By the time we reach our 60th birthday, most of us have collected a lot of stuff. We have old bikes and new gadgets, boxes of used clothes and piles of unread books. In the words of Douglas Adams in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, “Most of it seemed to make some kind of sense at the time.”

When we were raising our children, we could easily justify having a larger house. In fact, for most of our lives, having plenty of room felt like a necessity. Now, as we reach our 60s, many baby boomers are finding that the things that gave us wings are now chaining us to our past.

Can Downsizing Really Make You Happier?

Ok, I’m not going to go so far as to say that everyone should downsize in pre-retirement or retirement. This is very much a personal choice. That said, there are plenty of reasons to believe that being more conscious about the things that you own could make you happier.

First, there are the direct benefits of downsizing. Many boomers discover that, once they take a look at their situation, they no longer need to live in a large home. Moving to a smaller place can free up financial resources to pursue your passions.

Second, there are psychological benefits to being mindful about your possessions. Every item in your home comes with a psychological cost. The more cluttered your life, the less energy you will have to focus on the things that are important.

Downsizing Creates Precious Space

As a result, every time you say “no” to something, you are freeing up space to say “yes” to something else. Many people I know say that the process of sorting through their possessions after 60 was life-changing.

Finally, downsizing can lead to a deeper sense of self-awareness and life-satisfaction. Deciding what is important to us on a material level can lead to a better understanding of our values and priorities. In addition, you can give your unwanted items to charity and make the world a better place.

Not sure where to start? Please read this article on how to downsize without causing yourself stress.

Have you recently downsized or organized your possessions? What did you learn from the process? What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about starting the process of downsizing? Please join the discussion!

This article was originally published on Sixty and Me. 

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