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Downsizing Q&A with Jill Phipps

June 20, 2021

1. What is downsizing?

Downsizing is the process of paring down items you no longer need. It is also sometimes called “right sizing” to reflect the notion that a lot of what we should “downsize” is items we no longer have a use for. People often approach downsizing with trepidation, especially if you were brought up to save things “just in case” but this belief can get us into trouble when the time comes to move. If you haven’t gotten rid of things for many years, the process of downsizing your belongings all at once can seem like an insurmountable task. Sometimes so much so that it prevents you from moving into a different living situation that is more appropriate for your needs because you can’t figure out how to disentangle yourself from a lifetime’s accumulation of possessions.

2. How do I start?

The simplest answer – just start. There is no time like the present to evaluate items you no longer have a need for. There are people out there who can assist you. If you do a little at a time, or develop a mindset of continually paring down, the job will be much easier when the time comes to move. Clutter often accumulates because there is no clear motivation to remove it.

3. Where do I start?

I suggest you start on items that are easy to part with. You need to flex your downsizing muscles first to get the hang of it and build some momentum. Work on contents that are easy to get rid of first, things that hold little emotional investment. Its always a good idea to work in categories rather than rooms. For example, go through all of your magazines in the house. Collect them from everywhere. Sort them all, keeping the ones you want but have a plan to get rid of them efficiently so that you do not end up with piles of things you don’t want all over the house. For magazines, I suggest you tackle this the day before recycle pick up so that the ones you don’t want can be swiftly dealt with.

4. What do I do with the stuff I don’t want?

There are many (many!) ways to deal with contents you no longer have a use for. Items can be sold via auction, online auction, facebook marketplace, Used Victoria, second hand buyers, etc. Items can be donated via many, many charities and thrift stores. There are needs in schools for sewing supplies, costumes, tools, musical instruments, etc. Just remember, your overriding goal is to get rid of things efficiently. Don’t get bogged down by a need to make everything you give away meaningful or you may be overlooking your end goal of downsizing – and you’ll end up with piles of things everywhere that aren’t going out the door.

5. What if I can’t manage this on my own?

There are downsizing companies that can help. Most of us will provide one on one downsizing appointments (even if you aren’t moving) to help you sort out what to get rid of and are very knowledgeable about what to do with the items you no longer want. Working alongside someone is a lot more fun than doing this on your own and a downsizing expert can help you maintain momentum if you have trouble staying motivated. Downsizing can bring about a real sense of accomplishment and its a great feeling to create an organized space for yourself.

Jill Phipps interview

Jill Phipps

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