I am delighted to share with all you wonderful followers my guest post that I did for the amazing Honey Good. It was well received on her site so I would so appreciate your thoughts on my site too!
Check out the original post on Honey Good here:
DOWNSIZING IS ESSENTIAL
The timing for writing this blog could not be more perfect. You see, my husband and I literally just moved to Ohio from Kansas within the past week. Therefore, while the realities of my own downsizing are crystal clear in my mind, I write this article for any of you considering or any of you that are in the process downsizing. I want to give you a huge pat on the back for doing this challenging task right now. And for you, dear friends, who are procrastinating doing your own downsizing, please read on to know why doing it now is utterly essential.
10 REASONS TO DOWNSIZE RIGHT NOW
1. Life Will Change, Be Ready!
When my husband and I completely restored a 1930s home in 2004, it was to be our “aging in place” forever home. We never, ever, expected his major cancer diagnosis to alter our well-laid-out plans. Although we had already downsized from our family home of over 30 years, oh boy, did we still have way too much stuff to deal with for our next major relocation.
2. Your Children Will Kiss Your Feet After Your Passing
I know it’s a bit of dark humor, but trust me when I say your children will be grateful you thought of them with such high regard. They will be spared from going through your myriad of possessions after your passing. You will give them a huge gift of loving consideration that keeps them from this daunting task after you are gone.
3. Your Home’s Downsizing Is Like a Body Cleanse, Eliminating Your Home of Its Toxins
By downsizing and eliminating your excess possessions, your house will be “cleansed”. Just like when we do a body detox, you will likely experience more energy after. This is due to your home visually looking better to you. Did you know there is actually such a thing as visual clutter? Excess of anything, even clutter, causes stress and robs precious energy from us. All the more reason to cleanse your home of unneeded stuff!
4. Do Not Avoid Doing a Complete Downsizing by Renting a Storage Unit. This Is Cheating Unless You Are in Transition
Renting a storage unit is cheating, unless you are in transition period. Trust me, we learned this the hard way. We lived in an apartment while our former 1930s home was going through a major restoration. We rented several storage units to aid us in keeping our excess things. However, the agony of going through so much stuff after we moved was one of the most depressing times I can remember.
5. To Live a More Fulfilling Happier Life, Give Your Excess or Unused Things Away to Those Who Really Need Them
Another absolute truth, more joy is realized from giving than by receiving, always. Some downsizers have garage or estate sales, or sell online. I do not judge this endeavor in any way but for me, I gave, gave, and gave to my friends, to my family, to the DAV, and to a dear friend supporting an orphanage in Africa. And you know what I learned? That these truly amazing women in charge of these orphaned children pray for me regularly. I am humbled by this fact. Always donate when you can. Trust me, you will be happier for it!
6. Accept the Fact That Your Adult Children Do Not Want Your Furniture or Possessions
Without a doubt, this is a tough realization for most of us. However, if you listen to most downsizers who have already experienced this lesson, they will tell you the same story. Trying to convince their adult children the value of their china and other possessions is a difficult task. Save yourself and your children from this major potential conflict. The majority of adult children do not value what we value. Have a plan ahead of time and save yourself and your kids from this no-win scenario. And remember, no guilt is allowed!
7. To Live a Less-Stressful Life, Possess Less
My own example is when my clothes closet has not been weeded out. When this happens, getting dressed goes like this: “No, not that, hmmm, maybe, and finally, yes, this will work.” I then have this self-talk, “Seriously Mitzi, get busy and get organized downsizing your own closet!”
This means that every time I’m getting ready to go out, if my closet is not organized and downsized with my own clothes, shoes, jewelry, scarfs, purses, whether it is unconscious or a conscious reality, I experience a daily stress that could be avoided. When this happens, I know it’s time to donate and downsize my closet.
8. Acknowledge That Every Single Thing You Own Takes up Real Estate Regardless If It Is Behind Closed Doors or Is on Display
If on display, your items will need maintenance, like cleaning or arranging. If behind all those closed cabinet doors or closet doors, even if they’re not seen, someday you or your loved ones will have to pay the price of going through it all. Ask yourself for any given item you own: is it worth all this effort?
9. Become a Role Model of an Organized, Peaceful Home
Most everyone is trying to accomplish an organized, peaceful, home. If you can do it, your family and friends could be inspired to do the same. One of the favorite compliments I receive is when someone comes into our home and says, “Oh your home is so peaceful.” To me, this translates to a home that has order and distinct space planning, a home that dictates the purpose of each space. Accessories are displayed with a calculated plan, along with a soothing background without too much going on for most people’s visual consumption.
However, for this downsizing blog, the obvious reason I would often receive my favorite compliment lies in the fact that I have carefully avoided that “little stuff disease.” Hopefully none of you are afflicted with this “disease” of having too many small pieces of furniture or an endless amount of accessories. This in itself is a huge reason to downsize!
10. Experience More Life
Lastly, and perhaps my most important reasoning for making a complete downsize to my new home, is that I desperately want to experience more of life. I am adamant about not being weighed down by my possessions.
When I was doing research for one of my CEUs, (Continuing Education Units), “Marketing and Designing to Millennials to Boomers,” I was struck by an astonishing fact. I learned that both of these demographics actually have tons in common. For example, the majority of Millennials enjoy spending their money on travel, concerts, and being with their friends. This is their biggest priority. Likewise, the Boomers, or the O50s (what I call the over 50) partake in the very same behaviors.
For me, downsizing will enable me to experience life versus collecting more things that will bog me down. Since this is my priority, I will do whatever it takes to keep what I own to a pleasant, personal minimum.
Am I there yet? Oh no, not by a long shot, but I have made huge progress. I absolutely will reach my ultimate goal of living with less as I give my own personal downsizing my best effort.
There is, however, one little thing that I only admit to my inner circle. Here it is–I am a shoe alcoholic! So do not be surprised if you notice what I am wearing at any given event. Why? This is because you will probably notice my shoes for sure. Please give me this one little blemish on my downsizing score card and if I should ever go to shoe rehab, I will let you know!
Living and Loving Life Together,
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Thérèse Hansen says:July 12, 2019 at 9:07 am
Dear Mitzi, you wrote a story out of my heart. I downsized also everything in my home, my closet and as I am just like you a shoe addict I even downsized my shoe closet too. And that with a shoe size American 2 1/2. was not so easy, because this size is hard to get. My handbags Louis Vuitton I sold but the rest I gave it away, just like you to an organisation that helps poor people and this felt very very good. Even my husband did his closets!
Unfortunatly most people don’t understand it, they cannot do it en keep every thing. That is a pitty because they don’t experience how good it feels. This emptyness brings so much peace, and satisfying!
As we moved to an other City 3 month ago I even did my new garden the minimal way. This is also very peacefull. And as I did the design from my garden my husband and I feel very happy with it.
I wish you all the best with this wonderfull work and keep on going. I hope your husband is now in good health. With lovely greatings from the Netherlands
Jo Ann says:July 12, 2019 at 9:26 am
I truly believe in what you are saying: Do not drag the clutter around with you, only for someone else to be forced to deal with it at a later date. Do it yourself now ! I have steadily been purging and it seems the need to take it down another layer will come in spurts. It’s normally right after I watch an episode of Hoarders:Buried Alive. Now I am not a hoarder, but in the past I am quite sure I was borderline, and I totally understand why people hoard. Not pure trash, but stuff. What I found works best for me is: I drag it all out (from whatever area I am clearing, maybe it’s just one drawer) and quickly cull through. Something that I haven’t looked for in quite some time goes into another area of the house to be “staged”. I have “staged” in a box by the front door, in the basement, in the garage, or even in the trunk of my car. This means it is in transition, on it’s way out. Now I take about a week to emotionally detach from the culled stuff. Sometimes I even forget what is inside the box (and do not peek!). Then when I know it’s time to let it go, I put on my to-do list for that day: Donation to _____. Drop it off, without looking at it longingly, because I am already detached and therefore do not “need” it anymore, and drive away knowing that someone like me will find this treasure on the shelf and will get it at a great price and will brag to all their friends what a “find” they have gotten, they will give it the appreciation that it deserves and it won’t be taking up space in my drawer/closet/under the bed. This system works for me and I have sold the house, sold the lawn mower, I now rent a duplex and someone else mows the yard, and if something breaks, I just call the man. My daughter has been dealing with metastasized breast cancer for about 4 years and I travel to her house to help her with my granddaughter (making room for a grandchild to come spend the night is a great motivator to clear clutter!) and I do not want the worry of what is happening to all my stuff while I am away. Life has a way of helping you shed all that doesn’t belong there anymore.
Pauline says:July 12, 2019 at 3:23 pm
Sadly I also am a shoe alcoholic. My children have already taken some of the mid century furniture I had when they were young. My daughters are already eyeing an old radio cabinet that was my mothers. I have already given them some of my jewelry.
We did a major downsizing move 4 years ago. I threw out a lot of things, donated a lot and gave away a lot of things as well. Ashamed to say I still have some boxes that need going through and I’ve rented space in a vintage shop which is reall more of a fun activity for me. But rest assured, I’m ready to put all of those things in a box and drop it off to Goodwill.
My major challenge is trying not to purchase new things. Our “downsized” home is a very different vibe, we now live in a much smaller house on the lake instead of the large two story colonial I had for 23 years. I’m trying now to replace my large bedroom furniture. One thing we have found is that no one wants your old dark wood furniture! I’ve picked out some very nice new things but my husband insists that there will be no ordering until our present set is gone. You don’t happen to know anyone in the market for a new bedroom set, do you?? Lol
HI MARGO! I hear you on trying to sell your bedroom furniture. But what is perplexing is that your furniture is probably real wood versus the thin veneers glued on to the fiber board furniture of today. It is such a win win for someone to paint dark real wood furniture and give it a new look and a new life. I have done this myself many times for clients and my own furniture.
Good for you to be ready to unload those items that have no reason for being in your possession other than the “pencil in your eye” ordeal of going through those boxes. I am kicking myself that I did not do a better job of pitching before we moved. I did a good job like you did but now I am in it to win it and you will too!
thank you for commenting! Mitzi
Yes! I totally agree! Doing this to any degree is a start. A move is a major reason. But it’s definitely something we all need to do!
Hello Linda and thank you for commenting! There are literally zillions of us in this very same boat needing to at least strart this downsizing process for the reasons I listed in this post. It is a daunting task for sure but the end results are so worth it for ourselves and our adult kids! Of course I wish that I had done it over the years instead of all at once in a major move like you said.
I so loved your recent blog on downsizing. I am struggling doing the same. We have been talking about moving and relocating to another city and into a smaller home. I struggle with size too along with letting go of “stuff”. I appreciate hearing about your struggles and successes with your move to Ohio. Good luck on your move this week.
Hi Joyce and I hear exactly what you are saying and how you are feeling both on the moving and on the downsizing. If there is any solace in our dilemmas is that we are amongst tons or should say many thousands going through this same scenerio.
I really appreciate your affirming comments on my blog being of help to you and thank you for your kind thoughts as we continue tackle this downsizing gorilla…:)
Love your DOWNSIZING advice! And a hearty YES! to each of them. Right on, Mitzi!
Thank you Pat for you your “approval” and for commenting on my post. I ALWAYS love seeing your name !!