Downsizing your home isn’t easy, as anyone who has done it will tell you. But without fail, they will also tell you how liberating it is once you’ve done it. After a life time of slowly acquiring prized possessions, inherited items, gifts and impulse buys, how does one just let it all go? It can be done, but it’s a daunting task for sure.
The easiest method for downsizing your home is to skip the acquiring phase altogether, only bringing new items into your household if you recycle or gift out something old. But that doesn’t seem to be the American way. We are much more inclined to make room for the new stuff by moving our old stuff into our closets and storage spaces, then hauling that stuff around with us with each move we make. Fast forward to retirement and now you are sitting on a mountain of beloved possessions that trigger lots of happy memories and are a direct link to your past. But you know its time to move into a smaller home, simplify your life, and let it all go. Where do you begin?
I’ve written a previous post about downsizing your home with a step by step process you can follow. What I want to address here is the emotional stress and helplessness people typically have when trying to navigate these waters. I’ve helped scores of clients downsize, and not a single one did so with happy abandon. It is a slow, emotional separation from the physical reminders of years gone by. Resistance to the process seems to come from the belief that if one still possesses the “stuff”, the past is still the present. But if it’s time to look to the future, it’s time to let it go.
Once people have shed themselves of their excess possessions, their elation and sense of freedom is palpable. Instead of being surrounded by reminders of their past, they begin to live more comfortably in the present and embrace the future. There is lightheartedness and freedom that comes with owning less and the anguish is well worth the rewards.