As much as we have a love affair with our stuff, a great number of us are facing the reality that “you can’t take it with you.” Literally. It just won’t fit.
Moving presents an opportunity to evaluate what we have and ask the question is it still serving us? Many will seize the moment to purge, at the very least, the broken, obsolete, and redundant.
When we’re facing a move into smaller living quarters, there is the added necessity to eliminate the excess. This is challenging for many people. The good news is that it’s liberating to live with less.
It’s a simple matter of math. We all have the same 24 hours in a day. Those with more stuff have more responsibilities and less free time.
Stuff requires maintenance, which costs us in time, dollars, or both. Our stuff requires space. The cost of keeping stuff is the rent or mortgage divided by the square footage of our space. Multiply the amount of space your stuff takes by your cost per square foot.
And as much as we might love our stuff, most people I know don’t love the time they spend in stuff-maintenance mode. Raise your hand if you want to clean the basement or organize the garage in your free time.
The more you keep, the harder it is to put things away and the longer it takes to clean. Jeff Campbell, author of Clutter Control and Speed Cleaning, calls this VLT. Valuable Leisure Time.
Living in smaller space means you have more time to do things you like with people you love. It is that simple.
Here are my top ten tips to help you downsize with ease.
1. Shift your thinking from how can this be useful? to can I live without it?
2. Do you love it? Does it fit and flatter? Does it spark joy? (thanks, Marie Kundo)
3. Keep fewer containers (including furniture) and you will keep fewer things.
4. Redundancy is overrated. Why keep two when one will do?
5. If an item has an emotional tug, take a picture, then let someone else love it.
6. Minimize the mementos and maximize the white space.
7. Find a charity or three, antique dealer or two, and give yourself a deadline if you are going to sell things yourself.
8. Don’t overfill your new home. Nothing makes something seem small than too much in it.
9. Moving is expensive. The less you take with you, the more you save.
10. It’s never too late to donate. Even as you unpack, remember that “maybe” means you can live without it.
Living in a smaller space requires living with less, but it doesn’t mean we can’t be living large. Our lives are not our stuff. Our lives are our experiences, our people, and our passions. All of which we have more time for when we take stock of our stuff as we move to a smaller space.
It’s a great life!