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Thread: Radical Downsizing & Happiness

  1. #1
    Senior Member RCWRTR's Avatar
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    Radical Downsizing & Happiness

    My partner and I downsized from a combined 3,900 sq. ft. + combined 400 sq. ft. of storage units to 1,100 sq. ft. in 2009. We auctioned, donated and discarded furniture, household items and clothing to accomplish this feat.

    We will be relocating again in April and will be renting an 829 sq. ft. loft unit. This prompted us to find alternate homes for a table, an upholstered leather chair and an ottoman (we gave them to a neighbor) and a loveseat (it will go nicely in my partner's new office) and to consider downsizing further.

    I have found that the less stuff I have, the happier I am. I'm curious about others who have downsized radically and their experiences with it.

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    yup. same. went from 1300 sq ft to 500 sq ft. we are doing quite well with very little. I like it. In fact I feel that we have too much right now. I need to do a declutter. And I need some shelves so that I can have a more organized closet. I want to put DS's toys in there, so that they are not always in the lounge (which is open to our bedroom, where DS sleeps, and so it distracts him), and then also have a place for his books (which are currently put away in drawers, so while he has access, he "forgets" where they are, and so spends less time "reading." shelves where all of his things are would be awesome.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Selah's Avatar
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    DH and I did the same a year ago last November, when we moved across country to Florida into a smaller apartment than our 1,300 sq.ft. house. We got rid of one car, a ton of junk, and auctioned off all our furniture and a few items of clothing. Then we moved to Israel last month, to a modestly furnished apartment. Before doing that, we auctioned off nearly every item of the "new" second-hand furniture we'd bought to furnish the Florida apartment. Our remaining personal possessions (clothes, books, art, etc.) went into a 200 cubic foot "lift," which is currently near Spain somewhere and should get to us in Israel in a week or two. We each came to Israel with two suitcases and a carry-on bag each, and that's it.

    I have to say, though, that I really miss most of what is in that lift! I miss it for practical reasons: I can't cook much or bake at all with the limited supplies I have. I am under-clothed for the weather, because it has been much colder here than I thought it would be, so I'm physically uncomfortable. I can't relax by doing any of my crafting activities (paper making, painting and jewelry-making). I don't have my music, so I can't rehearse. We don't have any of our sacred objects with us (too delicate to just stuff in a suitcase), etc. I miss our art because it reminds me of happy times and people I love, and because the walls are bare and stark without anything on them (except for a few weird pieces the landlords have up, including a very large and strange photograph of a power plant in Haifa!). It's tedious to have to keep washing the same clothes over and over again, as well as tedious to keep wearing the same outfits over and over.

    All in all, I predict that we downsized to pretty much the right level, and the stuff we still have will be stuff we will continue to use, love, and appreciate. We've gone through the downsize-for-a-move thing twice in two years, so now we know how easy it is to accumulate and waste money buying duplicates of things. I think we're pretty much cured of that habit! Also, having less of everything makes everything easier to find, clean, maintain, or refill if necessary. I find my life much more conscious, much more deliberate, and much more satisfying because of having virtually no clutter. I still have to be vigilant, though, about letting crap build up! We've only been here a month and the paper is flooding in already!

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    Yes, I downsized from having a three-bedroom house last year to a one-bedroom apartment. I gave away practically all my furniture, about 3/4 of my books, and a ton of household items. It was really liberating.

    I downsized further at the beginning of this year to a smaller one-bedroom apartment. The size is just right for me, especially since I'm either at school or outside much of the time. I did give away a few more books and some clothing that didn't fit anymore before this move. A few things went into storage. I only have things in this apartment that I actually use often, or really like.

    I do have some things in storage. Some of them - like my loom and my weaving supplies - I do want to keep, because I know I'll want to start weaving again. Some things (like household and hobby stuff I had in the last apartment and never used) I need to reevaluate as I have time this year, and either donate them or sell them. Ideally, I'd get rid of the storage unit, if I can find a way to fit the things I know I'll definitely use again into the limited storage I have here. And yeah, there's a definite cost associated with the storage. And in moving crap around.

  5. #5
    Senior Member crunchycon's Avatar
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    Well, we're upsizing as DH and I are moving in with Mom later this year (Dad passed away and she doesn't want to live alone. Our house is too small for the additional four dogs and she lives in the country). Even though she has ample storage space and has urged me to bring anything and everyting I want from my own house (we've lived there 20+ years, so we've accumulated some stuff), I'm using this as an opportunity to really declutter.

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    Funny, I have less stuff now as a homeowner than I had when I rented. As a renter I would find things and think they would be great to use when I had a house some day. So I dragged these items around, year after year. Since I've been in my house, almost 8 years now, I found most of the things I carried around I don't want to use or had no need for so for the last several years I've been getting rid of it all.

    I really prefer not having many possessions and continually dream about a 12 X 12 space. Until then I'll have to be satisfied with my empty rooms, cabinets and drawers.

  7. #7
    Senior Member HumboldtGurl's Avatar
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    Congrats on freeing yourself of stuff!

    Ahhh, my favorite topic.

    DH and I went from almost 4,000 sq. ft. in the house that held our home and business, to a 24' fifth wheel trailer when we decided to hit the road in 2007. We sold or gave away nearly everything we owned and it was so amazing to see how much junk we had accumulated after just 10 years of being together.

    Although we have a small cabin in Colorado now (small meaning just under 1k sq ft) where we keep a few pieces of furniture and stuff, we continue living in our RV most of the year (the cabin is at 8500' and not a lot of fun for us this time of year!). Whenever we are at the cabin, it's nice, but I do feel the weight of those possessions and eventually we'll sell that off and only own the RV as a home.

    Here's the funny thing: when we first hit the road it was only supposed to be for a year. So we put some things in storage. While they were stored away, I couldn't even remember half of what was in there. Of those possessions stored in our cabin, I don't miss them at all while we're out living in the RV. Stuff is so overrated!

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    Senior Member RCWRTR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Selah View Post
    I find my life much more conscious, much more deliberate, and much more satisfying because of having virtually no clutter.
    Living more consciously and deliberately appeals to me greatly, as does having virtually no clutter. Thanks to everyone for sharing!

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    Quote Originally Posted by HumboldtGurl View Post
    Here's the funny thing: when we first hit the road it was only supposed to be for a year. So we put some things in storage. While they were stored away, I couldn't even remember half of what was in there. Of those possessions stored in our cabin, I don't miss them at all while we're out living in the RV. Stuff is so overrated!
    I noticed the same thing when we moved into our house years ago. We had to do extensive renovations for a few years, so we never bothered to unpack some of our boxes. Once we finally got to unpacking them, we ended up getting rid of 95% of the stuff.

  10. #10
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    When we moved from our apartment to our home 10 years ago we got rid of two pick-up truck loads worth of stuff. Just donated it all to the Boy Scouts for their annual yard sale. We moved into our home we still had a ton of furniture, books and so on. We eventually pared it down more and got rid of about 500 books, our tv, DVDs, CDs, large bookcases etc... We also gained some things like a bedroom furniture for the guest room (which is used for weeks at a time by my mom, age 84, when she looses power in the winter), furniture for my art studio which is located in the finished room of my basement.

    My home (about 1200 sq ft) as a ton of storage and most of it is empty. I like it that way. Gives me a sense of peace. Nothing nicer than opening a kitchen cabinet or closet and being able to actually see everything in it because it's not jammed with stuff but is neat and organzied.

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