07 Jan

It’s time for my personal annual downsizing review. As in 2020, with few travels and a limited cultural and social life because of the pandemic, I did have more time to devote to downsizing. I made real progress this past year. 

What I Did Right (for Me): 

  • I did something related to downsizing every week, and on some weeks, every day to keep my momentum going.  But other than the sprint I discussed in a recent blog, I kept it slow to allow me to enjoy other aspects of my sheltered life.
  • I did at least a quick pass through everything, so I know what I have and where I’ve stored them.
  • I researched and hired a downsizing professional to keep me on track and help with the difficult tasks, especially helping me to figure out where to sell more valuable items. We’ve had only one session together, but I will use her more in the coming year. I will share what I learn with readers.
  • I let go of some things that had high sentimental value, mostly by donating them. (See previous post.)
  • I continued to find creative ways of preserving memories, with my memory collages, travel scrapbook pages, and a binder of memories. These creative interludes satisfied several needs.
  • I persevered on some time-consuming projects, such as correspondence from friends, old boyfriends, and relatives. I even tackled some of emotionally laden letters from my immediate family members to each other.
  • I completed the review of my 30 basement file drawers, culling and preserving what I wanted to preserve through scanning, including childhood mementos such as paper dolls and clothes drawn by my sister and me.  I still have some additional culling, but the drawers are no longer an unexplored mystery.
  • I halved the number of cookbooks I own. I realized that in many instances I used only one recipe from a cookbook. I reviewed each one and copied out the important recipe and any others that realistically I might make. I also read or reviewed and then donated another 100 books and have prepped another 50 for donation, primarily travel books and language texts. Even if I want to learn another language now, that information is available on the internet.
  • I rearranged contents in the basement shelves, so that items I intend to give away are together as are items I want to keep or still need to review.
  • I wrote 19 blog posts, almost as many as my 20 in 2020. My blog helps to provide a shape to my activity, gives me a sense of accountability, and allows me to gain insights into the downsizing process for me.
  • I invited others to share their stories for my blog. These were sources of new inspiration for me and, I hope, my readers.

What I Learned about Downsizing in 2021: I‘m sure I’ve made some of these observations before, but these are the ones that stand out now. 

  • If you are the sentimental type, it doesn’t necessarily get easier. You just have to keep plugging away.
  • Set at least an approximate end date for your efforts, even if its several years away. Until relatively recently, we had none, and by having none, the task took on its own interminable life. We can now plot out the big picture of what needs to still happen.
  • It’s okay to spend time with and enjoy the bits you are going through. That’s part of the joy of slow-downsizing compared with the usual rushed approach.
  • Don’t allow yourself to be shamed by others into getting rid of certain things. Your choices are unique to you.
  • Avoid regret by putting something you plan to donate aside for a while. When the time comes, to donate (e.g., Big Brothers Big Sisters comes calling), I sometimes change my mind.
  • If you don’t want all the challenges and headaches of running a business selling things and if the money isn’t as crucial to you, concentrate your efforts on donating them. People want even the most ordinary items if they can get them for free.
  • As always, celebrate your successes! Each item sold, donated, recycled, or thrown out is one step closer to your goal.


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