Downsizing focuses the mind on what possessions are important to you. What you want to keep and use, and what is better kept as a memory.

I’ve not been posting anything for a while. My focus has been on clearing out. I’m downsizing from a 4-bed home with loft space and outbuildings to a 2-bed flat. A move from the country to the town.

There is so much to do with downsizing – not just clothes and books, but business materials and general stuff. Today I’ve finally thrown out (Almost) all my Open University Course Materials – 8 years of part time study for my first degree and 5 years for my MBA. I was tempted to hold onto the year course in Research Methods, but it is 20 years old and best to start again. I tried to pass on, but no one was interested.

Hard too to get rid of material for courses I created, such as the Assessor Training Course for Royal Mail. So I’ve taken photos of the cover and content and that should be enough. I’ve never looked at it in the 20+ years since I wrote it so unlikely to need it now.

I was surprised how hard it was to get rid of some of my art work. Such as creating small books, but again, what was I going to do with them? So I’ve taken photos as a memory.

I think photos and scans is the way to go so I can still look at things again if I want to be reminded.

This is a hard task to do at 60, and I expect even worse if I was downsizing in 10 years time.

Much as I’d expect to have cleared out over the years, the likelihood is low. If you have the space you hang on to it.

That’s why I’ve kept all my OU material out in filing cabinets in the shed, and a loft space full of clothes I no longer wear.

With a very large garden we would have yearly parties. Once a year we would put up a large 8m tent and a 5 metre bell tent as the ‘chill out space’. This was full of rugs, cushions and low tables. When I think of the money I spent … I even bought a shed to store it all! We had collected plastic tables and chairs to seat over 30, along with table cloths and centre pieces, proper cutlery, glasses and even Tea sets. All to be used so infrequently.

We could have hired things. Or used disposable. But I liked to own stuff.
Now I ask myself why?
Why did I feel the need to own things? Why did I keep so many things?

Only now, with downsizing, can I consider if having possessions have brought me joy. They haven’t.

They have weighed me down, with the need to organise, store, check … and sometimes forget I bought something and so bought even more. I found a 10 piece tea set in a drawer in the shed I never used, and I think it cost me 35 pounds from a vintage event.

Overall I had cups and saucers for 35; side plates for 29; 6 tea pots, and more. All I will keep is a set for two people. The rest? Hopefully I’ll make some money by selling to a vintage tea service hire company. If not I’ll take to the charity shop.

I could cry when I think of the money spent. But this is just a minor part of money wasted. The books I bought when they first came out and never read, the ‘most have’ gadget that seemed perfect but was used once.

I’m enjoying this phase of downsizing. It really is a weight being lifted.

It’s also cathartic to write about it. So expect more posts on this topic.

What about you? Do you have too much stuff? How do you feel about disposing of it? I’d love to read your comment below.

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Denise Taylor

Chief Inspiration Officer, The 50 Plus Coach.