Post by Sharon
Downsizing is the buzz in present times and there is good reason.
After decades of excess, McMansions, quadruple patty hamburgers, and buying the newest Droid phone every year, it seems like the world has forced our hand to stop and really figure out what we value, what we need instead of what we want.
I'd like to list what I believe to be the top 10 reasons to downsize now.
I consider myself an expert, as I left a marriage with just my personal belongings, downsized from marital house into an apartment. I didn't want the items from the marriage as I was in a new space and a new life. Dragging the past with you can be a phantom limb situation where you see something and still remember the time and space it held and you feel deflated.
I moved several years later into a roommate situation where my entire belongings fit in a 10 x 10 bedroom. I had to get rid of 4/5 of what I owned to do this.
I went through a few emotions in the process of this major downsizing. And I look back and am so very thankful I did it. It changed my whole perspective on who I am versus what I am.
At first, the thought of giving up the belongings I had accrued in my first time living on my own was devastating.
I was looking at it like a failure, that I had to jump ship, give things away. But, as my apartment space got roomier and I had less objects to dust, walk around, and visually distract, I felt a weird liberation. Before, the small apartment seemed so crowded and tiny and now it felt vaulted and expansive.
You know those folks that pack up just enough clothes to hike Europe before deciding what to do next with their lives? It is utterly freeing! It means you have options, can come and go, and live at low cost.
I can't tell you how many times I would look around my expensive apartment and think, "I'm getting more and more in the hole financially to stay in a nice neighborhood in a tiny one-bedroom apartment. If I have to move again, I have to get movers to take all my stuff. This is such a burden to drag around!"
Top 10 Reasons to Downsize Now
1. Jump on the used items sale wagon.
Thrift shops cannot keep enough on their shelves as everyone is now getting their clothing, furniture, household goods at the local secondhand store. People are realizing that someone took the hit on buying a possession brand new when you can have it barely used for less than half.
Buying used is best! It's magical and amazing. There are so many great Etsy shops with people upcycling used items and that's a great way to enjoy recycled beauty and also encourage someone's business.
2. Relieve yourself of clutter-induced depression.
Honestly, most folks have junk drawers, catch-alls and storage spaces crowded. This clutter leads to more things to dust, more things to move from place to place, difficult time finding what you actually use because you have to push aside what you don't want to deal with.
Clutter creates a sense of tight spaces. In Feng Shui principles, it creates cul-du-sac action for bad energy. And, it's hard to feel you have gotten anything done when a pile of stuff is just sitting there, staring you down and breaking up your view of your space.
You don't want to deal with it, but subconsciously, you know it's present. The elephant-in-the-room syndrome.
3. Your life becomes more mobile.
Honestly, when you downsize, it's not just that you own a LOT less, but you also feel less obligated to all these objects and what is there has meaning and purpose and actual use. The concept of moving to another location and toting your life isn't overwhelming any longer and you don't need as many rooms and spaces to tuck things away, as well as feeling free to go on vacation and come back and you aren't holding onto valuables that might make your home worth pilfering.
4. You finally close some chapters.
Some of us hold onto sentiment or we hold onto knitting needles meaning to knit again but never really got the time or enthusiasm.
Maybe the kids left home a decade ago but their room is there in case they visit, including all their posters and things that should have been boxed and handed over to their adult life. Maybe Aunt Berta left you a Swiss cuckoo clock but your home is modern style.
Couldn't it be that someone else might see that clock and go "oh wow!!!!" Another relative might enjoy it or even a close friend.
With enough decades on this and we realize that a person can't be found in an item and we think about them, whether we are holding their watch or not. The watch just helps us focus on the memories when photos might be more effective.
5. Smaller home and smaller mortgage?
The house is empty except for you two? It might be time after the declutter that you realize you have rooms you never use. You keep them in case someone visits, but there is a great cost to keeping those extra rooms - cost in mortgage, heating/air-conditioning, property taxes, and housekeeping.
Maybe you are considering moving into an RV or a manufactured home where there is no yard work and it's easy to clean and maintain your space or be more movable.
6. Money in the bank.
If it's been impossible to go into Home Depot or Michael's store and not buy a few things, that really adds up. These things you must have are perhaps draining you of hundreds of dollars in a month's time. That's like an electric bill!
When you aren't working to get the newest fast cooker or mac daddy grill for the backyard, you are saving over time in a huge way: No bigger houses, no newer phones, no great high from buying something and then having the glow fade fast.
That money in the bank becomes retirement, health care, inheritance for your kids, and even travel money. Asking yourself, "do I need this new clock on my wall or would I rather take a cruise with my spouse?" can help you to make better decisions now that affect you later.
It's rather like weight loss, every day you exercise and eat fewer calories, the closer to goal you are.
7. You find your peace.
It's odd how having less objects around your space, not feeling the rushing need to buy anything new, and finding ways to reuse items, find free items, and stop and evaluate the need for any possession, can help you find yourself. With a clean, open, bright space and no clutter begging you to get things done, you find more spiritual uses of your time. Guilt that you should be "doing something" finally flees.
Instead of staying busy, you go out and hike, you grow houseplants at the windows that you tend over, you communicate with others, you sit and read for hours on end, and pick up an old hobby again.
There's a kind of piety you feel when you feel you have everything you need and that money is accruing in the bank. It becomes a new "high" for you to find ways to repurpose, reuse, recycle, upcycle, and not need.
None of what I mentioned here even included the sense of independence when you know you can fix things on your own, make something out of "nothing," and don't need to work your butt off to pay off items you regret purchasing. Resourcefulness is critical for humans to survive. Practicing it daily gives a sense of being less vulnerable should times get worse.
Most of us from our baby boomer era had parents that recalled the Great Depression and even when they did well, they still misered about using air-conditioning or rinsed out plastic bags to store things. They were humbled by the true meaning of the human experience - to adapt and survive.
8. You give to others.
When you are eliminating items from your life that bog you down, they may lift someone else.
Do you have a niece who just got her first apartment? Might she need a bedside table? Did a dear friend lose a lot of weight and need a smaller wardrobe? How about a backyard stack of aged boards you meant to make into a deck you never got around to? They might make a home repair person happy being able to do a barnwood wall in his master bedroom.
You may be wanting to pitch items, but sure enough someone else would love to get something free.
9. What you truly value comes to the surface.
Taking each item out and asking "have I used this in the past year?" and "if it doesn't fit now, when I lose the weight would I really find this style as ideal?" you begin the process of being conscious and present.
The magic in life only happens when we are focused completely and utterly aware of one thing at that moment.
Look back at any happy memories you have - at that moment in time in the past you were utterly in that moment sinking every aspect in.
Now, your life is becoming that again. You are setting down something so sure, so focused that you are utter joy inside. You are awake. No more sleepwalking. And you also learn what you were holding onto out of obligation, anticipation, or because others thought you should have it.
Pat yourself on the back - you just got introduced to the genuine you!
10. Downsizing spreads an overall consciousness about consumerism, health, and the earth.
When you begin the process of eliminating, you also realize how cheap and plastic most of what we own is. You start applying the ideals of downsizing to how you eat and cook, making your diet have real substance. You acquire glass containers at Goodwill and store foods in glass instead of plastic, are hesitant to bring more plastics into the home, replace particle board Ikea crap for real furniture used and nicely aged at your local Goodwill or other thrift store.
places to sell or donate items!
There has never been a better time to put used clothing on places like Poshmark and Tradesy make it easy to sell your fashions. Ebay has always been the standard for collectibles, household goods, car parts, you name it! Also take advantage of places like NextDoor.com and Facebook Marketplace where you can deal with sales to local folks for things like furnishings and garden stuff. If anything you have is vintage, I suggest Etsy as another option too. Also, pay attention on social media like Facebook when you hear someone is having a hard time and offer them some pots and pans, clothing, or other household needs, ship it to them and know that someone had a bad day and you just turned it around.
If you want to donate, consider doing free items on NextDoor.com for neighbors to snag or consider having the Salvation Army truck pickup.
YouTube Channels to Inspire
Items that help minimalistic living
glass jars and containers
chalkboard versus post-it notes/planners
houseplants for health and relaxation
Free floating shelves instead of kitchen upper cabinets
good dusting/mopping items
Enjoy freedom like you haven't felt since you left home. Hit the open road if you like - it's beckoning as a reward.