How Downsizing Is Helping Me Craft the Life I Truly Want

As I sat across from my 75-year-old very fashionable aunt, I listened as she talked about how she needed to purge some items from her closet and her home. She is a healthy, vibrant woman, and she has many, many more years to live with less and do more. So I say “go for it” Auntie.

Because I mostly read men’s accounts of downsizing and purging, my aunt’s female perspective adds to my own as a woman, wife and mom.

I have raised 3 daughters in houses ranging in size from 1700 to 2700 sf, and am now living in 900. This big change to a small space has produced several elements that I love, but could not have necessarily predicted.

c2cb043a-1c64-41cb-97c3-ae027c5a0021I’m Surrounded by Beautiful Things I Love

Downsizing forced us to choose the things that we loved and think are beautiful – and let go of the things that were just “ok.”

Letting those things go made room for only what I love.

Did I give away or sell items that I loved? Yes. Do I miss them? Not yet!

While no purge is perfect, for this season of my life, I find that less knick knacks, less artwork, less things I have to clean, repair or replace means more time for me, my passions and my work! And more time with my family.

It has forced me (in a good way) to think about why I want to keep certain items such as an end table I never really wanted (but it fit the previous space so well), or the plants that I keep trying to keep alive but never looked too healthy.

I am Less Stressed

There is much less cleaning, arranging and distraction in a small space.

There are not too many spaces or items competing for my attention. I choose where to sit and where to go more quickly, including (more often) outside under my umbrella with my flowers and newly planted tomatoes.

I’m Not Looking to Buy Anything

I am not thinking about a pillow that will go with the furniture, or a new lampshade or a new color for the walls. I’ve “magically” found more time for what I want to do and I am focused on that. It feels kind of odd, but I am not wanting to change my environment.

I am not unsettled about my surroundings or looking to update or even re-arrange (unless it means removing something). In the past, I consistently looked for what could be “made better” or look better by changing, adding or modifying.

Now I think “less” and “remove it”.

2f01062d-8e6a-40cd-8ee2-a4fd0770cc98I Spend More Time With My 16 Year Old

Let’s face it, a smaller home means less space for a teenager to hide. And while she has the private, coveted basement bedroom, she serendipitously spends more time with my husband and me now than she did when we lived in 2700 sf.

She plops onto the couch (our one and only) and starts up a conversation — more often. She cooks with us and for us in the small but smartly arranged kitchen.

Even better than that, because we don’t have to take care of our home as much as we used to, all of us are getting out more. We walk, hike, bike or just enjoy traveling for the weekends.

It All Starts in the Closet

Unless you’re moving from a large to a small house in the next few weeks, I (and Marie Kondo) always advocate starting a downsize inside the closet.

It’s a relatively small, contained space and it’s personal and focused. It creates the foundation to help craft the life you want.

There is something oddly strange about downsizing — almost like an infectious Type A moment when you start to hunt for things to get rid of (my clients more often than not confide in me this happens first inside their closets and then makes its way into their homes at large).

It’s not entirely explainable, but as I talk to more people (which you will hear about soon), we all seem to be doing it — looking for more and more ways to discard, sell, give away items in our home and life.

Living with less has offered us a chance to think about and go after some of our hearts desires and delights.

That is much more challenging (and fun) than going after a new light for the front porch. And much more rewarding. So far.

And if you are thinking of optimizing your space, check out my free download that helps you align your closet by downsizing easily.

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