The decision to downsize your home can be fuelled by various reasons:
- The kids have left home
- The loss of a spouse
- Financial strains
- The desire to live more simply.
Whatever the reason, downsizing can be a hard process for many. There are emotional strains to paring back your belongings and sometimes it’s hard to see the big picture when you’re caught up in the emotion.
Dealing with decades of worldly possessions can be considered cathartic. However a lot of people find it overwhelming when it comes time to take action. Once the decluttering process starts, you realize that some things have more of a stranglehold on you than you thought. You might find you feel:
- Afraid of the future
- Unwilling to part with things even though they are no longer of value or use to you.
Strategies For Downsizing Without The Guilt
If you had to replace everything from scratch, what would your priorities be?
There are often a lot of unused ‘nice to have’ items in your home. Realistically, how often do you use them? Think about what items are used daily or weekly that add value or practicality to your life. These are the items you should not be without. The other stuff, meh, perhaps it’s time to get rid of it.
Linked to your priorities is your new storage space. You have to work with the storage space you now have to avoid having cupboard and drawers that are bursting with items you may not need.
Donate, sell, discard
Consider your non-essential items and what you can do with them. Pass them on to someone who has admired it in the past. Donate them to chairty. If they need repair or are no longer useful them it’s time for the trash.
Duplicates are space wasters
Free up your cupboard and storage space by getting rid of duplicates. For example, glasses often come in packs of six, but if you’re a single, empty nester and rarely have guests then keeping six of everything is really not necessary. How many vases do you really need? Blankets, pillows or sheet sets?
Have realistic timeframes
Devoting time to downsizing is a huge task. If you have the time to plan out weeks, even months, to complete the downsize process it will allow you to work more systematically through your belongings. More importantly, you won’t feel so overwhelmed.
Unfortunately, not everyone has the luxury of time. You may feel under pressure to get it done in a short time frame. For you, I would suggest you follow our declutter mantra. Work fast. Don’t overthink. Let it go. You can find more inspiration with our declutter mantra here.
Cost of moving
Have you thought what your moving costs will be? As well as all the packing and unpacking, think about whether it is worth the cost of a removalist to take certain items into your new home. Are some items just too big and bulky to take (piano). Or are some items likely to stay in boxes (photo frames, or wall art) and are therefore adding no value to your new home.
Run your own race
Comparing your situation to friends or family members is futile. Make peace with the new phase you are entering and live within your means. What works for others may not work for you. Have the confidence to make the right decisions for you and try not to get de-railed by what other people are doing.
Finally, It’s Important To Remember
Just because you have been who you are for a number of years, doesn’t mean that’s who you are in the future. Hazel Rose Markus’ 1986 paper “Possible Selves” get us to consider “the ideal selves that we would like to become, that we could become, and that we are afraid of becoming”. It’s an interesting concept, and if you have the time I recommend reading this article: How Many Selves Do we Have?
Downsizing may be a gut-wrenching activity so it’s important to focus on the next phase in your life.
Be kind to yourself.
Your goal is to be happy and live more simply.
Remember that as you work through your belongings to be thankful of your ‘old life’.
Your new life will be just as exciting!