Downsize Me!

Yesterday I had a strange thought while considering all of the work that still needs to be done in order to sell our house. We’re planning the big move back to Washington state in the fall and there are so many questions as to where we’ll live. I have always found it fascinating when families sell everything they own to move into something small like a yurt, a ‘tiny house’ or…..a mobile trailer. These Airstreams are amazing because they are timeless classics. They are to campers what the Kitchen Aid is to electric mixers; time tested classics! Sweet, slick and affordable if you buy a vintage. People have gutted these bad boys and revamped them into sweet looking studio apartment-like dwellings.

So I spent a good part of the day researching what it might be like to pack up the family and live on the road with three children. Before you have images of kids running around wild with unkept hair, no pants and koolaid stains around their mouths who answer to names like Bubba and Candy, remember that downsizing is a huge trend right now and a lot of families are realizing they don’t need 5000 sq ft to be happy. In fact it takes a lot of your hard earned money to heat and cool a huge home. A lot of families are also realizing they want to live closer to big or small cities and not always out in the suburbs where you have to drive miles and miles just to get to the grocery store.

I have to admit that the idea of a sweet and upgraded trailer seemed very appealing to me, to the point where I was actually considering what it would mean to move us all into a trailer full time. I was seeing myself homeschooling my kids at our little table in the day time, getting outside most of the afternoon and starting a small little potted garden outside the front step. Then the reality of a rainy Washington day, stuck inside a small trailer with three kids and no where for them to run and jump hit me. A lot of families who pack up their offspring end up parking in sunny states and maybe there is a reason why. Then I wondered what we would take and what we would leave if we did this. Where would my sewing machine go? Could we ever have anyone over for dinner? Dinner???? Could I bring all of my cooking stuff? My Kitchen Aid? Would I own more than two pairs of shoes? So in the end I decided that we would likely live in a small house someday and just invest into some good camping gear.

I’m still dreaming of downsizing. We live in a small 1100 sq ft home and in a lot of ways it’s pretty small (no closet space) but in other ways we have a lot of unused space. We could totally do with less. When we have more room we often collect more stuff. Then we purge the ‘stuff’ only to give it away and then we inevitably collect more. It happens gradually but it creeps up on your subtly and slowly, like a sebaceous cyst. Well, if you ever considered hitting the open road or just parking your home somewhere pleasant for a spell, do chronicle your journey. I’m amazed that there are entire communities who join forums, hold yearly gatherings and blog about their downsized life. I find it fascinating and enticing. Maybe when the kids are grown Matt and I will sell all of our collected mementos and hit the open road. Either that or we’ll be one of those old couples who sit in lawn chairs all day and fluctuate between watering something in a garden and taking a nap….. maybe not!

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20 thoughts on “Downsize Me!

  1. oh man, we’re moving in about a month and some major downsizing is needing to happen – 2 bedroom apartment with four boys??? yikes! unless we can find something better in our price range. but the thought of downsizing and simplifying is very appealing. but then there are things i just don’t want to get rid of – books, quality toys, clothing… i don’t know where to start!!!

    • I totally hear you. I don’t feel like we have a lot but I love to have less. It’s always a question of what to downsize. I just can’t part with books. That’s the hardest one. If I haven’t worn it in 8 months or so, it’s gone. Same with shoes. Matt is a bit of a pack-rat so I have to help him let go. hehe. Keep me posted on how the move goes.

  2. funny, sam and I looked into airstreams before our move out here too.. We loved the vintage ones, Looked into ones with bunkbeds for kids, We didn’t have any idea where we were going to live or where sam would work and thought it would be a nice little home with wheels for abit but in the end had to let that dream go for now for the same reason you said, just couldn’t picture it with a bunch of little ones! On the whole “trailer” note though, they do have double wide ones that are actually pretty nice and just a small little house.. only problem is that usually they are built in not the nicest of places! maybe there are some exceptions, or you could build on abit of land or something.. is true that they are coming out with nicer versions though. And I agree, we know alot of people right now that feel they need to buy a house or have one just because they have a baby on the way or one kid and they are entitled to their own thing but Its always made me wonder..

    • I’d still like to get a small camper trailer for camping. Maybe something cheaper to just enjoy being by the ocean. I love camping and can’t wait to do it more when we get to the coast. We’ll all have to meet up in Oregon on many occasions just to get our camp on.

      • again funny you mention the camping cause literally this morning I was talking to a friend about how much we miss it and cant wait to go again soon, Camping is so fun as a family and Its one of my all time favorite things to do so it will be fun to meet up in Oregon off and on and camp by the ocean.. Im a tent girl though, for some reason it brings back fuzzy warm feelings and memories so we can bring our tent and camp next to you guys in your trailer! Will be fun..

      • No, we’ll be in a tent for quite a while. I love tenting it. The camper is a far off dream. I’d love to do it but this may be a long way off

      • ok well then tents it is! You cant beat the sleeping on earth and rock, wondering what that rustling is outside and if we’ll make it to the morning if its a bear, the cooking over fire and the smell you take home with you.. those create the amazing memories and funny stories that are timeless! It will be marvelous, and fun with the little cousins running around playing!

  3. hey.. i saw there was an incoming link to our blog from your site, so checked it out, cool!

    I kind of agree about the whole idea of downsizing with kids in the equation… that’s a scary one, small house would be my ideal at that point.

    we did downsize to an older airstream, but just the two of us, so it worked really well. I absolutly LOVED the freedom of letting go of the “stuff”… (he he though in the end not truly let go, small amount still in storage for another journey of life)

    I simply loved floating around in the airstream, it is/was amazing and freeing way of life. In the end reality sometimes comes into play, and though my business lent itself to nomad life (web designer), my partners didn’t as well…. so we are trying out caretaking. Right now living and managing a small motel in BC.

    The airstream is parked in the yard, ready and waiting for us to move on…. me gazing over at it wistfully!

    i would encourage everyone to run away from normal life for a time, no matter how it looks!

    • Thanks Kim. I’m glad you don’t mind that I linked you. I love what you guys did to the inside. I looks super cozy and modern. I would still love to do this someday but we’re expecting number three and I just can’t see it working when they are really little. I love the idea of really downsizing so I think it’s rad that you guys did this. Good luck on the motel business. Thanks for reading

  4. I cant wait to take a summer off and go to all the national parks out West. The kids would have the best time. The trick is to do it and still be downsizing. I looked into RV’s but the gas cost alone is insane plus it would be adding an RV not actually downsizing anything. Maybe a car and a borrowed camper. Anyway, we are in the midst of a big purge after collecting stuff for 3 years. I finally feel like a have the brainspace and energy to actually do it. Good on ya for tackling all this while pregnant!

  5. a). My parents bought an old school bus in 1971, tricked it out with beds and a wood stove (yes, a wood stove), moved my 1 year old brother in, and drove around the country for a few years, staying in some parts longer than others. They liked it but it was hell for my brother b/c they were never in one spot long enough to bond with friends and they were away from family. However, we have Seattle friends who have been sailing on their 40 ft. sailboat with their 4 kids in the caribbean for the last 9 months and she says it’s going great. I wonder if my bro had had siblings back then if it would have been easier on him?
    b). is that the hey cupcake airstream in Austin? I Sent Hansi there when she was visiting her brother a few months back.

    • Dang Steph, I didn’t realize you had a blog. I love it. Challah if you love french toast? Yes! That made my night. Really. It’s been a bit sucky so that made me smile. Thanks for the comment. I agree that it’s likely easier if you have siblings. I don’t know if I could even live in a huge house with just one child. I’ve really enjoyed having more around. Miss you

  6. I want to downsize, or rather, I want to increase the number of people I live with. Living alone is a waste of space, I have so much square feet just for me.

  7. Funny, Gabe and I have been drooling over a magazine we got featuring campers, talking about how great it would be to be have travel freedom. We weren’t talking about downsizing as much as going places…but hey, we came out to CA with a minivan’s worth of stuff! It doesn’t get much simpler. I am now VERY ready to be reunited with my things. I love simplicity, but I also love my dishes, my coffee table and my craft-stash!

  8. Occasionally I think about how nice it would be to lose everything in a fire. To start new with nothing. I think I would love that. Why I can’t just get rid of things myself, I’ll never know. The thought of living small is wonderful. I love it. I long for it. I want less stuff. I feel like it forces people to invest in things that are more important, like people and intelligence. Those are things that don’t take up too much space, with the exception of space in your heart. There’s TONS of room in there, I’m finding:)

    • This is really well said. Oh, and I’ll be praying that you lose everything in a fire. Just kidding. I totally hear you on keeping more stuff. When you have more it seems like there’s more to take care of and be concerned about. I find that even buying things or planning on buying things takes a lot of energy too. I actually stopped going into stores like Target because I would end up spending money on stuff that I didn’t need.

  9. I like downsizing too, but after living mega-downsized for four years or more with YWAM, literally just owning a suitcase of stuff and leaving things behind every time I moved, it’s nice for now to be able to have a few things! But we definitely have a closet full of stuff that just sits there – might be time to clear it out! I know my uncle, Jacques, bought a van and converted the inside to make it into a camper-van and it was pretty sweet. Not sure if that’s cheaper than buying one already ready to go? Fun stuff and yes, we should camp lots in Oregon. 🙂 Can’t wait for you guys to move to the West Coast – we’ll only be 10 hours away!

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