Monday, September 9, 2013

Positive Downsizing

I have discovered that not everyone can relate to the way my brain works. I am ever and always a learner. The more I delve into a topic in which my fascination is sparked, the more I realize I still have to learn, which fuels this mental occupation until it becomes a bottomless pit of information absorption.

And then there’s the fact that I’m a verbal processor. My poor husband. Yesterday we drove to Sioux City to watch a football game with some friends, and he had to listen to me for the whole hour-long drive home verbally process everything I learned today in my internet research on the latest sub-categories of frugal and healthy living. (Because let’s face it, football doesn’t engage my brain very much and if I have internet access, I can feed my brain monster and not die of boredom.) Various topics I blabbed about ranged from the benefits and methods of fermenting vegetables, what I plan to ferment next, and what a sourdough starter is and why I’m going to start one and begin the learning process of sourdough everything (sourdough pancakes are at the top of the list right now. I’ve missed pancakes.)

 (Here's the sauerkraut I'm fermenting this week. Isn't it gorgeous?)

Then I had one of my radical frugal thoughts, and since there was nothing better to do while we drove home (the Packers lost, so Dave was more inclined to talk about something besides the game—lucky me) I verbally processed this crazy plan with him.

It is basically this:
Let's downsize. We live in an apartment that has more space than we need or use. We have two bedrooms and tons of storage space, which encourages us in our subconscious collecting of useless stuff. Our guest bedroom, for instance, has become such a catch-all clutter collector that it has been nicknamed “The Room of Requirement,” a reference to a pretty popular children’s series you may have read. 

When I read Freedom through Frugality this spring, it led to a Gung Ho passion to simplify and reduce our stuff… at least for me. David has been wonderful though, because I know he has more hoarding tendencies than I do, but he’s been gradually and surely joining me in my imperative need to simplify our lifestyle for the sake of paying off debt and reducing the stress that comes with too much clutter. So my rather extreme idea shared last night was thankfully very well-received. (David is the best husband, I just can’t stop bragging about him.) What we plan to do, simply put, is have a rummage sale and get rid of everything we don’t need, use, love, or must keep for other reasons, and take the bare-bones essentials we have left and move into a tiny, economical apartment.

When we first got married, that would have been a bad idea. We were newlyweds in the traditional fashion, not like is common today—we never lived together until we got married. So that first year, it was good to have a big place, and see how we each were accustomed to using a living space. But now that we know and are used to each other’s habits and idiosyncrasies, we know that we could very happily share a small space. How often do we ever use our dining room or spare bedroom anyway? We’re paying about $250 more per month for space we don’t need or use, than we would pay to live in a smaller space that’s just as “nice.”

The other reason we’re opting for minimal living, is we’ve both been through Dave Ramsey’s FinancialPeace University. We highly, highly recommend it for anyone with financial difficulty of any kind or debt, or engaged couples before they get married. We actually took the course twice, once when we were engaged, and again after we were married and had joint finances with which to apply the homework assigned in the course.

Now, starting tonight, Dave and I are hosting Financial Peace University at our church. We’re excited to be open and honest with the folks that come to the class about our current financial situation. We’re not out of debt, we’re not buying a house anytime soon, and we won’t ever have one of those custom license plates that has a clever way to say “Look how wealthy we are because we have a nice car and God likes us more than you.” Instead, what we have is peace, and the freedom to look at our lifestyle without being held by a standard that is artificial. Do we need to live in a big place? Not right now. Do we need to have all the modern decor and comforts of the people we see on TV or our neighbors? Nope. And nobody is going to be our friend because we have a lot of cool stuff. What we need right now is to pursue downsizing for the greater good of beating debt. And you know what? We’re really excited.

And since this blog isn't called "The Frugal Unattractive," I want to end with some visual inspiration for how minimalism + frugality + a good aesthetic sense of space / balance / color can make a small living space quite a cozy, appealing idea:
So now I am basically addicted to finding blogs and websites that feature tiny, well-designed apartments like the ones above. And as I've been working on this post, Dave called and told me he found a lead on a little one bedroom in downtown Sioux Falls we're going to check out tomorrow. Sometimes change happens fast.

If you also enjoy the aesthetic of tiny living quarters, check out my Pinterest board Studios / Small Spaces


  1. My only comment is that bunk beds might get kind of awkward.

    Lol. No. Not my only comment. I think this is fantastic and I'm super thrilled for you guys!

    1. Thanks! And I guess I'll take your advise on the bunk beds. But they would save so much space! ;-)