, Newburyport, MA


May 3, 2013

The upside of downsizing


Some things you must keep.

But if you can agree that downsizing has its upside, you might find these suggestions helpful:

Start with the easiest things to get rid of, for instance, the many useless plastic containers in your kitchen, and then move on to the books and magazines you will never read again.

Clothes are next. Go through each item and ask yourself, “When was the last time I wore this?” If it’s been awhile (maybe your size changed, the color or style is wrong, you bought it in 1985 or you have no occasion to wear it) , get rid of it. Your bathroom probably has bottles of expired medicine and half-used toiletries lying in a drawer. Dump them.

Do one room at a time. if you have a basement or garage where you store things, start there. When items are left in these places, they are more easily expendable. Attack with aggression all the boxes filled with old financial records, instructions and warranties for items long gone, the “spare” small appliances and the extra linens you have held onto. You may find the puzzles and games, sports and exercise gear, craft or art supplies you will never use again. If you don’t love it, need it, use it ... get rid of it.

So, where to place the things you are now ready to part with? The trash can can be a place for a lot of the stuff, but you can also give valuable items and keepsakes to friends and family. Charities often will pick up, and really appreciate, your useable donations. While consignment shops may pay you some money for clothing, a yard sale is also a possibility.

Freecycle is an online network ( where one’s trash becomes another’s treasure, and no money is exchanged.

Consider if this may be the time for you to “right size” and free yourself of too much baggage. Keep in mind the words of Buddha, “The origin of suffering is attachment.”


Angelena Craig of Newburyport is the director of The New Aging Movement and a professional-level yoga instructor. Visit her website at or e-mail

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