Learning to let go

Our clients who are downsizing from a larger home to a small townhome or apartment are learning an important lesson – how to let go.  It’s no easy task, as many of them are giving up half (or more) of their space (and stuff!).  We encourage our clients to keep only their FAVORITE items when they are downsizing – keep the best, get rid of the rest.

The queen of de-cluttering, Marie Kondo, gives similar advice in her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up:  The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.  She writes, “Keep only those things that speak to your heart. Then take the plunge and discard all the rest. By doing this, you can reset your life and embark on a new lifestyle.”  That’s precisely what our clients are doing – embarking on a new lifestyle.

When clients have a really difficult time letting go of their items, Marie Kondo articulates that it’s usually because they have an attachment to the past, or a fear for the future. They think that holding on to items will help them hold on to memories longer, or be better prepared for whatever lies ahead.  Of course, neither is true.  Memories are held inside of us, not in our stuff.  And the best way to prepare for the future, when you are a senior, is to rightsize your belongings and lifestyle so that your home and your STUFF isn’t too overwhelming or too much for you to care for.

I admire our clients who are proactively making this transition because they are choosing to do something that is not easy, at a time when they feel quite vulnerable.  So many have moved through the downsizing transition with dignity, and they have taught me what philosopher Immanuel Kant articulated back in the 1700’s.  “One is not rich by what one owns, but more by what one is able to do without with dignity.”