Downsizing

Downsizing can be a challenge.  Many people aspire to acquiring huge amounts of living space.  The amount of space one can acquire is usually dictated by how much money one has and the location of the space.  Over the years, the properties that I have lived in have increased in size.  Once I divorced husband number 2, I started on the road to downsizing my property and trying to save money.  I moved from a 5 bedroom house and into a 4 bedroom house.  We all had a room of our own.  Once my youngest turned 18, it was time for me to consider downsizing again.  This time it was a case of needs must.  I needed to move as I couldn’t really afford to live in my home.  If I were to stay in London, I had to reconsider where I would live and what type of property to purchase.  Do I move further out and get a smaller house, or stay close to where I was and get a very small flat for the same price?  My involvement with Amor eventually settled on where I would live, but the house or flat issue still remained.  In the end I found a 2 bedroom house with a little back garden.  It is very similar in layout to my old house, but a bit nicer, and is probably why I feel very comfortable in her.

Once I knew the sale of my home was proceeding, I started to get rid of items that I no longer required or would have room for and just kept the essentials.  Even so, after moving in, I still found things to give away as I just don’t have the space for it or I found that the item no longer had a purpose in my new life.  My space is limited and I have to make the most of it.

Downsizing on my property is easier than downsizing on goods when shopping.  I have been used to looking after my family for many years.    Now, I just have to look after moi. I am either used to cooking for a small army or for two people.  I can’t make salad for one.  If I make a salad, I make enough for two or more and then I don’t have to make anymore for a couple of days.  Same with soup, ratatouille, pasta sauce, stew, the list goes on.  Fortunately, I am happy to eat the same thing in a row for a few days.  It also saves time on cooking.

Since eating is a social event as well as a necessity, it can almost feel like a chore if only cooking for one and it seems easier to purchase something already prepared.  How do you explain many people’s discomfort when dining out alone?  One of my Facebook friends announces occasionally that she is having a sad bastard meal for one.  Eloquently put, but I don’t think it will catch on at the supermarket.

Now that I am living on my own, I am trying not to resort to buying ready-made meals.  I might change my mind when I am working full-time again and then Marks and Spencer will be my best friend.  Grocery shopping is becoming more challenging and requires more thought put into it.  I need to stay away from buy-one-get-one-free deals unless I am actually going to be able to eat what I purchase in a week, can freeze it, or if I have the room to store it until I need it.  As I live quite close to the shops, I can easily pop in and get what I need when necessary.  I no longer have to buy family sizes of juice or milk.  Butter lasts ages.  At least my shopping bags are not so heavy.

Some of my needs are being dictated by the amount of space I actually have to store things in.  My old house had plenty of storage space.  There was no limit as to how much toilet paper, cleaning items or toiletries I purchased.  There was space for everything, and it all got used as I had a full house.  Now, it is just me and the cat, with a guest or two on occasion.  Since I have unpacked, I have discovered that I have enough cosmetics, face cream and moisturizer to last me six months or more.  I have enough soap to last about a year.  My cleaning products should see me through a few months or more.

There are some advantages to living on one’s own and downsizing.  I can finally buy a jar of Green & Black’s Organic Chocolate Spread and know it will still be in the cupboard for a few days, or even a week later.  I can buy that £3 bar of French Lavender soap and know that it will last a few weeks or more.  I will actually get a chance to drink the orange juice and buy it with the bits in.  Buying items just for me means that nothing will get wasted and they will last longer.  I don’t have to cater to anyone else and their likes or dislikes unless I invite them over.

Although downsizing and learning to make do with less has its challenges, it is not meant to be confused with economising.   I have been economising for years and it isn’t all that it is cracked up to be.  For me, downsizing means purchasing only one of something when you normally would buy two or buying the regular size instead of the family size.  Economising means not buying the luxury shampoo or soap as it would disappear in a week once the kids were using it and buying cheaper items instead.  Economising is about saving money and downsizing is about making do with less of what you need.  Sometimes both go hand in hand, but as I am on my own I am treating myself more.  What I lack in quantity, I make up for it in quality.  I may be downsizing, but I am also upgrading, at a discount.  I am a smart shopper!

Unfortunately, I can’t get out of the habit of buying the 18 roll pack of toilet paper, or buying wine by the case!  I don’t want to get caught short now! 🙂

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