The Importance of Ongoing Downsizing

 

 

I am continually downsizing. I’ve had a few life events where the downsizing was intense. The first one came after a divorce. My husband was a packrat and I was overwhelmed with stuff. When I moved out of the home, I basically only took what I needed to live. Then about 5 years ago, I remarried, and both my new husband and I had homes that while not overpacked or huge were full and of course, we had duplicates in housewares and lawn care items. We both recognize that less stuff in our homes makes for less work. So, again, I did a pretty big purge as did he.

Every year, I go through each part of my home and get rid of a bit more. I have earmarked a few things I think my children would like. I have made notes of any item that has a real monetary value, so they won’t have to guess. Recently, I have started going through family pictures and when I have both sons visiting, I go through a tub of them and ask what ones they would like to keep. Then I give the pictures to them on the spot. If they don’t want old family pictures, I now just let them go. I keep personal photographs of my trips and memories, but the boys know that when I pass, they can just get rid of them as they are my memories and not theirs.

My husband and I are also very careful about not buying what we don’t need. While I enjoy and love the items in our home, there is nothing I can think of that would devastate me if I lost it. We both like books but we keep our collection fluid. We pass on to others most of the books we buy. 

It is very freeing not to be tied down by our possessions.

I was recently forwarded a very good article by Jennifer Karami. After she helped move her grandmother into her retirement home, she wrote this for Redfin Real Estate Company.
https://www.redfin.com/blog/senior-guide-for-decluttering/.

I would love to hear about your downsizing experiences – both the wins and the struggles.

Why I Use the Zone Plan

What is the Zone Plan?

Using the Zone Plan, I divide my home into 10 zones. Each month (except for July and December) I focus on that one zone. I begin by revisiting my vision for the area. I make a list of what I want to accomplish. I schedule time on my calendar to work through the tasks. During that month I touch everything in that zone and give the area a good deep cleaning. I have a teleclass with a group that works on their own zones and projects and that gives us all accountability.

What are the benefits of using the Zone Plan?

  • At the end of the year, I have touched everything in my home. I have made a decision about every object – to keep or to cull and how to store it.
  • It keeps my home fresh. As I start work on each zone, I notice anything that I no longer love or anything that is bugging me and I develop a plan to change it. I might paint a wall or change out a picture. I might play with the lighting. By the end of the month, I am in love with that zone again.
  • No spring cleaning because I do it all year round in the zone I am working. 
  • I visit every part of my home, from attic to out of sight storage. This can give me a heads up on some problems my home might have.  Moldy boots in a spare bedroom closet? (better see where that dampness is coming from) Rodent droppings in the attic? (better call pest control) Dampness under the sink in the kitchen? (better call the plumber) None of these problems can be very old as the zone was done last year.
  • By focusing mainly on just one zone, I give myself permission to not overly concern myself with other parts of my home. If I open my linen closet and it looks a bit messy, instead of jumping right in and fixing it all now, I say “Your turn is in June,” and use my time on something else.

I love the feeling I get at the end of the month when I stand back and look at my freshly cleaned and organized zone.