Our Slow Downsizing Story

Savoring the journey, bit by bit

Process, insights, reflections, and tips

About Slow downsizing

About Slow downsizing
More than three years ago, with no plans to move, but with an urge to purge and simplify our lives, we began the mammoth task of downsizing, but with a twist. We were going to take our time.

Living simple. Tiny housing. Decluttering. Downsizing. Tidying up. Organizing. These concepts have taken hold of our collective imaginations, if not our realities. With baby boomers retiring and relocating (whether to smaller quarters and/or to another geographical location), the public conversation about ridding oneself of a lifetime of possessions has never been louder. Many of us in this generation have also been responsible for clearing out our aging or deceased parents’ properties and have vowed not to inflict that backbreaking, time-consuming, and emotional task on another generation.

But where do you begin and when? For many, the call comes when it is time to relocate, and quick decisions must be made. Keep, donate, sell, toss.

We have chosen a different route, patterned on the “slow movement,” which encourages us to slow our pace of life, savoring the moments. I call our method “Slow Downsizing,” where the focus is on the journey, even as the destination is also important. Consider it more like traveling by ocean liner than jet plane.

We want to be ready when the time comes to change our living situation. But as sentimental people, we also want to enjoy looking through our bits, finding ways to preserve the photos, the letters, our history (and family’s history) and our memories so that they take up less space while still being accessible. We also want to find good homes for the items we no longer use nor want—whether through selling or donating them. At the same time, we don’t want this overwhelming task to overtake our lives.

This blog is dedicated to that journey. Although we have made much progress, we have only reached the tip of the iceberg (while hoping to avoid the fate of the Titanic.) The goals of going public are several: to allow for personal reflection on the process, to feel spurred to action, and to share both successful ideas and insights with others who have struggled with the same inability to let go. It is not a “how to”, and we are learning as we move forward.

We welcome you aboard our slow downsizing ship!

Belle Brett and John Heymann


  • 05/08/2019 02:38 PM

In my annual or semi-annual wardrobe purge, I have some criteria to make quick decisions about what to keep and what to consign or donate. But it's not always easy.

Read More
  • 04/22/2019 11:41 AM

A friend who moved cross-country displays her memories in a visually interesting way without making her home feel like a museum.

Read More
  • 02/18/2019 02:13 PM

Figuring out what to do with my mother's collection of girdles is a stumper for this slow downsizer.

Read More
  • 01/26/2019 02:07 PM

I follow Marie Kondo's advice and imagine what I would keep that sparks joy.

Read More
  • 01/03/2019 04:12 PM

2018 was a slower downsizing year than normal, but I did develop some new habits of mind that I hope I will carry forward into 2019.

Read More
  • 07/22/2018 05:02 PM

It's good to take advantage of the opportunity to downsize and organize that occur in the course of change. We recently did this as we shrunk our living space in preparation for a tenant.

Read More
  • 05/28/2018 09:31 PM

I have many unread books on my shelves. Before letting go of them, I am reading a select few. Here is a review of five very different titles from this collection that I've recently read.

Read More
  • 05/08/2018 09:07 PM

In addition to our grander downsizing goals, we must deal with the daily influx of new clutter into our lives.

Read More
  • 04/12/2018 07:59 PM

I was surrounded by books, many of them in boxes stashed away. It was time to consider how I could make decisions about which ones would go and which would stay.

Read More
  • 03/29/2018 02:13 PM

Time management principles work for downsizers, too. Prioritize it, break it down into small chunks, and get these chunks on your schedule!

Read More
  • 03/22/2018 12:26 PM

Some tips for downsizing the shopping habit while downsizing one's possessions.

Read More
  • 03/11/2018 05:06 PM

I review the challenges, potential points of interest, and key takeaways of Marie Kondo's, best-selling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and determine whether it "sparks joy."

Read More


This site was built using