ACCORDING TO THE LATE George Carlin, all you need in life is “a little place for your stuff.” Unfortunately, that’s just what keeps most people from downsizing to a smaller space: They have too much “stuff.”
It wasn’t until I downsized myself that I experienced the terrific liberation that comes with living in a smaller space.
For 16 years, my husband and I and our two children lived in a 6,800-square-foot house in Greenwich, Connecticut. Over those years, we entertained, did a good deal of cooking and had a very active home. But our children moved on, and the house became excessively large for just the two of us. In addition, the house was on 2½ acres and was starting to feel very isolated with our empty nest.
My husband and I knew it was time to move on.
As a family, we’d accumulated lots of things that we thought we would keep forever — letters our children wrote to us on open school nights, birthday cards, books, memorabilia. They all seemed very precious at the time. When we made the decision to move out of our much-too-big house to a small, very cozy one, we quickly discovered that we had so many more things than we used or needed.
Figuring out what to do with all of it was the biggest challenge. But we made the choice to free our life from all of the “stuff” and move on to a far more pared-down, happy life.
We moved to a 1,400-square-foot house close to town, much more convenient to shopping, restaurants and movies. It was exciting to move to a smaller space and, in retrospect, I wish we’d made the move years before. Like most of the homeowners featured in “Downsize: Living large in a small house,” life is happier for us in a smaller space, rid of all that excess baggage and responsibility that comes with a large house.
Having experienced the positive energy that comes with downsizing, it was gratifying to hear the same from many of the homeowners I interviewed. I’m hoping that the downsized homes these people have created will inspire others to consider all the possibilities that come with living in a smaller space.
Downsizing gave all of the owners profiled in my book an opportunity to rethink their priorities, their styles and their needs. Smaller does not mean less comfortable or less attractive. In so many cases, these smaller homes have created a new and better beginning for the owners.