It starts with the right Mind Set.
Downsizing and decluttering are …. Unpleasant words. Like closing up the cottage – it is not a happy time. While avoiding either situation may not result in unwanted consequences, I would not recommend taking the risk. Waiting may result in an accident that could have been avoided. So why do many of us take the risk and procrastinate against downsizing? I believe many people attempt to reduce, sell or donate items but quickly get bogged down. Feeling discouraged, spinning your wheels and getting nowhere is discouraging, even depressing. There is a solution.
Firstly a person must have the right kind of determination at the onset. Rather than looking at what will be lost when downsizing, I recommend considering what you will gain. What is the desired end goal that has started you down this path? This mindset can make the difference between success and frustration, fulfillment and disappointment. Let us work through an example.
"John” needs his vice-grips to fix a plumbing problem. The garage is the right place to look for vice grips because he has numerous tool boxes, and practically his own hardware store in there. He certainly doesn’t have room for a car in there. As he sifts through wooden baskets with a plethora of half finished projects (which side-track him from his vice-grip mission), he finds the wire cutters and staple gun which he thought were in the basement. He also thinks about how it would be nice to have the car in the garage, out of the bone-chilling wind and unpredictable footing. Cleaning snow off the car wouldn’t be necessary if it was in the garage – and he wouldn’t risk falling again. But what would he do with all his beloved tools? Years ago he had used some of these very tools to build this very garage! Frustrated with not being able to find the vice grips, depressed about not using the garage for his car, but feeling he has no choice, he goes to the (actual) hardware store to buy a new pair of vice grips.
Solution: If the garage is no longer an asset in its current state, rethink how it could be. If it currently brings feeling of inadequacy, frustration, unnecessary expense – perhaps the space should be re-purposed (downsized), so John can be proud, happy and excited about his garage again.
The next important mindset is to be prepared that your project will not be accomplished overnight. Set aside a reasonable time-frame to ensure completion, such as a few days or up to a couple of weeks. While your project is important, it has to work into your availability, and it may not always be the top priority. You will need to slot time into working at the next steps or else you will only end up frustrated, and likely giving up. You can do it!
Now John is seriously considering organizing his garage. And putting things back when he is finished with them. John removes tools that are seldom used, or duplicates. These can be sold or donated to Habitat For Humanity. He provides specific locations for each tool, and tosses the many piles of "I`ll keep this just in case I ever need it" because he never thinks to sift through these piles when he does in fact need something. His determination to have less to deal with, and be able to find (and use) what he has helps him work quickly and efficiently. In the end, the car fits into the garage, he has extra money from selling the extraneous items. He is also proud of himself since he has learned to improvise if he doesnt have the exact right tool. Life is Good!
written by Patti Priestman, owner, HSHT