Something big is happening in our lives in the coming few weeks and months. Levi and I have decided to make some major changes in an effort to simplify our lives and cut back on the non-essentials that are causing us nothing but stress and worry.
Let’s start at the start.
Almost five years ago we purchased a home that was much too big for the (then) just two of us. We bought a house that was in a great area and had a great layout and a great yard. All good things. All things I loved and still do love about this house. We spent the better part of three (nearly four) of the last five years slowly renovating the house inch by inch until absolutely nothing stayed untouched or unchanged. We did this, I am quite proud to say, without going into debt; which is why it took so long to complete.
We have been living in a completely finished home now for just over a year. The last of the major work was done a couple weeks before Jonas was born on December 30, 2014. We have enjoyed hosting a few outdoor BBQ’s, dinner parties and social events in our fully finished home.
Throughout the course of the past year though a lot has changed in our lives. We purchased a second home so that my aging mother and step-father could come live nearby. We spent a very busy November renovating their place so they could move in on December 1.
Meanwhile our business has experienced a couple of financial setbacks that have required us to embark on a long and miserable road of legal battles in order to be paid for work that we have done.
The timing of all of this couldn’t be more terrible. As the economy shifts and changes here (hello $7 cauliflower), it makes us hyper-aware of how we are spending our money, what we are saving, and whether or not our investments are stable. Of course, with both Levi and I having been raised with less than most of our peers, we aren’t strangers to hard times. We also try very hard to make it our aim not to be ruled by riches and not to be overly concerned with or reliant on material things. (Matt. 6:25, 33)
As 2015 was coming to a close, we were thinking about what is truly important to us. Always it was making sure that we were spending as much time as we could with our son, Jonas. When we talked about how the last few months got away on us and where we wished things would improve it continued to become clearer to us that things had to change if we wanted to keep doing more to reach the goals we had.
I haven’t posted here in a while but to complain about how busy I am. I felt like I was constantly complaining to everyone about how busy I was. I hardly had a social life anymore and each day I felt burnt out. That in itself is a good indicator of just why this endeavour is essential to our well-being.
We sat down and discussed what it was that we could change that would help us improve our quality of life to give us more time for the more important things. Like reading about cats with my son.
When I had to think honestly about where my time was going each day it made me realize that a lot of it was spent constantly cleaning a house that was too big for us.
I asked Levi what he would think about selling this house that we worked so hard to finish and fix up just the way we liked it. It wasn’t even something he had to think over much. He already had wanted to sell the house in the summer but I wasn’t ready. So with much prayerful consideration we have decided to downsize considerably and refocus our time, money and efforts on things that are more rewarding to us.
Serendipitously, the home we purchased for my parents to rent from us has a brand new basement suite that we put in, in order to get some extra revenue to help pay for the mortgage. Levi put the finishing touches on it at the end of December, literally a day before we decided to consider selling our house.
We started the process of moving some of our essentials to the basement suite early in January and have been slowly making it our new home, at least until we decide what we want to do. We may purchase another house at some point. We may decide to spend more time travelling abroad part time. We might just stay in the basement suite indefinitely and enjoy having less financial strain and fewer time constraints.
Downsizing from an 1600+ square foot two-storey split-level home with three bedrooms, four bathrooms and three living spaces to a 900-ish square foot two bedroom, one bathroom basement suite has not been completely easy. We have a lot of stuff to get rid of! The majority of our big furnishings are still at the house while it is for sale so that it looks pretty.
Side note: You can see more pictures and a really great 3D tour here. I feel like for safety’s sake, I need to say something like ‘Don’t go breaking into my house because you think it’s unoccupied.’ But seriously, don’t. Not only is there a security system and my hyper-alert neighbours, but there’s also not much there worth stealing anyways, unless some of my cool food props and dishes are of interest to you.
Most exciting for me about this downsizing, so far anyway, is going from cleaning 4 bathrooms down to cleaning just one.
I believe there is real value in living simply and I am keen to have this kickstart in the right direction. I am going to be chronicling our simple living journey as much as I can here. I should have a tiny bit more time on my hands if all goes to plan.