Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Positive Downsizing Part II
Sometimes change happens fast. When you're ready for it, that swiftness is just what you need to follow through with your idea's momentum and not grow complacent with the status quo.
We visited an apartment near downtown Sioux Falls yesterday morning, just a few days since the idea of downsizing to save and pay off debt became a live option for us. Walking into this tiny, outdated, almost-one-bedroom, we immediately knew it would be a great fit for our needs. And CHEAP. God moves in mysterious ways.
Counter-cultural, frugal, spartan, and anti-materialistic could all describe why this place is perfect, because honestly, it's by no means any normal person's ideal, let alone two people. We don't want it for normal people reasons. It's not updated or stylish, spacious or charming. Perhaps cozy, but that word can be interchanged for any number of descriptions not polite to say about the humility of someone's home. And we are both aware and intentional about moving into such a small and uncool place.
I can already feel the pity of well-meaning friends and family when they find out our plan and see the tininess of the place. Especially the bedroom; we will just have room for a bed and lamp, and that's about it. "Look, it has a closet!" Dave said when we saw it, with genuine approbation for such a luxury. That gives you some idea of how low we set our expectations for this place.
When we are finished with our sort/purge and garage sale this month, our goal is to have only bare essentials and important heirlooms left in our possession. The big items we can't bare to part with will go into storage, hopefully free, considering David's ability to get in the good graces of folks who have extra attic or shed space. We don't have a ton of decor at this point, and we can easily decorate our new place with what we have and it will probably fill up the new place better than our current place.
I can't say this will be easy. The next month of our life will be more work than we've ever undertaken as a couple. I anticipate stress, doubt, nostalgic sadness to leave the first home we shared as husband and wife, and probably some logistical hiccups we didn't foresee. But it's all part of life, and no excuse to abandon the more important value of living below our means.
Why? Because debt is a heavy load to bear, but we are not powerless. We are free. Free to live in a lifestyle standard that makes no sense to the ideals of comfort and having cool stuff, but makes total sense to the ideals of what's truly important and worthwhile, and economical to boot.
Bonus: if we can find contentment with the bare minimum, and even make it comfortable and attractive, with a little creativity, elbow grease, and the right arrangement of our existing decor, we will more easily be able to live below our means later when we have much more to live on.
I'm actually really excited to decorate our tiny place. The galley kitchen is adorably small, but with plenty of storage and counter space, and A KITCHEN WINDOW! Seriously, I am willing to downgrade to half our square footage just for that one feature. A kitchen window with pots of growing herbs is one of the most warming sights to my heart.
We'll have to sell quite a bit of our furniture, but since we didn't buy much of it in the first place, that's pure gain. Fewer shelves and tables on which dust can gather. And the few pieces we'll bring with us will be those we really like and use often. Sorry Mom, but the couch we own that's an exact replica of your living room sofa from 1999 doesn't make the cut.
On the list so far of items we will be selling: two large TVs and one mini TV, a stationary rower, a laminate stand-alone cupboard, a shower curtain, two printers, a camera, some knickknacks I collected during my "antique" phase as a preteen (think pictures of porcelain white ladies with dresses that have the Victorian equivalent of the "Booty Pop,") a side table, a coffee table, a 1970s projector in need of repair, and some kitchenware we never use.
David already recruited some friends of ours, two or three other couples, to collaborate with us to throw one huge rummage sale. That's going to be a fun time, but the prep work and post-sale cleaning and donating, probably not so much.
So, we've put in our application, made the plan, and now the gears are set in motion for a pretty revolutionary venture for David and I to undertake. I guess if I didn't have frugal cred before, I'll have it now.