Certainly, it is part of the human condition to hold onto our stuff. From childhood toys to Great-Grandma’s china, our things are repositories of memories and sweet associations. But here’s the rub: By the time we attain “older and wiser” status, our closets are bulging, our cupboards are overflowing, and the basement is a scary-movie maze of boxes, totes and old appliances.
All those things once had their place in our life. But do they still?
The phrase “the tyranny of things” describes the way that living in the midst of excessive stuff usurps our time and energy – time and energy we might well spend pursuing more worthwhile activities. We know our things don’t really equal happiness. And isn’t it better to imagine our homes as places for friends, family and meaningful activity than as storage lockers for clothes we never wear, books we’ve already read, and fancy appliances we’ll never use?
True, the notion of taking charge of our stuff can initially feel overwhelming. But the rewards can be life changing.
If organizing guru Marie Kondo has taught us anything, it’s that tidying up can tap a wellspring of inner joy. Likewise, writer and blogger Gretchen Rubin, the so-called “queen of the self-help memoir,” holds out the promise that conquering clutter can free our mind, improve our health, boost our attitude and even expand our social life. And as anyone who has successfully navigated the process can tell you, living in a neat, well-organized and right-sized home can be safer, more efficient, less expensive, and profoundly liberating.
While there is no one way of downsizing that works for everyone, there are so many paradigms available today, you are bound to find one that works for you. The important point is to simply get started. Whether you call it “downsizing,” “right-sizing,” or just tidying up, taking control of one’s home and possessions can be like a breath of fresh air for the soul.