Downsizing Your Home….The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly!

Some people choose to downsize their home based on family circumstances, life changes, or they just want a smaller space to maintain. Our latest move to Rhode Island forced us to downsize based on economic factors. For one, we were moving from Peoria, Illinois where housing prices are much cheaper than in Rhode Island. Also, we were dealing with a quickly changing housing market. We had previously bought and sold houses in California with no problem at all, but now with the declining market, we were having many issues trying to sell in Illinois. It ended up taking us about a year to sell. I was holding on to the value I thought our house should be, and in retrospect I should have listened to my husband who wanted to drop the price significantly much earlier than we did. All I did was give us more heartache, separation from each other, and stress.

We ended up selling our house for less than we bought it for. So, for the difference in housing prices, the loss on our house, and the new PMI we were having to pay in our monthly mortgage, we were forced to downsize from 2,710 square feet to 1,974 square feet. It has been quite an adjustment. Here is what I’ve learned in the past two years:

Downsizing:  The Good
*  Less area to clean!
*  More environmentally friendly (use less resources and heating/air bills much cheaper)
*  Taxes are cheaper
*  More money to spend on traveling, vet bills, and other things for the family
*  Forced cleaning and getting rid of unnecessary items (constantly)
*  Have just what we need, and are happy with what we have
*  It’s cozy and keeps the family close together!!!
*  The ability to make the choice to stay-at-home with the kids

Downsizing:  The Bad
*  As the kids are getting bigger, the space seems to be getting even smaller
*  Not enough space to host parties/playgroups
*  Not enough space for an office or workout area (my husband uses the dining table for his work)
*  Hard to host out-of-town family and friends (we are from D.C.)
*  Not enough space when the kids are playing loudly and you are craving some quiet time

Downsizing:  The Ugly
*  To add more space (an addition) is very expensive
*  For older homes, maintenance and fixing-up can be costly (yes, even for large homes as well)
*  Your house may not be the house of your dreams
*  You may feel like you’ve taken a step back in your life instead of forward

Overall, downsizing can be a good thing to do both for the environment and your wallet.  I like that the bills are less, and that we are not strapped to a mortgage that is difficult to afford.  However, it is a difficult adjustment after previously having much more space, but if our perspective was coming from a 1,200 square foot house then this place would seem larger than it currently does for us.  The most difficult thing for me with downsizing is losing the space to host parties, playgroups, and family get-togethers.  I really LOVE being a hostess, but if you don’t have the space then you don’t have the space.  I always have to sign-up to host playgroup when it’s warm out so I can do it at the park.  You can always find some way to work things out.  If we can fix up our yard and deck area, then that would be helpful with entertaining space too.  We are slowly working on our “things to do” list for the house, so we will eventually get to the place where we feel comfortable with the space we are in.

2,710 square foot (plus, 1,500 sq. ft. basement) house in Peoria, Illinois:

1,974 square foot house in East Greenwich, Rhode Island:

I have also learned in the past two years that there is more to life than the house you live in and the possessions you have.  Family and health are even greater things to cherish.  I am blessed and happy with my family and my two beautiful kids!
Have you been forced to downsize, or made the choice to downsize?  I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences! This was reposted from aMomKnowsBest where I serve as a contributing writer.



  1. I agree that a home is more than what you have in it. I think your new house looks nice though :)

  2. Great pictures of both homes. I definitely think that, in some circumstances, smaller homes can definitely be better!

  3. I think your home is lovely. But I agree. We live in an apartment. Almost any home is going to feel bigger!

    • Yes, kind of wish we just moved from our apartment in OK to the house here. Then I would feel different. =) It’s more just the kids (and toys) that seem to take up so much space.

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  5. Beautiful home! I’m actually looking to “up-size” my home, with 3 cats it gets really crowded LOL

  6. I agree with you that there are more important things than your house. Also, it’s easier to keep a smaller house in good condition :)

  7. Lord knows I know how you feel. I just did the same thing and I really had to sit back and weigh in the good. I had my home for over 19 years and to move into a small Condo had me thinking what is Happening To My Life.But through God’s Grace and Mercy I must confess I am the happiness mom around. I learned through all this that “Love Is Far More Better Then Material Things”!

    You have a lovely home and I know God will continue to Bless you and your family!

    • Thank you Lisa! It’s hard but when you think of those out on the streets and so forth on these freezing nights here in RI I am very blessed to have a warm roof over my head! Glad you’re adjusting too!!!

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  9. I love your home:) The housing market is wicked expensive here so I completely understand.

  10. I can’t say I know exactly how you feel, but we lost our home we were renting for five years because the landlord couldn’t afford the mortgage. She was very irresponsible but we paid the ultimate price. We had to move in with my parents where we have been for two years because on top of losing our home, my husband lost his job! So we all live (9 of us) in a house that’s just under 2,000 sq.ft. It has been a great learning experience and I am praying everyday my husband can find a better job so we can afford our own place again! Sorry this is so long! I love your post and your home looks great, even if it is smaller :) Many blessings ♥

  11. I have a sign hanging in my home that reads,”Love Grows in Small Houses”,and I truely think it brings families closer :)

  12. We had to downsize, and it’s driving me batty. I can’t wait until we get out of this apartment and into another house! I so desperately want a garage lol. It has forced us to purge a lot of our junk, but mostly it just annoys me. :)

  13. I had to downsize a few years back because I wanted better LOCATION, LOCATION, ,LOCATION. We were living in a 5 bedroom, 4.5 bath, 3100sf house in Maitland, FL (a suburb of Orlando, FL) and I wanted to live downtown in an area called College Park because it was quaint, had some really neat shopping, and a phenomenal elementary school for Styles. Our new house in downtown Orlando? 1300sf. OUCH! It was SUPER Painful but the change in location was amazing and worth the downsize. When we moved to Savannah, we upgraded again but we only upgraded for the family that we HAD, not for the family that, one year later, we were going to have. Our 4br 2ba 2020sf house is now too small for us! OOOOOH well. We’re stuck here for a little while longer :)

  14. Great post! You are dead on. Its about the memories and people you share those memories with IN the house. Be lucky to have a place to call home. Lots of people can’t say that right now. BOO.

  15. We are planning on downsizing in our next house! We have done it before. It wasn’t easy at first, but we managed (but that was going from a 4br house to a 1 bed apmt). We then slowly expanded back out… first to a 2br apmt, then a 3 br townhome and now a 5br house… Next time I want a 4BR/2.5 bath, max!

  16. We need a major upgrade! Right now, even with just us and 1 kid, we are in a 2 bedroom, 1000 sq. ft. apartment! We have toys everywhere! :| haha

  17. The boys graduate in spring 2013 and this 3302 sf home goes up for sale. I want a little bitty house!

  18. Thanks for posting the pictures – it’s nice for this Yankee to see a little bit of the homes that I was used to seeing as opposed to those down here – I’ve always loved the character of the homes there

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