What kind of footprints do you want to leave?

Downsizing. Do I really need that?

Lots of people have asked me how I managed to get rid of so much stuff.  How did you start?  How did you decide what should stay and what could go?  It didn’t happen overnight.  I started paring down about a year before we sold our house.  A little at a time.  I learned that I couldn’t do it all at once.  Because freeing myself from my stuff had to happen in stages. Here’s a few guidelines I used to get started:

  1. Start with the easy stuff.  The stuff you’ve been wanting to get rid of for a while.  The stuff just taking up space.  Donate to charity, give to friends, sell it, throw it away.  Just get it out of your home!  You’ll be surprised how that gets the ball rolling.
  2. If you *really* don’t want to part with something you think you should probably send packing, keep it and make a deal with yourself that you’ll revisit it at a later date.  You’d be surprised at the number of things I couldn’t fathom getting rid of a year ago that I recently sent out the door.
  3. Do you really need the physical item or would a picture of the item suffice?  For some of my stuff all I really wanted was the memory that I owned the item at one point.  So I took a picture (digital of course, see below) and gave away the physical item. I found many times that gifting something to a friend made me happier than keeping it myself.
  4. Digitize everything!  I no longer have any physical CDs, DVDs, VHS tapes, books or photo albums.  Everything is digital and stored on my computer.  With multiple backups in multiple locations.  I cannot tell you how much space this freed up in my home.

I feel like I need to put some sort of warning label here.  If you digitize everything and store it on your computer you need to back up that computer.  If you do not back up your computer you’re worse than the person who needs a warning label on the blow torch telling them it should not be used as a hair dryer.

Are you ready to start getting rid of some stuff?  It’s probably best to start with your own things and not your spouse’s if you like staying married.  Start small.  Don’t stress.  Use the nice flow chart to get you started.