By Rita Wilkins
The Downsizing Designer

It was a little over 5 years ago when I downsized from my 5000-square-foot home in the country and move to an 867-square-foot condo in Philadelphia. I gave away 95% of my belongings. I can honestly say I have no regrets and I’ve never been happier.

In the process, I discovered many things during that journey of decluttering and downsizing. The intention of this blog is to inspire you, motivate you, and let you know it is possible even when you look at all of the boxes in the basement, garage, and attic you might be saying “no way” or “impossible!”

But if you are committed to decluttering, getting organized, and possibly downsizing you are in for the ride of your life… One that you, a few years from now will say, “I’m so glad I did it!” or you might even say, “I wish I had done it sooner!”

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Learning to let go is a life-altering process. It changes you. You no longer cling to possessions for all the wrong reasons.

“I spent good money on it”

“I might need it someday”

“My kids might want it.”

The process of decluttering and letting go is physical, emotional, and even spiritual. It allows you to make room for people and experiences that matter most to you.

And face it! None of us is getting any younger, so if you have been thinking about decluttering, getting organized, or downsizing for a while now and if it has been at the top of your New Year’s resolutions again this year, if you don’t declutter and downsize now, when will you?

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The top things I discovered and learned when I decluttered and downsized my home and my life:

1. Don’t let fear stand in the way of a new lifestyle that you really want

I had had it with the big house, big yard, all the maintenance, and expense.

I literally had no time, money, or freedom to do anything other than take care of the big house.

I knew I wanted a simpler life with less and if I was going to make that happen, I realized that I had to declutter and downsize.

I was motivated by my vision to live a simpler life with less. Nothing was going to stop me but I had to get over the fear of how and where to get started.

2. Declutter first, then downsize

Decluttering or learning to let go is by far the most important part of the entire process. It takes time. It takes a tremendous effort. And it takes discipline and focus. You have to want it; you have to create schedules to make sure that you work on it each week or it will never happen.

Remember: one shelf, one drawer, one closet at a time. The more you declutter the more the momentum builds.

Before you know it, you will start to see progress and you’ll become unstoppable.

3. If you lose momentum and motivation give yourself a break and slow down for a while

Give yourself some grace. You will get tired, you will get decision fatigue

You will get overwhelmed and frustrated. You’re human, it’s a huge undertaking.

Slow down. Hit the reset button after you’ve given yourself a little break.

4. You might second-guess yourself and your decision to downsize

That’s OK. You might find yourself saying, “What if it doesn’t work? What if I don’t like it?” That’s why I recommend renting versus buying so you can put your toe in the water, try on a new lifestyle for a period of time so you have more flexibility and mobility.

Change can be scary, especially when you might have grown up thinking bigger is better, but once you downsize and declutter, you will likely realize that you didn’t need all of the stuff in the first place.

5. Downsizing does require some adjustments.

Moving from 5000 ft.² to 867 ft.² was rather radical, but it was also exciting. It was like an adventure. I had never lived in a city before, so the idea of having so little to care for was very appealing. And the idea that I could walk rather than drive was a relief.

But it did take some adapting. I had no guestroom or a dedicated dining room. So after four years in the city, I made a lifestyle decision to right-size to a beautiful historic village to a 1780s home that is 1700 ft.². It has a full-time and well-used guestroom and dining room.

7. I found my passion and my purpose

When I decluttered and downsized, I had no idea that my story and experience would inspire and motivate others to consider living with less so they, too, could live more.

I had no idea I would be writing a best-selling book on downsizing and decluttering. Nor did I know that I would be asked to do a Ted talk on why less is more. And for sure I had no idea that I would become known as the “downsizing designer,” speak around the country about living with less, write weekly blogs, and be interviewed on national TV and radio.

All of this happened because I had the vision to live more with less… A vision inspired by my trip to a Third World country. I followed that vision, decided to downsize, and then allowed myself to be vulnerable and share my story with audiences across the country… A story that was not always pretty, not always easy, but one I will never regret.

I do hope you make a decision to declutter and downsize your life so you can experience the power of living with less!

Please feel free to share this blog with a friend or anyone who you think would find it useful and benefit from it.

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Rita Wilkins bio