Ten Questions on Whether to Downsize Your Possessions

May 18, 2021 | 0 comments

Downsizing: What to Keep, What to Let Go?

In downsizing while preparing for an estate sale at my parents’ Albuquerque home, I came across a printout of an email. It listed 10 questions to evaluate whether to keep something before moving.

My Dad had printed this list in 2007. I found it in a file in his office, typically overwhelmed with clutter. My parents bought this house and moved in that same year, 2007. I found this document while downsizing in 2021, 14 years later.

My parents are still alive, now living in an assisted living place in Florida. Their attachment to the items at their home in New Mexico has made my job emotionally wrenching.

I am finding this list helpful as I go through the last of the photos and items rescued from the estate sale. And for considering my own stuff as well. Perhaps it can help you, too.

10 Questions to Help You Downsize

As you go through your stuff in preparation for the move, ask yourself:

  1. Do I use it?
  2. Do I need it?
  3. Does it bring joy to my life?
  4. Is it broken, damaged or inoperable?
  5. If lost in a fire, would I replace it as is?
  6. Would I want to manifest it 100 times?
  7. What image and energy is this sending to the universe for me?
  8. Does it bring in past energies with negative thoughts, emotions or memories attached?
  9. If called to move five times this year, would I want to pack it and move it?
  10. Will this be of pleasure or use to my heirs?

Downsizing Questions 1 to 3

Do you use it, need it, love it? Those key questions are crucial to your decision to toss or keep. If you say no to all of these questions, what’s holding you back? As Elsa in the film Frozen sings, “Let it go!”

Question 4: Is it Broken?

Items that are broken, damaged or inoperable need to be fixed or discarded/recycled. Nonworking items do not bring benefit your life. If it’s dead, it’s done. But don’t try to donate a non-working appliance to Goodwill. They don’t want your broken toaster.

Would You Want More of This?

China and silver for downsizing

If it was lost in a fire, would you replace it as is? If so, this has value to you. Keep the original! If not, let it go to make room for those things that you do value.

Would I want to manifest it 100 times? You’d better really love whatever it is to want that much more of it in your life. When looking at old paper files, consider this question carefully.

What image and energy is this sending to the universe for me? For example, holding onto mementos of past relationships projects a reluctance to move forward in life and love. Keep artwork and items that reflect relationship happiness to you. Let those objects send positive vibes into the universe for you.

Does it bring in past energies with negative thoughts, emotions or memories attached? What applies to an item for one person can be different for another person. I have a large ceramic bowl that my now-deceased brother-in-law gave me. It’s a beautiful piece, and I treasure that he gave it to me. However, for him, that bowl had a negative connection to a past lover. Passing along nice items with negative connotations can remake them into treasures for others.

If called to move five times this year, would I want to pack it and move it? You must really be attached to something if you would want to move it every two months or so. Does the thought of schlepping this around for multiple moves in a short period of time bring you dread? Let it go!

Downsizing Heirlooms

Will this be of pleasure or use for my heirs? Family heirlooms can be a problem for those without heirs. With no children, I face this dilemma myself.

For many years, I held on to a samovar, a metal urn from Russia used to make tea. It was brought to the United States by my mother’s father’s family. While I loved having the urn in my home, I have no children to whom I could pass this heirloom along. Eventually, I returned this item to my parents. My mother finally sent it to one of her cousins who promised to cherish it and pass it along to her children.

I have held on to my grandmother’s candlesticks, my great-grandmother’s ornate clock, and other family heirlooms. Maybe my niece will want them at some point in the future. Probably not. Many millennials are minimalists.

My parents’ bedroom set was a wedding gift from Dad’s parents. Both my parents had a strong emotional connection to this mid-century modern, dark wood set with two dressers, a headboard and side tables. But I couldn’t find a taker with the family here or in Florida, not considering taking it myself. After the estate sale, I regretted letting the set go. But it is done and gone. My parents are still here, for now.

Did my parents take this advice before they moved? Not as much as they could have. There were sealed boxes stuck in a closet which had not been opened since they moved in 2007. Don’t be like that.

About Gail Rubin, CT

Gail Rubin, humorous motivational speaker for hospice

Gail Rubin, CT, The Doyenne of Death®

Gail Rubin, CT, The Doyenne of Death®, is a pioneering death and grief educator. A speaker who uses humor and film clips to get end-of-life conversations started, she’s the author of the award-winning books A Good Goodbye: Funeral Planning for Those Who Don’t Plan to Die, Kicking the Bucket List: 100 Downsizing and Organizing Things to Do Before You Die (Rio Grande Books), and Hail and Farewell: Cremation Ceremonies, Templates and Tips. She is also the coordinator of the award-winning Before I Die New Mexico Festival. She “knocked ‘em dead” with her TEDxABQ talk, A Good Goodbye. Learn more at www.AGoodGoodbye.com and www.BeforeIDieNM.com.

A Good Goodbye