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Downsizing can help you feel lighter — and be lighter!

Downsizing can help you feel lighter — and be lighter!

Feeling overstuffed?

As a way of encouragement, I often tell prospective clients that downsizing will help them feel much lighter.

They probably think I mean it metaphorically, but I mean it quite literally. Decluttering and downsizing their home gives people the feeling they have physically lost weight — probably because our home environments have more impact on our well-being than we recognize.

As it turns out, this may be no phantom illusion. There may actually be a direct correlation between excess weight in one’s home and excess weight on one’s body. Based on studies reported in the June/July issue of AARP magazine, the genes which cause hoarding are also responsible for people putting on weight. (The connection may be a holdover from our ancient ancestors who hoarded food and needed extra protection to survive.)

The good news, the article reports, is that shedding clutter can also lead to shedding pounds. A win-win proposition if I ever heard one! A test panel of 25 participants who had both weight and clutter issues went through a six-week decluttering program. Participants lost an average of ten pounds.

Whether you have to put your home, yourself, or both on a diet, here are some tips to get you started:
1.    Stop unconscious stuffing.
It’s easy to pick something up and take it home. Before you do, stop and ask yourself: Do I need this? Will I use it? Do I have another one like it? Buy it only if you’re sure it’s essential. And if you bring something new in, take something old out.
2.     Let there be space.
People who eat till they’re full may also have the tendency to fill every shelf, wall, and drawer in the house. Clear some room (on your plate and in your home) and you’ll find that open space helps create a feeling of calm. Plus, having fewer things means they’re easier to find. (Especially when they’re stored in their appropriate, uncluttered places!)
 3.    Enjoy what you’ve got.
The first bite is always the most delicious. If you have collections of things, find the one or two pieces that are your favorites, and let go of the rest.
4.    Re-think your need to have everything.
There are all sorts of things people buy but rarely use: Clever kitchen appliances. Active sports gear. Special gardening tools. If you’re over-equipped, give your stuff to someone who will really use it. Should you need something, you can ask to borrow it back.
5.   Make — and follow — a plan.
As in dieting, having a goal and a plan to achieve it will give you a better chance at success. To make headway downsizing, it’s best to get organized before you get started.

If you’d like help making a downsizing plan, and/or carrying it out, I’d be happy to help! I focus on helping baby boomers and their parents clear out their homes for safety and comfort. If you’d like to find out more, please visit the On The Move website, call 650-740-4911, or email I look forward to speaking with you!

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