June 20, 2009
In 2005, my husband Logan and I, lived a normal middle class lifestyle. We were newlyweds with flashy rings, living in a two-bedroom apartment, driving two cars, commuting long distances to work and living well beyond our means. At this time, we were living in Davis, California, which is notorious for expensive real estate and a negative vacancy rating. We were living a life with too much stuff and stress.
Initially, we resisted the idea of moving into a smaller one-bedroom apartment because we were more concerned about appearances and space for guests than for our financial well-being. We decided something needed to change because our debt caused us so much stress. This change began by defining our values and prioritizing our needs versus wants.
The Downsizing Process
After creating many long pro/con lists, the downsizing process began. We sold one car and moved into a one-bedroom apartment near the train station, the local co-op and downtown amenities. Our lives changed for the better! Although we still drove everywhere, with lower rent and only one car we began chipping away at our debt. Around this time, we stumbled across Dee Williams’ tiny house, the Small House Movement and the concept of simple living.
Dee inspired us to go small and start thinking big. So after doing a lot of research and making many to-do lists, we decided to move from Davis to mid-town Sacramento. We scaled down even further, to a 400-square-foot, one-bedroom apartment within walking distance to my work.
Thinking big required setting goals and decluttering. Slowly we began focusing on the quantity and quality of our belongings. We donated our TV, most of our furniture and many of the items filing up our closets to friends, thrift stores and Freecycle.
The Benefits of Going Small
Downsizing can be stressful, but the benefits are tremendous. Moving to a smaller apartment in the city opened up amazing possibilities. Once we sold our one remaining car, life became even better because we saved money and worked less. It sounds like a cliche, but without the car and the TV we had the time, money and energy to prioritize our health, happiness and life goals.
I hope our personal story will help you remove clutter from your life, one step at a time. Good luck in your own simple living quest. Above all, pursue happiness and not more stuff.
Please Note …
This post was written in June 2009. If you want to read an updated version of my story, check out my my book.