Nov 3, 2008

'Living it Down Small' instead of 'Living it Up Large'

Have you ever seen the lights in Las Vegas? How about the skyscrapers of Hong Kong or New York? Ever been through the suburbs of Los Angeles or seen the sprawling mass of London?

To me, these cities typify places in which you can Live it up Large. Large living, large entertainment, large houses (ok, except for Hong Kong). Over the last few years however, I have been downsizing my living spaces each time I have moved and have really enjoyed moving into smaller and smaller places. Before that I had constantly moved into bigger and bigger places. Each time I moved, I ended up getting more stuff to fill it, in a lot of cases sometimes stuff that I didn't even want.

Going Smaller

paul and sarah\
Photo: roludsgn

Five years ago I moved into a small two bedroom house and only had two bags and a box. Over time, I bought stuff. Then I moved into a larger two bedroom house and filled that too. I then graduated to three bedrooms (and two bathrooms) and whilst I didn't fill that space, it had plenty of stuff spread throughout. Then I started going smaller. I squeezed all my stuff into a two bedroom unit and finally, I am now in a one bedroom flat.

Over that time, none of these moves have been related to my current financial plan though I guess my last move was a pre-cursor to it. I realised that I could live in town for less money than living in the burbs for more. That also generates a saving on transport too.

When I first moved in, it was physically impossible to move since I had so much stuff in such a small place. However, over the past few months I have been amazed at how well I have been getting rid of stuff. The floor is now something I see every day but I know I can clear all this stuff by a lot more.

It's been very liberating to be free of the shackles of extra stuff and I can already see some benefits of living in less space. Also, all that extra floor space you fill with junk, actually costs rather a large amount of money.

Interesting how spending money on extra stuff you don't need actually ends up costing you even more money!

The Simple Life

Over the past few years which have included my downsizing moves, I have hankered for the simple life. Mostly I did nothing about it but this year my breakthrough came. Not only did I move into a one bedroom and start to de-clutter, I have of course, started this blog and becoming more financially aware with a view to becoming financially independent.

There are so many benefits to heading in this direction, most notably having to pay less rent/mortgage for my accommodation but also because there is less space to put extra (and unnecessary) things. Things I wouldn't be able to buy since there wouldn't actually be any place to put them. If it was something that was desperately needed, it would have to be space-exchanged for something no longer needed.

So think about where you live and whether you actually need all that space. After all, most of that area is space you probably don't even use on a day to day basis, yet you're paying for it in rent/mortgage and you're buying things to fill it up!

I shall be continuing my plan on annexing a lot of my stuff and hopefully when the time comes to move again, I shall be able to find a place of a reasonable size, for a reasonable price and it still be like a castle to me.

What are your thoughts on the size of your house? Do you need more or less? Would you be able to survive in a smaller place?


RetiredAt47 said...

I really, truly enjoy de-cluttering. I find it liberating and habit-forming; the more I declutter, the more I want to get rid of some more stuff.

I've reached a point where I have about the right amount of stuff (for me, for now). So one thing that works really well is a "one-in, one-out" rule. I apply it to many things: books, clothing, hobby supplies, etc. It helps keep my buying to a minimum, since I have to decide what's going to go before I can bring its replacement in.

Anonymous said...


That sounds great. I only thought of the one in, one out thing when I wrote the post but the fact that you have been doing it already confirms to me that it'll work.

And you're right, decluttering is a very enjoyable pasttime :-)

Anonymous said...


I discovered your blog a few days ago and I wanted to thank you for sharing your thoughts.


Lindsay said...

My house is about 750 square feet and is actually smaller than the condo I moved "up" from. ;) I live alone (okay I have two dogs) though, so this is plenty of space.

Also the place isn't far from town, and it's on almost an acre--location and room to breathe mean more to me than space inside.

Unknown said...

This is so true! I find that I often can't declutter fast enough - it will be one of my goals for the new year though.