Downsizing Midlife with Karyn Hertel

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Downsizing, how to let go of your stuff


Downsizing. Just the word makes a pack rat feel unsettled. Meet Experience 50 Podcast listener Karyn Hertel, 44, who successfully downsized her family’s home by 30% and their “stuff” by 40%. Karyn and her husband Bob had been hearing more about downsizing, minimalist living and found it appealing as a way to simplify their busy lives.

They decided to sell their home, choosing to live in a smaller home. Moving day came and caught them unprepared. They literally could not fit their things in the new house. Yikes!

Mary and Karyn talk about how she did it and why. Note the questions to ask yourself about any item in your home that you can’t decide if it stays or goes. Downsizing it tough work, each item can create an emotional battle within.

Questions for any item:

  • Does this thing make me happy? Brings me joy?
  • If I lost it or it was damaged, would I replace it?
  • Am I keeping this only because I might use it “someday”?
  • Does this item reflect who I am, who I want to be, or who I used to be?
  • Is this a nostalgic item?
  • Would I pay to store it. If this item was in a storage unit, 30 minutes away, would I retrieve it more than once a year?
  • Would I get as much enjoyment seeing a photograph of it as having it at hand?
  • Am I only keeping this item out of respect for somebody else (dead or alive)?

Both Karyn and Joy (Episode 33: Decluttering in Midlife with Joy Bender Hadley) describe a post-declutter/downsizing euphoria of lightness and a more stress-free lifestyle.

Mentioned in this episode:

Book: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo

Thanks so much for joining me today.

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