Whether you plan to find homemates to live with or you are a homeowner or leaseholder looking for homemates, everyone needs to do some downsizing before starting to live in shared housing arrangements.
I expect you have all heard people say that downsizing was the best thing they ever did or that they gained more than they lost. But these sentiments mean little when you are facing the enormous task of choosing what you want to keep and what you will get rid of.
I’ve always found that gathering “things” was easy but letting them go was not. Giving away anything that belonged to my deceased husband brought a little tear to my eye. Saying goodby to my mother’s collection of Blue Mountain pottery was a bit wrenching. Even selling my own set of silverware was difficult. But nothing was impossible to let go of compared to the advantages I now have living together with my two chosen homemates.
Things we want aren’t necessarily things we need…..
I learned that I don’t need my husband’s “things” to clearly picture his smile or hear his laugh inside my thoughts. All of the wonderful memories I have about my parents are still easily available without having any of my mother’s “things”. And all of the personal belongings I sold or gave away were “things” I wanted, not things I needed.
So, take a deep breath and get started downsizing now. Before you have to pay someone to move things you don’t really need and will have to get rid of anyway after the move. Or before your new homemate moves into your home with the things she needs to find a place for.
Here are some tips that might make your downsizing easier.
1. Get a friend with great organizational skills to help you or find a “downsizing diva” and pay a reasonable fee for her services.
2. Start with just one section of your current home, like the kitchen, bathroom or even just one bookcase.
3. Create 3 piles:
– the Donate/Sell pile,
– the May Keep pile,
– and the Must Keep pile.
4. No matter what size the Donate/Sell pile is go ahead and giveaway or sell everything in it. Try not to second-guess your decision. Just get those things gone and out of sight.
5. Tackle the May Keep pile next and ask yourself when you last used the item. If it was more than a year ago, it’s definitely not something you need, so get rid of it. Ask yourself if you are just keeping it because you feel like a bad person for getting rid of it. If so, give it to a friend or relative that would just love to have it.
6. Next, take a hard look at your Must Keep pile and consider your answers to the following questions: Will this fit into my new home/lifestyle? Will there be room for this in my bedroom? Will there be a spot in the shared spaces of the home for this? Will I actually ever use this thing again? Chances are good that you will find items in this pile that really aren’t keepers.
Have a “Downsizing Party”?
I once read about a senior couple who were leaving their home of 30 years to move into a senior residence. They decided to have a “Downsizing Party” and invited all of their friends, relatives and neighbours to come.
They laid out everything they were giving away on tables throughout the house and said, “This is all stuff we don’t want or need. If you want something and can use it, just take it home with you.”
Apparently, almost everything was gone at the end of the party.
It’s unlikely that you will gain space when sharing a home…..
The reality is that most people don’t gain more personal space when they start living in shared housing. There will likely be no space for any stuff that you don’t currently use or need to maintain your quality of life.
Also, consider this. Let’s say you will be living with two other women. So, there will be at least three sets of dinnerware, pots and pans and cutlery; three sofas and three favourite armchairs; three vacuum cleaners to make decisions about. Collectively, there will be no lack of “things” in your new home.
Since downsizing myself, and now living with two wonderful homemates, I have become one of those people who emphatically says, “Less can be more”.
Are you ready to start exploring our Member Directory for potential homemates?
Have a look at our membership options HERE.
3 replies on “Less can be more: Downsize first!”
In the middle of what has become an annual move process.. getting rid of books is hard.. clothing less so since I have retired. Still need to get more creative with the disposing of things – especially in my locker.. out of sight out of mind..
I am still in the process of downsizing! It has been 3 years since my partner passed. It is a work in progress for me.
I totally understand. My husband passed almost a year ago – I have been unable, so far, to do anything about his things.