Over the past few years, I'm sure you've heard the recurring refrain to simplify, de-clutter, de-stress, downsize, rightsize, prioritize and make time for the more important things. And while I'm as appreciative as the next person of a healthy, home-cooked meal, or quiet time with my family, a surprising area where I've seen many families and couples simplifying is in the homes they're buying.
And it's not just empty-nesters and retirees. I'm seeing a growing trend of families with young children choosing smaller homes or condos. They tell me they're looking for smaller places so they can spend more time with their family and less time raking, mowing the lawn or shoveling; so they can walk their kids to school, the library or the playground; so they can be closer to their kids' friends; so they can put that additional money into family vacations, extra-curricular activities and education funds or work fewer hours to be home for dinners and sports games.
I did a little surfing, and according to Web MD, downsizing can be one way to reduce stress in your life. Realtor.com points out a smaller home is one of the most effective ways to lower housing and energy costs -- lower mortgage payments, lower utility bills, resource conservation, less footage to clean, tidier and easier to maintain, less yard maintenance and simpler overall living. With all those benefits, they remark "while the word 'downsizing' sounds like a choice to diminish what you've worked so hard to achieve, in some cases it can actually be viewed as upgrading."
As the caretaker of a large, lovingly-restored historic farmhouse (circa 1800) with a big yard, I'm very aware of how much time and energy it takes to maintain, so I see their point. What about you? Are you taking steps to simplify your life? Is moving to a smaller home part of your plan? What impact do you project it would have on your lifestyle?