A few years ago, in my early 50s, I downsized all my possessions to the contents of two suitcases. Yes, this was a radical move and to begin with I was right out of my comfort zone. I’m happy to say though that the sky didn’t fall on me! In fact, joy flowed like never before – a kind of easy effortless joy that felt so liberating.
I am not advocating that you do anything quite that radical as you head into your 50s, though if you do I doubt you’ll regret it. I just think it’s a really good idea at this time of life to think about downsizing your possessions because .. well, we all know what happens to a room that is overstuffed. It can’t breathe.Chi can’t flow freely. It becomes blocked in dusty corners and stagnates, losing it’s life giving sparkle.
One of the many problems with living in spaces like that is that it can cause YOU to lose your sparkle also.
How to get some of that back?
6 tips for downsizing your life & reconnecting with your sparkle
1) Rethink gift-giving.
Suggest that friends and family stop giving you all those brand new store-bought gifts that clutter your home and rattle your serenity. Perhaps you could tell them you’d love homemade goodies you can eat, like coconut ice or lemon curd! Or suggest they give to you by giving to a worthy cause or charity.
One of the nicest Christmases I have ever had was the year one of my adult sons donated to a ‘books for children in third world countries’ charity in my name and the other gave me a CD on which he had recorded some of his original guitar compositions.
How about you? What was the most unique and heartwarming gift you ever received?
2) Make an art-form out of window shopping
When I traveled to France a while back my small suitcase was so jam-packed with items I needed that I couldn’t buy a single thing. I returned from my travels with a pile of postcards and loads of photos of Parisian shop windows.
I wanted to buy things in those shops of course but in the end I was grateful I couldn’t. It helped me to step back from wanting stuff and enjoy just looking at all those super chic windows. It was fun just seeing them as an end in themselves, like paintings on a gallery wall.
3) Less is more when it comes to beauty
We all love to surround ourselves with beautiful things but try not to over stuff your house to the point where nothing sings love songs to your spirit anymore. And keep in mind that you can lessen the amount of stuff you own by taking your beauty for free in art galleries and museums and out amongst nature.
4) Emptiness is inner peace
Resist the urge to fill every last corner of your home with stuff. Try to see empty space in your home as an end in itself. Think of it as a source of stillness and peace, rather than one you must fill with stuff.
If you’re lucky enough to have an empty room in your house throw a few big cushions on the floor, or drag in a big comfy chair ~ then sit or lie down and just breathe. If you spend enough time in a room like this who knows what treasures you’ll discover within yourself!
5) We all know books are important but ..
they are also heavy to haul around, take up space in your home and collect dust. If you always seem to end up with lots of books, store some of them at your local library. That way you are sharing the love and you will always know where they are if you want to read them again.
6) Borrow and share things as much as possible.
And in a similar vein, buy from an Op Shop or fleamarket if possible when you need something. Return it if and when you find you are no longer using it.
Here in New Zealand my 89 year old mother was a volunteer for some years at an Op shop in the small town where she lives. She tells me that many baby boomer tourists who come to New Zealand arrive with a small empty suitcase, buy what they need from a shop such as the one she worked in, then return those items to a similar shop somewhere else in the country before they leave with ~ you guessed it ~ a small empty suitcase!