Are you in danger of doing this to your kids?
Parents, don’t do this to your kids!
Barbara looked around the house where her parents had lived for 50 years, turned to me and said, “I am not doing this to my kids. I’m not going to make my kids sort through my stuff.”
“Good idea,” I said. “When would you like to get started?”
As often as I hear baby boomers promise that they’re going to start downsizing, I see few who actually do it. They have great intentions. But without a specific reason to get started, they lose their motivation. Downsizing becomes something to do when they have the time. And their piles of stuff keep getting bigger and bigger. What they, and perhaps you, don’t realize is that downsizing doesn’t have to happen in one huge push. Downsizing slowly, in small steps, is actually the ideal way to do it.
If you’re thinking about downsizing, here are some ideas to help you get started:
1. Block out time on your calendar.
Create a downsizing schedule. It might be an hour a week, or half a day a month. The amount of time you allocate is less important than sticking to your schedule and doing a bit at a time.
2. Stay with the program.
Don’t try to do too much at once. Keep your efforts focused on a task you can complete in the time you have allotted.
3. Give yourself credit for every little bit you do.
If you say you’re going to do one drawer, and you do it, give yourself credit. Don’t measure progress against how much is left to do. Think of every step as taking you one bit closer to your goal.
4. Think how you can get the most satisfaction fastest.
Think about what will feel good to be free of. Do you have a big pile of newspapers or magazines to toss? Let them go! Got a bunch of sports equipment you never use? Take it away! A little movement can give you a big push to keep going.
5. Stop stuffing.
The simplest and perhaps most difficult step in reducing your pile of possessions is to stop adding to it. Before you purchase anything new ask yourself if it’s going to contribute to your happiness or to your pile. Follow the rule that one old thing has to go out before a new thing can come in.
6. Ask for help.
Having someone to help you, whether it’s a friend or a professional who specializes in downsizing, can help you stay focused and keep from getting overwhelmed. When you sort through things that have sentimental value it’s a particularly good idea have someone to talk to who can help you keep on track.
People often tell me they not only feel happy but actually exhilarated after downsizing. Letting go of all that stuff really does feel good. (And your kids will appreciate that you’ve done it, too!) If you’d
like more tips on downsizing, or help doing it, I’m here! You can contact me by calling 650 740-4911 or by emailing Maria@onthemovenow.com . I look forward to speaking with you!