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Downsizing Part 5: "Downsizing" is a lovely word!

Blog post   •   Nov 24, 2014 12:50 +08

Recently we were on Channel NewsAsia's Real Deal segment to talk about making a smooth transition from a larger home to a smaller one. Downsizing one's homes comes in a package deal that includes downsizing one's possessions, and that is always one tough cookie. How does one go through (often decades) of possessions without incurring a visit to the shrink, or worse, experiencing emotional trauma?

In this series of posts, we will touch on questions related to the topic of downsizing homes. While it may not inspire an immediate move to minimalism, hopefully it will encourage us to think about what it is that we truly need to live on.


*This post is written by Haw-San Au-Yong, Principal Consultant, Edits Inc

Downsizing - we treat it as such a dirty word. For head honchos at fast food chains, it means less profit. For employees, the word can start a wildfire of fear in the company. For homeowners, it means settling for something less. Downsizing seems like such a bad word because we usually associate achievement with having more things, and having them in bigger sizes.

But the truth of the matter is, boundaries and limitations are good for us. 

Have you read of journalists asking famous CEOs what their last meal will be? The CEOs would usually weave in what's important to him/her in the reply - perhaps a dish his/her mom's favourite, or a simple meal eaten loved ones. Therefore, limitations (in this case, impending death, although hypothetical) gives us clarity on what is truly important.

Or ever heard of the story where a genie (who magically appeared out of a bottle) asks the person for 3 wishes to be fulfilled? We always laugh at the part where the protagonist says "I wish for my next 1,000 wishes to come true". So limitation also makes us more inventive to get what we want.

So boundaries and limitations ARE good! How?

Well, as some of you may know, I've bought a new place and will be moving in a couple of months. And before thinking about the interior design, I decided to clear the possessions accumulated since my last great purge two years ago. Although I'm not done yet, this project has thus far taught me an important lesson - that boundaries free me up rather than tie me down.

Alright - I know that sounds totally like an oxymoron, but trust me, boundaries do really equate to freedom.

Through making so many decisions on what to keep and what to toss, I could define more clearly the person that I am. Gone were the expensive dark-colored and girly clothes which doesn't fit my personality or skin tone; out went those electrical engineering books because I've chosen the path of an industrial engineer; tossed were classic novels with lengthy descriptions of beautiful British countryside landscapes that I never have the patience to read through.

What I chose to keep in the end felt authentically me - a simplified filing system (which I love to bits), a shelf full of music books (which I enjoy playing), a few ornaments that gives me the burst of joy in my heart whenever I see them. All these speak of who I am at this moment - as someone who creates simplicity, an occasional musician working on my craft, and in need of a few constant reminders of the good people in my life.

The moral of the story? Decluttering really frees you up to be the person you want to be. Don't believe me? Go try it!

If you're inspired but don't know where to start, stay tuned for our next episode! We'll tell you how to get started on your decluttering project quickly and find the energy to finish it too!

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