It’s Tuesday and I’ve been sitting here wondering what to write about all morning. And suddenly I realized I haven’t written about downsizing in quite a while! So today I’ll be sharing with you some tiny tips on downsizing.
We all know that making a huge (pun intended) lifestyle change comes with many challenges. Deciding to downside into a Tiny House is certainly not an exception. But the upside of facing such challenges is that we can grow and learn from our experience, whether it be good or bad. While we have not made the switch to living in a tiny house yet, we have nevertheless faced our own set of challenges, which I will share with you all, as well as insight on how to overcome those obstacles without making all the mistakes we did – keeping in mind that what works best for us is not necessarily what works best for everyone.
The first step we took towards our goal of living in a tiny house was to downsize. I can’t stress that enough.
It’s taken me a while to realize how much stuff we’ve accumulated in the years, even after moving almost every year since I started university. You’ve got all kinds of stuff. You’ve got… stuff you don’t need, stuff you don’t want. Stuff you don’t use, stuff that you store forever. Stuff you have more than one of, stuff you can’t let go of. Stuff to decorate, Stuff to fill space. Stuff, stuff, stuff.
What are you supposed to do with all that stuff?
My opinion: Give It Away
Someone out there can surely make better use of that old lamp you keep storing in the basement closet. I would know, because I had one up until very recently, and now someone who might not have been able to afford a full priced lamp can get a little bit of reading done at night, using something I had just stored away and kept for myself, hoping I might need it one day.
My biggest challenge was to get myself out of that exact head space. “Well, I might need it later.”
Let’s be honest here – no, you won’t.
I’ve come to learn to live by the following saying: Own what you love, love what you own. Nothing more, nothing less.
I used to be the type of person who would buy anything that I could find as cheap as possible. I’m talking sales at second hand stores, I’m talking coupons on top of final sales. Almost everything I owned was sub-par, pre-owned, and most of all, I didn’t buy them for the right reasons. Don’t get me wrong, sales and second-hand is definitely still a priority. But another priority has taken its place now, and that is to only buy things that I truly love.
If I don’t love an item, then it’s just not the right item. I’ll just have to be patient and wait to find another good deal, with a item that truly speak to me. I’m tired of having to look at my belongings and feel some form of regret. Regret about buying too fast. Regret about taking the cheap option instead of the one I really liked. Regret that these are now the things I’ve chosen to surround myself with.
Things had to change, and fast.
(You’ll notice I do a lot of things right away – one of my many positive AND negative attributes)
OK, maybe not too fast. It’s not like you should just wake up one morning and just get right of all your stuff. Unfortunately, it’s a very long process. Time and effort are of the utmost important when it comes to getting this task done – but it is so worth it.
So I would like to encourage you all to try the following tips if you’re thinking about downsizing, even on the smallest scale possible.
Find Your Why
So many books I’ve read all say the same thing: make sure you have a reason for downsizing, and let that reason guide you through the process. Whether it’s because you’re moving to somewhere new, or because you’ve lost someone in your life, you need to find your “why” and acknowledge it. For me, personally, it’s not just about having less stuff so we can fit our lives into a Tiny House, but also because I want to change how I feel when I enter my home or my bedroom. I want my things to spark joy when I look at them and when I use them. I want my stuff to be useful to me, in one way or another. And that is motivation enough to keep me going through this long process of downsizing.
Take Your Time
I am not really a “take your time” kind of gal. Honestly, I love getting things done fast. The faster I can finish something, the more accomplished I feel. Anyone else feel that way too? Well, I suppose it doesn’t really matter in this particularly scenario because there is no fast track when it comes to downsizing. This is going to be a long process so don’t lie to yourself about it. Be realistic about what you can achieve each day, each wee and even each month. We’ve been going strong for a few months now, using different techniques to help us downsize our stuff. I started by reading Clear the Clutter, Find Happiness. It was filled with inspiring quotes and helpful information on how to get started. Later on I read Organize Your Way: Simple Strategies for Every Personality, which is what prompted me to do a room-by-room decluttering session. I started with the worst one: The Garage. It was much needed, and it wasn’t winter yet so it felt like the opportune moment to get it done. Unfortunately, we’ve been storing more stuff in there since then so there will definitely be a round 2 for downsizing in the garage, but that’s OK! It’s more progress waiting to happen.
After that huge cleaning session, I figured it might be more practical to focus solely on one part of the room: The Closets. It was a very daunting task, which we will also need to do again, but that first sweep through the closets was exactly what we needed to get rid of a lot of unused items. I tackled the living room right after that because it was an easy one. We don’t have much storage and most of the furniture belongs to my brother so we don’t accumulate as much junk in there. And our last decluttering session was in the kitchen, which has been the most successful so far! I honestly don’t think we’ll need to downsize much more in there, with the exception of me replacing and/or giving away some appliances when we move.
If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again. Seriously. This is a long arduous job, and you might feel like you’re losing interest or you’ve let other things become a bigger priority. I’ve been there. Heck, I’m actually there right now, which is why I’m so glad I picked up The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up from the library. It has such a different outlook on how you should be decluttering and downsizing, and it encourages you to not do it room by room, but rather by category.
That’s where we’re at right now, and I have just one last tip for you:
It might be exhausting even just thinking about it, but making the decision to declutter or downsize means you’re trying to change, and change is good. So make sure you enjoy every step of the process as much as you can, because these are important moments in your life.
Let us know what you think and why you’ve decided to start downsizing in your life – we’d love to hear from you!