Should You Downsize Your Home To Rightsize Your Life?
Sometimes downsizing your home may just be the best way of rightsizing your life. If you’re wondering how you could possibly manage to live in a smaller home, let’s put things in perspective….
In the 21st century, most American families live in much larger homes than those enjoyed by previous generations with far larger families. In the 1950s, average houses were about 1,000 square feet. In the 1970s, average houses were about 1,400 square feet. Then, by 2004, average houses were as much as 2,330 square feet. And now, they are about 2,600 square feet.
It’s a lot more space with a lot less people.
Unfortunately, you probably consider even this space too small. Moreover, while not appreciating this doubled space, you’re probably also miserable about paying down the mortgage and taking care of utilities, maintenance, insurance, and taxes.
Worse still, many people have been working more for less money after the financial crisis of 2007.
It’s not a pretty picture.
One simple solution is to downsize your home. Unfortunately, this solution may send you into a panic. After all, you want to make progress in life, not begin getting worse. Only too often, downsizing has a social stigma– it’s often associated with failing in life.
This is actually not an accurate interpretation of what’s going on because sometimes less can be more.
Why Less Is More
Unemployment still remains uncomfortably high. After the financial crisis in 2008, many people were forced to downsize because of a pay cut or job loss.
However, what they discovered was that downsizing their homes made their lives much easier. Some downsized from a big home to a condominium; some downsized from a big home to a small home; and some downsized from owning a home to renting one.
Initially, there was resistance until they ran out of their savings from their previously well-paid work and then ran out of options to borrow money to stay afloat. Then, they didn’t have a choice.
First, there was a sense of grief. However, after a few months into their new lifestyle, they noticed something surprising — they were actually living better.
They were feeling more peaceful, calmer, and less financially overwhelmed. And, they also had to spend a lot less time cleaning and maintaining their new place. Interestingly, too, retired people, whose big families had long since left, realized that their big home had been more of a burden than a joy.
After holding on as long as they could to their old ways, they found that after they sold their homes and moved to a smaller place, it was the best decision that they had ever made.
Two Common Objections
When it comes to moving to a smaller place, what bothers most people are two practical questions: where to put all their stuff and how to endure the hardship of a big move?
Where will I put all my stuff?
The biggest form of resistance when it comes to downsizing is storage. How do you go from a big home to a small one and still have room to move around in it? Where should you put all the things that you’ve gathered over a period of many years?
The best place to put it is on Craigslist, on eBay, and garage sale. Yes, sell it. When you look over your stuff, you’ll find that most of it is something that you don’t use. By uncluttering your home, you will unclutter your mind and heart as well.
I hate moving!
Homeowners hate moving as much as grade-schoolers hate extra homework. Generally speaking, people have been traumatized by moving over the course of their lives. Moving is not only psychologically draining, but also physically taxing. If you’re not in great shape or have a busy life, the idea of packing and moving can appear overwhelming.
Fortunately, moving is neither as expensive nor as physically exhausting as most people think. You don’t need a pickup and lots of friends to move. In fact, a moving company can do all the heavy lifting for you and take care of all the transportation costs at very reasonable rates. In addition to moving services, sites like www.mayflower.com also provide tools and tips for facilitating a smooth move.
Should You Downsize?
Here, then, are four good reasons to consider downsizing:
- You will probably reduce your mortgage payment by as much as $500 a month.
- You will probably reduce your overall debt by no longer spending your money to own and maintain a large home.
- You will probably significantly contribute to your retirement fund.
- You will probably pay off your new mortgage faster.
In short, you will throw off the burden of worry and stress that you probably now have if expenses exceed income.