Maria Storgaard (founder of GoDownsize) is answering the following questions:
- What did you downsize from, and where are you guys now?
- Why did you downsize?
- What do you do with the extra time and resources you have on your hands now?
Interview with Maria Storgaard on “Life After Downsizing”
You can also read the interview here
Hi I’m maria I want to give you a tour of our apartment, and show you what we downsized from and how we live now. This is the kitchen. It’s a spacious kitchen, and we share it with a tenant, and it’s no problem at all.
In here is our old bedroom. Believe it or not we actually used to have a whole room dedicated to one bed and a big closet, now it fits a whole living room in here. The next one used to be my sewing room. I had all of my sewing machines and my iron boards, all my fabrics and stuff. I think we even had Mortens guitars and stuff, so it was basically a hobby room. It’s not a big room so that’s fine.
It’s a nice bright room for a bedroom. It’s a bedroom now, and it used to be the hobby room. I want to show you what we downsized these two rooms into. We actually fit everything into one room.
Since this is a big kitchen I figured I dont need that much space to sow, so right now I use this big table to cut my fabrics. I even have some sewing projects out right now down there. This is my main big workspace.
This is the living room. It hasn’t changed in the process. We de-cluttered it a lot, and over here are some books. It’s basically the same as before.
The big change has been happening in here. Now this where I sew. It’s usually our office space, but when I have a sewing project I take out my sewing machine, and I cut in the kitchen. It’s a little tight but it’s fine.
When I take these away we have a nice office space. We can fold this one down, and it only takes up one foot of space from the wall and out. We can also fold out the table completely, and it becomes the double length of what is now.
It’s a nice size for a dining room table. It’s not the ideal size for a dining table, but I’m working on a solution for that, but everything takes time.
When I pack everything away I put it in this one closet, so I used to have a whole room filled with all my sewing stuff and hobby things, and now I have one closet.
This is what it looks like. I have all my patterns down at the bottom, and my fabrics and sewing machine in here.
These are all the technical stuff like scissors and utensils. These are our finance books for when I do financing for our business. We try to downsize all of it.
Our bedroom got moved as well, and it now a Murphy bed. I built it high, so we have storage down here. It fits two guitars, two small ironing boards, and two stacking chairs. They fit perfectly in there, and it’s very easy to get to it. Here we have the Murphy bed. The bed is on pistons, so it’s not very heavy. We have extra storage behind here, and in here where we store everything like seasonal clothing, old memories from our childhood, jackets, our suitcases etc.
It’s reasonable among of extra storage, and we have also installed lights inside it. Our bedroom is now like this. We used to have two big closets in our bedroom, that would be the same amount as this whole wall. It was stuffed with clothes, towels, linens, and everything. But now we downsized it a lot, so this is our entire wardrobe now.
This is Morten’s side. Here’s jackets and shirts, and this is my side. Down here we have drawers with our clothes. This is my drawer, and Morten has a bit more before his clothes are bigger and heavier, so he has to two bottom drawers. Up here are extra linens, pillows etc. for when we have guests over.
We are on the terrace here – What’s the reason for downsizing – why do all this?
I think for us it started because we had a big company, and everything was so complicated. The finances were complicated and it was very time consuming, a lot of rules to figure out, and we had a lot of employees. I think we just wanted something to be simple, and this was an area that I could personally start with.
I just started going through all of our crap, and getting rid of stuff.
Trying to get to the core of what is important to me – that’s where I started. That combines with my fascination with the small house movement.
I love optimizing, space saving and trying to fit a lot into space in the smartest way possible. I am very fascinated by that. Those two things combined. A lack of simplicity in a huge area of our lives (business). These were the main foundations for downsizing, and we started doing it as a couple when the financial part became a bigger issue.
We got fed up with being in debt, and we were counting up our bank accounts. We had like 100.000 (USD) in debt – maybe more, probably more – so we started looking at what we wanted with our lives, how we wanted to spend our time and how we wanted the rest of our lives to be.
We started setting up priorities and figuring out what our top-3 was, and everything else we were okay sacrificing.
Getting out of debt was a big part of that, and our main priorities were to travel and see the world. We wanted to avoid being strapped down to this place because of debt, so we decided to downsize our apartment, to be able to rent out two rooms.
The money we make from have a tenant we save up for traveling. Having a tenant makes it possible for us to save up every month – while we can still travel. So we wanted to simplify, get out of debt and a general fascination with small spaces.
Thanks. You already talked about this, but what do you do with the new time and resources you have now?
We get up in the morning like everyone else, and mainly Morten right now is working on clients, and we work 20-30 hours per week, and that’s very little compared to before, so we have a huge amount of extra time.
We take a lot of walks together. It might sound stupid, but we spend so much time together, and it’s really quality time. We walk several times per day and talk about different topics, and it helps us get in tune with each other.
Morten is in a band, and I’ve been doing a lot of projects. I’m learning French with Fluenze – yea gotta put that in there – I love that program. I’m doing a project trying to make 80% of my clothes myself within a two-year span, and right now I am remodeling a camper.
We’re ripping everything out and rebuilding it. I also do financial stuff for the business. We have an exercise bike in our bedroom, and we can just sit there and watch a big screen, and avoid going to the gym. We take turns riding it.
Those are the day to day things, and without extra, we are also able to travel more. That’s the main thing.
It’s also a big plus that we work online. We can bring our work with us when we travel. So we work from the morning till around 2, and then when we’re off we can explore new areas. That’s a big bonus. All wrapped up that’s our key point of why we do this.
I grew up close to the coast and loved to go sailing with my dad. I completely rebuilt two RVs with my wife in which we travel as much as we can. I’ve filmed and interviewed tiny house people and RVers since 2011 and downsized (extensively!) to get out of debt and out on the road. Read our personal story here.