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Posts Tagged ‘Downsizing’

I am amid a downsizing phase of life. Typically, when we think of downsizing, we think of empty nesters or older adults.  However, for me, I am downsizing simply because I am moving from a two-story home to a one-story home.   As I began to sort through my possessions, it became overwhelming.  What do I keep, toss, or donate? I had feelings of sadness for what I thought I would lose and anxiety over the idea of just where to start.

Downsizing Tool Kit

Did I mention I was also trying to do this all in one weekend…by myself?  That was my first mistake.  It is best to approach it one space at a time, starting with the space you use the least often. For me that was the kitchen. There were fewer items with sentimental attachments in my kitchen, so I was able to look at thing pragmatically to decide what to keep and what not to.  Also, I had to get my downsizing “tools” ready.  Items such as labels and markers, boxes to sort for sell, donate, gift, discard, and keep, and packing supplies such as paper, plastic bags, and tape were great to have on hand.  My tool kit kept me from becoming frustrated and kept me from burying myself into a corner where I would have to climb my way out.  

Keeping the flow organized (doing one space at a time) helped me to have a positive attitude and think of downsizing as an adventure.  According to researchers at Kansas State Extension, “a positive attitude allows you to meet challenges with less resistance.” Accepting change rather than resisting it while keeping a positive attitude helped me be more successful in achieving my downsizing goal, made me a harder worker, and helped me feel confident that I would continue to be successful.

When I had moments of anxiety or frustration, I gave myself permission to walk away for a moment.  Shutting the door behind me and taking a moment to just breathe helped.  I had to make a conscious effort to keep the big picture in mind of what I was going to gain rather than focus on what I would have to part with.  Acknowledging my feelings, the good and the bad, helped me to accept change and continue moving forward.

Yard Sales are a great way to sell your extra household goods.

With my change of attitude, surprisingly, downsizing was not so sad anymore.  It was actually a time to remember some great moments in my life.  Walking down memory lane was fun, but also made me realize that some of my stuff did not have any value to me, emotionally or physically. I wondered why I was even holding on to it. As I accepted change and learned to let go, I felt like a weight had been lifted from me as each unneeded item was gifted, sold, or donated.

My takeaways from this downsizing adventure were:

  1. Give myself time and the tools needed. Downsizing was not going to happen over a weekend and by having my tools available to me I was less stressed and not easily frustrated.
  2. Start in the space that is least emotional.  Successfully completing one room made me feel accomplished.
  3. Keep a positive attitude.  Accepting change and keeping tabs on my attitude made the downsizing process easier.
  4. Acknowledge my feelings. Emotions are a part of the downsizing process. I had to acknowledge that it was a hard process and give myself time to step away when needed.
  5. Find the happiness.  Letting go emotionally and physically helped lighten my load.
Remember to try to keep it organized.

Downsizing can be overwhelming, emotionally taxing, riddled with anxiety and stress, but it does not have to be.  When the thought of downsizing is brought into a optimistic prospective, focusing on the positive changes, and taking the opportunity to literally lighten your load there are many benefits to a downsizing phase of life.

Sources:

Bernhard, T. (2019). Discover the Joys of Downsizing. Psychology Today. Retrieved on July 8, 2020 from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/turning-straw-gold/201901/discover-the-joys-downsizing

Hunter, J. & Jackson, K. (2016). Downsizing Your Home: A Guide for Older Adults. University of Kentucky Extension. Retrieved on July 8, 2020 from https://uknowledge.uky.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=https://www.google.com/&httpsredir=1&article=1100&context=fcs_reports

Toler, N. (2020). The Emotional Power of Tidying Up. University of Rhode Island. Retrieved on July 8, 2020 from https://www.uri.edu/magazine/issues/spring-2020/the-emotional-power-of-tidying-up/

Yelland, E., Hosier, A. & Traywick, L. (2015). Keys to Embracing Aging: Positive Attitude. Kansas State University Extension. Retrieved on July 8, 2020 from https://www.aging.k-state.edu/programs/embracing-aging/docs/kea1positiveattitudemf3256.pdf

Written by: Dr. Roseanne E. Scammahorn, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Darke County

Reviewed by: Kellie Lemly, MS, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, OSU Extension Champaign County

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