It’ s time to reclaim downsizing as an empowering practice. For far too long, downsizing has been understood to be a process of decline whereby individuals were forced to make undesirable lifestyle changes due to the loss of employment, relationship or health.
While the initial impetus may be an involuntary loss, “downsizing” itself, if done mindfully, is a positive. In fact, if done well, downsizing is one of the most powerful tools we have for making positive life changes.
Downsizing for New Life
The starting point is to recognize that downsizing is life-affirming. The natural world is full of examples. A mammal goes into a den to give birth. A snake slithers through a small space to shed a dead skin. A caterpillar forms a cocoon to transition into a butterfly.
In the human context, positive life changes often involve downsizing. For example, many children start sharing a bedroom when a new brother or sister arrives. A college student moves into a dorm room to obtain an education. A grandparent moves to a smaller home to be near the grandchildren. Downsizing is not a punishment or a failing, but rather an intentional accommodation for something or someone more important.
Downsizing to Focus on the Essentials
In a sports context, an athlete wanting to advance to the next level will periodically limit his or her training to the sport’s fundamentals. Focusing on the essentials permits the athlete to perfect skills. Improvement from minor tweaks at the basic level are then multiplied in the more complex skills.
Strategic downsizing gives us a similar opportunity to revisit the most important elements of our lives. It helps us sort the essential from the chaff. It helps us to leverage that which provides the most benefit.
Downsizing for New Opportunities
For many, the hurdle to downsizing is the reluctance to let go of possessions. Perhaps the process is more palatable if we remember that we are editing items that detract from our new life. Ancient Latin speakers had it right when they described such property as “impedimenta”, which loosely translated, means property which impedes one’s progress.
Opportunities abound for those willing to downsize. Downsizing frees up time and resources. You can accept that dream urban job if you are willing to live in a smaller space. You can dramatically improve your finances if you spend less on housing, utilities, repairs, and furnishings with the smaller space. You can travel if you were not overwhelmed by a mortgage payment. You will have more time, resources and energy for family, fitness, entrepreneurial, creative and fun endeavors if you decrease that spent on a larger space.
Instead of lamenting the sunk costs associated with letting go of the “old” in order to downsize, we should focus on the incredible opportunities we will miss if we do not downsize.
The tool is as powerful and positive as we choose to make it. Consider if downsizing makes sense for you. Please share your thoughts in the Simple Life Reboot comments section.
Originally posted on http://SimpleLifeReboot.com