This month our focus is on Downsizing. The definition I use:
To Reduce in Number
In a way, the word ‘downsizing’ can be interchanged with ‘decluttering’. So how do we get into the situation where we actually have to think about downsizing? Karen Kingston, author of “Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui” shares her view on de-cluttering:
“People hold onto their clutter because they are afraid to let it go–afraid of the emotions they may experience…afraid they will make a mistake and later regret getting rid of something…Clutter clearing can bring up a lot of “stuff” to be faced and dealt with and intuitively everybody knows it.”
Karen goes on to say the positive impact downsizing and de-cluttering can have:
“Letting go of clutter leaves you free to be you, which is the greatest gift you can ever give yourself.”
Steps To Take
As the famous Benjamin Franklin quote says,
“Failing to plan is planning to fail.”
So what can your plan look like to be successful?
Start with one day a month. Choose a day that you have anywhere between 4-6 hours of uninterrupted time. If there are absolutely no days that you can have 4-6 hours of time, pick a day that you have at least 2 -3 hours of uninterrupted time. Mark it on your calendar and treat this time like a doctor or dentist appointment. That means no changing the date and time!
Choose one room or area to tackle. Set yourself up a decision area (I call it the staging area) where there are four distinct areas:
- Donate or Sell
Part of this process is trying to reduce in number. You won’t be able to do that if you put everything into the ‘keep’ area. Some questions to ask are:
- How often do I use it/wear it?
- Do I know anyone who could really use it or needs it?
- Do I really need ‘X’ number? (Ex: Do I really need 5 spatulas?)
When looking at your four distinct areas, you should have items in at least two.
It’s always a good idea to let your family members know what you plan on giving away and give them a chance to take anything they would like. For donation, check your local area for charities. If you plan on selling items (Kijiji), one suggestion is to put your items in your garage (if you have a garage). That way, you do not have strangers coming into your home.
It is always our goal to use the landfill as our last resort. Again, check your local area for recycling options. You may be pleasantly surprised at how many items can be recycled.
Depending on your situation, you may feel a bit overwhelmed. Don’t worry – it is very common. Tackle one room at a time and don’t stop until it’s done. One room may end up taking one month to get through (depending on your situation). Your process will not be like a TV show and be done in 30 minutes.
Another option is to hire a professional company to help you and /or do the work for you. Most companies are experienced with downsizing and decluttering and are well aware of the sensitive nature of going through this process.
“It is a matter of realizing that your happiness does not depend on your ownership of things. They help you in your journey but they are not the journey itself.”