Rightsizing is about expanding options and defining purposeful new directions. Isn't it time to do what really makes you happy?
Sometimes the process of rightsizing (or downsizing as many are more used to hearing, which often is associated with the feelings of loss, especially in our modern times when the word most frequently refers to jobs and a company's restructuring technique), triggers strong emotions, especially around sentimental items and lifetime mementos. How can you make the decision to get rid of all those reminders of special moments throughout your life from loved ones, and close friends without feeling guilty or dredging up painful emotions? It is no wonder many times it is difficult to let go of burdensome excess baggage that has been accumulated and pursue the new life we want to achieve.
The goal isn't to simply toss items out of your life. It is to allow yourself to feel good about the decisions and the life you are consciously choosing for yourself. Taking control of your stuff, rather than letting your stuff control you, is a giant step towards defining and loving your life, rather than merely living it. Rightsizing is about more than just "stuff". It means breaking free of responsibilities that are no longer necessary – responsibilities that cause more burden than joy. When you take control and prioritize, you will feel empowered and in control, you can begin to plan the next phase of life, look forward to new adventures and reach goals and dreams that may have been on hold for years. Imagine the power one must feel with the ability to let go and blaze a completely different path…one with less responsibilities and more of what you want.
We can all benefit from rightsizing our life, whether or not we are planning a move. More than anything, it's a mindset that involves breaking free of old habits and reexamining priorities. After all, surrounding yourself with the accouterments of a life that no longer fits is more burden than joy. Give yourself permission to explore new directions!
Some questions to ask yourself to get the process started:
- If you could do anything starting tomorrow, what would you want to do?
- What kind of change in direction do you wish your life could take now?
- What are a couple things you have always wanted to do, but never made time for?
- If you had a clean slate right now and could freely explore any way of life, what would you do first…second…and after that?
Top Ten Rightsizing Tips (for de-cluttering):
Start with the easy stuff. Eliminate anything that's broken, damaged, or no longer wanted. Then go to the out-of-the-way spaces like attics, crawlspaces, and garages. Making progress in "easier" areas will build momentum to go through the harder -to-decide areas.
Ask yourself, "If this disappeared tomorrow, would I run out and replace it?" If you wouldn't miss it or need to replace it, it's probably not worth keeping.
Don't be a storage unit for others. If fiends or relatives have left things for you to store, it's time to ask them to pick them up – or arrange to have them shipped. You may need to be tough and set a firm deadline, after which you will donate the items.
Ask for help. Although you can do much of this work on your own, a family member, a good friend, or even a professional organizer can help make the job more manageable.
Decide what's really important. Pretend you are moving overseas, and the number of items ou can take will be severely limited and it will cost a small fortune to ship things. What items belong on your list? These are the things that matter to you most.
Is this something from a lifestyle I no longer have or want? For example, if you have three cabinets full of plastic containers, but only cook for one or two people, you probably can lose a few plastic sets – and dishes, pots and pans, etc.
Schedule a regular time each week – or several days per week – to work on rightsizing. Realize that this is a life-changing marathon, not a sprint. You didn't accumulate everything overnight, and you won't sort it all out overnight either.
Value what you keep. The fewer things you keep, the more you will treasure and enjoy what you have, instead of tucking them away in a closet or stacked among dozens of other things. These are the few, meaningful items worth having in your personal space.
Prevent new collections from forming. Instead of material gifts, ask people to spoil you by sharing time, enjoying new experiences, and indulging in luxuries (spa certificates, imported chocolate, a musical or other production, gift certificates for dinner out, etc.) – things you love and want, but don't always buy for yourself.
Use age to you advantage. Now is a great time to "gift" items you "eventually" want family members to have. Take a photo (preferably a digital one) of them holding the special item and create a digital scrapbook of "next generation" memories…making your special people happy and freeing yourself of extra "stuff" that you have been charged with keeping for posterity.