After years of giving advice about downsizing your home, I went through the gut-wrenching process myself two years ago. I wrote about that humbling experience in an article entitled Downsizing: The Reality. The wisdom of Marie Condo’s advice aside, it’s not an easy process.
Downsizing your home is a key step for many of us, whether we are a boomer with a big house full of heirlooms moving to a smaller home, or a millennial stepping into her first home in a 500 square foot condo. Our attachment to “stuff” can be intense, serving as a gateway to memories, status, or comfort. When I wrote about the process two years ago, I wasn’t sure how I would feel after letting go of so much of our life’s possessions.
Now I can join the legions of others who have gone before me, and attest to the liberating freedom of owning less stuff. Like a caterpillar shedding it’s cocoon, you are free to fly, free to roam, unhindered by all those possessions. I realize talking about downsizing your home like this makes me sound unhinged to those who haven’t shared the experience. But I hope it brings comfort to those of you staring at piles of possessions, and wondering how in the world it will all fit into your next home.
There are some great guidelines for how to approach downsizing your home that apply equally to people in all stages of life. From tips on how to decide the right time for downsizing your home, to practical thoughts from a financial point of view , to an organizational approach, there is plenty of food for thought that will help the process go more smoothly.
But all the great advice won’t help if you first don’t make the emotional decision to just let go. You may be surprised by how strong of a hold your possessions have over you when you start to contemplate getting rid of them. Is it easy? No. Is it infinitely worth it? Absolutely! Especially if you are trying to sell your home, getting rid of excess belongings and beginning the process of downsizing your home is essential. It’s hard for buyers to see a home if it is jammed with possessions.
Once you’ve accomplished your thoughtful but necessary purge, the relief and freedom you feel will be your great reward. Without exception, everyone I’ve ever spoken to who has gone through this process is thrilled with the results. No one misses their excess belongings once they are gone. The trick, of course, is not to start replacing “stuff” once you’ve cleaned it out. Not easy, but you can do it!