What’s Good About Downsizing Your Home? It Could Be Getting to Enough.
As my regular readers know, last year I went through a major downsizing of my large home and moved into a very small apartment. It was hard. At times, very hard. I even wrote a book about it called . During the past year I’ve had many questions asked about the meaning of the title: “what is the upside?” “what does ‘getting to enough’ mean?” “enough what?” All good questions. Let’s look at the last two first.
The Essence of “Getting to Enough”
Several years ago I was concerned about what seemed to me to be our increasing greed, and need for “stuff,” and replacing what’s really important in life with “things” or with constant activity or with an unrelenting drive to make more and more money. I came to wonder “gosh, how will be know when we have enough?”
And I decided that was a really good question for each of us to ask ourselves: How will I know when I have Enough? Enough what? Well, that might be different for each of us. For some it
might be stuff or clothes or shoes. For others it might be food or drink or sex or money. And for those of us who find it difficult to leave work at work, it might be work!
For myself, I realized that when I paid attention, I actually knew when I felt, OK that’s it! That’s Enough! My first conscious experience with this was one day after I had been working with a company for many years, I suddenly felt as if I had a wet suit on. Now, I don’t know of anything more binding when one is not in water than a wet suit! And in that moment, I realized that I had to get out of there soon. And so began a journey of making many significant changes in my life. That moment is what I came to call my Sign. My Sign that working there was Enough. I’d had Enough. I’d had it.
The Sign of Enough
You may have experienced this in your own way. It may occur when not one more thing will fit in the drawer or the closet or the shelves in the garage. It may be when the zipper on the trousers you’re trying to put on simply will not go all the way to the top. It may be when your daughter or son asks you if you really have to. . .AGAIN. . .miss their ballgame or recital.
Whatever it is, I believe we can become very alert for our own Signs of Enough, and then begin to make whatever changes will bring us to a middle ground. . .not too much and not too little, just Enough. It’s an ever-shifting balance. When we can find that balance, we are happier, healthier, more peaceful, more loving to both others and to ourselves.
Does Downsizing Really Have an Upside?
So, that’s what “getting to Enough” means, and “Enough what?” will be different for each of us.
What about “The Upside of Downsizing.” What does that mean? That means the peace we feel when we have “just Enough,” not more than we need, and not less. . . just Enough. And that is the point we can come to after a major downsizing.
I felt that along the way during my very significant downsizing. Along with the pain and anguish and fatigue, I did feel the sense of peace as empty spaces appeared in my house. All of a sudden I had open counter space in the kitchen. . .lots of it. There was room on the shelves in the kitchen so that I didn’t have to move many things to get to the items in the back. There was no longer a problem hanging my coat in the hallway coat closet. I just opened the door and hung up the coat There was plenty of space for it. I didn’t have to hold down the socks in my socks’ drawer in order to slide it shut. When I was sitting in my living room, I could see many, many empty spaces on all the shelves. Things no longer looked squeezed in or sitting on top of other books horizontally. And on and on.
All this and more felt very, very good. I realized THIS was the upside of downsizing. I was getting to Enough, and it felt wonderful. Painful, certainly, and at the same time there was a peaceful exhilaration with the sense of being able to “stretch out” and breathe.
1. Write down or think of several things that might be relevant for you to ask yourself the question “How will I know when I have Enough?”
2. Choose one that might be the most important one at this moment in time. Ask yourself the question “How will I know when I have Enough?” For many of us when something is on that list the answer is “I have Enough right now. In fact I have way more than Enough.”
3. If this is true for you, what small action could you take to begin to reduce the amount of that thing? For example, you could take at least 5 pairs of shoes to Goodwill; take at least one bag of books to the library for their book sale.
4. Choose ONE small action you could take.
Will you commit to yourself that in the next week you will take that step? Good luck! Every large downsizing begins with at least one very small step.