How Living Small Can Free You

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Nobody really believes possessions equal joy. In fact, if specifically asked, nobody in their right mind would ever say the secret to a joyful life is to own a lot of stuff. Deep down, we know it’s not true. – Joshua Becker

For the first time since we’ve been on the road living in an RV, over the past few months we’ve had two sets of family come stay with us for a few days. Because we’ve always lived in the same town as all of our family and friends this has literally been the first time in our married life we’ve had family come and stay as guests in our home. 

How funny it is that when you scale the size of your house back to 280 sq. feet, people suddenly start wanting to come stay with you! And we have genuinely adored every second of getting to share our lives on the road with others.

As we prepared for their arrival I did the usual things one does before guests arrive. Mopped the floor…all 280 sq. inches of it, washed bedding, caught up on laundry and dishes, went out to grab a few grocery items and scrubbed our one tiny bathroom.  And then we waited excitedly for our guests arrive.

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As I lit three small candles (because that’s about all tiny space can handle) and put out the smallest bunch of wildflowers in a simple mason jar – I looked around at the meager amount of possessions we’ve scaled our lives down to and chuckled a bit inside as I acknowledged within myself, “Well, this is it!”

And maybe for the first time in my life, guests coming for a visit was no longer a chance for our family to prove our meaning or importance in this world by what we had managed to acquire. We only had one small gift to give our most treasured guests.

The simple gift of us.

That’s it!

No fancy home, no neatly manicured lawn or spacious, gated backyard. All the things we had let define us for far too long. In just six short months we have willingly laid it all down and walked away from being known for our ability to create a nice life on the outside.

When we made the decision to live minimalistically, to be honest, I wasn’t sure how we would deal with it. Our American lives have become blindly accustomed to excess, and so had ours.

In fact, we have come to measure people by their stuff.

And if you think you don’t, then ask yourself whether or not your mind tends to respond more kindly to the thin, neatly manicured woman at the checkout than the homeless guy at the stoplight.

As a result, we spend countless hours comparing our things to the person next to us. We measure our family’s success by the wealth of our belongings. We work long hours in jobs to earn enough money so we can spend our lives purchasing the biggest homes, the fanciest cars, the trendiest fashions, the hottest toys, and the coolest technologies.

Meanwhile, we all know it’s not true. We know full-well happiness cannot be bought at a department store. – Joshua Becker

I am falling in love with living small. Why? Because it takes the pressure off. For the first time we feel free! Free to just be who we really are! And if people love us and want to be with us, it will genuinely be for us. Not for how well we can impress them with a false, outward facade of a life well lived.

And if it is true that most of the world measures the success of a family by the wealth of their possessions, well then I guess that means that our little family will have to find ways to be successful in other areas of our lives together.

Because the square footage of our home, and how many things we possess is no longer the mask we wear.

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No matter matter what size space you live in, everyone can and should find ways to scale back their lives a bit, simplify and train your heart to stop trying to find our worth and fulfillment in the things we possess.

We will never find it there.

This is our little family encouraging you to stopping being afraid to throw off the suffocating mask of materialism and free yourself to discover the beauty and meaningful purpose of a life lived simply and authentically!

Let your life breathe easy again. There’s so much more freedom in less.

Minimalism does more than subtract from our surroundings. It does something deeper. It breaks down the stuffy walls that imprison the free lives we were meant to live. The fancy facades get peeled away from over our eyes and we get to view the whole world a bit more freely and clearly.

We can breathe again.

Tiny home, big life. 

How has “living small” changed your own life? What scares you most about this concept of living with less and minimalism? Please share in comments below!

About Rachel Rowell

A true southern gal at heart, Rachel was raised and lives in the deep south and spends her days raising her own babies, writing, making music, reading out on the front porch, and cooking supper for her family to sit around the table and enjoy together at nights! Her ultimate girlhood dream was to raise a family in a house just like "Anne of Green Gables" and now she is living her dream and inspiring others along the way.

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6 Responses to How Living Small Can Free You

  1. Papa April 2, 2014 at 7:16 pm #

    Rachel,

    Years ago I retired from real estate and went out to be a long haul trucker while I wait for my lovely wife to retire.

    I went out and bought so many things I just knew I would need out on the road……must have thought I was heading out on the first trip across America back in the 1800’s.

    Every time I got back home I would pull things out of my semi so I was not tripping on them. I did have a route that got me home by weekends…..after a few months I had next to nothing in my truck, I had changed trucks a number of times and all that packing things back and forth got old.

    So do you think I learned my lesson when I headed out to full-time rv….no!!!!!

    This year is my second and I could pull a lot out ofthe 5th wheel still……but, next year my wife will join me so I will be tripping over all kinds of stuff all over again.

    Love your blog by the way.

    Papa
    http://www.papas-travels.blogspot.com

  2. Cindy Brown (@hiyacynthia) April 2, 2014 at 10:14 pm #

    Rachel, of course you know already that I am struggling with this. Just yesterday, my husband’s father came and hauled away a full enclosed trailer load of “stuff” from our house to take to their flea market to sell and I still have such a mess around here!

    We simply have too much stuff. My husband says we are just fancy hoarders with the cabinet space to hide it all. We have this lovely dream home and we are getting ready to chuck it all and move to a smaller place, maybe even a trailer or very small home out of state and don’t even have work there yet. We’re literally just tired of this existence and need to start over, start fresh, and reinvent ourselves. I am not sure how I’ll handle this, of course, because I’ve worked so hard over the years to build up from a tiny 800 sq. ft. rental house to this one. It’s hard to even think of leaving it all behind, but I think the release of pressure will be amazing. Too much stuff, too much debt, too much house and land to take care of… it’s exhausting and stressful!

    Sigh – it’s so good to hear your encouraging words.

  3. Nicky April 3, 2014 at 6:55 pm #

    Oh my goodness I just want to hug you! We have been in ours for a month and I couldn’t agree more. We had for the first time ever,had one of our teen’s friends stay with us. It was great! You couldn’t be more right. I feel like we’ve found something we didn’t even know was lost. Blessings to you!

  4. S A April 7, 2014 at 12:07 pm #

    We are a family of five (three boys all under four) living in a 35 ft fifth wheel. Ours isn’t quite a tiny home but the savings are incredible none the less. We are finally not paycheck to paycheck. We have enough room to budget for all we need and some of what we want and it feels amazing. We need to downsize our stuff and be better organized but we are loving our new freedom.

  5. Anthony Phillips April 16, 2014 at 1:04 am #

    tiny home, big life –very good

  6. thestreamlinedlife August 17, 2014 at 5:42 pm #

    This is such a good reminder that we do not equal our stuff! In our culture it’s so easy to believe that our worth is based on how well we “show” to others, when in reality, who we are is far more important. Reading about your journey is giving me the encouragement to seek out our own transition to full-time RV living.

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