Reuse

Before we RECYCLE certain items it may be possible for us to reuse those consumer products that are intended for single use. In doing so this may reduce our need for duplicate purchasing of these items in the short term. Frequently used liquid vessels such as water bottles or takeaway coffee cups and accessories including straws or cutlery can become more sustainable objects by owning reusable versions of these. Reusing paper; bottles; jars; single-use drink; takeaway containers; shopping bags; plastic plates; eating utensils and furniture. Thinking creatively on how to reuse these items before they are recycled is a great way for us to extend the usefulness of these objects and/or their packaging. Use jars to store your spices and/or small objects like paperclips or hair elastics. Once washed, use your takeaway containers to store your own leftovers for freezing or for lunch the next day.

Try your hand at upcycling, by painting a piece of older furniture a bold colour to give it a new lease on life. You may even learn a new skill that can give you joy and assist you to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle. My mum has always been an ‘up-cycler’ well before this craft-form became popular. In my first family home, we had a 1960s kitchen dresser that was painted bright glossy yellow with glass sliding doors; by the time I was a teenager it was matte black with brass handles and the doors removed. This piece of furniture was a quality item that with a few modifications over time was able to grow and change with our family’s needs.SustainableYou

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Keep

Our KEEP items are our belongings that we identify with and they will stay in our homes and lives. Marie Kondo, the author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and more recent host of her Netflix show Tidying Up, uses the term ‘Spark Joy’ to describe objects to be kept. Her simple method recommends that you should only keep the items that give you the ‘spark joy’ feeling. Things that we love, find useful and use often will be a part of our keep items.

My first Rightsizing project started in December 1998 and took till June 2000 to complete so we could sell the property. My husband said to me, ‘You can keep anything you like.’ This is how I started by separating all the items that I wanted to KEEP. This project took eighteen months to Rightsize his belongings and is an ongoing curation process. As we minimised these belongings we felt stronger within ourselves but also within our own relationship. Together we had the courage to face this epic task one day at a time, box by box, carload by carload. Every little bit contributed to the solving of this wicked problem. We still believe today that if we survived emptying that shed we could just about survive anything! So far so good, still happily married after fifteen years and yes, we still own a lot less than at this time in our lives! When we KEEP items that we identify with and that provide us with the most happiness, joy, usefulness and value we will quickly be able to determine those items that do not align with these statements of acceptance.

EditYourExcess

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Wants

As with needs our wants also hold a very personal measure of value. A large part of our modern lives are preoccupied with the ‘wanting of things’. This is largely due to extensive marketing campaigns from the advertising industry. They profit from our unending quest for happiness and social acceptance. They elude us into believing that we are somewhat inadequate if we do not engage in purchasing their products. In Roald Dahl’s 1971 film adaptation of his best-selling book, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, character Veruca Salt famously exclaims, ‘I want one. I want a golden goose!’ This precocious statement of ‘want’ shows the lust of instant gratification. In this moment of desire, there is minimal thought for the long-term impact such a purchase may have on the owner, or in this case on the goose!

Having or wanting is a concept of ownership. This abyss of wanting more is a shallow satisfaction that has us caught up in a cycle of replacement and acquisition. In our everyday lives, we have access to purchase many objects from a variety of sources. Anything you could possibly ever want is available from shopping complexes and websites. When Rightsizing, the question of ‘what do we want?’ will repeatedly be brought to the surface. ‘What we want’ will impact on the amount of objects that we decide to keep in our homes. ‘What we want’ will aid and hinder our projects as we begin to identify our needs in relation to how much space we have leftover to keep our wants. Before you buy something, to find out if it is a ‘need’ or simply a ‘want’, see how you feel about it before you make your purchase. If it’s from a store hold it in your hands and contemplate what value this will add and for how long; will it continue to do so? Alternatively, if it is an online purchase really think about this object before you frivolously click ‘add to cart’. Focus deeply on this object to see if it’s not just a token to symbolise something that may be missing from you emotionally or if it is just simply the vanity of owning the object in question.

The psychological ramifications of always wanting to own more things is addictive and leaves us increasingly empty as this compulsive dependency of ‘wanting’ takes over. As we saw in Chapter 1, having more belongings does not lead to an increased level of happiness. Looking for this fulfilment outside of ourselves will leave us with a lot of objects to maintain, look for and be responsible for in the long run. When we are in the PAUSE stage contemplating our wants it is important, to be honest with yourself about your self-worth in relation to the things you own. Begin to address your own feelings on how your possessions make you feel. Just because you own something are you more likely to feel either superior and important or inferior in the presence of others? Do you feel resentful or less worthy because you do not own something that someone else has? By investigating our relationship with our wants it will be easier to discard the excess in our lives.

LifeByDesign

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Balance in the Modern World

Today our modern lives are a series of choices and decisions. This allows us a certain freedom to shape our lives that our grandparents and great-grandparents were not given. Today we live by modern mantras such as ‘Life by design’, ‘You can be anything’, ‘Do what you want to do’ and ‘You can have it all’. We all have access to the benefits of modern life from various technologies such as computers, fast food, social media and mobile phones. Our lives are now shaped and enriched by a tapestry of globalisation. We are able to complete our responsibilities at home and work faster than ever before. Nevertheless, the fast pace of our modern lives tends to leave us ‘time-poor’ to consider our range of choices. Time-poor is when we lack free or spare time and/or are under pressure to complete tasks quickly. This may lead us to be impulsive when deciding what will add value and what may disrupt our balance.

What we buy and what we bring into our homes is always in a constant state of flux. As individuals,we are also growing and changing as much as the procession of our belongings. As our interests change so do the items we need, and we want change to reflect this. Rightsizing summarises balance as a situation in which different elements are equal or in the correct proportions. Bringing balance to our everyday lives is an ongoing process. Work-life balance is the division of how one’s time and attention is split between working, family and leisure commitments. This modern term clarifies how all our elements of work, home and health fit and work effortlessly together. When this flows harmoniously it is an uplifting time that allows us feelings of connectedness, high motivation and increased life satisfaction. However, when this synchronicity is interrupted and our lives become out of step we feel overwhelmed, chaotic and exhausted.

When this happens the first thing to do is to ‘press the pause button’ so we can reevaluate both our obligations and commitments to assist in the bringing back of harmony to our world. Living in a balanced way is self-perpetuating. One positive action in a certain area will spill over into all our life segments. Learning the art of saying NO will help to bring what is really important to the forefront. Some examples of realigning our balance might be saying ‘NO’ to junk food by choosing healthier food options, reducing social outings and even limiting our Netflix bingeing on weeknights in favour of a few extra hours of sleep! Balance is a skill that takes time to cultivate and achieve. Balance and organisation work together to allow us to be clear about how we interact and interpret the space around us. Using The Rightsize Approach will encourage and establish systems to enable you to balance the clutter in your life.

RightsizeYourLife

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Reclaim Your Space

Find Your Why

Finding your WHY is important for you to hook your motivation and ignite your intention to start your Rightsizing journey. ‘All knowledge meets an end at the question … Why?’, said American author and philosopher Criss Jami. If we know WHY we are doing something this will allow us to fully emerge ourselves in all we do. Drilling down through our WHYs will give us a clear, defined, specific outcome, which allows you to discover what your emotional outcome is. If we know what is in our hearts of hearts, or what our true emotional needs are, we will be able to provide ourselves with a new template to live our lives through. We will achieve our vision to live better with our belongings by identifying the emotional benefits we will experience from changing our physical space. Knowing your WHY is HOW we are successful but also it assists us in WHAT we maintain as lasting successful outcomes.

 

If we think back to our kitchen example, the why behind this could pathway like this:

Why am I starting in my kitchen? > I am choosing to start in my kitchen because I am frustrated as it is so untidy. Why is this frustrating? > Because I am unable to find items instantly. Why is it frustrating when you cannot find things? > Because I need to rebuy items I cannot locate. Why is this a problem? > It costs me extra money. Why would rightsizing solve this for you? > It will allow me to see all my utensils and I could avoid spending extra dollars on repurchasing. Why will this be beneficial to you? > Because I will have more time and money. Why is this important? > Because I will now be able spend both in other areas of my life. Why will this be valuable to you? > Because I will be happier as my quality of life will have improved.

 

This shows how asking ourselves WHY until we have reached our emotional outcome will allow us to verbalise our specific of our own WHY for our project.