Relentlessly Rightsizing

Relentlessly Rightsizing

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This has become a hobby of mine, to look around the house and think – what can I chuck or sell? 😀 I wasn’t always like this. Mr.C is much better than I am as he’s always been of the opinion that less is more. I have always had a lot of stuff and quite frankly, a lot of junk! I’m lucky that Mr.C is a very accepting person, he never tries to change me (even for the better!). He’s a very “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear” kind of person.

I use the term rightsizing vs. downsizing here as I think this entire exercise is about having the right amount of stuff that is suited for your lifestyle and needs. Some may say it’s a play of words. Perhaps it is my NLP background that looks into words, the meaning and the impact the choice of words has on our mindset and emotions that makes me think that’s not a word play after all! Let me walk you through my thoughts. According to Merriam Webster, my fav online dictionary:

Downsize: to reduce in size

Rightsize: to reduce (something) to an optimal size

Ah, rightsizing is taking downsizing a step further. It’s downsizing, on steroids! Definition aside, what emotions do the words themselves evoke? Here’s my emotions:

Downsize: Sad! Doing something because I have to!

Rightsize:Motivated! Doing something to be in a better place! It’s got the word ‘right’ in it, it must be the right thing to do 😀

So the term rightsizing motivates me and puts me in a better state of mind. I feel better for what I am doing. There’s no negative there! Anyway I come a long way and have embraced the ‘less is more’ concept. Why do we try to live on less? 

Less clutter means less cleaning up

Empty mantelpieces is a perfect example. The home I grew up in and that my folks still live in has this beautiful wooden TV cabinet with lots of space on the left and the right of the TV as a mantelpiece. Every single spot is filled up. I kid you not. There’s mostly small souvenir pieces from everywhere they’ve traveled and maybe 5 photo frames.

Cleaning that TV cabinet was painful and an absolute waste of time (ok, maybe a test of patience and zen-building), as there’s dust on each of those tiny cute pieces and there’s dust all around it so you have to pick it up, clean it one by one and put it aside. Clean the surface once you have each piece down then arrange each of it back. I had wished many a time during my years growing up that I could accidentally break a few to reduce the torture of cleaning up. I wished I could throw a bucket of water over it all and then let the fan go on high speed to dry it all up. I wished I could sweep it all into a bucket of water in one smooth motion but they were mostly ceramic and fragile. Wishes, they remained.

So it wasn’t just the TV cabinet, it was every single surface that was empty that had some deco piece. 2 inches beside the telephone? Let’s fill that space up, valuable real estate! Hundreds of little pieces that was cute individually and freaking dust magnets.

The worst areas to clean was the kitchen cabinets. Loads and loads of plastic containers and kitchenware that was rarely used. Some not used even once a year! Having it in the closet meant having to clean it every now and again. There might be dead insects. We might not even know what’s in there anymore when we don’t take a look often enough!

The amount of time spent cleaning up was phenomenal. We seriously could have put that time to better use – say reading or playing! Building a wooden bicycle or a rocket, who knows! Anything but cleaning! Having less stuff just means having less cleaning up to do, which to me – is a win!

Items can have better utility elsewhere rather than sitting in our closet

A relatively new concept to me and perhaps my strongest driver. Just last night I asked Mr.C to take down 3 board games from our top closet. I’ve had it in a closet for 4 years now, prior to that my brother had it in his closet for probably 4 years or maybe longer. So the last it was used was close to 9 – 10 years ago. Damn! I don’t see us using it in the near future with CocoJr #1 being too young for these games and having CocoJr #2 will take up most of our time. I reckon the earliest we would play these board games would be in 4 years when CocoJr #1 is older.

What good is keeping something in storage for 15 years? I don’t even know if it’ll be in good condition still, the paper/boards may have spots and the plastic play pieces may be brittle. In the 15 years we keep it in a closet, it could be used by others more frequently – generating more joy and laughter vs. no joy and laughter in the closet. That’s essentially the concept of items having better utility elsewhere!

This concept alone has driven a lot of my rightsizing activities. If we’ve not used the item frequent enough, then we best have it moved elsewhere. This can be via a sale, giving it away for charity or even just passing it on to friends who might use it. Let the item be used for the purpose it was created for!

The cost of keeping an item (opportunity cost in a monetary sense)

My 2nd fav reason as it’s pretty evident, I’m quite happy to make money! I’ve been selling all kinds of things around the house that’s just been unused and taking up space. In the last 3 years of actively looking for idle items to sell, I’ve made over $1k. Over $,1000 in value just chilling out in my home doing absolutely nothing when it could have been out there generating moolah sooner!

We’re in the midst of moving houses right now and it’s a perfect opportunity to toss things out or making a quick buck. So I culled my wardrobe. “Mission Impossible” was playing in my head as I went through my clothes. Somewhere along the way, I decided to take some pictures of some of clothes I had put in the ‘give’ pile and put them up on Facebook for $5 each. Yep $5 is a steal but I was pricing it to sell and making a quick buck vs. making nothing. End of a week, hello $40. It’s not massive, but I just made $40 for very little effort.

At the end of this exercise, I had 2 large bags of clothes to give away to charity. I felt lighter and happier with the space I had created. Of course I made some money too, $40 from clothes and $80 from the chest of drawers that housed these clothes!

Empty space makes us happy

This is a by-product of the “less is more” mindset (I rarely use the term minimalist as so many are quick to jump that the amount of stuff we have is far from minimalism!). Admitted we still have a lot of stuff, but far less than we had before and far less than what we’ve been brought up to have. We are constantly telling our parents to please not buy things for our house / for us without asking us as we like the empty space. They’ll go “Oh it’s ok, just keep it”. That’s exactly what we don’t want to do, to just keep something that we’ll use infrequently.

Empty space makes us happy. If you think about it, that’s why a lot of us like hotel rooms. There’s no clutter. Everything that is there is placed there to increase our comfort, i.e. everything has a purpose. We would like our home to have items that have a purpose other than – just in case!

Easier to find what we need

My drawers are the constant reminder to me why less is more, because I could never find anything! My drawers are in a better state now. My son’s toys, on the other hand, is a monster on it’s own. Ever so often, CocoJR #1 will go: Mummy, where’s my red helicopter (insert whatever random toy you can think of)? Having to sift through ALL his toys is reminiscent of cleaning my family TV cabinet. Sparks as much joy as paying for my annual insurance – none.

Having less makes it much easier to find what we need and want, when we need and want it. Saves time, saves effort!

Your turn! How do you go about rightsizing? I’ve a few handy tips I have been quite mindful to take note of in the current move that I’ll share soon. Till then, let’s hear it in the comments! What’s your thoughts on downsizing vs. rightsizing and what makes it tick for  you?

Author: Ms.K

Ms.K is everything that Mr.C is, without the natural interest in investing and company financials! The activity planner for the family, the driver of random ideas and soon to be ‘retiring’ in to full time motherhood – Ms.K has no idea what she’s in for but remains super excited!

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