The word “downsizing” too often has negative connotations. While some people intentionally downsize as they enter a new stage of life, or just as a personal lifestyle choice, for others, downsizing is an unwanted necessity. If you’re going through the process of downsizing, don’t be discouraged—it doesn’t mean you have to get rid of your cherished and sentimental belongings. In fact, many people who go through this experience learn that being forced to downsize can have quite a few unexpected upsides. Here are four positive things you can learn from downsizing.
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You don’t need as much stuff as you think you do.
Downsizing means getting rid of some of your things. Choosing which things to keep and which things to leave behind can be stressful, especially if you’re the type of person who thinks, “What if I get rid of this and then I need it later on?”
These fears are natural, but 99% of the time, if you’re unsure of whether or not you need something, you don’t actually need it. There are so many specialty things we are convinced we need—the countless kitchen gadgets still in their boxes, the nearly identical black dresses, the stacks of books we’ve had for years but read only once—and yet once we’re forced to do without, we realize that we really get along fine without them. In fact, we’re less stressed because our space is less cluttered by all of those things.
A good rule of thumb is that if you haven’t used something in the past year, you probably won’t even notice it’s gone. And if you do make a mistake and get rid of something you later wish you had, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to find something similar to take its place.
Only keep the things you love.
In Marie Kondo’s international bestselling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up she recommends evaluating your possessions using the criteria, “Does it spark joy?” The idea is that your home should be filled with things you love and that make you happy. While this doesn’t apply to things you have to keep whether or not they spark joy (for example, your vacuum cleaner or ironing board) it is a great way to assess your furniture and decorative items.
If you are moving into a smaller space, you want every part of it to count. Don’t waste any of your space on things you don’t love.
Downsizing can give you more time and freedom.
Many people think moving from a larger home to a smaller home will be dissatisfying simply because it feels like a step down, but when it comes to the happiness in your home size simply doesn’t matter. When you have fewer belongings and less space for them to spread out, you’re able to appreciate your home in a new way.
Less living space means less space to decorate, clean, and maintain. By saving time on household chores, you’ll be able to focus your decorating efforts on making a few rooms exactly the way you want them instead of stretching your resources thin. Having more time in your week and more freedom to concentrate your budget and creativity on a smaller space are a great combination for creating a home you love.
Downsizing Forces You to be More Organized
Another positive side effect of downsizing is that it forces you to be more organized. When you have extra space it’s easy for things to end up spread out and messy. Being in a smaller space makes keeping things neat and organized more of a necessity.
Small spaces feel cramped when they’re cluttered. The more organized you are, the more spacious your home will feel. Downsizing forces you to make a designated space for each of your possessions and to stay on top of putting things away.
Downsizing can be a blessing in disguise. It’s a chance to start over fresh with an organized home free of clutter and full of things you love.