Downsizing-stay thoughtful, stay patient, and give yourself time!

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Author: Kaila Pinto

Nancy Abram is a marketing professor from the University of Iowa. Her and her husband have recently conquered the seemingly overwhelming hurdle of downsizing, and have since recruited Cindy Knebel to breathe life back into some of their furniture pieces. Nancy and Cindy have been friends since middle school, and wanted a sustainable, reliable way to flip her furniture. Sustainability is a growing interest for many people, one Nancy is familiar with. She explains, “Sustainability is important to me, I teach marketing and I always talk about sustainable value creation in the role of business. So, I think it’s really important not only for people to first of all, reduce, but then reuse what they can, and then recycle.”

The most important of the three R’s for Nancy is reducing. If all of us focus more on this point, the whole system would be better off for it. In fact, that is exactly what she has seen in Iowa City, Iowa. She describes, “I’m seeing a lot of businesses do a lot of things that I think are helpful. I think people are getting a little bit less materialistic than they were. My generation, the baby boomers, really brought in an era of materialism which isn’t the greatest. So, I think some of those things are changing.”

While many like the idea of implementing more sustainable practices, few actually do. However, Nancy is the type of person that puts her money where her mouth is. She explains how she went about the process of downsizing in the most sustainable way possible, “I had movers come to my house three times. They came the first time to get rid of some stuff I know I didn’t need, but they also took stuff to Cindy, to Esc. to resell it, and I had them take some stuff to the landfill, like mattresses and things”.

One of the biggest issues people face when downsizing is deciding what to keep and what to give away. So, how did Nancy go about this and how did Cindy play a part? She explains, “Well, there were certain pieces, like a coffee table and an end table that I’ve had for probably 30 years and have really really loved and enjoyed it so I wanted to keep it…so I told Cindy I didn’t want to part with it. I also had this large entertainment center and I thought if I just changed the color of it, it would work in my lower level, and the bookcase too. So things that I thought would be really functional and would match the environment here.” As promised, Cindy worked her magic on the pieces that Nancy wanted to keep. When asked about how she felt about the results, Nancy reflected, “Yeah I’m really happy, I’m really happy about what we’ve done. I love this place!”

What of everyone else who plans on downsizing in the future, though? What are the most important things to keep in mind when downsizing? Nancy reflects from her experience, “Downsizing is hard because you have to deal with what to keep, what to save, and what goes in your new place. I can see how a lot of people move too much stuff. There's a lot of publicity out there right now about how you go through your over abundance of crap. I think you have to be aggressive and thoughtful about getting rid of and re-purposing your stuff. You’ve gotta take months, because you have a lot of stuff. It’s been healthy to go through all of it and decide what we wanted to keep and what we didn’t.”

Needless to say, Nancy is very happy with the results of her whole home. It is important to take these things into consideration when downsizing. Stay thoughtful, stay patient, and give yourself time.


Credit for rocker upholstery and image Regeneration Factory.

Design Trends DIY Fixer Upper Furniture redecorate Repurposing Reuse

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