Bill Batchelor, who started the Minimalists Meetup in San Diego, has done a fantastic job in downsizing. He has given me permission to share some of his ideas, which I think are right on. Thank you, Bill! I especially support his idea of going through several rounds of sorting. This makes the process easier on the brain, and I explain in more detail how to go through these rounds in my upcoming book, “Downsize Now!” Here are Bill’s words:
I see people use two main different approaches to downsizing – fast and slow. Everyone’s version of what fast is varies. There is the very dramatic like Ryan’s version of the packing party he describes in his book. Then there is the “pick a room or one closet”. Between those two ends of the spectrum, are all the variations.
For me, I was fairly dramatic but not extreme. I started with the garage attic and “went like hell” with tons of trips to the local charity folks – taking pictures of the items that had resale value for tax write-off purposes. Then I’d take a break for a week or so. Next, another large swath.
It started out difficult where I was analyzing each item and considering if it should stay or go. This was so inefficient, I panicked a bit realizing I would never get it done at that rate – nor would the fruits of my labor be impressive if my “not yet” pile was too large. I forced myself to just “do it”. I looked at that begging question in my mind of “might I need or want this someday” as a sign. If I am sitting here asking the question, it means I am not certain I need it – by that definition it goes. If I made a mistake and got rid of something I needed, I could go buy one again later.
The show stoppers were usually the sentimental items. Those got sent aside on the first round. I was not ready for it. I had not spent enough time getting that idea digested. On my second round through the rooms, I was much more prepared. Almost all of that went too.
All I can say is it is tough, and there is nothing wrong with multiple passes. And I can say that it gets easier, but never for me was it easy.
If you want to share stories about your downsizing experiences, I would love to hear them! Send me your comments. And give Bill some encouragement–isn’t he a great writer as well as a great downsizer?