You’ve been in your home for decades now. Children are grown. You may be divorced or widowed, now on your own. You look around and the house is big. There are rooms you don’t use (except for the room we all call the “I-don’t-know-what-to-do-with-this-so-I’ll-put-it-in-here-for-now-room.”) You’d like to create a home office in one of those rooms to support your new business idea or volunteer work. You’d like to make your home your own. Or you’ve just been through your parents’ home and you don’t want your children to have to go through like yours the way you just had to.
Lots of reasons for simplifying and downsizing, whether you move or not. Most of my clients are not moving but are wanting to simplify life, so there’s more time for family, old hobbies you’re picking up again, and new hobbies or interests you’ve yet to discover.
Where to start. How to get some inspiration going. It’s the WHOLE house. Yikes.
We’re all different, so we’re all inspired differently. What follows is a list of ways to get started. All are from experiences with clients. This isn’t a complete list, but it certainly is a list for you to start with. Reflect on each idea and figure out if that’s the one, the place to start, for you.
There’s the team approach. You’re a social being, love to get together with people, outgoing. Invite someone you know to help get you started. And return the favor if she’s also downsizing.
Also on your ‘team’ could be organizations, because you’ll have to visit, meet and hold yourself to an appointment deadline. A deadline to someone else might be what you need. So before you start, call up a local consignment place or your favorite place you want to donate to. Find out what they need, hours of operation and set up an appointment a few weeks from now. That will give the social piece and will give you a “manufactured” deadline.
Which leads to another source of motivation and inspiration: donating. I promise that it will be easier to downsize your book collection, your fabrics or whatever it is you need to go through if you know ahead of time where you’ll donate to. Why? Because rather than thinking about what you’re getting rid of, you’ll be thinking about who gets to enjoy the fabrics as much as you have. You’re looking forward. You’re also ensuring the fabrics get a new life, their own new chapter!
Manufactured deadlines: Credit for this phrase goes to the marketing department at The Huntington at Nashua, where I’ve been invited to speak about solving these downsizing dilemmas. A self-imposed deadline vs. a manufactured deadline: Self-imposed, to me, sounds easy to push off. It’s just “me.” A manufactured deadline is one to someone else. It’s not a move date, which is hard and fast. But it feels like a deadline.
Examples of manufactured deadlines follow. These can be used to give yourself a deadline to get through downsizing a particular room or collection.
*The consignment shop appointment, donation place, recycling station hours/days.
*Valentine’s Day: one woman sorted through her jewelry and on this day, each granddaughter received jewelry from grandmom.
*Guests arriving: The friend from the west coast who wants to visit for 2 weeks during the summer. Great deadline to get through whichever room she’ll stay in. Or the Thanksgiving guests: instead of merely cleaning the room, how about going through all your things in there?
*In my family, our deadline for getting our stuff out of mom and dad’s attic was that their town was going to start charging for trash (non-recyclables ) in July. Guess what our deadline was, and theirs as well?
*Family get togethers, reunions, birthday parties.
*Your own birthday!
In my next blog entry, we’ll talk about monthly themes for downsizing, rewards, and starting with your favorites.