There are many steps involved in downsizing and often these steps can be extremely overwhelming. After years in the business, it is our professional opinion that the key components to downsizing success are:
having the desire
making the decision, and then
committing to the necessary steps to live a simplified, uncluttered life.
Our definition: downsizing is the act of reducing or eliminating the excess or abundance of objects and possessions within the living environment or the exchange of a larger dwelling for a smaller, more compact and manageable one. As a reminder, you do not have to be moving to downsize but if you have a move on the horizon at some point, it is advisable to begin taking the steps necessary to eliminate the excess in the home.
Typically, clients we consult with have seriously been considering downsizing their possessions and are ready to move forward with a plan of action. They have the desire, have made the decision, and are committed to the process. On the flipside, there are those we meet with who have thought about simplifying their life, but can't seem to fully commit. There's a lack of true desire for change which results in no decision or commitment. For some, the indecision fence is very high with many contributing factors.
In a later blog, we'll discuss some of these commitment roadblocks. We'd also like to hear from you on this topic. What are some of the downsizing roadblocks that have popped up for you? Please use the "Contact" page or send us an email.
You don't have to be a minimalist to simplify.
Living a simpler, less complicated home life doesn't mean you have to become a minimalist, but it does require you to take a hard look at content (a.k.a. stuff) that's been allowed to crowd your environment. It's easy to bring things in, but not always easy to get rid of it. Stuff has a way of multiplying and before you know it, you find yourself wondering where it all came from--closets bulge, piles become magically taller and tabletops can no longer be seen. What happened? Unchecked, unmonitored stuff behaves in strange ways and eventually can become a real nuisance with both short and long term consequences. We often hear comments like, "I don't know how it got this bad", or "I can't stand to look at this stuff any longer". Assessing and then minimizing the stuff around you can take time but with a strong commitment to purge the unnecessary, you'll hopefully find it very rewarding. Less stuff, better life!
When life changes.
We recently completed a lengthy downsizing project with a lovely older couple who, although they had no immediate plans to move, felt it necessary to eliminate the unwanted, unused items in their garage and basement. These two areas were the most problematic to them and as they put it, they wanted to be ready for a possible move down the road. Because of age and stamina, we scheduled two, 5-hour days per week that stretched over several weeks. This is important to mention because setting attainable goals based on ability and tolerance is the only way to stay on track and achieve a successful outcome. As most know, downsizing is hard work--physically, mentally, and emotionally--and this couple, even though at times they didn't see eye-to-eye, and the decisions were often difficult, they persevered until the end. They accomplished what they weren't sure they could do in the beginning and more...they made it happen and they're winners!
Now for a challenge.
For anyone struggling with the excess in their home, here's a challenge to consider. You can either start small or jump right in with both feet on a big project. It's up to you, but to keep from becoming immediately overwhelmed, we suggest beginning with an easily attainable task. So, here we go...
Pick a room or area in the home that is literally getting on your last nerve. For whatever reason, every time you walk through or look at the area, something nudges you to do something about it. Now is the time to get the situation resolved. Do not be wishy-washy, make it happen. Once the initial task is completed, you may want to continue on with another project, but remember to work at a pace that you can commit to. "Progress Rewards" are always nice but we urge caution against buying and bringing anything new into the home (you can always do this at a later date once all tasks are completed). In the meantime, go out to a movie or have lunch with a friend. Celebrate progress, it feels good!
If your motivation lags, ask for help.
If you are working alone and find it hard to stay focused or motivated, you may want to consider hiring a professional to assist you. You can also consider a family member or friend but be certain that the focus remains on the task(s)--make your desired results clear to stay on task. Teamwork can expedite projects and should be considered when necessary.
We'd like to hear from you with any input you may have regarding downsizing. What is your experience? Do you have helpful tips to share? Feel free to contact us through the "Contact" page or via email. Thank you!