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The Advantages of Downsizing

by Colleen P Moyne (Colmo) (follow)
I'm a freelance writer living in the beautiful river town of Mannum in SA, dreaming of the day I can retire from the 9-5 to write full time.
Life (611)      Happiness (237)      Attitude (155)      Perspective (98)      Consumerism (23)      Letting Go (22)      Freedom (18)     

Fingers Showing Small Size
Image courtesy of bullgogza / freedigitalphotos.net

Downsizing your life may seem like a pipe dream, and just the thought of working out how, when and where to start can be a bit overwhelming, but here is a short list of just some of the benefits you will reap by making the effort.

- Downsizing your Car

OK, you love your nice roomy car with the powerful engine and roomy boot, but we all know that a smaller car is much more economical to run. Most small cars perform perfectly well on un-leaded fuel which is cheaper per litre, but smaller cars are also cheaper to register and insure, cheaper to service, and cheaper to buy parts and accessories for (like tyres – a big price difference.)

Fingers Showing Small Size
Image courtesy of vichaya kiatying angsulee / freedigitalphotos.net

Smaller cars are easier to park, easier to manoeuvre in and out of traffic, easier to wash and clean - and you won’t be expected to help taxi other people’s kids around or help your friends to move house.

- Downsizing your House

A smaller home is naturally cheaper to buy or rent. It is cheaper to insure and needs less furniture and furnishings. If you think creatively and de-clutter ruthlessly you will be amazed at how little room you actually need.

I remember many years ago renting a house that had an enormous living room. When I moved my furniture in it looked lonely and bare, so I went out and bought a larger couch and an extra bookshelf just to fill the room up a bit. They weren't necessary, but I felt I needed to do more with the space. Consequently, I wasn't there long and my new house had much less space – so out went the oversized couch and bookshelf.

Fingers Showing Small Size
Image courtesy of stuart miles / freedigitalphotos.net

A smaller house takes less time and effort to clean and it encourages us to be more conscious of not letting clutter build up. But the biggest advantage for me in having a smaller house is that it is much easier and more economical to heat and cool.

- Downsizing your wardrobe

Owning fewer articles of clothing has lots of advantages. Aside from spending less money in the first place, with a smaller wardrobe you can plan your outfits better, buy quality rather than quantity and keep them better organised. It’s much quicker to find what you’re looking for, you will require less cupboard or drawer space, less washing, ironing and dry-cleaning.

Clothing Rack
Image courtesy of rico shen / morguefile.com

- Downsizing your stuff

I'm amazed at how many people amass huge collections of bric-a-brac or memorabilia and store them away in boxes or piled in a corner somewhere to gather dust. If you really like porcelain frogs or souvenir matchboxes or salt shakers, choose only the best or most unique and display them with pride as part of your décor. In the kitchen, only keep the things that you really love or that you use often.

- Downsizing your commitments

I have this dreadful habit of saying ‘Yes’ way too often. Many of you will identify with this. You don’t want to offend others by saying no to requests, so you take on more commitments and more responsibility until you eventually find yourself overwhelmed. It’s important not only to look seriously at what you’re taking on – but also why you do it. Think about other people you know and admire who seem to have the balance right. What are they doing that you could learn from? My guess is that they are choosing carefully what they include and don’t include in their lives. I am working hard on this and finding that if you say no in the right way, people are very understanding.

Yes, No. Decide
Image courtesy of stuart miles / freedigitalphotos.net

So those are just a few reasons why you should make the effort to simplify your life. There are many more rewards than these, but in my experience the most surprising outcome of all in choosing a down-sized life is the incredible sense of freedom that comes with it. While you might imagine that occupying a smaller space, living more simply and owning less stuff may give you a feeling of being restricted or limited in some way. In fact the exact opposite is true. The clarity and order that comes with simplifying everything in your life and getting off the hamster wheel of over-work, over-consumption and over-stressing is refreshingly liberating.

# Life
# Happiness
# Attitude
# Perspective
# Consumerism
# Freedom
# Letting Go
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[ Submit a Comment ]
Great article, Colmo. I have a small car but am amazed what fits in it when I lay the back seats down. A friend with a bigger car borrowed mine to pick up a large item that wouldn't fit in her car. On the topic of downsizing, I recommend small dogs if anyone is thinking about getting a canine friend. They eat less, tuck themselves into a small space so they don't get in the way, can sit on your lap without crushing you and tend to live longer.
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