Advantages to Downsizing BEFORE You Have to Move

Written by Martha on April 18th, 2011

Simplicity is the answer to chaos.

Whether you intend to downsize your residence or to streamline your current space, there are benefits in starting now. These are four great advantages to downsizing possessions BEFORE you have to move:

1. By letting go, you actually save money!

When you accumulate for years without weeding out less-used possessions, it becomes very difficult to keep track of where you have stashed things. Often that means buying a 2nd item when you know you have one somewhere.
Eventually you will max out on available storage. Then what? You may decide to rent a storage shed. That can mean hundreds of dollars per year spent on storing “stuff’” you never use.

2. You enjoy increased health and safety

When a house is filled to overflowing, floor space slowly disappears. Furniture, piles of papers, magazines, boxes and bags can slowly narrow walkways and stairs. Emergency workers are adamant that clear walkways and stairs are a must for safety.
The other hazard of a cluttered home is that effective cleaning is impossible. Your home becomes a prime breeding ground for mold and mildew as the dust and dirt collects. You will breathe easier – literally! – once the excess is gone and regular cleaning is restored.

3. You control the process

When you are able to downsize your possessions over time, valuables won’t be overlooked and discarded by helpers. You will be the one choosing what to keep, give, sell, and donate. If you have a charity you feel strongly about, you will know your donations are helping that cause.

True story: A friend who is a busy business owner gave in to her children’s desire to de-clutter her home. The children rented a dumpster and she watched them enthusiastically pitch many of her recently deceased mother’s possessions. Fine jewelry considered “only Grandma’s baubles” were some of the “junk” that was not worth keeping in their eyes.

When no deadline is looming, there is no time crunch. You can attack each room one at a time and at your own pace. Also, you are able to choose who will value precious objects and gift accordingly.

Two practical suggestions about gifting to relatives or friends:

  • Ask first if they would truly like to have that object.
  • Give treasures away NOW so you can experience the joy it gives both to you and to the receiver!

4. You give relief to your family

Sorting through 20+ years of accumulated belongings is a daunting process. That is why we put it off! Yes, downsizing possessions before it is absolutely necessary takes a supreme act of the will. Removing that burden from loved ones to face later is truly a gift of selflessness!

True Story: I was surprised when at age 72 my mom had already signed for an apartment in an extended care facility. She sold the family home and contacted her five children asking them to come take things that were meaningful to them. Whatever else she would not use in her one bedroom apartment was donated to charity.
I became convinced over time that the move added years and quality to my mother’s life. However, I did not know what a gift my mother had given us (her children) until her death. My sister and I were able to empty her 1 bedroom apartment in less than 6 hours. We were spared much physical and emotional pain as a result.

Downsizing now can also be a practical way to pass along a living family heritage. You know the stories behind the objects that make their history come alive. Writing down the stories is an even better way to ensure they survive intact.

Do you feel light and free of spirit or weighed down by too much “stuff”? What would you do with the time and money you can save by letting go of possessions you neither use nor love?

Leave me a note on my blog in the comment section below to let me know where you stand in the simplifying process. I love hearing from you.

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