When I (Morten) first met Maria in 2003 one of the first things she told me was:
“I want to travel and live in different countries. Just so you know…”
My first thought was:
“WOW, this sounds like a great girl – adventurous and exciting!”
Our first 5-6 years of marriage were centered around work, and traveling wasn’t really an option. We started our first company in 2008, an online print-on-demand shop. It was a lot of hard work and long hours! We learned a lot, and soon had a handfull of employees.
We also learned that managing employees and a production company, was not our dream. We were exhausted and overwhelmed, and felt like we had lost control over our own lifes!
After dealing with stress and a stretched private budget for 3 years, we needed to make some changes.
Hitting The Bottom (And Getting A New Plan)
We were officially at a low point.
Maria was burned out and spent most of the days on the sofa and we literally lived from paycheck to paycheck. Not exactly the way we imagined it would be to be entrepreneurs!
We spent the next two years getting out of the business and started to get rid of the debt we had worked up.
Maria had been following the tiny house movement for a while, and with her background in architecture she was really fascinated with tiny living, space saving furniture, etc.
She started talking about downsizing (a lot!) but I didn’t get it.
It wasn’t until she laid out the financial benefits of downsizing that I got hooked. I REALLY wanted to get out of debt in order to be able to start a new business again, one day.
So we took the first step in a totally new direction.
We went through our finances and set a realistic budget. We quickly realized, that the biggest monthly expense was our 1000 sqft. apartment.
Living With Only 100 Things (For A Year)
I took on a personal challenge to only own 100 things for a year.
Here’s the list of my 100 things. It’s actually a lot less than you would think! There’s also a list of some of the things I had a really hard time getting rid off.
Here are some of the sentimental things I decided to keep (here’s why I chose to keep exactly these items):
After that year I didn’t feel like buying a lot of stuff. I didn’t miss all the stuff I got rid off and I also learned that I could easily live for long periods of time with the stuff I could fit inside my hand luggage.
Maria took on another challenge. She decided to downsize her clothes to only 33 items. That was pretty intense too, in a VERY good way.
It was really liberating to get rid of all the junk we had dragged along for decades!
We had a good deal on the space we rented and we would be able to cut our rent by 3/4 by renting out half of the apartment. After a little deliberation we decided to do it.
For the next couple of years we shared our bathroom and kitchen with 3-4 different tenants. A real sacrifice, but definitely worth it. Maria is an introvert and we had to find creative ways to get alone time. To fit in 500 sqf we had to get rid of A LOT of stuff. We sold a lot of things, donated some things and threw out a lot of stuff. Our two rooms opened up to each other, so we put in a french door. This gave us the option of privacy, when we have guests over.
For the next years we exchanged our car for bikes, busses, and trains. When we needed a car we just rented one for a day or two – the benefits more than outweigh the cost of having a car full time.
Fast Forward To The Present…
This is us today (with almost all our belongings!).
Today we are completely debt free. We make a living from blogging and we travel for months every year.
A big focus for us now it to spend time on things that we love doing.
We had Max three years ago and we LOVE hanging out with him. We spend as much time with him as we can and he loves to go exploring with mom and dad (luckily!).
We choose to sacrifice space and downsize to live that life, instead of working more hours and having a big space. It has been a liberating and good experience to get rid of all that stuff, and start living in a smaller space.
If You Want To Know More About Us
Morten and Maria Storgaard. We are happily married for 13 years and have been downsizing since spring 2011. If interested read: our downsizing story.
Maria has been bid by the travel-bug since she was 17, loves adventure and experimenting. She has studied architecture in Denmark and loves furniture design. She has designed tiny space furniture and you can find some of her designs on our site.
She also works as an interior designer and has turned private homes, hotels, and campers into livable tiny spaces.
Quote: I believe you can have an influence if you speak up.
Morten has always lived on the coast and have loved boating since my dad took me sailing as a toddler. In 2013 I took an extensive sailing course in Sarasota, FL, led by two amazing guys from the Olympic yachting team. Together with my wife I’ve rebuilt two RVs in which we travel as much as we can. We’ve filmed and interviewed tiny houses and RVs since 2011.
He has studied Information Science and the spare time is still used working on the family camper trailer.
Favorite quote: Either you believe you can do something or don’t believe it – you´re right!
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Here’s Some Of Our Very Best Content
If you are ready to get inspired here are some of our very best articles:
- 17 Brilliant Furniture Ideas For Small Homes (With Pictures)
- The 11 Best Tiny Houses We Have Filmed
- A List Of The 100 Things I Owned (For A Year)
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