Downsize to Freedom

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I have downsized once already in my life and found it to be a very liberating experience. Eventually, I accumulated all the “stuff” again over a period of years and decided to take another good, hard, look at that. Author Dame DJ has written a fantastic book about downsizing that seems to cover all of the bases and also has some great insight into motivations. After taking a look at providing for basic needs, she walks the reader through the process of selecting a new, smaller, place to live and making it their own. There are some great tips here and ones that I know I will make use of. ~ Review by TrishFLReader TOP 500 REVIEWER

Excerpt of Book Description:

A smaller home can become a bigger life.

Our possessions often end up owning us, rather than the other way around. When we live in a home where we don’t slave to sustain the payments and the maintenance, we liberate ourselves from the crushing burden of the rat race.

Author Dame DJ successfully made the journey to a small and happy home. Now she’s put together all she’s learned so you can too.

Mixing wry humor and personal anecdotes, Downsize to Freedom is your guide to a beautiful, comfortable, affordable home. A home where you can be free to truly enjoy life.

Downsize to Freedom breaks down the entire process of moving, choosing, and decorating your new, smaller home into practical, easy-to-understand tips that anyone can follow. You’ll learn how to:

• Pick your new neighborhood
• Decide what to let go (almost everything) and what to keep (the true essentials)
• Master the art of adjusting to a small kitchen with few appliances
• Eat and cook for one person
• Make the best of small shower rooms
• Keep a positive attitude despite your circumstances

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Excerpt: Invisible Wars

We are surrounded by “invisible wars” being battled in a loud but deafening silence. Examples are the class war, the race war, the cultural war and the ‘size war’! Big is beautiful and small is bijoux. It’s all down to what you can afford and what suits your lifestyle best.

The demonstration of ones’ wealth, the size of your car, handbag, ring, garden, hair, watch and so on are seen to be irrevocably representative of what we have achieved in life. We have gone into the “uberous” era of big kitchens, big garages, big bathrooms, big rooms, big handbags, big watches and rings, big boobs and big expectations.

No one boasts about the “smallest” of any of these things. The baby boomers are losing their eyesight in the millions so they cannot see “small”. The younger generation is addicted to new technology. Advertising is now so sophisticated, we hardly even notice how brain washed we have all become while this “invisible war” is being waged upon us. It’s difficult, but we have to stay objective, a bit removed, and then just play grateful.

Folks these days, who are keeping big homes are being sucked dry by large, unforgiving money eating properties. Whilst living on a diminishing income, eating discounted foods; never going out unless it’s free; drinking the cheapest wines; not servicing the car; cancelling any and every insurance policy; living in the dark; wearing clothes bought for a younger thinner person and pretending they weren’t on the bus.

The roof leaks, the carpet is fraying, fridge handles are gone, taps drip, crakes creep up walls, mould is growing, rust is spreading and the ants are now inside. Yet they keep praying the house will increase in value; praying that there will be something for the kids to inherit; praying they never have to take in lodgers and praying they can keep up the service charges.

Eventually, the constant repairs are completely unaffordable, the service charges only increase, they stop inviting guests over, being cold is now normal, and they look out at their overgrown garden while sitting in semi darkness praying that they don’t get an unexpected large bill because this is all about cash flow and too much of the cash is flowing out.

It’s a battle for survival and it’s giving the middle classes a reason to drink too much. They don’t know it, but they are bunkering down and their house is becoming a prison. People need their house to increase in value annually, because that’s what they are protecting and fighting for. But why?

So the kids can sell, fight over, squander, waste, brag about, show off, tell stories about a place they never paid for?

You won’t win this “invisible war”, but you can get off the battle field. “Downsizing” is going to be about becoming liquid, fluid, adapting, free, solvent, minimal, safer, invisible, humble, discreet, practical, unassuming, and even perhaps avoiding losing the lot in a foreclosure or a divorce. It shouldn’t be a battle. It might even be fun.

How it used to be

Many cultures all over the world are traditionally living in smallish spaces without collapsing into social chaos, popping Prozac, or shooting each other. The need for a triple garage, 4 bedrooms en suite, TV den and BBQ pit is a relatively new phenomena imported from the USA that the middle classes worldwide now seem to expect.

Historically in Europe, you had to be upper class, landed gentry or massively wealthy to even conceive of living in a spacious accommodation and the luxury that it offered. Only that group could afford to have and maintain large rooms and multiple living quarters. Without servants, it meant no fire, cut wood, cleaners, gardeners, cooks, childcare and so on for survival.

Poor people huddle, share, cooperate and help each other. It’s pure survival tactics. We however learnt how to buy, borrow and leverage over the last 25 years. We are building “castles” to show our success but we have lost the “servants”. We are the “new servants” and we now try to do everything to sustain these “castles” alone. It cannot be done!

We are so tied into the concept of “your home is your castle”. It seems madness at best, or socially embarrassing to admit to a downsize move. In the USA it’s a reason for suicide. In France ‘c’est practique’

But conditions are changing fast in this economy. So adapt voluntarily before you are made to by some exterior, overwhelming, unstoppable force. If there is regret, remorse or hesitation and it’s mostly unfounded, shake it off. Otherwise, it will haunt you. You will wince, groan, whine and bitch every minute of every day during this move and life will be hell.

Now that you have that out of your system, you can downsize with some style, a healthy attitude, a sense of fun, adventure, freedom, exploration and appreciation. It will take some organising, mental strength and physical effort, but it is possible. But first, we need to lighten your load.

Be Honest with Yourself

Our lives are very well dictated by our cash flow. If the reason for moving is that cash flow is short and not supporting your current life style, put this into the equation now or you will be downsizing again soon. It’s better to take 3 steps down in one go, rather than 3 separate steps downwards consecutively as every move costs money.

Ask yourself if you are living in your home or your home living in you? Who is working for whom? Has your home become “the reason?” The reason to go to work, the reason to earn money, to sacrifice, to stay married, to maintain, to plan, to stay on good terms, to sue, to have sex etc.

We have become slaves to our homes. The higher the cost of the home, in relation to income, the longer the servitude you will serve. Talking about the “increased equity value of your home” has become an addiction because a lot of property has increased much faster than our earning capacity. This imbalance is cementing the relationship for longer and deeper debts. Ones working life time is not long enough to pay it off. Interest rates keep hitting all-time lows and it’s sucking us further into more leverage. This is not a natural state of events, and banks and governments are complicit.

The only true freedom is being free of debt. Free of credit. To be self-governing and self-determining. Take back the control of your life. We have had a good run so let’s pick up our ‘cards off the table’ and cash out while we can.

Downsize to Freedom is available on Amazon!

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