A few years ago, I was working a job I hated. We had 2 kids at the time (almost 3) and I wanted desperately to stay home with my babies – something we didn’t think we could do because of our debt.
But I was desperate (and really hated my job), so we made a plan and got serious about tackling the issue so that I could quit my job (plus we really couldn’t afford putting 3 kids in daycare).
We took a hard look at our expenses and after some serious slashing, our budget was under control enough that I could quit my job if my husband took on a second one. We were blessed that he was soon hired as an on-call emergency room technician – it was exactly what we needed – and he only had to work a few shifts a month to more than cover what we needed.
I was thrilled to quit my job and stay home with my babies.
That is, until I realized, many months later, that I was barely spending any time engaged with my kids. Instead, I cleaned. All. Day. Long.
You see, we had a lot of stuff. And it’s not like my house was spotless all the time. I just had to clean constantly to keep up with everything. It was exhausting! And I really don’t like cleaning!
One day, I’d had enough.
I decided that I was tired of the ridiculous amount of time I spent cleaning and the ridiculously small amount of time I spent engaged with my kids. So I went a-googling and found … simple living.
It was exactly what I needed. I spent hours reading about people who had cast off consumerism in favor of a more simple life. I read about families who had minimal possessions and lived in RVs. I even found a minimalist blogger who lived close enough that we could meet in person (and now we’re best friends -seriously).
What I ultimately learned was that it was time to downsize. And not just our possessions, though we really needed to downsize there, too. There were other areas in life that we needed to address, like our time commitments and our spending habits. Everything needed attention.
It’s work. But it’s so worth it.
Because after you assess what’s really important in your life and make the decision to make it a priority, you have to live more intentionally. You just have to.
Once you see that your relationships, your time, your home is cluttered up with a bunch of stuff, stuff that has no meaning, that you really could do without, it’s hard to want to hold on to it.
And you start to let go.
Which is why I’m such an advocate of downsizing and living simply. Not only has it changed our lives (since, you know, we now live in a school bus), but I’ve seen the positive impact it’s had on so many other people.
Today, I wanted to share my top reasons for downsizing. If you’re thinking about downsizing but just aren’t sure if it’s the right step, I ask you to really evaluate your situation as you read through the list and think about how downsizing might benefit you and your family. (And please don’t think that your downsizing journey has to look like mine.)
Downsizing has given me much more time to focus on those things that matter most to me. What matters most to you? Is it getting the time and attention from you that it needs?
Since we downsized, our health has been SO much better. I have time to research and implement the things I learn about, like real food and essential oils. My family rarely gets sick now. And when we do, it doesn’t last very long. Does your family have a lot of sick days? How could downsizing help prevent those?
Creativity fuels creativity. Which, for me, fuels joy. And I find that I become so much more creative in other ways – I’m not just making new things, but I’m also more creative with parenting problems. Do you express your creativity often? How does it make you feel when you do? How does it make you feel when you don’t?
How many people do you know who are stressed, overworked and exhausted? You? Downsize. Maybe your kids don’t need such a busy schedule. Maybe you don’t need to volunteer for 50 different organizations. Maybe you need to take a nap every once in a while without feeling guilty about the things you aren’t doing while you do take said nap. What can you say no to?
It wasn’t long ago that we had no time for relationships. Recently, my husband’s Grandpa died, and we were able to just go and spend time with his family. And now, if his Grandma needs us, we’ll be able to go help her. This is more important to us than any of the other reasons – we don’t want to look back on any more lives and say, “why didn’t we spend more time with them?”
When we paid off our last debt, it was like a giant weight was lifted off my shoulders (I swore I’d never use that phrase, but really, that’s what it felt like). And now, our living situation allows us even more freedom to travel, save money and put more time into relationships.
Lastly, if finances are stressing you out, downsizing may be exactly what you need. You can’t spend yourself out of financial stress. Trust me, I’ve tried. Downsizing in spending will certainly help, but downsizing time commitments will as well (those can be costly, too). Do you have a financial goal you’re working toward? What impact would downsizing make on that goal?
Obviously, this is a process, but you have to start somewhere. Do you need to downsize? Make the decision to do it. Then make a plan and start taking the steps you need to take back your life.
Do you need to downsize? What will it help you accomplish? If you’ve downsized, what impact has it made?