Downsizing is a skill of its own. It takes patience, understanding, and time. Everyone has the ability to build a skill and continue to work on it throughout life. This skill can be a new way of life, a process by which you regulate what new things enter, stay, and leave your life.
We spend a whole lifetime filling our homes with desires, temptations, proof of status, and memories of which we can’t let go of. It fills every corner of our homes and of our minds. I once read that our homes are a reflection of what our minds actually look like. I used to think that was crazy but when you can step back and look at the whole, you can see that it is correct. That our minds, like our homes, are as filled with a collection of memories, traumas, bits and pieces of the past, and things stocked in piles for the future.
So how and why would you start packing up life to move on??
When the physical demands of property upkeep become overwhelming, the financial burdens you carry become too heavy, the unneeded extra space, or when it becomes unsafe because of mobility. These are all excellent reasons to consider downsizing. Freeing yourself from the mental and physical clutter of this property and moving into something that makes more sense is so freeing. That process however, doesn’t come easily.
If you just came to terms with WHY you should consider downsizing or that you need too, I’m going to tell you why some don’t go through with it even when they know they should.
Three main reasons; Guilt, being unsure of where you are going, and no help or support.
Guilt is a major reason why people don’t move. Either from their own feelings of guilt or from the emotions of others that may have been raised in this house, or have some sort of connection that THEY can’t move past. These are no reasons to stay. Emotions are the reason we hold onto things way longer than we should. We become so attached to places, things, and people that we identify as: that is ME!!! In your mind, you are thinking, I’m letting go of a part of me. If I let this go, what happens to me? But this house isn’t who you are, it may have played a role in an event and a special memory and you think that by letting this go, the memory of ME will go with it, like pulling up a rug that is attached to the floor. When you realize that the memories go anywhere you do, it’s much easier to let go. In fact, if we start to recognize these patterns of holding onto things in all aspects of life, you can then understand why we do hold on. You can break the pattern, then you can move on with facts. Having a realistic expectation of what is going on right now is how you move forward feeling confident, knowing you made the right decision.
So, you’re unsure where you are going. Welcome to the club, my friend! All we have is right now. Right now, you know that this isn’t the right place for you. This next move may even just be a transition. So, ask yourself, what place would work for me? A smaller home, where I don’t have as much upkeep or financial burden? Maybe a place that has all the activities that I want or need in order to be healthier or happier. Maybe a condo works? Very little effort in maintenance and a much smaller footprint. How about moving in with a relative or friend? This works for some people. People get even more lonely as they age. This arrangement could be very helpful for both you and the caregiver. You could choose to rent and let someone else take over most of the responsibilities so from there you enjoy the space and move on when you need to. Really take some time and think about how you want to live in this space. What activities do you want to do? How much space do you need? What challenges, if any, do you have that you need solved in the next home? For example, if you have a hard time with mobility, seeing or hearing, what would make it easier? Do you have children or pets that need more space? Consider a time frame. Most people wait way too long to make this move, then when forced, it becomes more impossible to find the right fit. It feels way better to have control over where and what your next move may look like. So don’t wait too long before thinking and making a decision.
Last but not least, is how to move. It’s not just the physical aspect I’m talking about. That is the easy part. What I’m referring to is the packing and unloading of the things you really do and don’t need. I have worked with many clients, at many stages and ages. They all struggle with this, from what do I do with all my kids’ art work, to I can’t let go of my father’s 200lb cuckoo clock that I don’t even like. My first suggestion is to not do this completely by yourself. Yes, there are things you and only you can sort through. But the majority of things I find most helpful is having someone ask you, do you really need this? Start one room at a time. Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to do it all in one day. Set a timer for 20 mins to an hour each day. This may change depending on how you feel. Start by making piles of keep/trash/donation. When you finish that room, box and organize by throwing out the trash, dropping off the donations and starting a “keep” pile in one location on the property, such as an empty corner in a room or garage. Then start a new room. If you bounce around you will likely become frazzled. Before long you will have gone through and downsized your whole house.
BUT you’re not done, I know you thought you were. Once you have arranged movers or helpers to the new property, you then have a second chance to go through stuff again. As you unpack, ask yourself, do I really need this? Does this bring any added pleasure to my life? Where am I putting it? We are programmed to think we need all this stuff. You will be amazed that after looking at it again, you decide to let go. It’s like you have been giving yourself the permission to let go and it does get easier. After moving 11 times, I find I unpack less and less. It’s so freeing to see space around me. Space to breathe, space to move, space to just be empty. I have had friends and relatives show up at my new place and say “hey, are you going to hang anything up?” My reply “Nope, I like my space”. I don’t have to worry about cleaning it, repairing it or replacing it. All these things are mental markers in your mind that nag at you to pay more attention to them. If they are not there, you are free to think about nothing. No nagging voice. No money spent and no wasted time shopping just to fill voids.
Downsizing isn’t just for those that are physically moving out of one house to the next. You can practice doing this now in your current home. Look at the stuff around you. Do you really need all of it? Does it take up space? Does it make you happy or make you feel overwhelmed? Don’t feel guilty about letting things go. At the time, you wanted or needed it. It’s okay to let it go when it doesn’t serve you anymore. Guilt is an emotion reserved for when you do something wrong that needs to be reconciled. Detaching from things that you now know don’t work for you is how you move onto things that will work for you in all aspects of your life.
Light Touch Dwellings helps guide people towards a simpler, more efficient way of life. Filled with more space to allow priceless things into their lives.
For more information on how to clear more clutter or organize other parts of your life head to Lighttouchdwellings.com. There is a free assessment on LifeStyle Equity to show you where you align and how Light Touch Dwellings can help guide you towards more balance. Follow us on FB and Instagram. You also can listen to the Happy Dweller podcast to get even more information on this and many other topics.
So, until next time. Let go of all things yesterday that don’t serve you, look forward to an easier path ahead.