Moving to a new location is stressful, but it doesn’t have to be negative stress. There are some serious advantages — and opportunities — to be enjoyed from the downsizing process.
You get to curate your life. You get to decide how your future looks, and you get to jettison the less savory aspects of the past. In short, you get to recreate yourself and free yourself from the “stuff” you have felt obligated to keep and maintain.
Downsizing sounds negative, but it can be incredibly liberating! Here are a few tips to make your downsizing journey more enjoyable…
You know the best part of downsizing? You get to redefine yourself!
- Imagine a life in which you have no responsibilities you don’t want to have.
- Imagine a home in which only your favorite items are on display, and nothing else clutters your space.
- Imagine loving every item you use in your kitchen, bathroom, or bedroom every day.
Now is the time to achieve this lofty goal. You can build a world — your world — with space and time to do what you want to do, rather than stuff and responsibilities. Downsizing means you can re-evaluate not only what you have, but how you spend your time and what matters most to you now.
Look Forward, Not Back
This is the perfect time to look forward to the next phase of life rather than looking back. We spend so much of our lives building a life that we sometimes don’t notice until it’s too late the accumulation of so much “stuff” that wasn’t really a part of the plan.
The result? We store, care for, pull out, and “rotate” belongings that really aren’t our favorites. (But someone special gave them to us, so we feel obligated to bring them out or at least pack them into storage carefully.) You could never get rid of them, could you?
You are not the same person now that you were ten years ago, much less twenty or thirty. Embrace the new you, the less encumbered you, the lighter you. Downsizing is a tool to unearth the person you want to be, here and now, rather than the person you used to be — or the person you used to want to be. You do you. Begin today.
Downsize Without Guilt
You know all those things you kept because someone gave you them as a gift? You are no longer obligated! You probably never were, but we all feel guilty if we toss a gift, or a child’s drawing, something belonging to a loved one who has passed on, or a family photo.
Now, you don’t need to feel guilty. You are downsizing! You are not going to have room to keep everything where you are moving. It’s the best excuse in the world for tossing those things you never really wanted to keep anyway. Leverage the opportunity!
Go forth and cut away all the chaff and the parts of the past that no longer apply to the life you want to live now.
Be Happy: Toss the Trials and Tribulations
If something you have saved makes you unhappy, toss it. Keep only those things in your next phase of life that make you smile.
If it brings up bad memories, reminds you of tough times and hardship, let it go! We often keep little tokens of tough times. Maybe it’s to prove/remind ourselves that we could (and did) survive it. Maybe we never want to forget what we have overcome.
You have lots of instances and a patchwork quilt — a literal lifetime — of proof that you are a survivor. Simply put, you are tough because you made it to here, and that’s proof enough.
Downsize Unrealized Hobbies
You know all those hobbies you always meant to get to, but never did? The ones that you feel guilty about every time you see remnants of them here or there? The painting hobby you never really took up, although you have all the supplies. Those supplies that make you feel bad when you see them, like you should have found a way to become Rembrandt already?
How about the gourmet cookbook collection and all the utensils and appliances you have to make you into the galloping gourmet when you really just prefer to eat a salad or a burger?
What about all that fabric for the quilt you never finished — or even really started? That guitar you never learned to play or the piano? And those shelves of classic books you never got around to reading, because you prefer the escapist, romantic, mystery, or guilty pleasure books hidden out of sight
What about the gardening stuff, that ceramics phase of your life, the scrapbooking supplies stockpile, the workshop tools, and all the things that no longer really interest you?
Forget them. Keep the one or two hobbies you love and actually do and enjoy. The hobbies you “should” have had only served to make you feel tied down and guilty. It’s time to jettison them and the guilt they incur.
Collections: Oh, the Clutter!
Once upon a time, you mentioned that you liked frogs and you bought one that you really liked. Amazingly, after that, you started getting them in all shapes and sizes for every gift-giving occasion. Now you have frogs everywhere, and you never had the heart to tell the family and your friends that you didn’t really want to collect them. Now, finally, you can cull the collection or eliminate it entirely.
Even in collections you love, there are always one or two that are your prizes. Keep those and let the others go. Someone else may find their prize possession among your extras. Let them have that opportunity! You may determine that your new collection is simply one or two of the best from several different “collections” currently in your home. A single display case may contain them all and keep them where you can see them every day — instead of having them scattered about or carefully packed away.
The dozens of vases for arranging flowers and the plethora of plants (that take you half a day to water each week) may no longer suit the new life you want to lead. Maybe keeping a single bud vase is enough. Maybe one big enough to hold a bouquet will fill the bill. So keep one or two instead of an entire battalion of them in your cupboard. Maybe you want to keep an African violet or an orchid that really makes you happy, but you don’t want to keep the dozens of flowers you currently maintain. Maybe you want the greenery of that one gorgeous ficus tree, but you don’t want any of the multiple smaller plants. Keep your favorites — the best — and toss the rest!
Downsize to Uncover the Real You
Embrace the opportunities downsizing offers. There are so many!
It’s not just about your physical space; downsizing frees up your mental space. Curating your life will make you feel lighter on the inside. The mental weight of all the stuff (whether it’s on display or packed away) impacts you more than you realize — until you let it go.
You will be lighter, happier, and less burdened when you focus on the you that you are now, instead of the imaginary you that you thought you might be at some point in your life.
You are pretty amazing as is, and creating the physical space and psychological space will free you to be the you that you are now: the real you. Make space for the next chapters in your life! Keep the things that make you happy, the best and the authentic, and toss the rest.
If you are ready to downsize to a new location, we can help you sell your current house and/or find the best new home for your next life adventures. Contact us today for more information.