Definition of downsizing…

'There's another business that's downsizing.'

Recently a dear friend posted on FaceBook about this man who downsized to basic 111, yes one hundred and eleven only possessions that he needed, really needed to live and it all fitted into a normal sized backpack, just as he desired, traveling indefinitely, with nothing stored anywhere, no home to go back to, is barely thirty years of age and making a huge difference in every way. He lives off the grid, has no bills to pay, doesn’t own a car, has recently got rid of his computer, has minimum environmental impact and dependency on money. 90% of his media income is reserved for environmental and social causes. He seems a very happy and content man! (www.robgreenfield.tv)

Is this doable? Is it practical? Does it make sense? Can you and I follow his footsteps? A few of my friends are on the threshold of being empty nesters and are in the process of downsizing. What is downsizing really? A friend went to Texas for the housewarming of a relative who was downsizing to a smaller home since the last of their kids had left for college. The downsized home turned out to be a 4000 plus square feet, 4 bedroom house with a separate game room, high cathedral ceiling, sprawling yard to name just some of the features. A Bay Area resident through and through she went expecting to share a room with few others and was surprised by the size and space in the smaller so called downsized home. Research shows that an average American home in the 1960s was roughly 1500 square feet with 3 plus residents while today the average sizes of homes have grown to 2400 square feet with the number of residents down to 2. Another friend in Melbourne read the book by Marie Kondo called the ‘The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up- The Japanese Art of Decluttering’ to inculcate the wisdom shared as she contemplated downsizing. I believe there are numerous books in print and online, journals, youtube clips giving guidance and showing how to downsize, starting from getting rid of furniture to the art of folding clothes in drawers for optimal use of space. And I thought that was a no brainer!

'My job was replaced by an app. What's more humiliating, it was a free app.'

Despite statistics showing massive increase in creation of jobs and surge in employment, incidences of hugely accomplished, highly deserving personnels being overlooked for promotion or laid off are becoming more common. Technology  has advanced beyond imagination and is replacing humans in all sectors though some businesses do manage to remain recession and technology proof.

Hearing all that going on around us I realize that downsizing a home or company is quite relative. What is downsizing to one may be unimaginable living/work conditions to another. Yes, I can’t imagine living in a backpack with no place to call a home. This, from a person who has lived in four continents in as many years! A complete contrast is a dear friend, a lovely lady of about sixty years, who still lives in the home she was born and raised in and can’t contemplate downsizing away from the only home she has known. She does not need the space of four bedrooms but she can’t imagine leaving the familiarity and security that her surroundings provide for a newer, modern or more convenient place.

Indifference to a life with security, stability and comfort are not necessarily signs of gracious minimalistic living or contentment nor is owning a home, paying bills or having a regular life with job a vulgar display of materialism. It is all relative, my dear Watson should I say!

What are your views on downsizing? How much downsizing is right? Can there be too much or too little in it? Do share your views…

Picture courtesy: http://www.cartoonstock.com

 

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10 thoughts on “Definition of downsizing…

  1. Loved the article and both the pictures . And the couple’s idea of down sizing to a 4000 sq ft house had me grinning away and open mouthed too!
    With just the two of us now at home , downsizing for me means trying to restrict my purchases of knick knacks , non essentials , mementos.. Maybe not give up my existing possessions but ensuring I do not add up any more .. Nothing is more or less.. Whatever makes one happy is just right.. That’s why a friend’s house kept minimalist on Japanese lines evokes as much wonder and joy as another friend’s house sprinkled with beautiful artecrafts from all around the world ..

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  2. I am ALL for living a BIG LIFE in a small house. This is how we live too. So much more room for magic in the empty spaces. (If I weren’t a psychologist – I would have become a “minimalist” designer.) Tiny houses is my fav show on HGTV. Another great post. Thank you!

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    • Thank you for reading and liking. I like the idea of a ‘minimalist’ designer, actually that is a tougher job than the regular designer who has option of playing around with a lot. I love a home with a view, smaller is better than a sprawling home, yes. There was a time I lived across the Southern Ocean in Melbourne and see the ship “Spirit of Tasmania” docking from my bedroom. Loved it.

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  3. You did it !!!! Like I said before ” food for thought”. Being an ” army child” downsizing was & is a way of life . Every time we moved , the packing & unpacking was a thrilling experience , mind you there were no ” official packers” back then . So to date , in my own way I have my ” semi- annual ” clearance & ” downsize” . I’ll never make it to the ” magic number” of material goods needed , but will definetly leave my children with less to clean up once I’m gone !!!! 😃

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    • Your word my lady, I did it. Yes we too moved around a fair bit as kids as dad was in the government services and every move became cleaning time. Married life too has been the same so yes, I am quite clutter free though I wont get to the magic number of 111 by choice. I love my art, curios, paintings and pictures 😀 I like your semi annual clearance and downsize idea.

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      • Good gracious, Sohini. The only move I have made is from my parents place to my husband’s place. And that was in the same city too. I dread to think how extensive my downsizing exercise would be! 😳

        Jokes apart, a very nicely written piece. Keep them coming.

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      • Thanks Usha for your words of encouragement. I think moving pushes the necessity of spring cleaning at all times. I would love to know your downsizing story if you get around to doing it. All the best! It promises to be a herculean task.

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  4. Divorced after 20+ years of marriage and about to see the last of 3 children start his independant life I am ready to let go of so much mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical baggage! I have started the ruthless purge to prepare for the building of a tiny house in the spring. I am already experiencing the freedom that comes on the backside of making the hard decisions and letting things go. Boxes and boxes of photos are my next project…ugh.

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    • Good luck with building your new home. Once the kids are all grown and flown, who needs a big house anyway. I am a few years away from that stage so downsizing presently is restricted to a clean clutter free garage, a wardrobe that has clothes and shoes that I can wear rather than hope to wear one day 😀 What I haven’t used in six months is discarded too. And yes, I use the library extensively, no more buying and hoarding books. I hope you are already feeling better after letting go of the excess baggage. Take care. Best wishes.

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