These past few weeks my elderly, disabled aunt moved from her family home on the Gold Coast to an aged care facility in Melbourne. She had to downsize. My mother went to the Gold Coast to help my aunt decide what to keep, throw, and donate. I saw the outcome of this downsizing activity which resulted in one suitcase and four boxes. That’s it. My aunt’s entire life summed up in one suitcase and four boxes, so here are my downsizing top tips based on my aunt’s experience.
A positive, pragmatic mindset
While downsizing is stressful what I noticed with my aunt was that she was pragmatic. She quickly accepted her changed circumstances. She understood the benefits of moving to an aged care facility. She didn’t resist the change, she embraced it knowing that it was going to be better for her.
With this positive mindset she placed less importance on the things she had collected over the years with more values driven priorities such as being closer to family and better health.
I really liked this approach. If you view downsizing full of benefits, it makes culling your things easier.
The value of things
What real value do your things hold? For most of us, nothing. I don’t think our things have any real value other than sentimentality. Of course, there are some people that have items that have good resale value such as certain art, antiques, and other collectibles. But most of don’t have things of financial value.
So how do we deal with things that we attach sentimental value to? My aunt kept photos and tapestries she stitched before she had her stroke and became paralysed.
Everyone will have different things we consider valuable for sentimental reasons but there is a way to manage this too. That is tapping into your memory. Your memory follows you wherever you go.
Let’s say for example you collect magnets to remember your travels. Choose one magnet only. You’ll be surprised how just one magnet will remind you of all your travels.
To remember important life experiences, you need one item only. To remember important people, you need a digital filing system for images.
An important life experience for me was when I was a teenager, I had a number of pen pals. I have a box full of old letters from old pen pals from around the world. I never look at that box, I never read those letters, but I have the memory so the box full of letters can go.
I like the idea of a capsule wardrobe. For me it makes getting dressed and looking good easier. I think we can apply the same idea to our household items. A capsule household. Fashion stylists have different ideas about how many pieces you need for a capsule wardrobe but let’s pick a number, let’s say 10 items.
So for each room in your house you can only have 10 items. Ten items that are important to you and you can keep. Everything else is excess. Give these downsizing top tips a go and be values focused with a positive mindset to downsize successfully.