What comes to your mind when you think of downsizing? There’s no denying it can be a daunting task. To some people it is loss, menial labor, or an overwhelming task. When you mention the word “downsizing”, people may think about scads of their coworkers getting laid off, or their parents moving into a retirement villa. We live in a society where bigger is perceived of as better. A bigger diamond, bigger tv, bigger car, bigger office. On the flip side, you might see downsizing as a feeling of freedom, simplicity, and even joy.
In reality, downsizing isn’t depressing. It actually has been proven to increase happiness once the emotional ties to the past are broken. No matter how you feel about downsizing, it is something that almost everyone has to do sooner or later for themselves, their parents, relatives, or friends.
Take Downsizing to a New Level
Some downsizing tips to help you move past your fears and reach the next level are outlined below. I believe that downsizing is an art and what works best for you might not be what works for someone else. Also, the amount of downsizing you need to do will depend on how much you start with and whether you are staying in your home or moving to a smaller location.
One way to look at downsizing is by category such as clothing, dishes, cookware, furniture, books, knickknacks, tools, pictures, linens, etc. Assess your needs and take a good look at what you really use, wear, read and want to keep. Some people want to keep it all. This is not downsizing. Some people, get fed up and want to get rid of almost everything. These are two extremes and your goal should be somewhere in the middle.
Some “Don’t” Downsizing Tips include:
Don’t keep clothes that you’ve outgrown and/or that you never wear.
Don’t keep things just because they were a gift or inherited – if you don’t use them, like them, or want them
Don’t keep things that are broken that you have never fixed, or hold on to found art objects that you are intending to repurpose, even though you think you might do this “some day.” If that is true, make “some day” “today” or kiss it goodbye
Don’t keep things buried and out of site in tote bins unless they are seasonal
A Few “Do’s” Include:
Do keep one extra pair of “fat jeans”
Do feel free to break up sets of matching linens, dishes or stemware if you only need half of them
Do keep the things you use and like the most. Keep the things that give you joy only
Do take pictures of belongings you plan to sell or donate if you need to have a visual memory of them
Do take family pictures out of frames and put them in an album. Make an album of your favorite scenes and pictures from trips you have taken, the “best of” so to speak.
Do give unwanted material, yarn and art supplies to community senior citizen centers for art projects
Gift, Giveaway or Sell
So once you are making your way through this process, what do you do with all of your stuff? If your family doesn’t want it, you can sell it or donate it, depending on what you would like to get rid of. Selling options include consignment stores, estate sales, on-line estate sales, e-Bay, Craig’s List, and garage sales. Use the money you make and put it in savings for your new home or to pay off your debt. If you need professional help, call Art of Downsizing. We have some fun package options, including an afternoon tea party giveaway for your closest friends.
Recycle and Donate
The approach you take, and which of these downsizing tips you use, depends on how much you have and what its perceived value is. There are numerous charities where you can donate items; some will come to your home and pick items up. Here is a Free WNC Guide to Recycling and Charities. Some things you eliminate might be more appropriately recycled; this includes household and yard chemicals, paper, metal, glass, and plastic. The last and final resort is the garbage. If no one can use it and it is not recyclable, put it in the trash!
Whether you’re in the midst of downsizing, just weighing your options, or have all of this handled. Consider it a blessing. Because less stuff is more space, and more space is freedom.