34, 35 = room to downsize?

Challenges 34 & 35 are on downsizing two big items in an adult’s life:

34. Consider a smaller home. If you rid your home of stuff, you might find you don’t need so much space. I’m not saying you should live on a boat (although I know some people who happily do so), but if you can be comfortable in a smaller home, it will not only be less expensive, but easier to maintain, and greatly simplify your life. Read about downsizing your home here.
35. Consider a smaller car. This is a big move, but if you have a large car or SUV, you may not really need something that big. It’s more expensive, uses more gas, harder to maintain, harder to park. Simplify your life with less car. You don’t need to go tiny, especially if you have a family, but try to find as small a car as can fit you or your family comfortably. Maybe not something you’re going to do today, but something to think about over the long term.

The two of us plus our two cats, 1 goldfish and 7 snails (and counting!) comfortably live in 1,300 square feet of living space. According to this article from a couple of years ago the average American home in the 1950s was 983 square feet but by 2004 it had grown by 140% to 2,349 square feet. So by these statistics we are in a below-average size home for the McMansion craze but living pretty large compared to my grandparents. Yes, we could live in a smaller home but I wouldn’t go through the process of buying and selling again unless it was really worth the move (island life comes to mind!) and outside of our current area.

Then comes the car debate – I purchased a sub compact this year and am perfectly happy with the size. I’ve always owned smaller cars – an old Jeep CJ series, a compact coup, and now a sub compact. I looked at getting a Smart car but at the time I was regularly schlepping pounds and pounds of linens for the office and wouldn’t be able to fit the bags of sheets or my portable equipment for housecalls. Now that I drive less frequently,  my errands are grouped together even more so and I can really maximize the size of my sub compact for stocking up on supplies – bulk toilet paper purchases for example.

To summarize I am comfortable with the size of our house and my car, but if the opportunity to relocate should arise I think it would be lovely to live in a smaller space and drive a bicycle as my primary means of transport.

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2 thoughts on “34, 35 = room to downsize?

  1. Interesting factoid, courtesy of the great book LIFE, INC by Douglas Rushkoff: The average size of a single-family home in the Post-WWII-era was relatively small because the government wanted men returning from war–who were a major target audience for said homes–to be “occupied” by home renovation and expansion projects. So although the average size was less than 1,000 square feet, the assumption was that people would need to expand to make room for their families and the developing consumer-based middle-class lifestyle (which was a new thing).

    And that is my academic trivia blog comment for the day! 🙂

    • How interesting! I feel very comfortable in our square footage but I could also see us downsizing if we were in a warmer climate and had the option of an ‘outdoor living room’.

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