Every so often I enjoy doing some Q&A on tiny houses and simple living.
And what usually prompts me to do it is an email or question in the comments from other readers.
So here’s a question I got yesterday along with my thoughts. I’d love to read through your thoughts and suggestions too.
Family Desperate to Downsize/Simplify
Below is a copy of the email I received. Let’s let the sender remain anonymous.
Subject: needing to downsize and simplify with a quickness
Message: Hey Alex. I am such a fan. I have been following you on you
tube for a few months now. The Tiny house movement is everything i am
into. Here is my delima… My husband and I just moved up here to
Alaska just over a year ago. Getting a bank to back us for land and a
build, not easy. We are a family of 4. We both work and feel like
hampsters on a neverending wheel. We work to pay rent and so the cycle
continues every month. How do we get out from under it and on our way to how it ought to be?
Pretty tough question, right?
If you want, read my response/thoughts below then add your own in the comments at the bottom.
I have a feeling there are many of us who feel like this too and by us sharing our own experiences, thoughts and tips, we can really make a world of difference for others who are trying to do the same.
7 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Downsize, Simplify and Consider Moving Into a Smaller Home
It’s hard to give you relevant tips when I don’t know you personally but if you use one of these seven questions I know it will make a positive difference in your life:
- If money is an issue, what options do you have for decreasing your monthly expenses?
- If you took action, how much could you save every month by making these changes?
- What would it take for you to drive less everyday? If you moved closer to work or wherever you travel most to, would it save you a lot of time and stress?
- Would these changes really create an improvement in my life and my family’s?
- What stuff could I give away, sell, recycle, or throw away right now, if I wanted to?
- What little things could I do right now that would help me simplify any part of my life today?
- What little thing(s) did I do today to help downsize and simplify?
Bonus Thoughts on Downsizing and Money
Here’s a bonus one to ask yourself and see what your brain comes up with, “if I wanted to, how could I earn even more money than I already do?”
Sometimes I feel like the minimalist gurus/authors leave us with a curse on our earnings because they’re always having us seek for ways to cut back, be frugal, and scrounge for savings all the time.
And I’m all for enjoying the simple things in life that don’t cost much like BBQs with family and hanging out in nature (hiking trail, mountains, or the beach for example).
But we still deserve money so we can have what we want (especially since it’s not much) and I want to be sure that you open yourself up to receiving and earning more money in your life so you can get what you want.
Getting Out of the Rat Race
Another book that talks about the trap of this never ending wheel also known as the rat race (or living paycheck to paycheck without ever getting ahead) is Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. Not exactly a tiny house guy, but certainly a man of freedom.
My Original Email Response to the Reader
I don’t know you, but here are some ideas to start..
Have you looked for options on lowering your expenses? (Cars, house, bills)
If you downsized in these areas how much could you save? If you moved to smaller more affordable home, etc. (questions to ask yourself)
Also consider conveniences like commute to work. Would your life be improved if you moved closer to your work even if your home was smaller? (This gives you more time, less stress everyday)
I made a transition (and it was just me, not family) beginning in 2007 by moving to a smaller place and getting rid of my car pmts. By 2009 this helped me save a good amount of $. I don’t believe in any quick fixes. Quick fixes usually aren’t worth it long-term. From my experience, at least.
So it’s okay. Make a plan. Get excited about the future. And just start walking towards that little dream everyday. And ask yourself the question, “am I closer than I was yesterday?”
And even if you’re just an inch closer you KNOW you’re on your way. Start with the little things [anonymous].
Hope this helps/inspires.
My Own Downsizing Story Simplified
I don’t believe in quick fixes for life’s problems but I can certainly understand the urgency that comes up when we find ourselves in desperate situations.
Or just finding ourselves somewhere we don’t want to be over and over again. Until we get to the point that we are..
Sick and tired of being sick and tired.
That’s what happened to me in 2007.
So I started doing the little things to get myself out. Selling this and that.
Giving away my unused stuff. Getting rid of a car payment and buying an old, used-but-reliable, Toyota.
I created a rough game plan for the next few years of my life. It was a plan to basically get out of the “rat race” I felt I was in.
“A rat race is an endless, self-defeating, or pointless pursuit.” – Wikipedia
Within months I moved from a 1200-square-foot condominium with a garage to a 500-square-foot apartment with a tiny storage. I simplified as much as I could.
I learned how to cook for myself so I can save money, I rode my bicycle as much as possible instead of driving, and enjoyed as much as I could between working, doing Tiny House Talk, and enjoying life.
Those are the things I found I could do, wanted to do, and so I did them.
By 2009 I had saved enough money that I could quit my job for 6-12 months if I wanted to. So I did. And that’s when I started blogging about tiny houses a lot.
It was scary but my dream was set. I made the plan in 2007 and I was just following it.
And I’m still following it today even though it continually evolves (which is normal, right?).
What if you have nothing left to ‘let go of’?
Great question and I understand that some of you are in that position where you’ve depleted all of your resources.
At that moment it’s time for you to build and accumulate. But it’s also time to look at some of the ‘dirt’ in your life so that you can ‘clean’ it.
I’m talking about bad habits, excessive negative thoughts, lack of self-love, and things of that nature.
It’s time to work on YOU so you can build your life back up. It’s time for you to think better thoughts, go to better places, and to begin taking micro actions necessary to take you to the next level that you deserve.
Nothing worthwhile in life comes easy or quick.
So keep doing those little things, have faith, enjoy what you have, and be patient.
I know you already know that.. I’m just reminding you that there aren’t any worthwhile quick fixes in life. But you can still start to make micro changes that are easy to start. Things like cleaning out a drawer.
These little actions build momentum. Once you clean a drawer (or just clear the table) you feel great because of the small accomplishment. Look at the drawer (or table?) and be proud of it!
Then tomorrow, pick something else. Don’t over do it all in one day. Just one little thing each day.
Then as you go, you can start to set the roadmap for your future. This will excite you and guide you over the years to exactly where you want to be. Remember, you are the director of your own life.
Just be patient, have courage, and follow your heart. Most of all, enjoy the little moments throughout your way because they’re all special, and so are you.
If you enjoyed this post please re-share using the buttons below then share your thoughts/experiences/tips on downsizing and simplifying. Know that your ideas, tips and stories can really make a positive difference for others. Thanks!
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