One of the biggest things we learned back in 2010 when we went from having a 1700 square foot house to a 4,000+ square foot house…is that you grow to fill the space you have. PERIOD. You don’t necessarily need the space but you will fill it. We started accepting free furniture people were giving away, we started keeping things we normally would have donated, we started buying things that were REALLY GOOD DEALS that we didn’t necessarily need. And eventually? We filled all 4,000+ square feet AND the 2-car garage to the point where only ONE car could fit into it.
The garage was interesting because this picture was actually taken AFTER Donnie got rid of all of his tools. Because that’s another thing we learned, when you have room in a garage for workspace, you buy tools with the plan to use them instead of borrowing or renting. When we decided to downsize one of the first things Donnie did was be honest about the tools he had and his desire to actually use them. He got rid of table saws and tile cutters and all sorts of things that took up workshop space that we did not plan on having in the next house.
BUT WE FILLED ALL OF THE SPACE BECAUSE WE HAD IT. And I learned downsizing to 1,500 square feet that we didn’t actually need the space, we had just filled all of that space because we could.
SO WHY WAS I SURPRISED TO DISCOVER WE HAD DONE IT AGAIN?
Here’s the thing…Donnie has been wanting to rig up a system in our ONE CAR GARAGE to hang bikes for awhile now. But I’ve been hesitant because…well…it’s a one car garage and I already consider it a miracle that we got rid of enough shit that we could even fit a car in there! How in the HELL were we going to make room to hang 5 bikes?
Well…yesterday was the day Donnie decided it was going to happen because he had found a good plan for cheap hanging systems online and his brother was available to help. SO! It was up to me to make the space and I did NOT think it was possible because WE ARE ALREADY AT MAXIMUM CAPACITY IN THERE.
Except we weren’t, actually. I got rid of some things but mainly? I just reorganized a lot of what we had. Sometimes the growing you do to fill a space isn’t even about stuff but about how lazy you can be about planning. If you don’t have to make use of ever inch, you don’t have to be really considerate about how you put things on shelves and in closets or lofts. Yesterday? I discovered I had been a little lazy about how I had stored things on shelves and in our loft and once I made all of that a little more compact, I was able to squeeze 3 storage shelves of stuff down to one (moved off the bike wall) and TA-DA! The wall was ready for bikes!
Basically, all of the stuff that WAS on these shelves was moved to the loft and under the work bench in the garage which was going to be cleared out with the bikes moved to the walls.
Here you can see the bikes on the walls, the space for MORE bikes, and the loft area which is also now helping prop up our giant ladder! I mean…if you had told me this was what we were going to do, I would have assumed we had gotten rid of a bunch of shit when in reality? We had not. We had just not been very deliberate about the space we were using so we had grown to fill it…because we could.
Donnie was able to get the Jeep in fine last night (although I would never trust myself to pull a car that big in!) and now we just have to figure out where to store my trike. Which is a bit too heavy to hang on a wall!
I don’t think downsizing is for everyone. And I don’t mean that to act superior, I am not someone destined for traveling because it stressed me out. Some people would get really stressed out with the discarding involved with downsizing, so I wouldn’t recommend it for everyone. But if you think it would be good for you, don’t underestimate how much you can get rid of when it’s time and don’t underestimate how good you can become at storage solutions!
Hell! I haven’t even told you guys about the closet we’re having to clear out inside our house for bathroom renovations! Donnie and I are about to share one small closet and somehow…it’s happening with little-to-no effort!
I don’t know why I keep getting surprised by how much we’re able to shrink and cram…but here we are! Shrinking and cramming even more!