Downsizing and Minimalism

moreen's book

Today, I have the privilege of hosting Moreen Thorpy, De-Clutter Coach, Professional Organizer, Author and Speaker. Her BOOK is an excellent resource for anyone who is contemplating or  is getting ready for downsizing, moving and settling in.

Enjoy Moreen’s post:


Downsizing and Minimalism

I must confess that during the extreme downsizing I did several months ago, minimalism was no-where on my radar. However in recent weeks, I’ve discovered this interesting new way to live. And it’s not as extreme as the name implies.

Just to clarify, I subscribe to minimalism as a means to an end—how to live simply with only what I absolutely need in my life. It’s making my life so much easier as there’s less maintenance required for what I do have. Living in a tiny apartment has significantly reduced the cleaning to be done (my least favorite activity). Fewer rooms, less to clean! Enough clothing so I can change often but my closet isn’t stretching beyond its boundaries.

Minimalism is about letting go of the unnecessary so the necessary has more space. Now I must admit that unlike some other minimalists, I do need my car, computer, some creature comforts such as artwork and beauty around me. At this point, my “garden” lives in pots on my balcony, and that’s good too. Very little weeding to do! And I might even harvest a few tomatoes this summer!

Back to letting go. Call it downsizing if you like, they’re the same thing. At some point in life, most of us will have to downsize whether because we’re empty nesters or our health has failed. Some of us get this out of the way before it becomes necessary. I recommend taking care of this ourselves over waiting until we can’t make our own decisions about what happens to our belongings.

By initiating our own downsizing or right-sizing, we can decide who gets which of our treasured items. Of course we all have treasures of some sort whether family heirlooms, a special piece of jewelry or even drawings done by little Johnny when he was aged 3. Wouldn’t it be better to take care of the distribution ourselves? I think so.

Decide which of your belongings you simply can’t live without then invite family and friends to tell you what they’d like so there are no disagreements later. If it happens that more than one person wants an item, they could draw straws or create another simple contest. Decide ahead of time if the winner will be the one who succeeds or the one who doesn’t provide the right answer. This is a bit of a twist on the long straw winning or the correct answer winning. Why not give this a try?

Once that’s been done let the remainder go to charity or sell it. You’re on your way to the minimalist lifestyle now! How does this feel? Please join the conversation in the comments section below? I’d love to hear from you.

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© 2014 Moreen Torpy

We would be honored for you to reprint this article. If you do, please include the resource box below with the links intact.

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moreenMoreen Torpy is the De-Clutter Coach, a Professional Organizer, Author, and Speaker. Her new book is Going Forward: Downsizing, Moving and Settling In. See http://GoForwardDownsize.com for more about the book and http://decluttercoach.ca to learn about her organizing services and other books.

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IMG_7722 fwitter (1)Award Winning Author Helena Kalivoda, writes books that are inspired by her Soul. She takes you on a spiritual journey that combines her experience, wisdom and your desire to know more about yourself into books that are a must have for your collection.
To receive a free gift and to find out more about Helena and her books visit Helena’s website at http://www.booksbyhelena.com. Her author’s page is at http://www.amazon.com/author/helena-kalivoda.

Comments

  1. Thank you for hosting me today Helena! It’s a pleasure to be here.

  2. You are welcome, Moreen. I am intrigued by the concept of minimalism; sounds like a tool to me that can assist us in finding freedom from overwhelm of things surrounding us.

  3. My husband and I are retired. He works part time and I am in a straight up learning curve for developing an online business and loving it. My husband didn’t plan on having me busy when he was home with nothing to do. When he understood I’d been and done, and worked outside and inside our home while raising children and supporting him in his career and intended to take a few years off to follow my own passions, he decided to “clean house.” What he really meant, was minimization.

    I made a decision to let go of control over the ‘things’ and concentrate on my own studies and development. I gave him free reign. He’s happy to have something meaningful to do. My brother-in-law is in awe. My sister has given him no such freedom and so they struggle box by box. I figure if I don’t miss it, I certainly won’t notice if it is gone.

    This is a win-win for both of us both in the short term of providing worthwhile projects and in the long term. It will all be done when we are older. It’s amazing how freeing it is.

  4. Thank you for sharing Pam. What great example of letting go and cooperation. May we all be that wise.

  5. Interesting question, Moreen. (The question that I saw on your blog, “Is there a difference between downsizing and minimalism?”) I think of both downsizing and minimalism as part of a continuum, but not the same thing. Let’s say I live in a house that comfortably accommodates 1000 books. But I have 1200 books and some of them are on the floor, on the table, or crammed haphazardly into the bookcases. Decluttering and purging will allow me to meet my goal of releasing the excess 200 books. Technically I’ve downsized, but certainly not to the degree necessary should I be moving to an apartment that only accommodates 100 books. In that case I would have to downsize more, and would have an even greater need to adopt a minimalist lifestyle in order to maintain the smaller space. So I see downsizing as a project/activity and minimalism as a mindset/lifestyle which involves really thinking about what you use, love, and need to keep. It involves many small actions like deciding not to buy something new, or having a system for recycling/donating unwanted items on an ongoing basis. Which can also be done in a large house with plenty of space.

  6. Pam you’re an amazing woman! Who else would be able to let go and allow someone else to purge the way you have. You’re a shining example to all who need to offload stuff. Congratulations.

  7. Hazel, I agree with downsizing in stages, in fact, it’s what most people do. It’s way too much to deal with a full house at once. That’s why I recommend allowing plenty of time to do that.

    I also agree with you about downsizing being the project while minimalism is a lifestyle. And sometimes they can actually overlap. I believe minimalists can occasionally allow more to creep into their space than they realize, and once they do realize that, undertake a downsizing project.

    As you said, a continuum, with a few steps forward and at times a few back as well. It’s not usually a done once forever life. 🙂

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