Downsizing (living simply) challenge

This has been building up for a while now, but the last 2 weeks have been an eye opener & turning point in my life. For years I’ve been striving to prove myself as an adult, to prove success & to an extent wealth. I know that sounds hideous but take a look at your life and tell me you aren’t doing the same. Living towards some social norm of house, car, family, career, nicer house, nicer car, better job. It’s a treadmill.

I looked at my life over the past 15 years and the happiest I’ve been over that time was when I was at University living in a small one bedroom flat and spending on average £40 a week total (with the exception of rent). I had no money but had no money worries. We lived in a small manageable apartment which was cheap to rent, cheap to heat, took about 20 mins to clean and not an inch of the place was unused dead money.

In contrast I now live in a 4 bedroom townhouse with my wife, I have a big driveway, garage, garden, 4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms (2 ensuite) and I employ 2 cleaners to keep the place tidy. I drive a nice car (Mercedes c230 estate) and generally live well. However I’m crippled with guilt & anxiety. Do I need all this space? Can I afford it? If my business slows down can I keep the house? What if the car breaks and I need to repair it? How about paying to travel around the world, can I afford to do that?

By contrast, when I lived in the small apartment I worried about nothing. I travelled all over the country & the world. Back then I earned less in a month than I do in a few days now, yet I’m now racked with guilt, worry & anxiety. It seems I’ve bought into “what your parents/family think you should be doing” hook, line & sinker. And I’m not happy with it.

I should be able to take weeks or months off at a time with what I now earn in contrast to my university days, yet I find myself putting flights & hotels on credit cards. Why am I doing that when I earn good money? Because I’ve got all the other stuff to pay for. I need to make sure there is enough money in my account for all the direct debits, the huge council tax bills, the massive utility bills. Yet we are still the same couple who lived off a pittance.

After a lot of talking with my wife we have decided to go back to basics. We are moving back to Manchester and selling everything. We are moving to a small appartment and using the money from selling all of our junk to clear our debt. We should be free to travel & explore again. Without running a car we will be £8k a year better off. Eight thousand pounds! We could take 4 months off a year with that saving, or go traveling for months.

I’m going to chronicle this life change over the coming months as it happens. It won’t be easy but it will be invigorating. Wish us luck and let’s say goodbye to the lunacy.

John Large

My name is John Large. I am a Web Developer, E-commerce site owner & all round geek. My areas of interest include hardware hacking, digital privacy & security, social media & computer hardware. I’m also a minimalist in the making, interested in the Tiny House movement & the experience economy along with a strong interest in sustainability & renewable energy. When I’m not tapping on a keyboard or swiping a smart phone I can be found sampling great coffee, travelling the world with my wife Vicki (who writes over at Let’s Talk Beauty) & generally trying to live my life as unconventionally as possible.

3 thoughts to “Downsizing (living simply) challenge”

  1. I think this is a great idea – I’m really looking forward to reading about the process! I sometimes read the minimalists blog and it is pretty inspiring.

    I need to do a big de-clutter and downsize too. We don’t live beyond our means by any stretch of the imagination, but I could certainly save a few hundred each month if I made a few changes!

  2. Thanks Mr Hoyles.

    I read The Minimalists blog too. Really good content. It’s got to happen. It’s only Vicki & I and we have a 4 bedroom house. It’s pretty ridiculous. We both want to travel more and work less so it seems like the only plausible option. Besides, we only use 2 rooms out of the 12 rooms we have in our house. It’s disgusting really.

    Glad you will be keeping up with the blog. Means a lot.

  3. Yeah their content is good – I have a dream of owning a small beachside hut in Cornwall one day where I can just go and take time away from the world – no TV, no phone etc. Live a very minimalist life.

    We are hoping to extend our house next year or the year after, which would be a great excuse for a huge de-cluttering!

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