This topic hasn’t come up for a while on this blog, but the other day I listened briefly to a family’s story of how they are trying to simplify and decided to rent. Even though their story sounded quite interesting, I didn’t listen too long, because I had many thoughts going through my head. “Oh, I did it differently, will I feel like I did it wrong?” I also started thinking about our process of elimination and how we came to our conclusion for the house we bought.
What I want to do with this post is give you a set of questions, very similar to the ones we went through for ourselves, and how we discovered our current house is the right one for us. I also want to point out the privilege it is to have bought a home. I’m not so much pointing it out for you, but it’s something we really try to keep in mind…that we had a choice whether we wanted to buy, rent, downsize, upsize. We don’t overlook that.
Often when I read the “how to simplify” posts I hear about downsizing. To rent, buy a tiny home, or at least buy a smaller home. Those are all fantastic, all things we’ve talked about, and what I’ll do is jot down a list of possible home options with pros and cons. Then I will include some questions to think about.
Renting: It gives you the ease of NO WORK. No yard work...can call a landlord if anything goes wrong. This gives you more free time to do fun things. The downside is the government really incentivizes owning a home. Additionally, since Covid and the printing of new money, the dollar has lost some of its steam and it’s a good idea to own assets, like a home. I hope I’m not getting too financial here, but I am married to a financial analyst and we both think about long term pros and cons of where we put our money :) So if ease of life is more important to you, renting could be a fantastic option. If investment of money is more important, it may not be the route for you.
Tiny Home: We were ALL ABOUT THIS! We would watch all the shows about tiny homes and dream of how we’d sell all our stuff and live there. A tiny home is probably a bit more of a bonus for those who do not have kids, because as much simplifying you can do and decluttering, kids still require stuff. Tiny Homes are great because they allow you to release what you don’t need, live with everything you love, and also many people can pay them off quickly so you have no housing payments. The downside of them is you still need to buy land, traveling with them is not quite as easy as an RV (this was a con for us) and the overall investment still comes in under owning a home. Yet, it’s great option to live with no housing payments…who wouldn’t want that?!
Smaller Home: Oh, how we wanted a smaller home. It actually came down to a smaller home, and then the current home we decided to buy. It was SO close. Smaller homes are great because they cost less, give you less space to fill with stuff, and because they are smaller typically give you less stuff to have to fix. One con, which might be specific to our family, is some families need more space because of work situations. This has become a situation for Alan and I since Covid. We both need private rooms for work. Other than that, there are a ton of benefits for buying a smaller home. Living with less can be so freeing!
City Living: I feel like I keep saying, “Oh this was what we thought we were going to do…” It’s true, we seemed to talk about so many options. This was our plan for moving, to live in the city. You get the benefit of owning a home, but much less yard work. You can also walk to parks, coffee shops, markets, and restaurants. City culture is also pretty cool with much more diversity! Some downsides are the parking (this ended up being Alan’s dealbreaker, no lie!) and if school systems are a part of your equation that’s something to keep in mind.
I know there are more housing options out there, (like house-sharing, homesteading) but these are the main ones we talked about. Other than buying and RV and traveling the country for a year, those were the ones we considered the most. So, let’s dive into some processing questions if you’re trying to think of what options fits you best:
1) What’s most important to me out of a housing option? Easy with no maintenance? In a neighborhood? Location? Good investment?
2) What are my specific needs? Example: we needed space for both of us to work from home, I also wanted a private entrance for my potential therapy practice. Also, I wanted a space for a vegetable garden. List those types of specifics!
3) Have I been set in simplifying meaning one set type of housing?
4) Is there any way I need to let go of the expectations and opinions of others?
5) What does your gut tell you is right for you? Note: sometimes pros and cons lists are great, but sometimes you really need to just tap into your internal guide. If you want help with this, an old post of mine has an activity that can help you tap into that.
At the end of the day, you win and lose with each and every option. Saying “yes” to one good option means saying “no” to something else. Sometimes that reality can be hard. Yet if you might be like me at times... wanting to “do things right”... you might really benefit from tapping into your heart and that internal guide. Simplifying your life, at least in my book, is narrowing down on your values and living intentionally. It’s not following “how-tos.” Frankly, I think rule books have kept people stuck for too long. It’s shifting our perspective on the stuff we own and also the mindset’s that have owned us. Happy rooting, everyone!