Why is downsizing so hard? (Downsizing: Part 2)

Three reasons why we often feel so uncomfortable at the thought of downsizing and what you can do to minimize the struggle.

Art suppies on shelves

Beyond food and water, our most primal need is shelter. So, the minute we start thinking about moving and downsizing our brain sends out an alarm. Unconsciously, we get the message: Stay where you are. Don't let go of your home. It can feel almost as if we are in danger.


Add to that the fact that most of us don’t like change. We make beautiful homes so we can create stability for ourselves and our loved ones. We like our routines, and we find comfort in knowing where each of our belongings are.


It’s no wonder that we struggle with downsizing. By its very nature, it agitates these human needs. We don’t want our home disrupted!


And then there’s our own mortality.


This is often the biggest emotional hurdle people face when downsizing. It’s something we don't like to talk about. We don't even like to think about it! But when you begin a downsizing process, even if you're likely to live for another 25-30 years, feelings about your own mortality are going to come up and it's going to be a little bit scary.


When we bring awareness to how we're feeling, we give ourselves the opportunity to learn from the downsizing process.


What can we do?


Acknowledge that this is hard.


If you are feeling uncomfortable even reading this article or thinking about the need to downsize eventually, I’d encourage you to first acknowledge how you are feeling. I’m scared. This is uncomfortable. I am feeling overwhelmed. Sometimes simply naming the feeling allows it to dissipate just a little and gives you space to think about how you want to move forward.


Consider how you want to move forward.


Before you open a closet or a drawer, ask yourself:

  • What are the things that matter most to me in life?

  • What is my legacy going to be? Is it material? Or is it my relationships with loved ones?

  • What do I want this next chapter to look like?

  • Are their relationships and connections that are important to nourish?

  • Are there things I might be ready to let go of?


Downsizing is definitely scary. And yet, acknowledging the dread of disrupting what’s known is actually what allows us to then approach downsizing as an opportunity.