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7 Ways to Create Space – Book Giveaway!

7 Ways to Create Space – Book Giveaway!

We are giving away five copies of You Can Buy Happiness (and It’s Cheap): How One Woman Radically Simplified Her Life and How You Can Too, by Tammy Strobel. Check out these tips on downsizing, and then leave a comment for a chance to win your own copy of this book!

7 Ways to Negotiate Downsizing and Create Space
By Tammy Strobel

A lot of friends, family members, and blog readers assume that I was the one to suggest downsizing our lives.

Believe it or not, my husband, Logan was the one who brought up the idea of downsizing. At the time I was working in the investment management industry and was extremely unhappy. I wanted to go back to school and start a new career in the social service sector, but, we were stuck and couldnít figure out why. We felt stuck because we didnít have enough time or money to follow our passions.

When Logan pitched the idea of downsizing we were having a conversation about why we were not going to buy a traditional house. We basically gave up on buying a traditional house because we were having money problems and realized that we could never afford a dream-home in the suburbs. And frankly, we were starting to wonder if we really wanted a traditional house because the interest on the house payment would have been more than our rent.

Logan said, ďWhy donít we try moving into a one bedroom apartment to save money? Then we can use the money saved towards whatever we want, like education for a new career or a house in the future?Ē

With my hands on my hips and a snarky look on my face, I replied: ďWe canít fit into a one bedroom, we have too much stuff. Plus, where am I going to put my parents when they come to visit us. On the couch? I donít think so!Ē

If youíre in a relationship with someone who isnít keen on the idea of downsizing, try some of these ideas:

  • Communicate. Talk about all the costs and benefits of downsizing together and make your intentions known so there is no room for assumptions. In my experience, communication is key to any successful relationship. While youíre talking make a pro/con list together and ask each other a lot of ďwhyĒ questions, like:

- Why do you need to keep a particular item?
- Why not try something new?
- Why are you feeling so freaked out by this idea?

  • Encourage your partner to read inspiring books. While I was trying to decide whether or not downsizing was the right option I read a number of life-changing books, including The Culture of Make Believe and Your Money or Your Life. Reading these books convinced me that downsizing was the best action to take.
  • Talk about the financial benefits of downsizing your abode and what you can do with the money you save. Crunch the numbers with your partner and show him or her how much money you can save by living in a smaller place with less stuff. With greater savings comes freedom and flexibility to make choices.
  • You can always move. While change is scary, itís always good to experiment to try new things. And if you donít like your new living situation, you can always move.
  • Compromise. If you donít want to sell your house or commit to a new lease, try treating your current place like a smaller home. For example, I didnít believe we could fit into a small one-bedroom apartment. So we did a test run by clearing out all the stuff in the guest bedroom and locking the door. Basically, we treated our two-bedroom apartment as a one-bedroom apartment for a few months. By taking that step, I was convinced we could start going smaller and smaller.
  • Start small. Remember you donít have to declutter your whole house over night. Set manageable goals based on your life circumstance. When I started to simplify my life, I felt like I was in a competition. I kept looking at what other people were doing, in both blogs and books, and I tried to model those folks. There is nothing wrong with modeling and I learned a lot of valuable tips through reading and research. However, I finally realized that I had to start small, with one shelf at a time.
  • Take action! Now itís time to take action. Keep talking to your partner about the benefits of downsizing and start the decluttering process.

No matter how small your accomplishments are, start celebrating them. Take a deep breath and admire the simplicity of your clutter free home. Living in a small space with less stuff is one path to creating space and a very lovely life.

Today Tammy Strobel is a writer, simple living advocate, coffee addict, and tiny house enthusiast. She created her blog,, to share her story of embracing simplicity. Since then, her story has been featured in the New York Times, The Today Show, USA Today, CNN, MSNBC, and in a variety of other media outlets. Her blog is


Based on the book You Can Buy Happiness (And Itís Cheap). Copyright © 2012 by Tammy Strobel. Reprinted with permission of New World Library, Novato, CA. or 800-972-6657.

WIN THE BOOK! Enter a comment below and you will automatically be entered to win one of five copies of You Can Buy Happiness (and It’s Cheap): How One Woman Radically Simplified Her Life and How You Can Too, by Tammy Strobel. Winners will be announced on October 16 (winners will be notified via Care2 profile). Good luck!


Carly C., Elena G., Janine J., Jennifer J., Rachel E.

Winners: Please email Molly at to claim your new book. Thanks to everyone who entered!


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+ add your own
6:34PM PDT on Oct 28, 2012

Life has downsized us so much; I frequently wonder if we'll be able to hold on to anything.

7:31AM PDT on Oct 18, 2012

as always, an inspiration to attack a stack of paper...

3:56PM PDT on Oct 14, 2012

thanks for the great info

2:11PM PDT on Oct 12, 2012


4:09AM PDT on Oct 12, 2012

Less we have, more we are happy.

2:51AM PDT on Oct 12, 2012

Thanks for helpful information!

8:33PM PDT on Oct 11, 2012

We have so much stuff that I've been threatening my husband with hiring a professional organizer. I struggle with my own clutter and am quite organized, but he saves everything. He needs to find the motivation to let go of things. Any suggestions?

5:55PM PDT on Oct 10, 2012

Thanks. I'll be moving into a very small space at the end of the month so this is very helpful. Thanks.

1:30PM PDT on Oct 10, 2012

Great advice for a a problem all of us can have from time to time.

7:19AM PDT on Oct 10, 2012

It is amazing how much stuff people collect. It can just sneak up on you until it seems overwhelming to even start decluttering. I am one of those people who are constantly donating but somehow things always find there way back in. :(

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This sounds really yummy. Thanks

Going to try all suggestions and tweet this too. Thanks for the info.

Ick always take my shoes off at the door. When I see someone wearing shoes standing or putting feet…


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