I’ve moved a few times in the past couple of years. Each time, the dread of packing loomed way before the actual move. The thing I dreaded most was the packing and lugging years of stuff with me all over the state. Well, it seems like the process of moving is in the cards for me again, except this time I’m going in with a clearer purpose: downsizing.
Downsizing on the Move: Bigger is Not Always Better
There are so many ways to start, but for me it will be a no holds bar attack on everything I own. Every time I moved in the past, I would load of boxes of items I wanted to give to friends, bags of clothes to give, books to read one last time then part with and then pack up the rest for the move.
This time, I will start with moving less stuff for the next place, only packing the essentials. There will be no more “what if I need this?” or “but so-and-so gave this to me.” It’s now or never. As I watch my parents pack up over 30 years of their own stuff, I see them dealing with the emotions and physical problems of space that I have done over six times in the past seven years. It’s daunting, but with their downsizing, I’m finding myself doing it again.
I guess I’ve learned a lot in my process of moving that I’ve been able to share with them. The journey into downsizing does not have to be scary. Instead, it can be freeing and rewarding.
Letting Go: Downsizing Is a Lifestyle, Not a Quick Fix
So what happens after you’ve given away, sold or donated a large amount of stuff? Time to go shopping, right? Wrong! Downsizing is not just for big moves or something to do when you get sick of your clutter; it’s a lifestyle change. You will have to start rethinking what comes into your home.
Ask yourself: “Do I have space for this item?” and “Is this something that will benefit my life?” If you can answer yes to these questions, then you can learn to shop a little smarter. Stop those old habit of senseless shopping or grabbing something in the store on a whim. This will help you sustain a simpler life and save money in the process!
Downsizing Stuff, Not Memories
You go to tackle a box you haven’t seen in years and then it happens: a stuffed animal from your mom, a photo of an old boyfriend, a dried rose from prom. The list goes on and on. It’s moments like this that halt the downsizing process. How much is enough when it comes to sentimental items? Could you just snap a photo of an item and then let go of the physical thing? The memories will remain whether you have the actual item in your grasp. I know it’s hard, but you have to push through!
Holidays: The Downsizing Killer
Holidays are instant clutter-makers and a time when things come pouring into our homes. Let’s face it, a majority of the items are things that we would never buy ourselves. No longer should we engage in the tradition of out-doing last year with more presents but instead we need to think outside of the box to gifts that won’t take up space.
Sites like Groupon.com and Livingsocial.com are great for gifts because they can turn into adventures. Instead of another ugly sweater that will wind up in the back of a closet, who couldn’t use a massage or a dinner cruise? Buy everyone in the family the same thing and before you know it, a tradition can arise.
Breathing Easy: A Side Effect of Downsizing
So as I attempt to practice what I preach, I have already boxed up a significant amount of items that I no longer need. I want to set an example for my parents, who for the first time in 30 years will be sifting through the mounds of neglected and unused things, along with a few treasures. I will be strong for them, looking forward to a lifestyle that revolves less on stuff and more on time spent with family. When we downsize the stuff in our lives we really open up space for new experiences. Break free from the idea that attainment is the way to happiness and make your next move a little less stressful.
Do you have any tips for downsizing? What tips have worked for you? Let us know in the comments!