Downsizing a Home

My husband and I have a dream to homestead.

We want a farmhouse, some land, and a barn. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but a place for us to grow our own food and keep some animals.

downsizing your home

photo credit: mckaysavage

In order for us to afford to do this we had to sell our home and downsize significantly to pay down some debt. So two years ago we went from a large 4 bedroom, 2 bath home on just under 2 acres to a 2 bedroom single wide mobile home in a trailer park. It was a huge change and we had to make a lot of sacrifices to make it work.

Cleaning House

I had to start out by getting rid of stuff we didn’t need, or didn’t use often enough, to warrant keeping. This part of the process was very hard to do as I had to get rid of some of my favorite furniture pieces, antiques and collectables, and so much more.

But this step is crucial when you’re trying to stay organized, and especially if you are downsizing your home size.

A friend of mine suggested getting rid of everything you definitely don’t need and then put everything you don’t use at least once a week into boxes in your garage or shed.

If you find you need it at any point then go out and bring it in. But what’s left in the garage after a few months can be gotten rid of. (Getting rid of things in GR? Check out where to bring them)

Of course, there are some exceptions to this rule. For me, it’s my canning supplies. I only use these a few months out of the year, but I’m a pretty hardcore food preserver, so when I use them I use them a lot.And it doesn’t make sense for me to get rid of these items because they are expensive, I do utilize them, and they are something I couldn’t borrow when I needed them because my friends would be using them at the same time I would need to.

 

Organizing the Leftovers

Once I had gotten rid of a large amount of our possessions it was time to start organizing.

If you have a hard time organizing I encourage you to check out Fly Lady or have a friend come over and give you a hand.

When looking at buying furniture and storage items to replace those that no longer fit in a smaller home, think about items that can be multifunctional.

An excellent example of a piece of furniture we own I have found to be very multifunctional is this large wicker trunk I bought eight years ago from Pier 1 Imports. I find it funny because at the time when we purchased it my husband believed it was a big waste of money, but now agrees it was a great investment.

Honestly, this was at a point in our lives where we were living above our means, but this was one purchase we made that I do not regret. I have used it to store our linens, board games, scrapbooks, and other items over the years. It also functions as a coffee table and right now our guinea pig cage sits on top of it.

 

Create Space

One great way to create space is buying utilizing every little bit of space you can. Instead of a couch we opted for a nice, used, high end futon. I can store things underneath it in baskets and it also serves as a guest bed. By utilizing this extra space I am keeping my home clean and organized.

downsizing your home

photo credit: bluishorange

Find A Place

Everything must have a place.

No exceptions.

If you can’t find a place to put it then it’s time to revert to the paragraph above when I talk about getting rid of stuff. It is not possible to keep more items than your house can hold, well at least not if you want to keep your home clean and tidy!

You must learn to love baskets. Baskets are your friends. Embrace them. Utilize them. Love them.

Seriously, I am not generally a hoarder, but when it comes to baskets and quilts I may have a bit of a problem. Just kidding…..sort of. However, if you’re going to “hoard” something at least baskets are a practical thing to hoard and I use them for everything. We store our candles, books, homeschool supplies, yarn, fabric, magazines, toys, and just about anything you can imagine in baskets.

When you live in a small home even a little mess can look big. I organized all my kid’s toys in baskets and they can get out one basket at a time. In order to get out another basket they must first take care of the items from the first basket. This is an easy way to keep things organized and picked up.

The hardest part about downsizing was getting rid of things that I enjoyed. I had a beautiful collection of depression glass, which I sold the vast majority of, even though I had been collecting these dishes for over ten years. There were many other things I had to say goodbye to as well.

It was hard to leave our beautiful home and move into a mobile home.

I had a lot of anxiety and stress to deal with, but we made it through. I know this sacrifice will pay off in the long run and I do look forward to the day when I will be handed the keys to a house again.

In the meantime, we are enjoying this season of less stuff.

 

Have you downsized your home or possessions? How did you do it, and what was the hardest part?

 

Mel has a Bachelors Degree in Business Management from Cornerstone University and is just about finished with a Family Herbalist Certification from Vintage Remedies. She enjoys studying nutrition and herbs in her spare time. As a stay-at-home mother of two she spends her days reading, homeschooling, cleaning, and cooking nutritious meals. Eventually her and her husband hope to buy a property to homestead.

 



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About donielle

Donielle is a natural momma of two, lover of real foods, and owner and editor of Grand Rapids Natural Living and Naturally Knocked Up. You can usually find her in the kitchen whipping up some nourishing foods, cuddled on the couch reading books to the littles, avoiding the laundry and Mt. Saint Dishes, or tapping away on the laptop. Her husband puts up with her sometimes crazy "hippie" ways, but loves her regardless. Welcome to my home away from home.

Comments

  1. These are great reminders!! Although we look at bigger homes with a bit of envy – our 1100 square foot house fits the four of us (and our dog) just fine, and it forces us to get rid of junk. There just isn’t room! I feel like if we had a bigger house we would just fill it up with a lot of stuff we don’t need.