It never fails. When I share our story of downsizing to a 500 sq ft house, people say “I could never downsize,” it’s usually for two reasons: children or significant other.
Seldom do these conversations with, “Wow! You must save a lot of money.” And that surprises me since most people are in debt and many of those folks in debt have a big house kind of life like we used to live.
Anyway, I never had a great reply. Our decision was for financial reasons and we didn’t worry so much about our relationship or our children since our cats are our fur babies.
So when someone says downsizing isn’t possible because of children, I send them to Chris at Keep Thrifty. Chris can tell you all about downsizing with a family.
Since I imagine we’ll continue to have folks interested in hearing about our “tiny” house, I need to come up with a better reply than the dumbfounded look that I probably have.
So when someone says downsizing isn’t possible because s/he would “kill” his/her significant other, I’ve decided to regale them with stories of how much better our relationship has been since we downsizing.
From the moment we hit “Publish” on our first blog post, the thought of anything as taboo or off-limits went out the window. So why not talk about our relationship?
In our big house life, we weren’t happy. We weren’t happy with each other or the house or our jobs or our health or how we spent what little time we had together. We argued about stupid stuff because we were irritated about the time we spent on the house or at work and also how little time we spent together on the fun action verbs we wanted to be doing.
We invested so much time and money in crafting what appeared to be a perfect life in a nice house in a nice town that no one could have known what lurked beneath: frustration from unfulfilled desire.
Downsizing our house made us confront the stuff that consumed our lives, especially the house and the (over)remodeling we did. Neither of us liked the house or the mortgage that saddled us to it.
Related: Life After Having a Mortgage
While we liked our town, we weren’t married to it. We didn’t grow up in Lancaster County, so we didn’t think twice about relocating.
What we really wanted to be doing together was not fixing up our house. Sure, it was fun for a few months, but it quickly consumed our lives when we really wanted to be outside hiking and kayaking.
Once we started working together on a plan for our future, our relationship saw immediate improvement. Instead of it being “Garrett’s to-do list” or “Claudia’s to-do list,” it became our “let’s-get-out-of-debt-and-figure-out-a-way-to-start-traveling plan.” Today, you know this plan as “Two Cup House.”
Lacking shared goals and dreams was a big mistake in the first few years we were married. Charting the course for debt freedom and financial independence — that was the kind of plan we could both get behind, something we’d both be working toward.
We’re beyond happy today and it’s not only because downsizing our home made it possible to crush our debt. Being debt free does help — we were so stressed out before about money!
What’s more important than money is that we’re actually doing the things we aspired to do when we crafted our FIRE plan back in 2015. We strive to live FI daily, even though we aren’t FI. After work ends for the day, we’re doing all the things we said we wanted to do…together.
We seldom argue. If we do have an argument, 99% of the time it’s because we’re exhausted from working too much, which we have a propensity for doing. We aren’t even arguing about anything…we’re just too tired to be nice. (Lame excuse, but it’s the truth.)
Most of the time, we’re laughing. It’s a martini sense of humor…dry. More like a fine wine that you want to enjoy, but sometimes it’s so dry you’re thinking, “I don’t get what people see in this.” Trust the smile lines etched into our faces…we laugh a lot.
So for all those folks out there who think that their relationships would suffer in smaller spaces, I encourage you to try downsizing at least on a temporary basis and see what happens. Downsizing to a 500 sq ft house improved our relationship, so maybe it could work for you.