• Does downsizing have a downside? Yes! (wink)

    Female hand holding paper shopping bags isolated on whiteSeriously, I mean, not having clutter feels very free and downsizing is liberating. But a few years down the row there are some things that keeps rearing its ugly head, as a result of the downsizing. And it makes me laugh. It truly is because of that and it doesn’t seem to change either. I’m not sure if my friends and family are so happy with it. Because downsizing does have a downside. Four to be exact.

    But downsizing is a fantastic process!

    downsizen, stap voor stapYes! There you go. Going through all of your shit. Don’t need this. Haven’t used that in two years. What is this for? What do I have to do with that? Ah, yes, got that from this and that person… It’s a process, downsizing. I went through it a couple of years ago already. I went from a regular sized Dutch home to a small space of 200 sqft in a co-house. Oh my… what a relieve! How did I do it? In 5 steps and you can read that here. Some tips you may need if you wish to downsize yourself, at least if you still want to after finishing this blog.
    The question that’s been asked quite regularly is how does it feel? And also if I miss anything. Nope, not one thing, and it feels amazing! I have everything I need and nothing more.

    Then what’s the issue? Well, this:

    1. I can’t buy or find presents for others anymore!

    What a disaster! While shopping for a gift, my whole entire own downsizing process goes through my mind. I’m imagining the other persons’ response while handing it to them. A friendly smile, as a thank you. Are they truly happy with it? I honestly have no idea. I can see the gift going straight to the thrift shop in the near future. ‘Yeah, you know, I started downsizing. Sorry, your gift left the house too’. With the presents in my hands, in that gift shop, I start to wonder: which one will survive the process? I don’t know.
    And then this. Now that I’ve experienced first hand how nice it feels to get rid of and not having all that stuff, I start to feel sorry for those who have to receive it. I hand over the gifts with pity. I just sometimes wish to skip this whole thing. Nope, sorry, no gift for you! Uhm… glass of wine?
    I figured that that is actually not a bad idea at all. Because showing up empty handed, nah. So here’s what I do nowadays. Tips for you too. Bring food! We need it. It’s good, and it’s a gift. Also, how about an experience? A High Tea. Sauna. Or gather some folks to give someone a hot air balloon ride. Just some ideas. And oh, it works for me too.

    2. Who is Frieda without stuff?

    This is maybe a bit of a weird bullshaker-bookcase-61_-maple_4bd1c2d8-a000-4d13-9f40-35d88a1add30et point, but unconsciously there’s more to it. Not so much to myself. I mean, I’ve gone through the downsizing process already and most of the identification with stuff that I encountered along the way. I can so to say feel myself more now. But it’s not about me. The funny thing is, this seems to be an issue to others. Stuff tells you something about someone. For example books. Or what kind of music or movies someone likes to watch or listen to. And then there’s your date. Standing in front of the bookcase while you’re visiting the restroom. Trying to get an image of the person he’s dealing with. The bookcase however is… empty. Not much stuff to tell him anything! This is of course not a big issue, but I do that myself too. Staring at someones stuff in order to get an idea. It’s fun! Identification.
    So, now what? Talk. Not such a bad thing after all, the empty bookcase, but to others it’s sometimes a bit weird. This is me. Almost no stuff and clutter. Very naked. Or something.

    3. What? Why on earth do you keep thát? Awkward!

    Hmmmm. If you are a hardcore downsizer you make very conscious choices. Yes to this. No to that. Speaking of identification! Because why on earth do you keep thát little cabinet? It doesn’t even match the rest of your home?! Uhm… I have one of those. It’s my little clown-cabinet. It’s at my parents. Poor mom and dad. It looks kinda like a baby dresser. The two doors are painted, two clowns are on it in a merry-go-round. I secretively love it. It’s my guilty pleasure. But I’m also almost ashamed that I’m not able to get rid of it. I’m not using it and know I never will. It’s not even my style anymore. Bought it when I went to college. So what does that say about me? That I end up keeping thát? Interesting question and I do not have the answer. It says something…
    Not having stuff can make you feel naked, but choosing what you keep is exposure big time too! No more hiding behind: ‘yeah, I got that from someone’. Or, ‘well, you know, I had to put something in there, didn’t I?’ Nope. This is also me. A clown, sometimes. Explain that…

    4. Don’t ask me for advice about the stuff you wish to purchase

    international-tiny-house-jamboreeOn tiny houses? Yes! On downsizing? Yes! On some natural building materials or tiny house international? Yes. (see picture: INTERnational Tiny House Jamboree) Milking cows? Yes. Gardening? Yes. Living in communities? Yes. I’ll tell you what you wish to know, with enthusiasm. But I find myself turning into a blunt, pale, dead person when someone wants me to think with them on buying even more stuff. ‘I wish to have some extra chairs here, on this patio, and an extra side table. What do you think Frieda?’.

    Quiet. No response. As said, dead. I can be very bubbly, but not with this. I’m sorry. The only thing that comes out of my mouth after a while is: ‘Do you need it?’ A pause… then carefully: ‘You already have two sets of chairs. A table or three. And you’re on your own. I like it that it’s roomy actually.’
    Oops… the practicality of organizing stuff, looking at someones life, and what they end up using on a regular basis kicks in. Not much fun for the other. Every bit of enthusiasm goes down the drain and as a result they will no longer ask me for advice. Cranky woman! I get it. Until they wish to get rid of it. Then it’s: ‘Friedaaaaaa, help!!’

    The perks of being a downsizer… wink.


3 Responses so far.

  1. Inge says:

    Hahaha…yep! Food is good, or other stuff that you use and finish, like a good showergel. And identification with my stuff….oh my…you know my house 🙂

  2. Colorful, honest article Frieda. My rule of thumb is focusing on utilitarian possessions. Gifts? They should be given year-round. Also, I only purchase hardbound books. It’s a small library that will end up being my son’s. Books can take you around the world, even when there are travel restrictions. Be well!

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