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Downsize your stuff, refresh your life

We live in a world full of stuff, where consumerism is running rampant. So is it any wonder that downsizing is proving overwhelming for many people?

Consider that each year we have lived has provided the opportunity to accumulate more, so anyone 60+ has had more time to acquire and keep stuff.

I often hear I can’t downsize, because I don’t know what will happen to all my stuff’, says Mary of allsorters. ‘This is a little sad, because we are more important than our stuff. Our possessions are meant to help us live the way we want. Our lives should not be about managing our stuff.’

If you are downsizing or preparing to downsize, here are some downsizing tips from Mary to help you:

  1. Be clear as to why you are downsizing.
    Less maintenance or cleaning, more social interaction, safer living, etc. When you have clear goals you can refocus on the WHY when you are stressing about stuff, e.g. how many saucepans you can take and how many you must let go.

  2. Compare the size of your new home to your current home.
    That will give you a quick guide as to how much you can take, e.g. if it is 50% smaller, then you will probably need to let 50% go. If your home is crammed with stuff, it maybe more than 50%.

  3. Stop buying/acquiring except for essentials.
    You don’t want to be bringing lots of stuff in as you are trying to let stuff go.

  4. Don’t stockpile and rundown what you can.
    For example, don’t buy cleaning products, and
    instead use up kitchen perishables, bathroom supplies and similar.

  5. Emotional connection can make it harder to let items go.
    Be kind to yourself when this happens and if the item no longer has a purpose in your life, clarify what will make letting it go easier (e.g. taking a photo has been proven to help 30% of people to let stuff go). Farewell items in good condition by selling, sending to an auction house or donating to charity.

  6. Downsizing is a time to re-assess, refresh and set yourself up for aging fabulously. So, assess the functionality of your furniture.
    Easy to use furniture with good storage will make daily living easier. So if your current furniture is uncomfortable or hard to use/open, maybe now is the time to farewell it.

  7. Don’t expect to make a lot of money from selling furniture.
    The resale market has changed in the last decade as a generation downsizes and younger generations prefer more Ikea type furniture. Some antiques are still in demand but they must be good quality and unique and retro style furniture (from the 60s and 70s) can be in demand. The most unexpected item can be worth money, while dining tables are not. Anything in poor condition is considered a restoration piece.

  8. Don’t put complex conditions on items you are letting go.
    For example, ‘I will only let it go if my friend wants it’. Once you have decided an item no longer has a purpose in your life, let it go asap – sell, donate or toss it.

  9. Have fun!

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2 Responses to Downsize your stuff, refresh your life

  1. Annie Warner says:

    Downsizing became a reality for me when I moved into my long wheel base campervan full time.
    This became my only home after losing my home and despite the huge number of jobs that I applied for, failed to win any of those positions that would pay me sufficient to rent a small unit with a garden for my 2 beloved ‘best mates’.
    At the same time I began taking on pet sits….cats, horses, dogs….caring for them in their own environments….sometimes for a week or two, sometimes for several weeks….some lovely owners give me a small financial remuneration, some do not….however I do get some time off the road, often I get access to internet and other small perks like that.
    This has been my life for the last 3 years or so and although in early 2019 I will be getting my age pension at last (have been living very low key off my savings for all this time) I will be happy to continue this lifestyle for a few years yet, although I will also do some more touring with other campervan/motorhome dwelling older men and women.

  2. Kasia Tkaczyk says:

    Hi Annie,

    Thank you for sharing your story!

    COTA Vic Team