an interview with Himself about our lifestyle change and downsize: part 1

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You all know him as Himself, but allow me to introduce you to Dan, my husband of 21 years, and business partner here at Big Red Kitchen LLC. The funny thing is, you all have never heard from him after all these years of me blabbing on and on about food. Wouldn’t you like to hear from him for a change?  Well, here is your chance to read about his take on our big decision to downsize from Big Red Kitchen to Manderley Cottage.

Are you a big fan of BRK?  “I am a BIG fan of BRK!” <I made him say that.>

What was it that prompted you to want to downsize? “I wanted to have fewer things, better, more purposeful things.  Less, better quality  things means less maintenance and more resources available, like time and money, for the more important things in life.  I had a change in priorities from having more things to wanting more experiences.  Once Robin and I recently nailed down our vision- to live a Simple, Generous, Active, and Relaxed lifestyle we had to change the way we were currently living.  You can’t be overly generous with your resources if you are paying to maintain stuff; a big mortgage, utilities, high property taxes, etc.”

What specific things in your life did you want changed? What really irked you?
“Clutter, and I am not good at fixing things, so less things to fix is better.”

Even with the measures we took to reduce clutter, you were still dissatisfied?  “We still had too much stuff. We live in a big space and did not use all of our house.  We still have an unfinished basement used solely for storing stuff we don’t use.”

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When was the first time you thought about downsizing?  “In 2010 we stayed at The Minnow, a floating tiny home on the Willamette River in Oregon. It was so peaceful and relaxing.”

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2010?  What took so long?  “Business, family, our children with their school and activities, and other people would be affected by our decision.  I thought it would be a neat getaway or retirement home, but never thought to do it with a family of five and with all that we had, that would just be crazy!”

Why do you think you can do it now?  “We purchased our second home, Manderley Cottage, last year, and it became more realistic that we could do it.  We noticed the difference between living in a big house versus living in a small house, and how relaxed we were in the little one. We are moving to a small house, not a tiny home which could be considered 300 sq. feet or less. Manderley is 1200 square feet.”

Would you still consider a tiny house some day?  “I don’t know, I suppose.”

Now you won’t have a second home, which was a big goal of yours and Robin’s,  now what?  “Haven’t thought about it yet, we would have to think about where. River, ocean, golf, mountain, lake?  We have to think about it. We may not need an escape from Williamsburg like we did from the DC Metro Area.”

Are you excited about moving to Williamsburg from Northern Virginia?  “Oh yeah! A new chapter.  I served 12 years in the Army, 14 years in my last job. I am excited.”

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What changes do you hope to see in this downsized lifestyle?  “More travel.  Fewer resources are required to maintain a smaller house therefore more money for travel with my family.  This will also free up more resources for giving and our children’s educations.  I look forward to more walking, hiking, bike rides, more time at the river. To me more active. So much easier to get to these activities in Williamsburg than here in NOVA.”

Have you run into anyone who thinks this idea is crazy?  “Most people tell me that they have heard about people who have done this, but don’t know anyone personally who has. They have heard about the downsizing movement or the Tiny Home Movement from TED Talks or from blogs.  Many are interested in watching us do it. You get 113,000,000 results when googling ‘Small Living.'”

An interview with Himself about our lifestyle change and downsize: part 2, Himself shares the toughest decision and “the one thing” that prompted the decision to change our lifestyle. 

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