Navigating The Emotions Of “Rightsizing”
The decision to downsize often comes with the feeling of relief. You no longer need to maintain an entire household or a yard. However, the positive aspects of your decision can vanish after you compare the items you will need in your new home and the amount you have accumulated.
We interviewed Lyn Spaeth, downsizing and move-in expert at The Commons in Lincoln, for her recommendations on how to make the process more joyful.
How do you define downsizing?
I define downsizing as ‘”rightsizing.” The goal is to surround yourself with items that bring you happiness and support your lifestyle, no matter the size of the space you live in.
What is the first step?
I always advise that you find a friend who will support you through the process. Sometimes a friend can have a less emotional perspective as they will not be as tied to items as you are. When you are having an ‘off day,’ that friend may just be the boost you need to endure the process. Let’s face it, you’d do it for your friend, and most likely will at some point. Use your support system, as this is a time that support is needed.
What items do I sort through first?
Start the process by downsizing the easy things first. Here is an order that is beneficial to most people: furniture, clothes, books, tools, papers, miscellaneous and sentiment.
Rightsizing the easy stuff first will give you confidence that you can do it and provide you with a sense of control. For instance, photos and gifts from loved ones can set off emotional triggers and cause you to lose momentum.
How do you determine what to keep?
Group ALL like-items together.
- Put all like items in front of you physically.
- Pick each item up and ask yourself,
- Is this valuable?
- Do you LOVE it? If yes, then consider keeping.
- Do you use it? If yes, it’s a keeper, and if no, then eliminate.
What should you remember during the process?
Focus on what to keep, not what to get rid of. In the process of preparing for ‘rightsizing,’ focus on the items you LOVE and that enhance and fit your lifestyle. Those are the items that matter. It is a much better approach than thinking about what you’re giving up. This language may seem insignificant, but it is not.
Positioning ‘rightsizing’ as a cathartic or happy process will benefit you far more than thinking about the loss of items that have brought you comfort, but you can no longer keep.
How do you keep the experience positive?
I tell clients that their value, their accomplishments and worth are NOT at all diminished because they have less items to take care of.
I believe there is no point in doing something if you can’t have fun doing it. I also believe the process of rightsizing should be a joyous occasion. Put on your favorite music, grab a friend, make sure you have some snacks and delightful beverages on hand, and begin the journey to your next adventure. Use this process and experience to create the life you imagined and deserve. It is never too late to create the home of your dreams.