Monday, April 16, 2012

Lessons From Cutting Our Living Space In Half

I just read a great article on called "How Much Money Do You Really Need?".  Read it.  John Saddington makes some really good points.  I thought I would join the conversation.


Last August, my wife and I sold our house that had been on the market on and off for about four years.  Not surprisingly, we lost our pants in the deal...and then thousands of shirts.  Believe it or not, we were really excited to move on, so it didn't bother us a great deal.  We had been praying for the house to sell for years.

We had to rent for a while, and found a great apartment.  A little pricy, but well worth the budgetary gravity.  The only was about half of the square footage of our house.  We weren't afforded the luxury of time to sell everything.  It was our choosing to push the sales process for fear it would fall through like our previous offer.  After choking at the cost of storage space, my wife and I were faced with a very interesting question and even more interesting answer.

How do you move your family into half the space?  Get rid of tons of stuff....lots and lots of stuff.

Like the thirty or forty boxes of books that I took to goodwill.  The same books I had considered an extension of my brain for years.

Like all the boxes and boxes of children's clothes and toys.  The same clothes and toys we obsessed over just a couple of years before.

Like the treadmill we practically gave away.  The same treadmill that I took so much time thinking about and using.  The same one I thought I could never, ever give away.

Like the piano we gave away to avoid paying to move it.  This is the piano I spent hours banging.  The one I used to write some really heart-felt tunes during some very tumultuous times in my life.

Like the furniture we unloaded for practically nothing.

And my Weber grill.

Lessons Learned

I didn't care.  We didn't care.  It was just stuff.  If anything, I was disgusted with myself for spending so much money on things that were meaningless to me at the end of the day.  I vowed to never make those mistakes again.

We really don't buy much anymore.  If I can't take it with me or it isn't a needed wardrobe item, I don't buy it.  We focus a lot more on living within a budget and spending money on experiences rather than stuff.

I've learned how to use the library more instead of buying books.  If I do buy books, I do it through the Kindle store, so we have multiple backed-up copies that take up zero space.  I stopped buying running shoes.  When my current ones wear out.....really wear out, I plan on getting something even more minimalistic.

To be honest, I love this lifestyle so much more than the messy, frantic, cluttered one we use to live.  Simple is good.  When you spend your money in the right ways, you don't need as much.

Could you cut your living space in half?


  1. wow. love this. i feel like you've challenged me!

    1. Thanks for chiming in, John. I love your blog. While it isn't exactly in my normal stomping grounds, it's one of two blogs I read merely because they are so good.

      I'm continually challenged by the moving experience. A few months after we moved, I lost my entire music library. I think I was more upset about that because it wasn't my choice. Still, I learned. Let's just say I'm an avid Pandora listener now.

  2. I feel like I just read my story, although a bit different on the circumstances as I chose to downsize due to divorce. I also kept the house on the market had a deal fall through and finally took an absolute beating on price (and less than what I gave to my ex as her share of the value) - but that wasn't really a beating since it felt so good to be out from under the burden that a too large house had become. My 3 kids (they're with me full time) complained a bit about moving but helped choose the new house (1/2 the size). I'm a year post move now and have 1/2 of a room and a whole garage still full of boxes. But that is progress since I started with 3 rooms full of boxes even after getting rid of so much stuff before moving. Overall, everyone likes where we are and we are no longer hand to mouth on stretching income to meet the monthly grocery bill. The local christian charity has been blessed by all the hand-me-downs of clothing, books, trinkets and usable items (like the treadmill) that they've been able to sell at the thrift shop.

    1. Tom, thanks for sharing your story! Funny how we never really choose these types of moves on our own. Rather, they just happen to us outside of our control. The cool part is how much God blesses us even through the most trying of circumstances when we open our eyes to what he is doing in our lives.