Several people have asked for an update on our big, small move. It is important to point out that one size does not fit all. My size is not your size. Nor am I writing this to judge your size or suggest a size for you. My intention for myself and in sharing my story is that we all may be more mindful of our size.
I like the term, “Rightsizing.” I have spent much of my adult life trying to find my rightsize. Our first home was a 10×30 mobile home – at the time, I thought it was too small. It was too small for all my stuff. I was operating from the paradigm that I needed lots of stuff and more space for my lots of stuff.
We moved to a 1,200 square foot two-bedroom, two-bath condo. It was a perfect size for our stuff, and unfortunately not our ego.
So, we did the backend-first approach and bought the biggest house we could afford. At 24 years of age, we bought a 5,000 square foot Victorian mansion. And my intention was to fill every nook and cranny. I did not have one conscious thought that this was wasteful or not necessary. It felt like The American Dream to me. And then the reality set it, and it was everything but freedom. We were slaves to our home in one way or another. It was all the more reason to work overtime and all the more excuse not to do what we wanted because we had another house project.
What we came to realize is that with a big house comes big bills and big time. Let me clue you in on a lesson I learned: All 5,000 square feet need to be cleaned, even when you only use 1,200. I remember, cuddled in a sweatshirt looking at a $700 gas bill, thinking this is insanity. This was definitely not my rightsize. I have been slowly and steadily reducing ever sense.
The next two houses were quite sufficient and ordinary by most accounts, probably what you would expect of a family of 5 in middle-class Midwest. And, we have 5 rooms that we seldom use, along with all the stuff for those rooms we seldom use.
Once we made our latest decision to move, I gave myself a one year timetable to contemplate the rightsize for our family. With my Think Big, Live Small mindset, I am methodically working my way through our current house – reducing, reusing, and recycling. The children are engaged and embracing the freedom that comes with less stuff, too.
We have decided the rightsize for us is at the intersection of freedom and humanity: the freedom to do what we love without being a slave to a house, and the social responsibility to take less and give more. It is a matter of simplifying so we can keep what matters most at the heart-center of our lives. We already have a life of plenty.
I share my story to show the journey. This was not a quick and easy process; this has been and continues to be slow and mindful. If my learning curve speeds up yours, then I have served my purpose. Rightsizing is not a destination, but a lifestyle. It is ever-evolving, ever-becoming.
We had our first meeting with the builder and third with the architect this week: Are you sure you don’t want to stub out a bathroom in the basement? What about making the basement a walk-out, just in case? I thought you have three children – don’t see much sharing bedrooms by choice?
Don’t misread this. We won’t be living on 49 items or eating from one bowl, and I am not taking service for 20 either. Just trying to find my rightsize and help my children find theirs. It will not look the same as yours because contrary to popular belief, one size does not fit all.
If you are trying to find your rightsize, you may want to check out the neighborhood of freedom and humanity. It’s a great investment opportunity.