Hi, we are Dirk and Eelke, A Dutch couple, who moved to Canada 3.5 years ago with our three cats and 6 suitcases. Our first encounter with downsizing was the move to Canada. In the Netherlands, we lived in a pretty huge three-story apartment, which enabled us to gather a lot of things. Moving to the other side of the world forced us basically to sell all of our possessions, which wasn’t too hard for us as most of it is replaceable.
It took us about 8 weeks to get rid of everything. We sold on Craigslist, Ebay, flea markets and we organized a house sale where friends and family could come over and buy whatever they’d like to have. We only kept the irreplaceable stuff like photos etc. and stored that with family.
Back then we did not really look at it as downsizing, but the effects of the process became very clear. We ended up with 4 suitcases and 2 backpacks full of clothes, cameras, and laptops. Having so little “possessions” gives you only so little to worry about.
Once we arrived in Vancouver we found a 600ft apartment downtown, which felt quite empty without any furniture. So, we started buying stuff again like furniture, kitchen equipment, sound systems etc. After one year of living in Vancouver, an incredibly expensive city, we started to become a little obsessed with tiny houses and were brainstorming about buying an old yellow school bus. Reducing your life to the essentials felt like the right thing to do for us. Instead of buying a school bus, we ended up buying a Class A ’87 motorhome and started to renovate it for full time living.
After two months we moved into our new tiny home, which we stuffed completely with our things, as it was hard to determine what we could do without. The motorhome has everything we consider essential; a kitchen, bathroom, bedroom with queen size mattress, furnace, a lot of windows, a living room and even air-conditioning.
We have been together for 9 years thus know how we are together. Some people might be scared to live in a small space with someone else because you might not have the option to escape each other. To be honest, we feel we have more ways to escape than ever before. We can close the door to the bedroom, just as we could in our apartment, but now we also have the option to go outside for a walk or sit in the sun reading a book. It’s heaven for us.
After a while living in the RV, we still felt that we had too much stuff that we were not using frequently enough. That was when we stumbled upon the “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”, a book about reducing your possessions by Marie Kondo. This book opened our eyes and since then we regularly reevaluate our possessions and sell or donate what we don’t need.
Now, you might ask yourself, why should you give up the big space you live in and all the possessions you have if there is no evident need to do so. You might say to yourself, you make enough money to pay for all these nice things.
For us it has never been a necessity to downsize. We asked ourselves what we are living for. To work, pay rent or a mortgage? Buy stuff that makes you happy for a moment and then gets forgotten? It was that question that made us realize that downsizing is a vehicle that we could use to achieve the goals that were important in our lives. By reducing your footprint, you reduce the need for money or better said your fixed costs. If you achieve to reduce those you are able to live with less. Downsizing is a facilitator. You do not need to be a hippie to do it. It can be applied to everyone in every situation.
For us, it meant less clutter in our home, less clutter in our head. Less fixed costs, more savings, which enabled us to travel with our home and cats. we personally consider that the biggest luxury. By downsizing, we actually made our lives richer, more meaningful and less stressed.
If you want to learn more about how we live you can view a video of our home.
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