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What It's Really Like to Downsize to 250 Square Feet

by LiveModern Webmaster last modified May 20, 2018 01:11 AM
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by Stephanie A. Mayberry last modified May 19, 2018

I always considered myself to be non-materialistic—a simple girl who isn't wrapped up in the things she possesses. After all, it's only stuff, right? But then I downsized. Apartments in Washington, D.C. are crazy expensive, and a handful of years ago, my husband and I needed to do something to get a bit of a break in our living expenses. For us, downsizing to a smaller place was the logical first step. So from 1,325 square feet to 875 square feet we went. I was so ready. I trained like an athlete, reading every article and book I could get my hands on. I watched every TV show on the topic (even the hoarding shows—which I'm not a hoarder—at least, I think I'm not). I approached it feeling confident, secure, and ready to tackle the task with pure logic and reason. p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px 'Helvetica Neue'; color: #454545} p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px 'Helvetica Neue'; color: #454545} But when I opened my closet to start, I felt an overwhelming panic that I was about to lose everything. You know all those TV shows where the people make downsizing look painless , even fun? That wasn't me. I had meltdowns and hyperventilated (which really made me question some things about myself). But eventually I did it. It was a complete paradigm shift for sure and I realized there's something about the stuff we collect: We want it and don't want to part with it. But—if we're all being honest with ourselves—there's some stuff we insist on keeping that we never use, or even see for that matter. It stays tucked in a drawer or closet , never seeing the light of day. At least that is how it was for me. After realizing this, I took the purging in stages and eventually found that everything I truly needed to own could fit in the back of a compact car. I realized my pots and pans, cutlery set, and coffee pot were things I actually needed… everything else was just fluff. I did eventually miss some things, but they were few and far between—a couple of books that were special to me and my extremely cool (but quite large) coffee maker. But saying goodbye to these ultimately left me feeling freer and lighter; I hadn't realized how bogged down I was. It was a simpler life, and I learned to love it. So I spent a couple of years in 875 square feet of bliss (and 875 square feet of stuff). But my three-hour commute to work in The District eventually started to wear on me. And I found the competitive, agenda-heavy environment I worked in started to feel like sandpaper against my more idealistic nature. I started having migraines, heartburn, insomnia, and anxiety. I wanted to help people, but I felt like a fish out of water. So when my branch downsized and my position was cut, I took it as a sign. I did not pursue other offers in other agencies. Instead, my husband and I chose to walk away from the six figure income and go simple—or rather simpler. I knew that there had to be more to life than what I was experiencing—and I was right. So, we decided to go tiny. Really, really tiny, as in 250 square feet of tiny. And thus Downsize 2.0 began. Even though I had gone through it before, a downsizing of that magnitude really shocked my system. I was an anxiety-ridden mess for a small portion of it but, just like the first purging experience, once I got my sea legs it wasn't so bad. Now, a little over five years after my 250-square-feet downsizing, I look around my tiny space and feel even more comfortable. Life feels so light now. The biggest lesson I learned, I believe, is that sometimes we have stuff, but sometimes our stuff has us. Downsizing allowed me to break free from all that and get back to the things that are really important. I feel free, content, and really truly happy. I have less, that's true, but I have so much more. Now I wouldn't have it any other way. Now, without further ado, the four things I realized that made downsizing so much easier. READ MORE »





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