Almost 4 years ago we made the choice to downsize our home. Our family of 5 moved into a house that was nearly 2,000 square feet smaller than the one we were currently living in. The more we have shared our story the more I have come to find that a lot of people are intrigued by the idea of downsizing, but aren’t sure where to get started or if its even the right move. If you’ve been on the fence about downsizing your house or life, I have compiled 12 ideas for how to know if downsizing is the right move for you.
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What does downsizing mean?
Downsizing your home can mean so many things. For our
If you have a second home or a cabin, it could mean putting that on the market.
If you have multiple vehicles, you could decide to simplify to fewer vehicles and free up some space in your driveway and garage.
If you have been dreaming of downsizing and simplifying your life, I created a Minimalist Lifestyle Guide that is designed to help you get started in a way that works for you!
Each one of us is going to have a different version of what simplified, more minimalist living looks like and the Minimalist Lifestyle Guide is meant to help you uncover exactly what that means for you. Click here to learn more about the Minimalist Lifestyle Guide.
12 Signs you might be ready to downsize
Now that you have a better idea of what downsizing might look like, here are 12 signs that downsizing is the right move for you and your family.
You want to downsize
Let’s start with a very obvious reason to downsize: you want to downsize.
If you feel that desire to downsize your home then chances are you are on to something. One lesson I have learned in life is to never ignore that inner voice nudging you in a different direction.
I know it can be scary, jumping into the unknown usually is. A good place to start may be to read the rest of the list and see if any of these additional signs also stand out.
You have unused space
When we moved into our “big house“, a problem I faced was that there were just so many rooms to fill. It felt overwhelming.
Do you have a room in your house that doesn’t get used like you had hoped it would? Maybe it’s a formal dining room or an in-home theater area? If so, it may be time to consider a downsize if you have spaces in your home that aren’t being used.
Unused spaces may seem harmless, but take a moment to consider that you are still paying for heating, air conditioning, and electricity to this area. On top of that, if you have an unused room that still requires cleaning and maintenance, you might be missing out on a lot of your time as well.
By eliminated unused expenses in our lives, we were able to free-up an additional $40,000 per year! This allowed us to pay off debt and begin to travel debt-free! Read: How We Lowered Our Cost of Living By $20,000 Per Year
You have rooms that serve no purpose
You may have unused spaces in your home that you had hoped would serve a greater purpose. However, you may also have areas in your home that you just have no idea what to do with.
For us, this was our loft.
No matter what I tried, this space just never seemed to find a purpose. It very much felt completely unnecessary.
The idea of paying for shelving, seating, and other decorations just to fill this space seemed so wasteful. This was a big red flag telling me I was ready to downsize my house.
If you have a similar room in your home you might consider that you just don’t require that space any longer.
You are paying too much for your lifestyle
This is the big one!
If you fit into this category, then you absolutely need to consider a downsize! A good way to estimate whether or not you are living above your means is to calculate whether or not you are spending less than 30% of your take-home pay on your home expenses. Keep in mind this includes mortgage/rent plus utilities.
If you are spending all of your waking hours working to support a lifestyle you can’t afford it’s definitely time to consider downsizing your home.
Some signs that you are living above your means:
- Constantly stressed about money
- Always seem to be running low on funds
- Have missed one or more payments
You aren’t saving enough
Continuing on with the financial aspects, there is always the chance that if you have been living with too much for too long, you may have too little money in your bank account.
No matter what age you are, it is very important that you keep your savings and investments in mind. One of the things that is linked to long-term happiness is being connected to your older self.
If you are struggling to save money, looking into downsizing your life in order to lower your expenses might be a smart move.
You feel like you never have enough time
For me, feeling like I was alway busy was another major sign we were ready to downsize our home. I despised the amount of time I spent cleaning, maintaining, and primping the house.
Having a larger home, a big yard, or multiple vehicles can require a lot of your time and finances.
On top of working full-time jobs, sports, school functions and, other life commitments, house maintenance can leave very little time for rest.
Your family is growing apart
Simply put, the more space you have, the more space you have to spread out. Large homes can really drive major wedges between family members because it gives everyone room to spread out.
People often move from “starter homes” because they feel an obligation to grow with their family.
If you find that your larger home is bringing you together less and less for family dinners or you are rarely communicating with your children, it might be time to consider embracing closeness through downsizing.
Your family is getting smaller
Just like people naturally grow their homes with their families, there will also come a time in life when you no longer have as many mouths to feed.
If you have children who are growing up and moving out of the house, this is a great time to consider downsizing your home. Chances are, you are not going to want to take care of as much house as you grow into your older years.
This is especially true if you live in a multi-level home. As we age, it often gets harder to make it up and down stairs. The safer bet may be to live in a more modestly sized one level.
You want to do more outside your home
Having a home naturally means you have to take care of that home. If your true passions lie outdoors with things like hiking, biking, mountain climbing, beach-going, and everything sun and fun then a downsize may be beneficial to you.
Downsizing your home could be a great way to ensure you get to spend more time outside of your actual living quarters. Besides, if you are doing all your living outside, all you really need is a place to re-coop and grab some food. Am I right?
You want to leave your job
In an article shared by Forbes, it is stated that around 70% of employees hate their jobs. This is a crying shame considering that a good portion of our life is spent at work.
Now, it’s true, we need to work in order to afford to live. We have to pay for our homes, families, and life, but I am a firm believer that you can do all of that while still doing something that you have a passion for.
If you want to make the leap into a different line of work, it might be worth considering a downsize. This could potentially help you lower your monthly payments, and remove some of that financial burden you feel. Don’t let something as insignificant as a house, car, boat, or clutter stand in the way of you living the life you were meant to live.
You have major debts to pay off
An average of 80% of people is currently in debt. Considering at the time of their death around 40% of people still have mortgage debt, it’s clear to see that debt is a major problem in our society today.
If you are carrying around large debts, besides a mortgage, it might be wise to consider a strategy for debt payoff. This can help determine whether or not a downsize may benefit you financially.
Your credit cards are maxed out
While having credit card debt is similar to debt itself, there is a drastic difference that you should be aware of.
When we talk about having debt, that can mean student loans which is an investment in yourself and your future. Debt can be car payments that although they should be avoided, can ultimately help a person get to their jobs and help them earn a living.
Credit card debt, on the other hand, is not beneficial to you in any way. More often than not, if you have credit card debt it’s because you are living beyond your means and/or struggle with impulse control.
If you can’t downsize right now
I get that downsizing isn’t always an instant option that people can take advantage of, but the good news is there are a lot of things that you can do to help improve your financial situation and ease you into a downsized way of living.
Host your home
A common theme amongst people who are determined to live a life of financial freedom is to not sell your home but instead list it on places like AirBNB. You can get paid to rent a room or even your entire house. Doing this can help pay off debt and in some cases even cover the cost of your mortgage! Check the AirBNB calculator.
Downsize one room at a time
This is a method you’ll love if you are hoping to downsize your home someday but just aren’t sure how much space you’ll need or how to get started. Slowly closing off one room at a time can give you a better idea of how much space you really need.
Get a game plan
Whether you want to pay off debt, start a downsize now or plan for a downsize down the road, it is important that you get a solid plan in place.
The best advice when it comes to goal setting is to start from the end result and work your way back. Get small, tangible steps in place that you can start doing today that will help ensure you reach your downsizing goals down the road.