As we age, we are often looking to downsize or eliminate clutter and excess. Many of us embrace the concept of living with fewer things to maintain and that tie us down. The reality is that actually releasing our things can be challenging.
Let’s face it. Over the decades, we accumulate a lot of stuff. Then, as we get older, our priorities and interests change. After carrying clothes, books, travel souvenirs and school projects around for years, it all gets a little tiring. The memories are wonderful, but, in our 60s and 70s, for many of us, our focus shifts from things to experiences.
“What do I want to do with my life?” That’s an overwhelming question for a woman in her 60 and beyond. When I think of asking myself that question, all kinds of thoughts pop up: How do I know? If I don’t know, who knows? If I knew that, I’d be doing it. It’s too big to even think about.
Are you filled with joy when you open your closet in the morning to get dressed? Or are you overwhelmed with too many choices? As an older woman, you likely have a ton of accumulated clothes, but do you often think, “I have nothing to wear”?
It’s not surprising that downsizing has become a big trend in the United States and other Western countries. After all, we are simply drowning in stuff! How much stuff? Well, according to the LA Times, the average U.S. household contains 300,000 items. 300,000! That’s insane!
Anyone who has downsized her home knows that the experience it is an emotional roller coaster. The process of getting rid of our possessions goes something like this.
First we get rid of the junk that has accumulated in our homes. This includes those items that really don’t matter to us or may have never mattered to us.
Maybe you’re still living in the house where you raised the children: Bedrooms remain unused. Closets are full of things accumulated over decades. Memories are in every corner. The garage is stuffed with who knows what.
Simplifying, downsizing, decluttering… these topics seem to be very popular right now. Why is this such an issue for so many people?
Cleaning out an apartment or house is a stressful process, regardless of the reason. It’s not much fun sorting through possessions when you’re moving or renovating.
I had just finished a book reading at a local bookstore, and the first question came from a man who was sitting toward the back of the room. He shared that he had begun a “small downsizing,” and that the first question he got from a neighbor was, “Are you getting ready to die?”