The Upside of the Downsize...

I would like to share with you, firsthand, my experience moving from a gorgeous, nearly 3000 s.f. home on close to an acre in Marin, to a boat and a much smaller, charming home in the foothills.  Spontaneously.

The truth is, it wasn't entirely spontaneous.  My husband and I had been looking for lakefront property for years.  We had owned a house at Bass Lake, just outside of Yosemite--but found that, even though the community was charming--we didn't care for the way the weekend warriors, driving up from Fresno, would trash the place forcing us to spend our leisure time bagging used Pampers, beer cans, soda bottles, chip bags, etc. before we could enjoy the lake and beautiful swimming holes.  So we sold that place and spent the next eleven years taking short trips to check out lake communities throughout Northern California and into Oregon, looking for more ideal circumstances.

The parameters we looked within became narrower, ultimately drawing us to the foothills between Auburn and Nevada City, where there are a number of lakes and relatively mild weather, and a reasonable commute from the bay area.  The day we drove through the gates of beautiful Lake of the Pines,, we knew we'd discovered something special and our dream to own a lakefront home began to take shape in earnest.  We made several trips to the area while allowing the dream to simmer, thinking we'd possibly retire to the area at some time in the future.  The truth is, the houses we could afford didn't fulfill our vision...  though we loved the idea of Lakefront, we didn't want to add to our financial stress.  That surely wasn't part of the plan!

One day my husband announced his sincere intentions to purchase a motor home.  You can see that dreams of getting out of the rat race were becoming a theme...  Though I love travel, and can easily imagine doing an RV tour, I DID NOT want to have an RV parked in our driveway, and I did not want to pay to store an RV either.  Somehow, out of the discussions that followed, we determined to return to Lake of the Pines and look at some properties that were not on the lake AND, oh by the way, to investigate live aboard boats so we could continue to have property in Marin.  This was the beginning of the radical downsize of 2016.

We began researching boats in earnest and quickly identified one in Los Angeles that seemed perfect to use as an office/pied a terre.  We headed back to Lake of the Pines and looked at an entirely different set of homes.  Same community, same amenities, not on the water, but far more affordable to us as a downsize plan.  Bingo!  We found an adorable home, fully remodeled, under $500K.  When the seller accepted our offer, (okay, now THAT was pretty spontaneous) our feet were to the fire!  Now we had to sell our home, get into contract on the boat, secure a slip for the boat and try to coordinate all of this while, at the same time, getting our daughter launched off to her freshman year in college. 

It took six months from the time we wrote the offer on the house at Lake of the Pines until our house in Marin was sold and the boat brought up from LA.  It was not the easiest time of our lives, but we felt excited and very alive, rattled out of routine and complacency!  Enjoying a glass of wine on the sundeck, enjoying the stunning view from our boat was simply a thrill!  And, as a result of all of these changes, we lowered our overhead by 60%!!!  For the first time in years we feel that our lives are balanced.  Rather than working hard to live, we are living happily and working happily as well, and we can breathe!

If you are considering down-sizing, whether it be within or outside of Marin, I learned so very much from this experience, from critical tips about how to get top dollar for your home, to strategically letting go of excess possessions, to identifying a place where you can be happy, to shifting your thinking to be able to adapt to the changes.  I would be happy to share more of the details of our process, and to help you rearrange your life so that you can enjoy it more--- after all, life is short and none of us know how many days we have.  If it is possible for you to be happier, perhaps looking into the upsides of downsizing would be worth it for you too!

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