It happens to most of us at one point in our lives, whether we like it or not. For many, it is a very overwhelming task that forces us to face our stuff. Now for those of us that have not faced our stuff on a regular basis, the thought of letting go of a lifetime of possessions is daunting and unthinkable. But it doesn’t have to be that way. I was recently interviewed by the NZ Woman’s weekly on this topic and I explained how it can be a great opportunity to celebrate and enjoy a fresh start in life. Today I’m going to share with you my top 5 tips on how this process can be made SO much easier.
#1 Live in the moment
Downsizing doesn’t mean that you will loose everything you own. Sure, you won’t be able to take every item you own with you – it is just not possible. It forces us to make many decisions which can be very difficult, depending on our circumstances. Taking only the things we truly love and use now and which add value to our lives, causes us to live in the present. And what a wonderful thing that is! Having only those items in our homes that make us feel good, are the ones to surround ourselves with. Not the ones that cause us to feel any kind of negative emotions, which is distracting to say the least. Viewing downsizing as a positive experience where we can pare back and be honest with ourselves is truly liberating.
#2 Plan well in advance
This is one of the biggest problems I see – people just don’t give themselves enough time to prepare in advance. And believe me, the process takes a lot longer than you think it will. The more things you own, the more time it will take to make decisions. And if your belongings have not been reviewed regularly, the harder it will be to make those decisions. The more organised you are prior to the big day, the less stress you (and family members) will encounter. If you are pushed for time, I recommend that you employ the services of a professional to help take the stress out of the process.
#3 Ask for help
One of the hardest things people struggle with is letting go of possessions. If it’s all too much and you are feeling overwhelmed, ask for help! Whether it’s from a family member, objective friend or professional, it’s okay to reach out if you are struggling at any point during the process. It is so much easier making decisions when you have a support buddy to help you and speeds the process along when you are feeling stuck.
#4 Ask the right questions
It is important to ask the right questions throughout this process. “ Do I love it?” “Do I use it?” “Does it add value to my life now?” are key questions to ask. Our situations change over time and items may no longer have the value they once had. We move on from things as we change as people – this is very natural and a part of life. Embrace who you are now and be honest with your decision making, remembering that you simply cannot take everything with you anyway.
#5 Capture your memories
There are so many memories behind our belongings. Most items in our homes have stories attached to them. I find that once the story has been told, it is easier to let go of the item. Take photos of treasured items and record their stories. These can be passed down through generations and the legacy lives on. Remember that our memories are inside us and will be with us forever. We don’t always need to keep the item to remember the experience, but having a photo triggers our memory and allows us to reminisce.
By following these tips, your downsizing experience can be a truely positive life change. You will most definitely go through many emotions as you face your belongings. But what might seem like an overwhelming task to begin with, can turn into a wonderful opportunity to create new memories and a new start in life!