There are many things that I would like to do, and one of them is to live simply. That can mean a lot of things to a lot of different people. About a year ago I stumbled upon the blog Gone With The Wynns, and I became completely fascinated. Here was a couple in their thirties, along with their two cats, living the nomadic lifestyle. Their house is an rv, all their possessions travel with them, and if they want to they can park themselves in Florida or Alaska.
It seems like a dream to me. The caveat is that they have careers that allow them to work from anywhere (very important to a nomadic life), and they don’t have children. There are plenty of people with children who are nomads though in this exact same way, I’ve even visited blogs where one family just had a baby to add to their family of five.
I can’t imagine doing that long term with kids, and I know for us traveling year round with kids is not even a remote possibility. It isn’t something that my family would be willing to consider. And I’m sure after about a month, I’d probably be calling uncle trapped in 75 square with an 8 and 12 year old. But after the children have gone off to college? Yeah, maybe.
So simplifying to the point of living in an rv isn’t an option for us. But what about simply living smaller and smarter? The Tiny House movement is fascinating to me. It’s ten balls of crazy and awesome all in one. A true Tiny House is usually defined by being on wheels and under 100 square feet, which is not realistic for us either. There are ways to downsize and simplify though, and that’s what I want to focus on doing.
Moving to London in a few (okay 5 ish) months is going to help me towards that goal. We live in a big 3,300 square foot suburban home. Their are 5 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms, two living rooms and a formal dining room. Do we need so much space? No, we don’t. Like I learned, and really connected with, in this video – a Tedx Talk by ManvsDebt – I don’t need all this crap. Even though we just upsized less than a year ago (and boy is hindsight a royal pain in the ass), I’m realizing that with this move to London, where we will be forced to most definitely live with less, and in less, and that it is a wonderful thing. Sure, my house is very pretty, and big, and impressive. But it doesn’t really feel anymore like a home than the last place that was 600 square feet smaller. And obviously had we had any inkling that just six months after buying this house we’d be offered a job in London, we would not have moved. We thought this would be the last stop until the kids went off to college, and then we’d sell up, move downtown, and enjoy condo living, just the two of us.
We’ve had to debate whether to sell or keep this house and rent it out, and we are torn. Selling it means we will definitely be losing money we invested when we bought it. But selling means no more connection to something we really aren’t sure we want. We still own a home in Kentucky, and through some wonderful stroke of luck, we have kept the same renters for the last four years, and really feel like we won the tenant lottery. They’ve lived in that house longer than we did. Would we love to sell that house? Absolutely. Is that even remotely possible in the incredibly depressed KY economy? No, it’s not really realistic unless we pay to walk away from it. We make no money, in fact we lose out about $400 a year between paying for pest services and the HOA. All we want it to break even and walk away without spending more than $5.
Let’s live simply.
When we move to London, we do not plan to get a car (let alone the American two we have now), we will live in a smaller space, forcing us to really think about what comes with us, what will go to storage (because some things simply will go to storage), and what will just be set free to be enjoyed by someone else. I know a true Tiny House is not for us. I also know that a huge house like we have now is not for us. It has to be somewhere in the middle. Living in London will let us see what we really can live without. I’m hoping this will be a very good thing. I’m ready to let go of things. I’ve been practicing letting go of things I no longer wear (you have to start somewhere right?) I use services like ThredUP.com to sell my old clothes, and Goodwill for things that need to be donated. Since we moved into this house last May, we have done an incredible job of getting rid of things. I think that has led me to see that we didn’t need so much space to begin with. We simply needed a space that functioned the way we wanted, and we didn’t have that. I know now that going bigger isn’t the way to get the function I was looking for. Because with that function (better living room space which is truly where we all live), I ended up with a lot of space we don’t use, we don’t need, and simply can’t even think how to use. (I have many kitchen cupboards that don’t have more than one item in them.)
Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.
I am going to spend the next few months reducing, and recycling a lot of things. I’m hoping that the items we send to storage will be few (we know items like grandma’s china, my wedding dress, and some appliances have to go to storage. It’s not logical, or useful to take them with us.) When we move back to the US (if indeed we do after our two years, or maybe we continue on to somewhere else), I want our experience in London to have taught us to live with less. To live simpler. To just be.