eat, same with certain appliances) but the show seems to have done more good than bad and there are some valuable takeaways.

We still are far from done, but it has made a world of difference in my kids’ rooms, our bedroom and kitchen. We can now see our living room floor and the kids can play in their rooms. I also have a new appreciation for my clothing. Now that I have the ground work, I’m positive I will be able to help us get our home organized within the year.