Lifestyle

Downsizing… My Exercise in Minimalism

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Piestewa Peak, Phoenix, Ariz.

This Christmas will be one to remember. There was no epic trip for me — instead, I spent the better part of the holiday weekend packing, cleaning, and moving.

I downsized from my 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom, 1,600 square foot house and moved into a studio — henceforth referred to as “the casita” — of just 430 square feet in historic downtown Phoenix.

The background

When I bought my house in 2013, I was in a relationship at the time. We thought the house would be a perfect starter home. I actually used my wedding fund as a down payment. (Oops. Guess that turned out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy.) The house was convenient to his workplace (read — the area wasn’t my first choice) and a step in the right “direction” (read — status upgrade: yard, 2-car garage, the proverbial white picket fence). But that relationship dissolved, and then I was stuck with a large-ish house to myself in a neighborhood I didn’t LOVE. Still, it was my house, which I had a lot of pride in. So I Airbnb’ed the guest room to supplement the mortgage, and made significant upgrades, like remodeling the master bath and kitchen. I made it something comfortable, modern and attractive.

So, then, why did I leave it behind?

The impetus

I realized this, after spending 4 weeks in Europe with everything I needed in a single backpack and feeling completely and utterly fulfilled with what I had: the weight I placed on material things was terribly misguided. Not only that, but if so many others in this world can get by without the square footage, the 30 necklaces, and the gorgeous matching stone baking dishes that are collecting dust in my kitchen cabinets… why can’t I?

And so, after getting back home, I began my exercise in minimalism. Cocktail dresses and platform heels to the consignment store. Gold jewelry to the pawn shop. Hand me downs to my niece. Three bins of clothing to Goodwill. And then I put my house on the rental market and began the search for my new temporary home.

The result

I had a number of rental inquiries on my property, which will be rented until end of March if not longer. I was referred to a wonderful family who just remodeled their casita and was looking for a responsible renter. Moving was relatively quick and painless, since I couldn’t take more than one-eighth of my closet with me. I’m now in a new neighborhood in walking distance of many parks, bars, and coffee shops, an artsy and historic area I’m excited to explore. I’ll end up making a modest profit. It came together perfectly.

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I may be losing access to possessions (clothes, shoes, jewelry), convenience (fancy kitchen appliances), and physical space (that required extra cleaning), but I’ll gain so much more from this experiment: freedom from an attachment to material things.

I’m sure I won’t miss these things. Except, maybe, the dishwasher.

<< UPDATE: VIDEO TOUR ADDED! >>

P.S. I have at least three months in the casita. I’ll check back in with you as this experiment goes on. Plus, if you’re local to downtown Phoenix, I’d love your recos. 🙂

6 thoughts on “Downsizing… My Exercise in Minimalism”

    1. Thanks Jack! I really think it’s something that some of us experience who have a lot – that things don’t really buy happiness – and that you can be so much happier with less.

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