After almost 15 years of living in a 2700 sq ft home, we made a decision… less is more!
Well, actually that decision had been brewing for a few years, at least in my mind. Once I started talking about it to my husband, Dave, I found he was on board as well. Between the upkeep of a 135 year old home, the costs of heating 2700 sq ft of an old home in Wisconsin winters, and the fact that we are about 2.5 years from empty nesting all became great reasons to downsize.
Our big dream would be to find the perfect piece of land and build a house we pick out that is somewhere between 1400-1800 sq ft. While we work on the financial feasibility of that plan, our current long term goal is to move to an inexpensive, smaller home to get rid of a mortgage to allow us to save money. This will allow us to pay off any debt, purchase and pay for land, and save for a down payment on a construction loan.
But how do we get there from here?
Something has to happen, because 2700 sq ft of home items (not to mention a fairly full 4 car garage) are not going to fit in an 1800 sq ft home.
Just saying 😉
So begins the downsizing!
5 Tips for Downsizing Your Home
1) Decide how much smaller you want to go
Are you looking to downsize from a lot or just a little? For us, decreasing our home size to 1400-1800 sq ft would be a big change, but also completely livable for us. Especially since in a new home we’d build, the basement would be finishable (unlike our current old, leaky/drafty basement). We plan to build the main structure as small as possible depending on layout and make use of the finished basement area.
But maybe you’re thinking of REALLY downsizing and hopping on the tiny home train. Awesome! I must admit, tiny homes intrigue me and I love watching one of my favorite YouTube channels Living Big in a Tiny House. (Seriously, go check out that channel, even if you don’t want to live in a tiny house!) In the end, Dave and I decided that tiny home living isn’t for us because of where we live, the hobbies we have, and that we want to have space for our girls to come back home to visit both now and in the future with their families.
Regardless of the size, you are choosing, it’s good to know ahead of time what you are aiming for.
2) Research house sizes & pricing in your area
Now that you know what you are shooting for, head over to Zillow and have a peek at housing in your area. I love browsing Zillow! It will give you a good picture of the market value of homes in the size range you’re looking at.
If you’re looking to build like we are, it would be wise to contact a local contractor/builder to get a rough estimate on building prices in your area. We found that the costs were about $175/sq ft around here, but this can vary greatly depending on your location as well as what level of finishings you want in the home.
3) Start the decluttering process
This is where less becomes more! Downsizing pretty much requires removing the excess. There is no way we will fit 2700 sq ft of things into even 1800 sq ft. And that’s where we began this process.
Decluttering a whole home can be an overwhelming thought. The more time you have to do this, the better. That is why we started with a few years ahead of us. Sure, it can be done in a few month’s time, but I’m glad we don’t have to choose that option.
My main advice is to start small and pick one area. This can mean one room, or it could mean simply one closet or drawer in that room. However or wherever you choose to start, just start!
4) Keep in mind furniture size
If you plan to downsize quite a bit, you may find that the furniture you have now will not work in your new space. This is something to consider as you declutter. If your new living room will not accommodate your large entertainment center, this will mean that you need to take a hard look at those dvds, video game systems, and other items stored in this furniture piece.
You may also find that you don’t have the need for extra chairs, console, sofa, or end tables. Keep only those you really love and work to fit those in your new space. If you don’t love them now, you aren’t going to love them in your next, smaller home.
Additionally, smaller homes normally = smaller bedrooms. If you have a bulky bed with accompanying dressers and end tables, you may find that these will crowd the new space. It may be time to downsize your bed to just a simple headboard and declutter your clothing so that less furniture is needed in your new space.
5) Visualize & Manifest your goal
As you go through each area of your home, it will be good to keep a focus on the reason you are doing this. Having a goal will keep you inspired as you make tough decisions on what to keep and what to discard. See your end goal, visualize your smaller home. When I go to bed at night, I often picture myself walking through the home plan I’ve picked out. I walk through the layout, visualizing my favorite belongings in there and nothing else. I see the vision as reality. This is my dream I am manifesting. It inspires me when I am debating about keeping that extra pair of shoes, that book I thought I’d read someday, or rarely used kitchen tool.
The path to less
Even if you aren’t looking to downsize any time soon, you may still be wanting to find more space in your current home. Whatever the reason, simplifying your life by getting rid of excess items is always a great path to make life easier and reduce stress.
If you are looking to downsize, what is your vision and what are your goals? Share in the comments below!