Downsize Is Not Such a Scary Word

| 3/8/2012 8:34:43 AM

Marie James head shotMany years ago our young family took a trip to Disneyland. We had the free use of a motor home that would sleep our family comfortably, so we decided to drive.

We packed up the motor home with basic cooking equipment and groceries, bedding and enough clothes for the trip. Each of us brought along some things for entertainment, from books to cassette tapes (remember those?) to toys and games. I even stashed my sewing machine in the shower so I could finish up some clothes I’d been making for the kids.

 suburban house 

As we drove away from home, I looked back at our two-story house. I thought to myself, we have everything we need right here in this little motor home. Why in the world do we have such a big house and so much stuff?

Of course, when we returned from our vacation we went right on living in our big house full of stuff. But that kind of thing has repeated itself over and over in our life. We moved overseas, taking very little—but we accumulated a houseful of stuff again. Five years later we returned to the U.S. with very little and … yep, we accumulated another houseful.

Several years ago, when we lived in a suburban neighborhood, Jim and I realized that we spent 80% of our time at home in just a few rooms. The other space was used just occasionally. We slept in our bedroom and used our master bathroom. We cooked in the kitchen and ate in the adjoining dining area. Though we sat in the living room once in a while, we really lived in the family room. I admit we did have an “everything room” that stored a lot of stuff but was really not used much.

3/22/2012 3:44:57 AM

Dave--downsizing doesn't work as well when the family is up-sizing! Sounds like you can use the space. Your daughter and grandson are blessed to have you--rules, boundaries and all. And I think a quiet house is way overrated. I love being surrounded by busy kids. Let us know when you have that mortgage bonfire!

3/8/2012 7:08:00 PM

Marie, I totally agree that smaller is better. However, I waited to long to get rid of the three bedroom urban multilevel house after retiring. Some years after becoming a widower, I retired with the intention of selling the big house and down sizing into a much smaller more efficient house. Almost immediately my youngest daughter was having life issues and needed to come home. Well, then her son who was living with his Dad in Texas was becoming unmanageable and out of control so the decision was made to live with Mom and Grandpa. So what started out as a big empty house soon became a full active household. So I refinanced instead and got a super low rate that will allow me to pay off the mortgage when I'm only 93. Want to come to the mortgage burning when it paid off? :0) We will have motorized wheel chair races down the street in front of my house. Oh, well, the best laid plans are destined to go awry. Oh, yeah, and the grandson ran smack into an old school grandpa that set down boundaries and rules that don't change. He's has become a well mannered great kid and great to be around. Have a great smaller is better day.

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