Thanks for all the kind words mamas! I think the most important thing is using space wisely. Finding different appliances/furniture, etc. that works with your space. Trying to shove a giant overstuffed L-shaped couch in here wouldn't have worked, ya know?
Also, our house before wasn't that huge...and it was fabulous. Old, great architecture, etc. so some people around us were understandably confused at why we would want to do this. But it was to big and too much for US. We just didn't use the space. We had a guest bedroom that got used maybe 4 times a year. That's not enough to warrant the extra money on the mortgage. It's cheaper to just get a hotel room that weekend!
I would love to always live in a small space. It forces you to be mindful. My dream home would be one that has a large lofted great room open to the kitchen and a couple small bedrooms, a bath, and a large deck (overlooking the mountains of course
As far as tips on how to start/get others to do it. Take baby steps. It took us about 6 months to downsize...selling things...donating...purging. You just have to keep at it and look at how far you have come and get excited about that! You won't regret it...it's very freeing.
Oh, and snowbunny...you can get the magnet canisters at any kitchen store or even at Target in their kitchen section. There is definitely a range of prices on them. I love them...because I like to buy my spices in bulk.