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Scaling Down

Living Large in a Smaller Place

By Judi Culbertson, Marj Decker
  • Read in 12 minutes
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  • Contains 7 key ideas
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Scaling Down by Judi Culbertson, Marj Decker

Scaling Down (2005) will help you understand the impulse to accumulate more things than you actually need, and why, once you’ve acquired those things, you don’t want to let them go. With a helpful step-by-step guide, it provides effective strategies for scaling down and learning to live with less.

Key idea 1 of 7

If you want to scale down, start by creating a Scaling Down Mission Statement.

Is your closet or garage overflowing with old stuff that you refuse to throw away? Or maybe you even pay for an external storage unit if you live in a city where closet space is a luxury reserved for the lucky few!

If that sounds like you, you’re not alone. Keeping too much stuff has been an American trend ever since the Great Depression.

In the early 1930s, people ravaged by the economic recession simply couldn’t afford to throw out anything unless it served absolutely no purpose.

But, of course, old habits die hard and mentalities are naturally inherited from generation to generation. So, even when conditions improved, the mindset of keeping anything that might be even slightly useful, whether now or in the future, was passed on to the next generation.

As a consequence, we’ve accumulated a lot of stuff, and what was once considered prudent thriftiness now looks more like out-of-touch greed.

So you own seven sets of china and an entire wall of sneakers. That’s not unreasonable, right?

Yeah, right. If you’ve realized that this hoarding mentality is ridiculous and wasteful, you’ve jumped one hurdle. But the next thing is actually to get rid of the excess, a process that can be a bit overwhelming – after all, there’s just so much stuff!

To help yourself out, try creating a Scaling Down Mission Statement (SDMS).

An SDMS articulates the motivation behind why you want to scale down. A sample SDMS might be something like, “My great aunt is moving into assisted living with less space, so I want to help her sort out the important belongings she’ll take with her.”

If you’re struggling to put your goal into a clear one-liner like that, try jotting down just a few keywords. Maybe it’s “make room for home office” or “simple living.” Putting your ideas and goals on paper will both give you a clear destination and help you get there, too.

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