The best way to downsize is to not have the stuff in the first place!
I know that this is easier said than done. We’ve lived in 450 sq ft and under for 17 years, and we still have stuff. Even when you manage to get rid of some stuff, the house tends to fill up again with more stuff. Where does it come from? Why do we need all of this stuff?
We actually really NEED very little. As long as our basic needs of food, water, clothing, shelter are satisfied, there is very little else we might need. Well, maybe sanitation and healthcare (and aquaducts), but all of the rest of it is just added stuff.
Now, I am not lecturing anyone. I am as guilty as the next lady of collecting a bunch of stuff that I don’t need. What makes it a little easier for people who live in small or tiny houses is there is very little space to store anything. And how much stuff do we need to store? Think about a storage place in your house or garage. Can you name what is in there? Do you actually need what is in there?
Any change can be difficult to do, but downsizing seems particularly difficult for many people. Several people have told me that they would like to downsize, but they don’t really know where to start, or there is too much stuff to start, or someone else won’t let them start… I’ve had all of these excuses, too. Moving to a smaller house can help you with that. You don’t have much choice but to downsize.
So where do you start?
One, tiny thing you can do is put a box labeled Goodwill or Salvation Army, etc. in your car. When you see something that you don’t need or want anymore, take it directly to the box, close the lid and don’t think about it anymore. When the box is full, take it directly to the donation location. That sounds like a song lyric. : )
If you are going to work on a space in your house, the best place to start would be the spot that is bugging you the most. If that place is too overwhelming to you, pick a small section of that space or go to another smaller space, like a drawer. There is no right way to downsize, but there are some things you can keep in mind.
- Pull things out of the area one-by-one, ask yourself if you really NEED each item. If you say “yes,” put it in the keep pile. If you say “no,” decide if you will donate it or sell it. Be careful about this. Are you REALLY going to sell it or just put it in another pile until it starts gathering dust again. Where are you going to sell it? I will be looking at places to sell things online. If you have family heirlooms, they would be fine to give to other family members if you no longer want them. DON’T ask for them back. Look over the Keep pile one more time and see if there is anything else you can get rid of.
- If you start to get overwhelmed, stop with what you have. Get rid of that pile and come back another time. It will take you longer to get done; but, hey, you haven’t done it until now anyway, so who’ll condemn you?
- Don’t second guess yourself. The first, gut reaction is the best. Don’t touch the piles until you are ready to get rid of them.
- Do not put things in storage. The stuff will stay there forever.
- Think about how nice it will feel to get rid of the stuff you don’t need. You’ll feel lighter and freer.
Remember you came into this world with nothing, and you’ll leave with nothing. What’s more important than stuff is connecting with and helping people. Instead of going shopping, volunteer that time to a worthy organization in your community. It will make you feel better, and you’ll come back to an organized house.
This is where I’m going to start. I’ll post my progress on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Follow along with your own downsizing projects and post what you are doing.