The Art of Downsizing

The concept of downsizing is common these days with Baby Boomers thinking about doing it themselves and for their parents. Younger folks are thinking about it to simplify their lives. And people of all ages coming to the realization that more isn’t necessarily better.

Eliminating “stuff” can actually be an art. I know people who have limits on what comes into their homes requiring that something of equal size leave at the same time. While this can be an ideal scenario, for most of us it doesn’t quite work. So what will work?


Analyze how much stuff is too much. On clear evaluation, most of us have things around that we really don’t need or even enjoy. So the question is what do we really need and what can we do without. Why keep things that aren’t being used, loved or have great sentimental value? Quantity isn’t better than quality.

We can start by questioning why we have certain items. What they really mean to us and whether we can live without them. Are the attachments merely emotional, or might they be practical? Do we see having the “stuff” as security against some unknown bad thing that may or may not happen?

With large quantities of belongings, there’s a chance we don’t even know what we have, then how can we enjoy what we don’t know about? Or, without realizing we have an item, or can’t find it in the clutter, purchase it again and again when it’s needed.

Let go:

Once we can answer these questions, honestly, it’s time to let some of it go. Begin with family members, not to let them go, but to offer them goodies from our collection. Invite everyone over at the same time if possible, and discuss the items you’re considering passing along. Ideally, your family will remove the items at that gathering so they’re out of your space and you’ll see the benefits immediately.

You could invite friends to have a look as well. In fact, you may ask one of them to help with the downsizing process. They may be less emotionally involved with your belongings than you are, and therefore make a good sounding board as to what might happen with them. There are times that friends are too “helpful” and unable to be effective in assisting you, so this is a good time to hire someone impartial, like a Professional Organizer.

Anything left from the family and friends sorting through can be passed along to the charity of your choice. There are many organizations that help the needy by selling or giving away household items and clothing.


At this point, you may be wondering if there are any benefits to getting rid of things. There definitely are. One big one is that you’ll have more space. Another is that you’ll have less maintenance (cleaning, repairing). And a very important benefit is that you’ll gain time to do things you enjoy more than the cleaning and repairing.


Downsizing is about looking forward to the future, unfettered by physical “stuff” that can hold you back from the enjoyable life ahead. Whether you join an interest group that you’ve been thinking about for years or learn a new skill, without being concerned about “stuff” will make it easier to enjoy yourself.

Are you considering downsizing your belongings or household? Do you have a plan for your future once you don’t have excess pulling you down?


© Moreen Torpy

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Moreen Torpy is the De-Clutter Coach, a Trained Professional Organizer, Author, and Speaker. Her new book is Going Forward: Downsizing, Moving and Settling In. See for more about the book including where to purchase it, and to learn about her organizing services and other books.






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