Downsizing Day Coming?

We just got back from our Florida snowbird experiment and we really enjoyed ourselves. We stayed at a terrific villa in a sprawling Orlando resort complex. The weather was great for the most part, we met up with a lot of friends, and we enjoyed many of the fun things to do.

While the villa is just a fraction of the size of our home in Minnesota, it was terrific for our needs. Two bedrooms, living room, dining room, kitchen, two baths, laundry, and a sunny screen porch. It even had a big jacuzzi tub in the master bath. I’m guessing the total square feet were less than 1K, but it fit like a glove for our needs – even when we had people come visit us for 6 of the nights we were there.

Coming home, it’s making me wonder if it is time to more seriously explore downsizing? This morning, as I was carrying laundry across the house, from our bedroom to our laundry room, I commented to my wife on what a (relatively) long walk it was. We’ve enjoyed having a bigger house – especially as cold as it is in MN – but living in the smaller villa was a useful lesson in living with less.

We built our house 10 years ago and our expectation was that we would live there at least until our son graduated from college. That’s just months away at this point. Our original long-term plan was to sell the house after he moved out and ‘split’ the equity with a smaller place in MN and a sunny getaway in FL or AZ.

Since our son moved to an apartment last year – and stopped coming home for the summer – we’ve been informally discussing that plan.

Coming back from our snowbird experiment – and expecting that we will do it again next year – means the discussion will likely escalate in 2020. We’re not in a hurry – this decision could easily stretch out a few years – but I think we’ve ‘arrived’ at the point where we at least need to develop a plan.

How did you start considering downsizing? What were or will be the triggers for you?

Image Credit: (c) MrFireStation.com

9 thoughts on “Downsizing Day Coming?

  1. Wanting to live in an RV and travel kind of forced our hand on the downsizing. But we also moved from a 3500 sq ft home to a 1500 sq ft. Townhouse 7 years ago and that was one of the best changes we ever made.

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    1. I couldn’t imagine getting down to just 1.5K, but the snowbirding rental really surprised me. It ‘fit’ well. Now getting down to an RV? Can’t imagine that – ! Although the freedom to travel is amazing I’m sure!

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      1. We have under 400 sq ft of living space in the RV. But it is more than enough to be very happy and comfortable and we have everything our house does Including a residential refrigerator, 4 tv’s and 1 1/2 baths. And the best part is we can take it all with us everywhere we go. There are pics on our site if your interested.

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  2. Lol! I’ve been waiting for this post ever since you mentioned your snow birding experiment! We are in the Florida Keys for the month of March, and love it down here (we live in the eastern mid-Atlantic US). We’ve been snow birding for six years in Florida. I had the same plan as you…eventually sell the larger home back north, split it into a townhouse on a lake back home and a beach condo in Florida. We still haven’t pulled the trigger yet, but keep running the math. I honestly think we will fall somewhere in the middle. Keep the larger home and continue renting warm snow birding spots. We’ve owned a vacation home in the past and couldn’t wait to sell it, due to the added worries of maintenance, taxes, insurance, etc.. We’ve found a sweet spot of renting houses for a month or two, and like the option of being able to do a certain location for a few years, and still being able to switch to a new location at the drop of a hat. Let someone else worry about the head aches of maintenance, insurance, taxes, etc.! Just rent the snowbird location(s) and have a hundred of them if you choose! We may eventually down size our 20 acre/5k sqft lake home to a lake condo or townhome as we age, but for now, it’s still “home” for the kids to come back during the holidays. Eventually, I’ll get tired of mowing 20 acres, but for now…It remains our “forever home”, but we do love Florida in the winter…Why not have the best of all worlds!

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    1. Yep – you predicted we would love it, Thom. Like you, I’m not real keen to buy into a second property. Maybe stay 6 weeks next year and split the time between the gulf coast and Orlando area? I’d like to rent for awhile before making a decision. One issue is whether we drive down or fly down and rent a car. Driving down will add time, but save a lot of money. It’s a 25 hour drive from MN.

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      1. Twenty-five hours is definitely a long drive. We do it, but only have seventeen hours, so we’ve looked for nice spots to stop a day or two along the way and have learned to enjoy the drive. This year (last week) we stopped for several days and caught up with old friends who now live near Olando, FL. It’s relatively easy when you have the time to enjoy the trip. Good luck, all good options to have!

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  3. Hi. We did the downsize up north and vacation snowbird house in Florida for all of 2 years…. and now are planning a full move to Florida. I found that I did not like the half n half lifestyle. It didn’t allow me to set solid roots in either place. I love our season tickets up north but found we ended up missing (giving away) a lot of show tickets; planning things in both places – from activities with friends to various doctor’s appointments – became a “will we be here or there” on-going dialogue. Hubby really, really wants to live here in Florida and I am more active when we are here, so it’s a good thing for me as well. I’ll miss the seasonal changes, but it has been quite cool this past month here… I even wore my winter coat the other evening!

    The trigger for us was Hubby’s younger brother passing away… and living in Florida full-time is one of his few articulated “dreams”. The money will totally NOT work out, since we just downsized up north and will be selling that way sooner than planned (roof repair work does not pay out in 2 years). But I’ve aligned mentally to that – to meet his dream.

    I also know now that any plan can change. So if in a few years, I find I need a northern get-away for the heat of summer, I can look at places to “heat bird” – haha! Like Michigan or Maine or the Northwest or Vancouver.

    Yes, planning to get rid of a lot of stuff for northern living is a huge undertaking. Plus, we are downsizing yet once again… and this time the hit is really on storage. No basements and attics in Florida! The next few months will be challenging.

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    1. Wow – going full-in! My uncle and aunt did that 18 months ago and love it. We visited with them when we were down there. They are from Wisconsin originally and come up to visit in the summer time and at Christmas.

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