Downsizing in Your 60s? 5 Powerful Reasons to Go on a “Home Diet”
It’s normal to accumulate stuff on our journey through life. Not only do we buy stuff, but our family, friends, career, interests and hobbies encourage us to get more stuff.
All this stuff fills our rooms, our closets and our garages. We even get stuff free for buying other stuff. It’s a never-ending accumulation. No wonder all these storage warehouses are springing up everywhere. Our homes are bursting at the seams.
We keep stuff in boxes, piled high in closets, and hidden in attics. We sometimes have 2 or 3 of the same thing, and we keep them all, just in case. In case of what?
By the time we need something, it’s often too old to use. But we hang on to these redundant things. For a rainy day? Why anyone would need a can opener on a rainy day has always bewildered me!
We keep stuff for a variety of reasons. Analyzing these reasons can be enlightening. Here are a some to consider:
It May Come in Handy
Having stuff handy is all good, but by the time it does need to come into use, it’s often old and ineffective.
It’s Cheaper to Have It than to Buy It Later
With mass production, and the wealth of items becoming available in ‘dollar stores,’ many things are now inexpensive.
It Has Memories of Important Events
No object holds memories, we do. An object packed away in a box in the garage isn’t really supporting your memories.
It’s Part of Our Personal History
Instead of keeping all those old documents and photos, you could scan them to make slideshows or e-books to celebrate your history. You can then share your achievements with family and friends without spending days sorting through boxes in your basement.
We Don’t Want to Be Disrespectful
We feel that if we toss something we’re being disrespectful. There is this misplaced perception that we need to keep our things to show our respect to our children and/or our friends.
The memory of building the USS Enterprise with Dad will always be with you, as will your respect for him, even after you’ve tossed the old broken model, along with the original box it came in.
Why keep all of your kid’s school projects and report cards, especially when your kids don’t want this stuff. Whether you keep an item or not, it has nothing to do with respect.
Helps Us Connect to Others Who Not with Us Anymore
The connection to our departed loves ones is within us, not within an object. If you really need the object to connect with your feelings, consider taking photos that you can look at any time. This eliminates having to dig through boxes to find something. And often, by the time you find whatever it is, it’s taken so long that you’ve lost interest.
And the list goes on and on and on…
Most of this stuff sits in a box in a basement, an attic or the closet. We haven’t looked at it in years, maybe decades. The only use it has is to gather dust and grow mold.
Some people rent storage space for all this stuff. Somehow this expense is justified because it lets us hang on to all the stuff, without having it around. ‘Out of sight, out of mind’ is often what people tell me. But if it’s out of mind, why keep it?
Here are 5 excellent reasons why we need to go on a home diet:
Just like a weight loss diet, reducing your stuff makes you feel lighter, like a massive weight has lifted off your shoulders. Your rooms will have open space. You’ll see corners and where the wall meets the floor.
When you open a closet, you won’t be catching a falling box. Your basement won’t be a fire hazard, and your attic will no longer provide hiding spots for the critters that love the dark. There’ll be a swing in your step and a smile on your face when you get rid of the clutter.
You won’t feel as stressed when you aren’t living in clutter chaos. Being at home won’t be depressing as you can enjoy the daylight and the open spaces. Your home will be cleaner, fresher and healthier, and this feels good.
Get Rid of the Guilt
You often hear people say, “Oh I have to keep that, it was my mother’s.” That’s not a reason to keep something; that’s guilt talking. If you want to keep it, you should have a use for it. If it’s merely sitting in a box, the object is giving you guilt. Get rid of it, and the guilt will be gone.
Feel Close to the Departed Anytime
The stuff doesn’t make you feel closer to those that have gone, it’s your memories that give you the great feelings. The stuff just gets old and moldy and falls apart. You can think about someone anytime; you don’t need to dig stuff out of storage to have your memories.
Cheaper to Toss the Stuff
Keeping stuff is expensive. Why pay for a big house, an extra bedroom, a large basement or a storage locker to store stuff you aren’t using? The money you save can be put to good use elsewhere, especially if you are living on a fixed income or a pension.
Downsizing can be difficult, but the benefits are worth it. Start by tossing one thing a day, and then two things. Soon you’ll be filling a big garbage bag each week.
Consider taking photos or scanning old pictures, report cards and the like. You’ll be able to browse, share and enjoy your ‘stuff’ without having all that clutter.
Downsizing gets easier the more you keep at it. So, get at it and start enjoying the results of your home diet.
It’s all good!
Have you started your downsizing journey? What items have you found the hardest to let go? Please share your experience in the comments below!
About Perley-Ann Friedman – The Happy Cat. I’m Canadian and now live on Koh Lanta, a small island in Thailand. The alternative lifestyle of island living is a great way to ease into retirement. At 61, I’m healthy, active and totally love cats. I’ve consciously chosen to be positive and continuously grow as I journey through life. You can see more of my writing at thehappycat.ca