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