Rightsizing instead of Downsizing
Is there a website or magazine article without an article on downsizing or de-cluttering? Benefits are said to include a sense of calmness, more time for activities and less time spent on upkeep and the need for less living space.
In my work as a Realtor, I have seen homes chock full of a lifetime of collections, mementos and sometimes, just junk. Often clients are paralyzed by the daunting task of parsing through their belongings to prepare their house for sale. Working with the children of parents who have lived in a home for decades (especially if they have outbuildings) is incentive to de-clutter your home. But…
Don’t get the latest book on Downsizing and inadvertently get rid of the record of your life. Personalize the downsizing to RIGHTSIZING for you.
My own experience of selling a small farm and moving to a smaller home with less storage and less land caused me to think long and hard of what to keep and what to get rid of, indeed I am still editing. Yes, less JUNK can improve your sense of calm. Having only quality items and beautiful things surrounding you is a joy.
Ready to RIGHTSIZE?
Get rid of the low hanging fruit; anything plastic that serves no purpose, all those little packets from who knows what, piles of old newspapers or magazines, broken yard tools, etc. Easy.
Now to the next level, items that require serious consideration on how you live and what you value.
Common advice is to get rid of anything you are not using that can easily be replaced. The linen closet, clothes closets and kitchen cabinets can usually use an edit. Think twice about getting rid of some seemingly easy-to-replace items like collections of bolts, screws, thimbles, metal pencil sharpeners, etc. The currently available replacements are often not of the same quality. I know handymen who frequent estate sales just to get the screws and bolts because the ones from China break so often. Consider quality replacement availability before you toss or donate.
Many people are getting rid of their books. They use the internet for resource material and use an e-reader for fiction. If this describes you, get rid of them. I need my books. They are important to me, I kept mine. I did edit them ruthlessly. Ok, somewhat ruthlessly.
The advice to take a picture of something you treasure before dumping it galls me. If that was enough a picture of a loved one would be the same as having them near. It is not.
Ridding yourself of papers and extra pictures is a good idea. Of course, get rid of ancient receipts, cancelled checks, manuals for things you don’t own anymore, pictures of people you do not know, and any duplicate photos. However, your thesis, the kid’s old report cards, cards from a friend or family member who has passed, the honeymoon pressed flower, brochures you designed for your first business…all these may be a comfort when you are reviewing your life decades from now. I have watched the satisfaction a widow has going through pictures of her life, mementos from the achievements and events shared with family and friends. Once it is tossed, it is gone forever. The loss of this tactile reminder of the past may be lost for the digital generation dispensing downsizing advice.
The hardest part, at least for my husband and me, is facing how to rationalize keeping the stuff it makes no sense to keep; CD’s, cassettes (cassettes!), a trunk full of fabric for someone who does not sew, fine shoes I am ‘saving’. I live in cowboy boots. Things from our parents we have known all our life.
It may look like clutter; it is comfort, a record of our lives.