How I Got Rid of Half My Stuff, Ditched the Fast-Paced City, and Simplified My Life  #frugal #simpleliving

Why I wanted a lifestyle change

I have lived in both the city and the country, and was always happiest in my childhood country homes.  As a kid, I think I reaped the most benefits from the country lifestyle – I was outside as much as possible playing with pets, breathing in the fresh air, riding horses, climbing trees, feeding chickens, making mud pies, exploring the woods, and just in general having a blast.  I loved that life and believe it’s the best possible lifestyle for a family to live.  My experience tells me it is a life worth living.

It all comes down to this:  I really love the country, and dislike the city.  No contest.  I am just bored out of my mind in the city!  I don’t like the pace or the materialism or the lack of privacy or the noise or the smell.  So for me, making the decision to move out of my small-town-but-practically-on-the-highway house was a no-brainer.

For the last ten years and since the beginning of my marriage, I have either lived in apartments or an inconveniently located (and therefore more affordably priced) house in a small town.  During this time, I had two beautiful children, started this blog, and kept myself busy being crafty, raising my kids, and staying involved in my church.  It wasn’t my dream life, but I loved my family and went along with what my husband wanted – to live in town close to his work.

Then one day, my husband told me he was leaving me for someone he met at work.  Well obviously I didn’t immediately jump for joy at this declaration, but I won’t go into all that.  I just need you to know that my life changed immediately and over the next few months, I had some serious decision-making ahead of me. Decisions had been made for me in the past, but now I needed to think about what I really wanted and what was best for my family.  It was a tragedy at the time, but I made the best of what I could and decided it was time to move in a direction I had desired to go for a long time.  Our lives were about to change for the better!

How I made it happen

First, I started saving what money I had and what was gifted to me.  I became a tightwad, looked for ways to make more money, and began selling things I didn’t really need.  A garage sale would have been awesome, but it was dead of winter when all this happened.  Still, I used Craigslist and local selling groups on Facebook to sell some things in the house I didn’t truly need.  Some of these things were:

  • My heavy, solid wood queen bed frame – I knew I could find a cheaper, smaller alterative and I am currently very comfortable sleeping on a full mattress on the floor.
  • A way-too-big TV – We use the Kindle Fire and a laptop to watch movies.  It is actually very refreshing not having a TV in the living room!
  • Random pieces of furniture – I didn’t have a lot of nice furniture, but I had some inexpensive pieces I got $10-15 here and there for.
  • My digital piano – This was sad, but I decided that it could never sound as amazing as a real piano anyway.
  • Kid/Baby items that I had been saving “just in case” but would never use.

Pretty much everything was in danger of being sold.  The furniture cringed under my narrowed eyes and sweeping gaze as I strode through the house in search of anything that might bring in some money.  I was on a mission and we were ready for a new life.  I didn’t want my couch, so I freecycled it and was given a cream faux leather loveseat instead.  I like it much better!  I was constantly trying to clean that other couch and it was a pain.  Faux leather just wipes clean.  One more step toward a simpler life.

Finding our home

I began scouring Craigslist for country homes for rent.  This was the only option I had at that time, but if you can find a piece of property with a fixer-upper on it to purchase, that would be ideal!  I plan to do this someday after I have saved up some money.  But for now, I focused on finding an immediate place to live – I didn’t have time to save money anymore.  I expanded my search to include surrounding areas in my state and researched which places were the cheapest to live, then saved those searches and checked them multiple times every day.  The good places go fast, I discovered that right away.  Listings disappeared within hours.

I also called real estate and property management companies in the towns nearest the areas I wanted to live, and made sure that friends and family knew to watch out for a house for rent in my price range with a more country setting.  Facebook is awesome for this kind of word of mouth!

This could have been time-consuming and spendy if I had had to do a lot of driving around looking at houses, but it really ended up being straightforward for me.   I found a wonderful manufactured home on a completely fenced acre that was everything I wanted, looked at it, met the owners, and applied to rent it.  I hardly wanted to hope that I would get this place, it was perfect and I had an immediate sense of relaxation and “home” when I walked around outside.

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When I didn’t hear back in the next couple days, I was a bit worried.  I didn’t want to let this place slip through my fingers without letting them know how much I wanted to live there, so I sent them an email.  I was completely honest with them about my situation and my goals and to my joy was able to negotiate with them and rent the property!  This is very important – if I hadn’t sent an email and shared my heart and how much I loved the place with them, they might not have chosen me out of the applicants.  As it was, they were looking for a certain type of tenant to care for their country place so my reaching out to them and sharing who I was really made a difference.

So we had our home!  Now came the hardest part.  Purging and moving.

Click here to read part two, where I share how I prepared for a simpler life
and purged half of our stuff!

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43 Responses to {From City to Country} Part One: Why I Chose a Simple Country Lifestyle and How I Made it Happen

  • Very interesting read! You are very brave :)

  • i have lived in the city my whole like but i have always wanted to live in the country and have have a small farm i ve always dreamed of this type of lifestyle! It good you found your happy place !

  • What an amazing journey for you so far! I can’t wait to escape the city when my husband retires. Country living here we come!

  • It’s funny, but we are in the country and if we moved to the city, we would have to get rid of at least half of our stuff. It’s amazing how fast stuff accumulates.

    • Yes, and you would use it less in the country because you would be busy outside. :) Somehow you just need less to entertain you here.

    • Whoops I totally misread that! I think I need a computer break. haha I start going cross-eyed at some point…

      It is easy to accumulate stuff, you have to stay in that “don’t need it” mindset. That can be hard, especially for someone like me who has been known to stress shop. I am breaking myself of that (out of necessity, haha).

  • great find.. We had a lot of fun searching for our home last year.. looks like you picked a great place

  • Wonderful post. I have lived in the country most of my life. I love it! I lived in the city for maybe a couple years of my life. I personally love the country more.

  • Wow this is a grear post so moving.Great job for landing on your feet despite the unfortunate reason which triggered the move.Can’t wait to read the part 2 of this story.

  • That must have been a huge change. It sounds absolutely wonderful though, I can tell by the words you wrote.

  • As much as I love the country, I could never leave the city for good – I enjoy the hustle and bustle too much! It sounds like you have totally found your environment though :)

  • I wouldn’t say we live in a city, but more of a small town. I would love to move to the country.

  • Living in the country would be great. I would love not having to worry about neighbors, loudness or anything of that sort.

  • I love the country. Although I can appreciate its beauty and peacefulness, I am too much of a city girl to ever move.

  • My heart breaks for you and your kids still, but I’m so happy to hear that you’re embracing this new journey to the fullest. Divorce is awful, and from what happened to you, it sounds like you were quite blindsided. Continue clinging to the Lord and your sweet children! I’m happy to see that you are doing well, and are HAPPY!

  • Sometimes simple is far better than anything; it would be nice to live in the country!

  • I know that feeling all to well of your husband dropping the bomb like that and in a moment changing your life forever. I love this start of your story and the initiative you took. Looking forward to the next installment!

  • Sometimes change is needed and can help us become better people! I’m thinking about moving countries and honestly it scares me but I think its best for my kids.

  • I love that you’ve got a happy ending to share! We have lived in the city and the country. I like both for different reasons. :)

  • I do not like the reason for your move but I really admire you for taking immediate action to get your life back on track and to live how you want to live. Wishing you all the best in your new place & this next phase of your life.

  • Simple living is the best kind of living in my opinion! I also accumulated a lot of child and baby items that I didn’t need. I think its about time that I simplify my life as well. Thanks for the inspiration and sharing your experience!

  • Wow, what a risk! I also recently downsized and got rid of half our possessions, but I wouldn’t want to give up the city.

  • This post really resonates with me! I live a big city life all year then take off to the countryside in Italy for the entire summer. It’s like night and day. The grass always seems greener on the other side but I know the pros and cons of living in each place!

  • Great Post!!! I went from being a city girl to now living in the country and well after this move for my hubby’s work… I think I’m a suburbs kinda gal…. I need my stores and restaurants but don’t wanna live in the middle of it…. A nice 15min or less drive would be nice ;-)

  • This is something my husband and I really want to do. Move to a less crowded area, get rid of a lot of stuff and have a much less complicated (or complicated in a different way!) life.

  • Moving to the country is a goal that my s/o and I have. He and I both grew up in or around a city and it’s not what we want for our daughter.

  • We are a military family and don’t get much choice in where we live. We have been stationed in places that are more city and some places that are more country. We find things that we like and appreciate about both. We love having places for the kids to play, and the outdoors in general. Good luck with the move and this journey!

  • Wow. That’s a horrible situation to set off your new journey. I love that you’re using it to make decisions that truly make you happy. That’s awesome. I’ve never lived in the country. I’ve always been a big city girl. Now that I have kids, I do crave something a little smaller but still in driving distance to the city.

  • That’s quite the incredible journey you’ve had. I’m amazed that you’ve been able to do everything you’ve done.

  • I have always lived in the city, but I could easily leave it all behind and move to the country. I would love to just enjoy the simple pleasures that we don’t have in the city.

  • Oh my, this all sounds so peaceful to me. I live outside a major city and I often want to run away to the ocean and just relax.

  • All my life I lived in the country and never thought I’d live in the city. I too love being able to go outside and be in the country. I now live in the city because we relocated for my hubbies work and I really thought I wouldn’t like it here but it’s not too bad.

  • I love country living. I would be absolutely miserable in a city. I live in the middle of a forest and it’s a 30-minute drive to the nearest grocery store. (22 minutes to a gas station) I love it!

  • I grew up in the city living in apartments and subdivisions. I spent 33 years living like that until I went through a divorce and moved 1600 miles away to a small rural town in Michigan. While I liked the peace and quiet, I hated having to drive 30 minutes just to get anywhere. In the winter, that was a total suck. I have since moved from that super small town to a bit bigger town. While that 30 min drive is still there, I am at least a little closer to some small towns that have things I need and can use. The bad part is my 2 acres and house face a highway that connects all these small towns and the tourist town next door. So, its always loud and busy. I never dealt with that when I lived in the city or in a subdivision. It’s my own little nightmare and I look forward to moving. I want to be closer to the city, but just far enough out of town that I can have an acre or two.

  • This sounds like a very inspirational story indeed. I love you are taking charge of your life. It sounds like you have it all together so Kudos to you. You should be so proud of yourself. Thanks so much for sharing. Stories like this help other woman I believe.

  • I currently live in a town of 40,000 and am happy with that. I don’t care much for the country (did that growing up) and big cities scare me. I admit that I do enjoy the calmness that usually comes with country life.
    Sometimes a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do! And it seems you worked hard at achieving what you wanted.

  • Your story is very inspirational. You are a brave woman.
    I have always loved the country lifestyle. When I was little every summer for 3 months we’d go to my grandparents farm. Some of my best childhood memories are from running wild with my cousins and helping my grandparents with the farm animals.

  • I have never wanted to live in the city. I have always been a back of the woods kind of girl. I cannot deal with the hustle and bustle of the cities.

  • Things you miss living under the lights: Stars. And more stars. Silence, oh the silence. It really is golden! Minimalism, simple living = less stress.

  • I grew up in the country on a large dairy farm. I miss it. When I married, my husband wasn’t a country boy, so we now raise our family living in town, all the while my heart remains back on the farm. My husband promised to move me back to a farm in the country, I’m holding him to that promise. Your such a courageous woman to make the move with your girls, and blessed to have found a wonderful place you could afford to go to.

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