In July of 2015 we moved from a 1,400 square foot house with 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and an oversize double garage to an 880 sq. ft. apartment. Four months later, we downsized again and moved to a 670 sq. ft. apartment. With the goals of shortening our retirement horizon and simplifying our lives, we jettisoned most of our belongings and took the plunge into an ongoing adventure in downsizing.
The Monthly Downsizer is a once-a-month post that documents our ongoing process of intentional reduction. Hang on to your seats! The first issue will be available in early November.
Highlights from the original downsize:
- Our home of 8 years
- 2000 Subaru Outback (our 1 and only car)
- My folding bike (I thought this would be a great bike to take on light rail, but it turned out the trains were often just too crowded)
- Mr. Grumby’s motorcycle and his hybrid bike
- Snowshoes and climbing equipment
Transferred to friends and family
It’s a great feeling to see your stuff being put to good use by friends and family. And if you miss any of it, you can always ask to borrow your former belongings. This has not happened to us yet, but I would like to paddle my old sea kayak again some day.
- Leather couch and chair
- Dresser and chifferobe (what the heck is a chifferobe?)
- Mountain bike
- Books and DVDs
- Giant shredder
- File cabinet
- Extension ladder
- Book case and book shelves
- 2 kayaks and kayaking gear
- Sentimental stuff will have its own post
You may ask yourselves, “What will they do for fun without the bicycles, kayaks, climbing gear, and snowshoes?”
Answer: we still greatly enjoy outdoor adventures and have 2 awesome bicycles and plenty of backpacking and camping gear. And if we want to kayak, climb Mt. Hood, spelunk, or go skijoring, there are dozens of places to borrow or rent gear. Best part? Nothing to store or buy.
Donated to the Northeast Portland Tool Library
If only every community could have such a great resource! It is rather ridiculous for every household to have multiples of tools that they only use once in a while. Maybe we’ll have readers who will be inspired to set up a similar program in their neighborhood?
- Folding ladder
- Various pruning and weeding devices
- 3 shovels
- Craftsman circular saw and sabre saw
- 2 rakes
- Vintage push mower (Mr. Grumby called it my ‘Leave it to Beaver’ mower)
Donated to Goodwill Industries
- Coffee table
- Numerous bags of clothes and shoes (oh, the waste that was committed in accumulating this excess!)
- Bed frame and box spring
- Infrequently used kitchen items
- Area rugs
- Books and DVDs
- Many other things I can’t remember
- Mountains of papers (the papers we file now fit in 2 little boxes that fit on the floor of my closet)
- Mattress (worth the small expense to keep re-usable parts out of the landfill)
- Deck stain
- Household cleaners (we are committed to buying natural products now!)
I’m sure we sent a fair number of things to the landfill as well, but that is always the last resort.
Effects on our Lives
The original downsize was both overwhelming and enlightening. Mr. Grumby and I both came away with the solid conclusion that ownership does not necessarily equal freedom. A few deep thoughts:
- No house: if we want to go live somewhere else we don’t have to worry about the angst, expense, and chaos involved with selling a house. The proceeds from our home sale are happily at work and and are earning more than we pay for our monthly rent. Look for a future post from Mr. Grumby with scintillating details.
- No car: earth-friendly and cheap transportation with many health benefits and very few inconveniences.
- Less stuff equals less responsibility equals more time equals happier Grumbys
As future editions of The Monthly Downsizer are published we will continue to explore the benefits of reducing life’s clutter.
Here’s a link to The Monthly Downsizer: October 2016