Last week, I flew back to my hometown to help my parents with downsizing for a move. They have purchased a one story place about half the size of their current home. It is much better suited to meet their current health and daily living needs.
Going through a downsizing is both physically and emotionally taxing, but also very eye opening. I learned/had reinforced four valuable lessons from helping with this process.
1. We hold on to things that we no longer use simply for the memories.
We keep items that are taking up valuable space because of their worth to us in the past.
A lady at my mom’s church passed along a wonderful idea that she had been given about what to do with sentimental possessions. She suggested taking a picture of the meaningful items and putting those photos together in an album that my parents can look through whenever they like. What a fantastic idea! Memories intact, but space freed up.
2. Out of sight really does mean out mind.
In digging through my parents cabinets, I noticed that the things in the back were the items that could be let go of most quickly. Nobody had seen them for a while since that where tucked out of view, and so they simply did not get used.
3. We tend to over collect certain items in particular.
- Kitchen gadgets–It seems like there is a kitchen tool for every possible food prep situation. Squeezers, slicers, graters, and choppers abound.
- Makeup–Ladies, if you are like me, all those makeup samples seem like a great idea at the time when they are offered. Unfortunately, they get stuffed in a drawer and forgotten about along with all the hotel shampoo bottles and hair nets.
- Vases and Other Glass Pieces-Big, small, all shape and sizes get collected. And yes, maybe my mom has more than many other people because of her passion for gardening and flowers, but I suspect she is not alone. I know I am guilty of harboring too many crystal bowls, candle holders, and glass figurines.
- Wrapping Paper, Gift Bags, and Tags-Who can pass up a 2 rolls for a dollar clearance sale after Christmas? Or package tags for 25 cents? What a bargain.
4. Downsizing Actually Does Have Its Perks.
Less stuff means less to clean, maintain, and take up space. It is freeing in many respects to see a drawer, cabinet, or room that was previously full, cleared of most things. Yes, getting to downsized is not necessarily easy (especially emotionally), but once you have arrived the effort pays off.
Isn’t it amazing how the life experiences that we are most apprehensive about, teach us the biggest lessons? Now back to decluttering my own place.
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alexandra @ my urban family says
Great tips. I’m helping my parents do the same over the next couple of weeks before their house goes on the market and it is definitely emotionally taxing. But with my own downsizing earlier this year, it’s been a bit easier to not want to take EVERYTHING with me. Still putting a few extra boxes together for storage though of childhood memories. Some things you just can’t get back – but I can always get rid of more down the road.
You are so right.
Lisa @ Fun Money Mom says
I hate having a lot of “stuff” but I have to admit that I have a hard time throwing away makeup! I’ve bought make-up, decided the color didn’t look good on me, then stashed it in the back of my drawer. It’s hard to get rid of when it’s almost new but if nothing else, I can give it away. Thanks so much for sharing with us at Share The Wealth Sunday! You’ve inspired me to clear out that old make-up (and get rid of anything else I don’t need)!
Yes, clear that extra makeup right out. It is freeing.
My husband and I go to a lot of Estate Sales to purchase items for our home. Ironically, it has prompted me to NOT hold onto things that I will not use. I think about how difficult it would be in the future to downsize with so much extraneous stuff, and either give it away or donate it to Goodwill now. Feels good to be a little lighter.