The Upside to Downsizing

By Dr. Patricia Tway

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People spend the first half of their lives acquiring possessions, and the last half getting rid of them. Downsizing is often seen as a negative because people fear change and cannot let go, but change can keep a person young and allow him or her to move on.

Downsizing is necessary when moving to a smaller home or an apartment, a retirement facility or to live with a relative. This shrinking of a world after so many years of expanding can be a negative experience unless looked at in a positive light.

A group of mostly seniors at a brown bag lunch for women in transition, saw the upside to downsizing, “I gave all my jewelry to my nieces and granddaughters,” said one woman at the luncheon. “Now, instead of leaving them those things in my will, I don’t have to carry insurance; I don’t have to worry about losing those items; and I feel free of all that stuff. And the bonus is I now get to see my heirs enjoying [them].”

What she didn't expect was that her nieces and granddaughters would treat her like a queen. “They can’t seem to do enough for me,” she said. “I get invited to many extra family functions, I get more letters and phone calls from them, and they constantly worry about what I might need or want.”

Her story resonated with the group.

Give items to loved ones today instead of waiting for “someday.”

Ownership carries responsibilities. The more a person owns, the more responsibilities he or she has. Giving up things no longer needed limits responsibilities and saves money. Items donated to shelters, churches and charitable organizations help others. The same holds true for items sent to consignment shops – if the items sell it brings in a little money, the purchaser enjoys them, and some consignment shops give the money to the charitable organization that sponsors them. Tax receipts are often given for items donated to charitable organizations.

Don’t hold on to the past, instead, live in the present – get rid of that clutter and look forward to a simpler future. Move forward with creative, positive energy.

Finally, downsizing helps get rid of clutter. Most people tend to be packrats: collecting, keeping and storing stuff they don’t really need or use. One last upside: downsizing can stop people from becoming clutterbugs.





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