Wednesday, June 25, 2008

My First Book Recommendation - Rightsizing Your Life

While I was contemplating becoming a professional organizer, I read as many books on organizing as I could get my hands on. Anything with the word "organizing" in the title, was on my bookshelf.

My first recommendation, "Rightsizing Your Life", is one of my favorites because the subject is so close to my own life.

It’s said that you spend the first 40 years of your life acquiring things and the next 40 years getting rid of them. Boy, does this apply to my life. When I married my husband, we both were just starting our careers. He loves science fiction and movies and I love collectible glassware and toys from when I was a kid.

We both started collecting - a lot! We had shelves full of Star Wars toys, life size movie props, full cupboards of Fire King jadite and display cases of Liddle Kiddle dolls and their accessories.

Remember these?

Anyway, when we had to move - twice in two years - we realized that we had to start downsizing our collections because it was becoming more and more difficult finding places to display everything as well as packing and unpacking all these "things".

As the author of “Rightsizing Your Life”, Ciji Ware states, "rightsizing is the process of simplifying your surroundings so you can focus on what matters most". More isn't always better. In fact, with less "things" in your life, you have time to spend with your family and friends, on outside hobbies, travel and cultural events.

As we age, we become more aware of the fact that others’ lives around us are changing. Kids are growing up and going out on their own, parents are entering retirement/assisted living homes or passing away. Our friends are moving to smaller homes, condos or to their dream homes in newer, far away communities.

To begin rightsizing, try and imagine what your life would be like with less stuff around you. Try and figure out what your “core passion” would be says the author. Surround yourselves with only the “people, possessions and activities you love”.

Ms. Ware recommends taking a walking tour of your home with a notebook and pen in hand. Make a page for each room and jot down only those items that are the most important to you.

Do we really need 6 sets of dishes, 4 sets of flatware, a full bar of glassware and pots and pans for an army? Do we need a closet full of heavy winter coats, scarves, gloves and boots when we really want to live in a warmer climate? How about that garage full of old potting materials, tools and ski and sledding equipment we never use?

After a house fire, my family and I lived for one year with only a minimal amount of clothing and some personal papers and books and didn’t miss a thing. The home we were renting during the renovation process was furnished with the bare minimum – set of dishes for four, eight glasses, a set of flatware, three pots and pans and a couple of cookie sheets. You learn to adapt with what you have – just as you learn to adapt to the size home you live in whether its 1,200 square feet of 4,000. It’s all about what’s really important to you.

Be honest with yourself – this is the time to think about your future and relinquish those things that encumber you and keep you from living the life you really want to live.

How would you begin rightsizing your life?


Miss Inge said...

Hi Wendy! I love this post... I think I need to pick up the Rightsizing book immediately. It makes so much sense about the gathering phase and then the letting-go phase.

Your site is really beautiful, and the photos are excellent. Nice work! I am starting to feel really inspired.

-Lisa G.

Wendy Cross said...

Thanks Lisa. Yes, I think you will like this book. Thank you for all your kind words about my blog. See you soon!