8 Powerful Lessons About Living Small in Hawaii

When it comes to moving to and living in Hawaii, many times, you can’t have it all. Nor should you want to..because if you do, maybe you should stay where you are.

Why do I say that? Because one thing that I always write about is when you move to an island, you don’t need much because the lifestyle here is not about stuff, possessions, etc. In fact, the culture is not about showing off what you own, but really what you have to share. Are there luxury homes with priceless art and fancy sports cars on all the islands? Yes. But if you are reading this, the headline probably has already siphoned off the folks who are looking for 4,000 square foot homes, yes?

I originally wrote about this topic for my 365Kona blog back in 2015 and offered up Five Lessons. 

Five years later, I have a few more insights under my belt, having lived in two more small spaces on this island since I wrote that article! So, here we go;

Living in Hawaii can be a challenge. The cost of living is high with the cost of food and our real estate prices rivaling mainland metropolitan cities, and the “paradise tax” hits many including teachers, doctors, managers and more . The key to survival here is learning to live with less, but in living with less, you can also find abundance in so many other ways. I am also not saying go get a tiny home, although there ARE cute ones here, but maybe 1200 sq feet can give you the life you wish to have!

8 Powerful Lessons About Living Small in Hawaii

1. You have to leave your mindset of “taking it all with you” when you come here. Shipping to Hawaii, storage, that extra bedroom..that all adds up. And at the end of the day, wouldn’t you rather spend that money on catamaran cruises, ocean front dinners, zip line adventures, island hopping or extra money in the bank for peace of mind?

2. Pretend living in places like Honolulu, Lahaina, Kona or Lihue as if they are the Marina District of SF or Manhattan in NYC – you are just lucky to live there, so you squeeze in a little harder to live the life of your dreams, look out your window and smile.

3. You find yourself enjoying simpler things.  How about the ability to enjoy your own ice water from your own tap in your sustainable water bottle with a locally grown apple banana while sitting at the beach..because you are willing to live with a little less to be able to sit there and not in some high rise feasting on a catered lunch watching the clock.

4. You riffle through the “designer” clothes at Macy’s, boutiques or even Ross and realize, “Who am I trying to impress? Is this even comfortable?” Then you go over to the active wear section and get a tank top or sundress instead and feel lighter knowing people like you for you, not your brand wear.

5. You can move here with a few suitcases and call it good. You find that most of the things you had on the mainland are just not as important..like floor to ceiling shelves full of hardback books and exercise equipment as well as antique furniture a deceased family member saddled you with. I don’t know about Honolulu or Maui, but I have never actually seen a Pelaton bike..we go OUTSIDE when we want to ride our bikes!

6. When you live small, there is less to clean, less to maintain, less to worry about just dealing with. All that extra brain energy and time you may have spent trying to keep it all going on the mainland can now go towards sitting on your lanai relaxing while watching your tropical garden grow, hosting new friends for pupu’s, or finding new hobbies and interests. Pickleball is all the rage and exploring your new island home never gets old. Trust me.

7. Do you know why Hawaii consistently is ranked as the number one happiest state to live in the US? There are some mental health reasons and much of that is the ability to be outside and see beauty all around you on a consistent basis. When other people around you are happy and helpful (Aloha Spirit anyone?) you tend to just vibrate higher, which elevates your whole attitude. Let me tell ya..when I was shoveling snow in Lake Tahoe in 2016, I could understand how cold, dark and alone can take your mood and crush it for the entire winter! Even after having to live in a condo for YEARS, I could step outside and jump in the ocean with my family, or go for a bike ride on Alii Drive, stopping by the beaches for hours. Happy happy happy!

8. Living small means having more time to just enjoy life. Enjoying the passage of time watching the tide rise and fall at the beach. Watching a sunset or sunrise. Living without that dreaded word in your head all the time, “MORE”, but instead with the feeling of “ENOUGH”.

If you are ready to say ENOUGH of where you are now and want to explore the possibility of calling Hawaii home, contact us and we can connect you with an experienced, kind, trustworthy and knowledgable mortgage pro and REALTOR. If it’s the right time, you never know!


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