It’s a beautiful Sunday afternoon and I thought I’d reflect on a few things. I had a wonderful conversation with someone yesterday who was considering downsizing. Now that I’m considered the Downsizing Designer, people are asking me that all the time.
One of the questions was, “Are there downsides to downsizing?” Now, as many of you know, I moved from a very large home to my tiny little apartment here in Philadelphia and I’ve never been happier. But, downsizing isn’t for everyone. So when she asked me that question, it gave me pause. I thought for sure, there are downsides to downsizing and if you are considering it it’s important to consider both sides, you know, to weigh the pros and the cons.
So, one thing, downsizing is definitely an emotional experience and one of the main reasons that people choose to stay in their homes. Either they want to or they’re reluctant to face the emotional aspect of downsizing their home and also all their physical possessions. So your head may be saying it’s really a smart idea that we should downsize but your hardest challenge is something else because you have memories, you have experiences, you like the neighbors, and so forth.
The other side, of course, is that you have a different lifestyle once your kids are grown, once you’re an empty nester. So during the downsizing process for me, there were a number of occasions that reduced me to tears. My dad’s alarm clock, I’ve talked about that on my TEDx talk, I could hear him winding it as he was getting up very early each morning to provide for our family. Another funny thing was my son’s macaroni picture frame that he gave me for Mother’s Day, many, many, many years ago (and the mice had actually gotten to it) but I had a hard time letting go of that. Then the third thing was my other son’s handwritten note to me as he was headed off to college. So each of these I took pictures of and let go of that. So rather than holding on to the tangible memories, I found a way through Shutterfly to just take a picture, tell a story about it and then to release it.
So another thing about downsizing is it means saying goodbye and letting go. It takes time. It doesn’t happen overnight. Having a clear vision of the lifestyle that you really do want will help you in that journey. It might be a sacrifice that you make today but it does make room for a new lifestyle that you can have tomorrow.
Another downsizing reality is that whether you downsize or right-size, you are going to have less space, and you will not have as much stuff. Now for some, that may be a really big issue but for me, I think I was just ready to let go of all of my stuff. But, for those of you that are still holding on, find ways to donate it to people who want or need what you have. If it’s a precious heirloom that you absolutely can’t give up you can certainly take that with you, but just learn ways to let go and detach yourself emotionally from those possessions. It’s about developing a mindset and developing muscle around it. So to go to the gym once a week versus going to the gym four or five times a week. It’s all just developing a muscle around letting go of what the emotions are that are attached.
Then, lastly, downsizing means that you’ll have less living space, less storage space, less workspace, and decisions made need to be made around what will fit and what won’t fit. I did a YouTube video called The ABC of Downsizing that people have found very, very helpful. It’s what I created when I was downsizing just to make it simple, easy and yes fun. It’s all about having some fun too. But, you will need to find furniture or have less furniture so that it fits and that it looks right.
One more thing that I didn’t add in is downsizing can be expensive. Any move is expensive. Look at that side of downsizing as well before you move: the cost of the physical labor and then any expenses on the other side.
This will help you to make a better business decision about whether you should move or not. So, anyway, I hope this was helpful. I hope you have an awesome day. And it is just about time for the Eagles to start the game. So go Eagles! Have a great day.