Yesterday I helped my sister unpack at her new condo. She sold her humongous Seattle home after the passing of my brother-in-law. It sat on a hill and featured terrific views of Rainier, the Cascades, and Lake Washington. Now she sees the lake from the opposite side, in a Meydenbauer Bay space that’s less than half the size of the home she left. After the movers delivered her furniture and boxes, she texted her helpers saying that they were free to come to her rescue, adding, “OMG, my furniture is huge!!!!”
She wasn’t sure where she’d be living when she sold her home, so she’d put her things in storage and took trips and stayed with friends and family. But now she has a home, one she didn’t picture when she packed large pieces of furniture, two sets of pots and pans, massive mirrors with dark wood rococo frames, and paintings the size of pickleball courts. Decisions that were excruciating when she packed suddenly became easy. I just got back from Goodwill where I dropped off five boxes of goods deemed unnecessary. By the time I next visit her, I’m guessing that artwork and mirrors will either be on the street marked “Free” or will be consigned to the back of my car for another trip.
It’s like in business. Sometimes you don’t know where you’re going until you get there. Even with the best and most thoughtful planning, stuff happens and roads diverge and converge. You get busy, you grow, you tuck this untidy thing under that other thing so you don’t have to deal with it; you look away when it comes to processes or positions that don’t make sense anymore; things become too big, or too small, too unwieldy. That’s what happened with my sister. She lived in a large home where lots of things could be kept and overlooked, but now she has no choice, so she’s forced to make the decisions she didn’t need to make before.
As a business owner, you don’t need the life-changing impetus that she’s had, but you do need to be sure that all the pieces of your company fit. Stopping periodically to take inventory and decide what’s no longer working is a good idea. Nothing is perfect and nothing lasts forever, but sizing things up on a regular basis should allow for a path to cleaner operations and higher profitability.
As for downsizing, Fred and I have lived in the same home for almost 31 years. Thankfully, it’s a house that has the lowest square footage in our development of 250+ homes, making it difficult to keep too much. But still, watching my sister, I know we’re never leaving of our own accord!
July 21, 2021