Last summer, my husband Gerald and I did an episode on the blessing of downsizing, and now, a year later, I want to give you an update. When we started downsizing, there was a lot of struggle, a lot to figure out, but one of the things that kept us going was knowing there was something purposeful about downsizing.
For those of you who are new to Redefining Wealth, Welcome! Redefining Wealth is a community that recognizes wealth is so much more than money and material possessions. In this episode, we’re going to give a quick summary of where we were last year and then dive into where we are now and what lessons we’ve learned along our downsizing journey.
This time last year, we were in the middle of downsizing. My husband, daughter and I were living in Southern California in a 6,000 plus square foot house and not occupying half of it. There was so much of the house we weren’t using, yet we were still paying to clean and maintain – it didn’t make sense.
So, as a family, we went through a voluntary downsize.
“Our goal was to cut our expenses by 60% and then reinvest the money into things that mattered to us.”
Logically, we knew downsizing was the best thing we could do, but once we started packing and moving, there were a lot of emotions that affected all of us.
During this I remember Gerald said, “We’re not decluttering. We’re detoxing.” That was like a lightbulb moment because decluttering is one thing, but detoxing can be very uncomfortable. For us, we had to stick with it even though it was uncomfortable and painful.
I compare our detoxing to a season of pruning. It’s a season where you’re removing the things that no longer serve you. And with pruning, there’s a purpose to doing it – to help you (or a tree) grow stronger.
And so, that’s what we did. We went through this voluntary pruning and while the last 12 months have been painful at times, they have also been purposeful.
Here’s a bit of what’s changed for us personally and professionally:
We were able to purchase two apartment buildings here in Georgia
We started a transportation company and bought our first 18-wheeler
I believe these things couldn’t have happened if we allowed ourselves to continue to hold onto dead weight. In other words, if we’d continued to wrap our arms around those things that looked good from the outside, but didn’t feel good on the inside, then we would not be in the place we are now.
And regardless of where we are now, I want you to know that every transition and transaction comes with work. There will be painful moments. There will be uncomfortable moments. But the key is in remembering why you’re doing it.
Summer 2019 – 12 Months Later
When we started 2019, our word for the year was “release.” Without even knowing all the releasing that was going to happen to us. We’ve released relationships, conversations and material things.
“It’s been a learning process. I’ve learned more from these unforeseen scenarios than I have from any book.” – Gerald
For Gerald, working through the process of downsizing and releasing has been tough at times. And it’s challenged his faith. We went through a lot moving from a 6,000 plus square foot house to an apartment, then to a hotel room and finally to a house again.
All the trials and tribulations that happened with each move, from people taking advantage of us to our space being cramped, have pushed our faith and forced us to lean on each other.
“As much as I want to lean on God, I also need somebody physical that I can talk to and communicate with when things get challenging.” – Gerald One of the biggest challenges we had was with our movers. These movers took advantage and by the time all was said and done, we’d paid 3x the amount they’d initially quoted us. And that increase in cost came up after they already had our stuff.
That’s when I started to do some research and discovered this happens often. Families have lost all of their possessions because in route movers have doubled, tripled, quadrupled the price and people can’t pay so the moving company will claim possession of their stuff. I couldn’t believe this was actually a thing, but it happens every day to people nationwide.
As for us, we have faith, but we also save correctly so when things do happen, we’re prepared and can push through even though it’s a challenge. And we’re so fortunate we chose to downsize and cut our expenses, almost in preparation for what was to come.
What if we hadn’t downsized? Or if we had let other people’s perceptions of our downsize stop us from downsizing?
Downsizing material possessions is no different than downsizing relationships. What happens is this:
We like to romanticize a relationship or an object based on what it used to be and not whether it is currently serving us – and that’s a problem.
Releasing people, releasing beliefs and releasing things – we’ve done all of that in the last 12 months and we’ve realized through it all that it has deepened our bond as a family. Gerald and I are working together again, we’ve deepened our connection with our daughter and we know that we’d not be where we are today if we hadn’t downsized.
There’s a lot that’s happened in the last 12 months and we do still wholeheartedly believe this:
Downsizing is a necessary part of maximizing.
Now, I’d love to hear from you. Have you thought of downsizing? Have you already done it? If so, how has it gone for you and what lessons have you learned?