Local author & decluttering coach Kim Eagles has recently published a book called Solving The Downsizing Dilemma. I thought it was a perfect fit for our book review. We are constantly trying to find new ways to help make downsizing easier. This book may not have been on my initial reading list, but it was too good to pass up!
Solving The Downsizing Dilemma
PS: Your Kids Don’t Want All Your Stuff
Downsizing isn’t easy. It has never been easy, and it never will be easy. I think everyone is aware of that when they decide to make the plunge and move into a smaller home. But what some people might be forgetting is that other people don’t necessarily want all the stuff you need to get rid of.
Kim’s parents, Bob & Sandy, are from a certain generation. This generation went through times when everything you owned was important. Possessions were few and far apart, so you didn’t often part with them. It’s not to say that younger people don’t have these tendencies, but from experience, it is often people of the same generation who carry this trait. And so you can imagine that letting go is something of a challenge.
In the book, the author has written an entire section on letting go. In it, she describes how getting rid of things is the hardest part when it comes to downsizing. I couldn’t agree more. There are memories associated with your things. They are often reminders of experiences you’ve had. And one thing the author mentions that I’ve never heard of before is as follows:
“Studies have shown that our attachment to stuff is real. The part of the brain that is triggered when we have to let go of something […] is similar to causing us physical pain like when we cut our finger or burn our tongue.”
Despite this pain, you have to move forward. To make the process easier, you need to prioritize. You need to question everything. And you also need to accept that different people will prioritize different things.
Compromise is a very important factor when it comes to downsizing with your significant other. No two people are the same. We all have different outlooks on life and on our stuff. And we all handle situations in a different way.
“[…] you cannot understand other people’s connections and emotions related to their stuff. Just as you cannot make someone else love your stuff, they cannot make you love theirs.”
Showing patience and kindness to one another will make the process of downsizing much easier, both for yourself and for the other person. I think compassion is key, especially when things get tough – because they will get tough.
The one thing that’s important to remember when things do get tough is not to to project your feelings – or your stuff – onto other people.
Your Kids Don’t Want Your Stuff
It’s true. We don’t want your stuff. Someone’s clutter is still clutter, no matter where you put it. And in this day and age, most young people have already accumulated more than they should. I know it might be hard to hear that someone you love doesn’t want your stuff. However, you need to disassociate physical objects with signs of affection. Your kids don’t love you any less because they aren’t attached to your things. To be perfectly honest, they probably love you more by saying no to you. They are trying to help you get rid of things that are clutter up your life. So let them help you.
Knowing When To Help
Speaking of help, it is important to know when someone needs help versus when they need to be left alone. Kim experienced this first hand with her parents. Her mother was the type of person who wouldn’t get much done if someone wasn’t there to encourage her to keep going. Her father, on the other hand, would just be slowed down. If someone was helping him sort through things, he would start telling stories about every item he found. It made the task of getting rid of stuff that much harder. Some people might need to talk about their stuff before they can let go, but if it’s going to make things more difficult, then you need to rethink your plan.
The solution to solving the downsizing dilemma is simple: make a plan. As simple as it is to say, it is not so easy to execute. It will take a lot of hard work and a lot of time. But the best way to make everything go as smoothly as possible to by creating a plan.
Here’s an example of what happens when you don’t have a plan:
- Your landlord lets you know that if you move out a month early, he will refund you a month’s worth of rent.
- You start bringing things over to your new place without much thought
- All of a sudden, one month has flown by and there are only a few days left before you need to be moved out
- You frantically throw things into boxes, bins and bags
- Everything is a giant mess at your new house
- It takes you twice as long to unpack
- Two months later, you still cannot find your blender
- The basement becomes the keeper of all the things you haven’t unpacked and will possibly never use again
Don’t make the same mistake we did. Make a plan. Even if it changes a hundred times, a plan is still something you can go back to throughout the entire process. It will keep things in check. It will remind you of numerous things you’ve probably forgotten. And most of all, it will keep you motivated when you feel like curling up in a ball and crying your eyes out.
Kim Eagles has generously offered to give away a signed copy of her book Solving The Downsizing Dilemma. To be eligible to win this life-changing book, please follow the instructions below. Chances of winning are dependant on the amount of entries. The contest will be open until 11:59PM on Sunday September 23rd 2018. If you have any questions or concerns, please click here to contact us. All questions will be answered within 24 hours. Thank you for your participation!