Mark Twain wrote, “I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.” In other words, it’s often the trouble in our minds that cause us the most anguish. This conceit can be very true for those of us looking to downsize. We create so many stories about all the trouble that could happen when we downsize, that we fail to realize these troubles are often stories or easily surmounted challenges. We fail to realize that many people through the ages have lived happily with far less than we have, in spaces far smaller than we live in. And not only might a smaller home with less stuff not be awful, we might even like it.
That said, there are a number of oft-heard arguments that can present barriers to living a life with less space and stuff. We thought we’d present a few and ways you might deal with them.
Problem: “How many square feet is that?” Sometimes the hardest part of downsizing is talking about it. Most people can’t comprehend that living in a smaller space with less stuff could possibly be a choice. It’s something you do because you’re broke and have no better place to live.
Things become even more difficult when other people’s questioning becomes our own. We start thinking, “Are they right? Am I crazy? I need more space! I can’t live without my ______. What am I thinking?”
Solution: Don’t bring it up as an issue to people who might not understand. If you go on Tiny House chat board, people will admonish you for living in a space bigger than 250 sq ft. Most Europeans live in a fraction of the space Americans do. Not everyone has the same orientation to space, and to many (read: Americans) a small apartment or home doesn’t mean intentional downsizing, it means downgrading. Don’t get into it. Don’t mention square footage. Don’t get defensive if you do. Talk to friends who understand. Read this blog more. We support you. You’re making a choice that’s right for you!