Halfway through the second week of our current Jump Off the Ladder challenge seems like a good place to talk about downsizing. Many of us have, at one point or another, wanted to downsize our possessions and felt that the task was daunting. Here are a three common obstacles we face, and how to talk ourselves out of them:
This is possibly the biggest challenge we face. Every excuse to not downsize, from “I might need this one day” to “What would so-and-so say if I don’t keep their gift?” is potentially rooted in fear. We fear that we won’t have what we need when the time comes. We fear that we will offend others. We fear that we will be making a mistake that will cost us later.
We combat this struggle by reassuring ourselves that we are not at the mercy of our possessions. When we believe that our survival and comfort are not dependent on our stuff, we are free to let go the things we “might one day need.” We are not victims with regard to our things.
Sentiment is a tough obstacle to face. Whether it’s the mild sentiment of a commemorative t-shirt or the deep attachment of a wedding dress, possessions that hold our hearts are some of the hardest to let go.
We can better deal with downsizing sentimental things when we focus on enjoying them, rather than hoarding them. If our sentimental things are so wrapped and packaged and encased that we never see and enjoy them, keeping them for the memories may not be worth it. Keep what brings you joy, but don’t white-knuckle things you never get to experience.
3. Peer pressure
Sometimes as we begin our downsizing journey we encounter discouragement and judgement from those around us. Sometimes these dramatic changes raise in others the same fears and pressures we feel ourselves. Our friends can sometimes feel judged or begin to see their lifestyle in sharp (negative) contrast to ours.
When others put pressure on us to conform, we can fight it by reminding ourselves that we don’t need to apologize for our decisions. As long as we are not actively being judgmental or unkind to those around us, their negative reactions to our choices are not our problem.
Which of these have you faced recently? Do you have any good strategies for dealing with them?