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Downsizing - What's Your Comfort Zone?

The desire to move and downsize is all great until you actually have to be responsible for all the waste and accumulated material things in your life. It's not as easy as "chuck out" and feel good. Doing things in our new world of no waste and eliminating single use items is a taxing brain adjustment for most people and moving twice in a year definitely got me feeling very guilty. The onerous duty of purging caused this guilt because although I tried really hard to be mindful about how to get rid of things, I still failed and threw away things I could not recycle or get fixed.

I think the mindful awareness of what we ingest (organic & natural foods), what we use (furniture, cars & household items free of toxins) and how we receive the products into our world (packaging) is both exciting (to see the changes happening) and exhausting (knowing every purchase decision has a consequence)! So much of our day-to-day living is made easy and guilt free if we don't have to think about so many decisions about how we consume. By the time the next few generations roll through, plastics and single use items will have adjusted to compostable versions/iterations of themselves. Good food will be a no brainer, and hopefully all GMO's will be banned?! Thank goodness it has started in Vancouver with governments and municipalities supporting initiations to ban straws and polystyrene take out containers by 2020. Healthy and nutritional options to eat and to dispose of the bio degradable containers is becoming more acceptable as the norm around town. Slowly but surely we are all waking up to the reality that our garbage doesn't miraculously disappear just because we can't see it. And that being vegan is not the crazy trend, but is here to stay.

And...what about all the big furniture that no longer fits the smaller condo footprints and the stacks of duplicate pots, pans, plates and excessive and unnecessary things like how many shampoo bottles and samples can one have? The sheer downsizing is one brain exercise, the other is what to do with all the stuff? Minimalism is a necessary evil. So you'd think taking it off to the Salvation Army or a host of other charities, drop offs and Craigslist would have worked...and it did, but it was an eye opener when half of what I thought was great was unceremoniously rejected at drop off. No, they didn't want in my opinion "a perfectly good table" with a few scratches on it...who was I to think someone wanted my old (I didn't even think it was old) item! Downsizing was work beyond any idea I had fathomed. I really had to question every item I kept and bought to fit my new place. No rash decisions could be made, other than letting go the price tag I had in mind, for what a buyer had in mind - to take it off my hands and bring joy to a new home it landed in.

The push and pull of what to downsize over months and then the actual moves (two), was mind numbing. What it did was make me acutely aware of what it's going to take the average person's mindset to adapt to the fast and necessary changes we need. The ease factor. When choices are easier, we adapt faster. It hurts less.

So besides govt supporting me to do the right thing (recycle and re-use), what could I do that actually made the collection of my every day things and recycling easier? I decided the first project I'd commit to building in my new home would be an entire area dedicated in the kitchen to a recycling center. A simple way to make it easy for all of us, not just me. I wish all homes were equipped properly with easy waste recycling containers and curbside pick up and it wasn't a double duty work out from one container (home) to the next (bigger container version outside) to consolidate.

This brings me to the tie in with coaching. When decisions are made easier and a structure is in place - it helps settle the mind because it is simple and doesn't over tax the brain into an either or. Studies have shown that when we feel less stress when we have options to be creative and solutions seem abundant rather than when we feel pressured into an either or.

Moving was hard but it forced me to rethink the way I consume and how I wanted to be in the future. Getting way out of my comfort zone and feeling the guilt wasn't such a bad thing.

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