Scaling Down: Living Large in a Smaller Space


How to make more of less-the book that shows how to simplify your life, control clutter, and pare down your possessions for a move into smaller living quarters.

There are plenty of anti-clutter experts around ready to exhort us to sort, store, and trash our belongings, but this is the first book to address the specific needs of people moving from a larger to a smaller space, or merging two (or more) people's possessions into a single abode.

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Scaling Down: Living Large in a Smaller Space

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How to make more of less-the book that shows how to simplify your life, control clutter, and pare down your possessions for a move into smaller living quarters.

There are plenty of anti-clutter experts around ready to exhort us to sort, store, and trash our belongings, but this is the first book to address the specific needs of people moving from a larger to a smaller space, or merging two (or more) people's possessions into a single abode.

If you and your mate are about to swap your large, single-family house for a condo, or move your parents out of the family home of 40 years into an assisted-living center, where do you start? How do you decide what to take, what to leave behind, and what to do with your discards? What can you do to keep the move from seeming tinged with loss?

Scaling Down - by Judi Culbertson and Marj Decker, with Illustrations by George Booth - not only offers terrific nuts-and-bolts strategies for paring down one's belongings to only the best and most meaningful items, but it also addresses the emotional aspects of streamlining-the complicated relationship we have with our "stuff." Countering the pervasive American prejudice that having less is a step down, the authors advance their concept of "living large wherever you are!"

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781594860935
  • Publisher: Rodale Press, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/2/2005
  • Pages: 242
  • Sales rank: 697,171
  • Product dimensions: 7.57 (w) x 9.15 (h) x 0.68 (d)

Meet the Author

JUDI CULBERTSON is a New York-based organizing/ decluttering expert who gives clutter-control seminars coast to coast. She is also the author of a decluttering newsletter, Traveling Light.

MARJ DECKER is the CEO of the Denver-based company Time Is Priceless, which specializes in helping people downsize.

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2009

    A great read that you can put into action.

    I sat on the floor at B & N for many days looking for just the right book to help us with our "STUFF." This book made our de-clutter step much eaiser. I read the book in a weekend and began implimenting the following week. The hard part for us was our emotional attachement to our "STUFF". Once we were able to let go, we were able to let it go much eaiser. One wonderful bonus was when I was able to lend the book to a friend going thru a divorce. She read the book and was able to let go of the attachemnts of things she had moved from place to place because of her emotional attachements to them. What great therapy to let go. the book is also entertaining with some good laughs and great how tos.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2007

    It worked!

    I chose this book to help me declutter and it worked. I tried over many years and various attempts to get rid of old and unnecessary material in my home. This book was different because it thoroughly addresses the emotional side of clutter. The first step is to compose a mission statement, which keeps you motivated and focused about why you are even bothering to confront the problem. There are exercises to clarify exactly what emotions are stopping you from letting go of stuff, how to make affirmative decisions about what to keep and detailed information about types of clutter you have and how to deal with it in a managaeable way. It was very scary to begin -- although the book is helpful with that, too, by recommending a number of ways to get support for the process. Once I started, something shifted and I felt so free that it became easier. Eventually I down-sized to what I really needed and wanted around me and probably disposed of or donated approximately 2/3 of my belongings. Thank goodness because shortly after I completed the process, I unexpectedly had to move from a two-bedroom apartment, then to a single room and now to a studio apartment. I hate to think how much MORE stressful and expensive that would have been if I had not successfully decluttered. Thank you to the authors.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2007

    A reviewer

    Although this book is aimed at baby boomers who are down sizing, it is full of simple, practical suggestions for a myriad of situations. Not only do the authors deal with the physical stuff but they also deal with the emotional side of the letting go. In addition to having some great cartoons, the book is written in a conversational tone and with a great deal of humor as exemplified by a chapter entitled ¿The Secret Life of Clothing¿. SCALING down is divided into five parts. In Part 1, the Challenges of Scaling Down, the authors discuss the nature of clutter including a quiz entitled ¿How Stuffed Are You?¿ They then present their approach, which is to develop with the client a simple mission statement that includes obstacles, as in ¿I need (or want) to _________________ but _____________. They then present 21 obstacles, excuses and fears and provide suggestions on helping the client past each of them. In Part 2, ¿The Culprits¿, the authors deal with the major issues of paper, clothing, gifts and what they call the `tyranny¿ of collections¿. A simple filing system is suggested for a more simple lifestyle. Judi & Marj discuss how to help a recent retiree pare down ¿the physical evidence of a lifetime of work¿ in a compassionate and respectful manner. Since guilt is usually associated with getting rid of items that were gifts from others, the authors present options for getting past the guilt. They analyze the `why¿ of collecting and suggest ways to lead the client to the `better¿ not `bigger¿ collection. Special Situations are dealt with in Part 3. The task of clearing out a family home covers numerous issues from family dynamics and old hurts to allowing enough time and getting items successfully distributed to their intended new homes. In the chapter called ¿Your Cuisinart or Mine?¿, the authors deal with blending households as well as separating households. As in other Parts, Marj and Judi deal not only with the physical stuff but also handling the emotional issues involved in these emotionally charged situations. Although the Part 4 Scaling Down Strategies, such as skimming and triage, are pretty familiar, they also discuss the psychology of shopping. Additionally there is a whole chapter dedicated to helping clients cull through their life¿s memorabilia and enable the client to keep only that which is truly significant to their lives. They also provide a list of 28 techniques to prevent the return of clutter. The final part of the book deals with the rewards of living in a smaller space and emphasizes the avoidance of the bigger is better mentality that surrounds us in today¿s culture. Their definition of what a home should be sums it up. ¿Your own home¿is a backdrop to help your life flow smoothly and provide comfort and self-expression---not be an end in itself.¿

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