Posted in minimal moments

The Upside of Downsizing by Karen O’Connor

This is the perfect handbook for anyone who is embarking on, or well into, the second half of their “life century.” Best-selling author Karen O’Connor writes with clarity, humor, and precision — she’s even figured out a way to downsize her message so even the busiest person can find time to absorb it, plus, this downsized book is small enough to fit into the dinkiest handbag.

The Upside of Downsizing is chock full of tips and wisdom for streamlining your life. I gleaned several great ideas from this book, for instance, in the chapter entitled Hang on to your Moola Karen describes a shopping trip to the mall where her husband “virtually” gave her a gorgeous bouquet of flowers. After stopping to enjoy them for a few minutes, they moved on, revelling in the reality that the romantic moment didn’t cost a dime! Now that’s creative!

Every chapter has a “Why not…?” question floating around somewhere. In the sweet chapter called Dance! where Karen describes the New Year’s Eve dance she and Charles enjoyed in their own living room wearing sweats at the end of a busy packing day, she asks, “Why not grab your partner and dance right now?” This little book is full of these seize-the-moment ideas that will upsize your happiness and downsize your stress.

A woman after my own heart, Karen eschews clutter and has several good ideas for how to de-clutter your life and home as well as sound rationale for why you should tackle it now. She talks about something that I helped my mother do in her final weeks of life — list and label everything she was leaving behind to simplify the process for her children. Not only did we “heirs” greatly appreciate the ease with which we could settle mom’s estate, I have beautiful memories of going through the process of helping my mother personalize her final gifts to each of her loved ones.

My favourite chapter is the last one: Share Your Gifts. In very few words, Karen helps you to know how to discover your gifts and then gives several good suggestions for ways you can share those gifts with others. Hoarding our gifts is as unhealthy as hoarding our stuff. We can know the joy and freedom that “giving it away” brings if we are willing to share what we have. As Karen says: “Why not share your talents? However small or insignificant they may seem, God will use them.”


Christian writer and speaker trying to follow God one yes at a time.

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