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!
Yay for Spring! I love this season and have been enjoying getting into some decluttering after what seems like the longest Winter ever. If you’re as keen as I am to get into some of those spaces in your home that need some attention this Spring, my 5 step method will really help you to conquer any of them.
Before you start though, make sure you have some tools on board. Here’s what I suggest:
Not sure where to start? Start somewhere small, like a shelf, junk drawer, a cupboard or the likes. Your car is a GREAT place to start! Just don’t start in a sentimental area or an area that is too emotional for you. Especially if you haven’t decluttered in a while.
Finally, create a vision for the space. How do you want it to look, feel and function (function being the most important.) Ask yourself what is working in the space and what is not working?
Step 1: Which ever area you decide to start working in, take everything out of the drawer, cupboard, shelf, box, you get the idea. Simply take all of the items out of the space.
Step 2: Put like with like items together. By doing this, you can see exactly how much of each item you have and when they are all together like this, it makes it a lot easier to make decisions on the items, whew!
Step 3: Time to make decisions on the items – pop over to my blog on “10 questions to ask yourself when you declutter” to help you here. Be honest with your decision making and ask a friend to help you if you are struggling on your own. Here’s where you use your banana boxes for charity, recycle and relocate items and the rubbish bags for rubbish and the bulky donate items.
Step 4: Move onto the next shelf, drawer, cupboard and repeat steps 1 – 3. Once you have finished, it is time to reorganise the items you have decided to keep. Reorganise them in a way that makes sense to you and at their point of use. The most important thing to remember is that the area needs to function well. You can always pretty it up later. Keep what is working in the space and change what is not working.
Step 5: Take the rubbish and recycling to your bins, the charity items to your car (rather than sitting around the house as you or others might be tempted to go back into them!) and put your relocate items in their correct place. If they don’t have a home, you will have to create one.
If you are struggling to get started, put a date in your diary at a time that will work for you and stick to it. Call a friend to hold you accountable. Get the family on board to help! Doing a little each day even if it’s only ten minutes, will eventually add up. It’s completely okay to do a space in stages, if that is what will work for you. Set a timer and reward yourself when you are done, put on some music and make it fun!
Have an awesome Spring, good luck with your decluttering and let me know how you get on 🙂
Downsizing happens to all of us at LEAST once in our lives. It can be a stressful process, filled with overwhelm and anxiety and not knowing where to start is very common! In Peter Walsh’s latest book “Let it Go” he walks you through the feelings that you will experience and gives sound and practical tips and strategies that will help you to downsize without feeling stressed and to stay in control.
I recently chatted with Carly Flynn on Radio Live about Peter’s book and the benefits that you can gain from downsizing – you can listen in here:
“Let it Go will help you to identify your stuck points, make a solid plan that fits with your goals, and stick with it.” David Tolin, Phd.
Happy listening 🙂
We are told from a very early age that we need to buy stuff in order to make us happy. This happens through television, radio, magazines, billboards – it is all around us and difficult to escape. We are brainwashed into thinking that the more stuff we own, the better our lives will be. (more…)
Living with the things that we love brings liberation. But the thought of letting go of our possessions can be overwhelming for many. So much so, that many don’t face them at all – it’s all too much. Does that sound like you? If so, this will be a good read for you. It is important that our belongings make us feel happy rather than making us feel sad, guilty or resentful. This month I shared my four key reasons with Stuff that can help you to understand why it can be so difficult to let go.
This is the first article of a series that I am writing for Stuff Magazine 🙂
“Where can I take my items that I no longer want?!” I am often asked as I go through the process of helping people to declutter their belongings. I offer my clients the service of taking away their charity items – I like to donate them to the SPCA as that is a charity that I want to support. Even so, charity stores are getting more picky these days on what items they either want or are allowed to receive. Keep reading to find out where you can take a variety of items, including E waste, spectacles and even your bras!
When Suzanne Oh approached me about the new business “BOXi” she and Matt Cruickshank had recently launched, I was excited to hear how this valet storage company does things a little bit differently to other storage companies. If you are needing to make space at your place, then look no further! These guys really know their stuff and their service is simple, convenient and affordable……
“A place for everything and everything in it’s place”
This is a motto that I really love!! This motto can be used in every area of your home – if everything you own has a home and is in it’s place, you will always know where everything is and it will make your life easier. So here are my top tips for organising your living space this spring!