Downsizing isn't just for retirees and empty nesters. Here are six reasons why downsizing may be the right decision for you now.
When you think about people downsizing into smaller homes, the first thing that pops into your mind is probably retirees or empty nesters. While it’s easy to understand why someone whose kids have all left the house would want to move from a 3,000 square foot house to a 1200 square foot condo, there are also a number of reasons younger people could want to downsize as well.
When Mr. DCeo and I got married, we bought a house that was almost 3,000 square foot. We thought that we would have good use for the big house, but after just a couple years, we realized that we weren’t using half the house on a regular basis. We looked for alternative ways to use the extra rooms, including listing them on Air BnB, but we finally realized that the house wasn’t a fit for us anymore. What we came to realize during this decision-making process is that there are some really good reasons to downsize even when you're young.
1. You Want to Travel More
I’ll tell you right now, it’s not as easy to travel when you have a big house. Yes, you can go for weekend getaways, but anything longer than a week likely means you need to get someone to check in on your house. In an apartment, condo, or townhouse, it’s easier to see that your place is safe. If there’s a water leak, your neighbors will figure it out pretty quickly. If you have a water leak in your house, there’s a good chance it’s going to spread to multiple rooms, and even multiple floors before anyone notices. And don’t even get me started on break-ins through back doors. In suburban neighborhoods, if someone breaks in through a back window in the private back yard, it may go unnoticed until you arrive home.
Smaller places, like condos and apartments, are much easier to leave behind while you travel for weeks at a time. You can likely find someone who will sublet or rent your place, or you can simply tell a friendly neighbor across the hall to keep an eye on things. For emotional, as well as practical reasons, it’s much easier to travel for longer durations when you have a smaller place.
2. You Want to Be Less Materialistic
Let’s face it, it’s really easy to fill a house with lots of unnecessary stuff. Take walk-in closets for example. Most people (yes, even women) only wear enough clothes on a regular basis to fill a standard coat closet. The rest of the stuff in large closets gets moved around, reorganized, and maybe worn once or twice a year to help us justify keeping it. The same thing applies with almost every room in your home. The more space you have, the more likely you are to feel like you need to fill it with things you aren’t actually going to use.
If you want to become less materialistic and cut your consumption, downsizing will force you to do it. When space is limited, only the absolute favorite items get to stay. Most people who live in smaller homes learn to adopt a “one in, one out,” rule. For each new item that comes in to the home, one old item must go out. If you can’t imagine getting rid of something, there’s not enough room to buy something new. Living in a smaller home is an efficient way to curb your consumerism.
3. You Want More Free Time
Bigger homes take a lot of work to keep up. There are almost always things that need to get done like yard work, cleaning, organizing, cleaning, small fix-it projects, cleaning, repainting, and more cleaning. While you can always choose to ignore the tasks that need to happen around the home, I wouldn’t advise it. Putting off your routine cleaning tasks will mean you have to do more scrubbing later and putting off your routine maintenance tasks means things will break quicker. Having a smaller home means that each of these tasks is going to take less time, and may even need to be done less often, which in turn gives you more free time to do things you actually want to be doing.