Downsizing: How Much of Your Life is Jetsam?


Adulting sucks, right? 

No matter how much time you've spent on Earth, there are always those moments you feel like you're attempting something you have no point of reference to guide you - 

When you were a kid, you wanted to know if your bike could jump the creek, so you built a ramp and then you just harnessed your gumption to learn about that experience, to master it, or perhaps just to answer the age old question - is it possible?

As adults with all the associated responsibilities, it's easy to get very serious and exacting about things. How can you manage to maintain your lifestyle if you don't have some absolutes, right? You certainly can't commit to rent if you have a sketchy periodic job, so you find yourself not only stuck on a path you fell into, maybe didn't even want to create, but you're committed. 

There is no room for jumping the creek on your bike. Nope! You must stay on the pavement!

You want to know why the biggest growing arena of lifestyle videos on YouTube is tiny living/off-grid/RV life/minimalism? We went to the extreme of McMansions and cars, boats, hairdressers, mani-peddies, gold club memberships, etc. and then as we lived beyond our means, we still weren't happy. We lived with constant dread of bills, maintaining the work to pay for all this baggage.

There's a term call jetsam. Basically, it means to toss weights overboard so you can float. What if your big home, your extra car, your gym membership, your home meal delivery, your subscription to 2000 channels were not necessities, but actually the jetsam that will set you free? 

When a ship is sinking, the first thing to do is toss overboard everything you can live without to lighten the load.

How are some ways you can simplify your life and allow that instead of 90% of your time focused on maintenance, chores, and working a job you hate and praying you don't get laid off is no longer an issue, but 90% of your time is money and freedom to buy quality groceries, travel, go out more often with family and friends, invest, take a chance with work you love that maybe doesn't pay as well? 

Let's make an example - 

Penny and Eric have a house they raised their 3 kids in. It was the second home, after the starter. It has a large yard for the kids to play, it has 4 bedrooms and 3 baths, and with it comes - 

HOA dues

cable TV with all the channels

home insurance

car insurance for two cars



vacuuming and cleaning 2400 sq ft

mowning the lawn

home repairs

property taxes


security cameras

regular updates on the tiles/windows/air-conditioner, etc.

Let's suppose they determine that instead of paying out around 5000+ a month, they decide to downsize. It's just the two of them, right?

They can sell the big home for $480,000. They can buy a double wide mobile home in a gated mobile home park that has activities (no more gym payments, pool, etc) for around $100,000 or less. The lot fee? $600 monthly. 

Now, they have around 380,000 in their pockets and pay only 600 a month for the lot fee, cable, home insurance, car insurance on one car, gas/electric, water/trash (often covered by lot fee), no need for gym as there is one at the clubhouse, hiking paths, and a pool. 

Now they may be paying around $1500 a month. What do they do with the extra 3500 they are saving every month? Well, a cruise to Alaska. Maybe a kiln for Penny to start making pottery. Maybe Eric starts teaching woodworking at the clubhouse and meets other woodworkers, guys who like fishing, maybe card nights at the clubhouse. 

Imagine if you have less to clean and care for and more money to travel to places you want to be - like the beach, a mountain cabin, a cruise? 

Downsizing is a fantastic decision. I highly recommend it. No more daily anxiety about money and surviving and piling bills. It's the comfort to know your home is easy to leave, you have neighbors and activities to keep you feeling part of a community, then you can take off and chase the fall colors from the north to south for two months. 

As well, living in a smaller space means no more collecting clutter - no more spending $ at Michaels or Ikea. Simply walk away from the "stuff" and get into the "life." 

For my move into a mobile home park (the only tiny living alternative where I am), I pretty decided the furnishings were jetsam. They were too big, too old, too dark and not perky. I wanted a cozy cottage feel, so I was willing to get pieces that fit the new environment and believe me, I could get the things I really adored because I only needed a few pieces of furniture.

As you adjust to a smaller life, you may end up packing a lot of stuff that you don't need and have no room for, but you hopefully have a storage room right there on the property. You can tuck things away until you realize if you need them or not. 

WIth downsizing you find that you are free of time and effort and now you can really explore who you are, what you value, perhaps take a class, maybe start yoga, find out if your cookie baking business dream is feasible, start a YouTube channel, hit the road and visit family and friends you neglected because of the added cost of travel. 

It's not about a downward move. It's a HUGE leap up!

Happy jetsam designation!