life money work

Downsizing: house edition

After the husband launched his writing career, he found himself highly motivated to be able to keep writing. The original plan was for him to take six months off to write a novel, and then return to the daily grind while he shopped it around to get published.

Six months, because that is how long I calculated our savings would last at our expenditure rate.

But a funny thing happens when you are highly motivated to keep writing: there’s a whole lot of budget analysis and soul-searching to figure out what’s really important.

And you know what wasn’t actually important to either of us? Home ownership.

But … it’s the American Dream!

But it’s also a whole lot of work. Yard work, house cleaning, figuring out how to fix stuff when it breaks or else hiring someone to fix stuff when it breaks. And all that stuff adds up: it’s time and/or money you can’t use to do other things that, let’s be honest, are way more fun. (Ok, I get there are some people out there who love mowing their lawn? I guess that’s a thing neither I nor my husband inherited …)

I wasn’t sold on the idea of apartment life when the husband floated the idea. I thought back to my college days of cinderblock walls and 20-year-old, filthy carpet. I looked around at my custom-built home with acres of wood floors. And I didn’t think I could take that plunge.

But, y’all: there’s a whole big world of apartments out there! With (faux) wood floors and actual tile. With upgraded appliances, open kitchens and floor-to-ceiling windows. With garages. With pools that you don’t have to maintain! With gyms! With fancy clubhouses for entertaining your friends! With package lockers, so no need to worry about porch bandits!

So we took that plunge, downsized from 3200 square feet to 1200. We got rid of 2000 square feet of … well, stuff. Stuff that we acquired for the sole purpose of filling up our American Dream. The American Dream that everyone told us was our dream, but … when we really thought about it … wasn’t the dream that made sense for us.

I know the apartment life isn’t for everyone. But for us? With no kids? With our serious lack of handy man skills? With our desire to live in a clean place but without a great love for cleaning? (Seriously, 1200 square feet is so. fast. to. clean.) With a desire for a pool, but no desire to change in a locker room or drive home wet … or the desire to maintain one?

It’s a pretty sweet gig. For us. No diminishment in happiness. A lot of time and energy freed up for the stuff we love!

And: it allowed the husband to get our budget into shape, so now he can focus on the writing. (Fourth book is out later this year!! Three years later with 4 published works? That’s some serious focus.)

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