Scaling down, Living Large in a smaller space

Scaling down

Great ideas for downsizing, moving or moving a family member

This book written by Judi Culbertson and Marj Decker is a complete guide to help you declutter and move. It has practical solutions for downsizing your clothing, collections and dealing with sentimental items.

It also addresses how to move a family member to a supervised living facility. The authors remind you that if your parent can make decisions that your purpose is to help them move happily from a large space to a smaller space not make decisions for them.

It suggests that you write a book about your life, put it down in black and white. A number of different ways of recording events about your life are provided.

It has a chapter on the step by step process of moving into your new home. They examine the psychology of making the down scaling change

It is a great resource to have. Who knows when you will need it.


Downsizing Your Fears

If you are having trouble beginning the process of downsizing remember:

 1. Embrace your new lifestyle.

Downsize your fears and space

2. You are still the same person; you just choose to have fewer belongings.

3. Simplicity reduces stress.

4. Saying “goodbye” to the past can open new doors in your future.

5. Your worth in is who you are and what you do, not in what you own.

The Minimalists – who?

What if everything you ever wanted isn’t what you actually want?

In 2010, Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus  both abandoned the majority of their material possessions and created In 2011, they walked away from successful six-figure careers to live more intentionally. Then, in 2012, they moved to Montana and started writing a book. This book,  Everything That Remains is available today. Feel free to get your copy signed during the 100-city tour, but remember to minimize it once you’re finished—pass it on, donate it, or sell it.

Everything That Remains, photo by Spyr Media

Everything That remains

In most cities tickets are free.  They are in Ontario, during July and August.


5 W’s of Downsizing

The ideas shared at the Downsizing Workshop can be used in any downsizing situation.  Whether you are moving from a house to an apartment, retirement home or you have already done this but still have abundance in your home and want to scale down even more.

Where does all the stuff come from?

It may not even be your stuff.  Some of us have things from your parents downsizing that ended up at your house because your Mom and Dad didn’t want to give it away but didn’t have room, so out of respect to your parents you stored it at your house. Perhaps your children have moved out but their stuff hasn’t.

Why do we keep so much?

During the depression we learned to keep an iron grip on anything that might still have some good in it. Then we were encouraged to buy, buy, and buy and to acquire every luxury we could afford.  Next, items began to be manufactured so cheaply that when you couldn’t find it you bought another. The Reagan years were about visible consumption.  We had TV shows like the Lifestyles OF THE Rich and Famous.  We started competing with millionaires. Perhaps you have spent 40 years accumulating and now you are spending time getting rid of excess.

Who is downsizing?

The first thing is for YOU to make the decision that it is necessary to do it.  Not because your spouse or your sister or friend says you should.  Just like losing weight or quitting smoking, it has to be your decision otherwise you won’t be successful.  It is a hard process not only because it can be very physical but there are a lot of emotions that go with it and it can be a long process.  Our culture seems to think that building up is inherently better than scaling down. Fewer luxuries make you appear to be a less successful person.  The idea that some people judge your worth by the things you own, rather than by your personality and achievements can stop you from downsizing. It can be life changing to let go of your things.  When the process is over, you may feel

  • less stressed,
  • sleep better,
  • have more time to be with family, grandchildren or even travel.

Scaling down does not mean renouncing your own style. It means stripping away things that no longer fit or do not contribute to making your lifestyle easier.  You want to be able to find the things you need and love.

How? Make a Plan

Once you have made your decision to downsize or streamline, before you begin the process it is important to know what you want as the outcome, set a goal of what you ultimately want it to look like. If you’re moving – you need to know room sizes and what are the absolute must have large items like a bed, couches, dressers, antiques etc.  Write it all down.  Once you know what you want, and what it should look like and visualize the end product then you start to go through your things.  It will help make the decisions easier, because you can see if it will fit your plan.

What is stopping you?

If you are the type of person that has a hard time getting rid of things, try to understand why it is difficult for you.

  • Are you sentimental?
  • Do you like to be in control?
  • Is it about pride?
  • Do you hate making decision?
  • Is it too painful to revisit certain parts of your life?

Being honest with yourself makes the process easier.


Schedule time to do it when you are not rushed and do one room, box or corner. Give yourself a set amount of time, if you feel you want to continue then great, but don’t become overwhelmed.

Here are some steps you can take to tackle the job

  • Set up a few boxes or bins and label them.  Charity, family, garbage, recycle, keep.
  • While sorting, group like with like.  Put all your books together, electronics, collections, paper etc.

At the end of the session

  • take the donated items to the front door or even better right out to your car so that you will drop it off
  • put the recycling out
  • put the garbage out
  • move items that you are returning to other people close to the door

When deciding whether you should give it away, go back to your plan and see if it,

  •  will fit into your space
  • will go with your new design or décor.
  • If not donate.

After grouping all the items you can then see how much you really have and you may need to donate some more items.

Collections and Antiques

The hardest thing for people to let go of are their collections and antiques especially, if they belonged to a parent or a loved one that has passed. Ask youself:

  • Do you have room for them?
  • If they end up in storage or in a box how treasured are they?
  • Could you just keep one or two and give away the rest?
  • Can you take pictures of them?
  • Do some research to see if they are evaluable and have someone sell it on e-bay for you or contact an antique dealer?

If you don’t have room for it give it to a family member that has the same passion for collecting so they can enjoy it and you can visit.  Invite a people over for brunch.  After the meal show them the items you are giving away and let them select things that have meaning for them.

Staying surrounded by things that remind you of the past or which you respond to predictably may prevent you from moving ahead with your life.   Remember they are just things you will still have the memories.  After you have completed downsizing you will end up with a beautiful home, filled only with what you need and love, that uses every inch of space the way you want. You will have control over your environment and freedom from chaos.