The Upside of Downsizing


I got rid of a lot of things when I downsized, and now I have a lot more of the thing I cherish most.

When I started this big downsizing adventure, I knew I’d be living a different life. I was looking forward to a home uncluttered — but I was only thinking about that in the physical sense. It turns out that by freeing myself from a lot of material things, I am finding a lot more of something my old life had been lacking, and that’s time.

It goes beyond the fact that I don’t have to oversee the yard maintenance, or worry about flowers fading around the back fountain. (Now, someone else comes to take care of this pool I’ve fallen in love with.) And it’s not like I used to spend a lot of time dusting my precious antiques, or alphabetizing my library, or restoring medieval paintings — but I did have to arrange for people to do those sorts of things. It was exhausting, I realize now, to be always worried about which couch was looking slouchy. By renting a house — especially one so recently remodeled — I’ve freed myself of that psychic load.


Downsize your belongings and responsibilities, not your life.

Also, because I have fewer things I feel obligated to use, I don’t feel the need to be as fancy when I entertain. I don’t need to pull out two of my china sets for a dinner, plus my favorite bowls for soup. I can just throw a simple soiree, like the one I invited my new neighbors (some of which were old friends) to a few weeks ago. I  set out a charcuterie and cheese board, and opened up a chardonnay. The gathering was carefree, and I actually had time to enjoy the wonderful conversation. The neighbors are turning out to be as big an amenity as the pool!

Now, suddenly, I’ve got time, time, time. Time to read books. To play bridge. To maybe even learn to golf instead of just watching it. Maybe there’s even a spin class in my future.

So remember the reasons you downsized — you were getting rid of the things that didn’t bring you joy. By simple math, that leaves more room for things — and people, and events, and hobbies — that do bring you joy.

Tell me about what your downsizing gave you room to do in the comments!

Mary Spalding is a Nashville based interior designer with over 30 years of experience. She has overseen countless home revitalizations, renovations, and restorations. She can be reached with your projects and ideas at

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