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STREAMLINE YOUR STUFF: Halifax series The Big Downsize features two families who must deal with getting rid of a lifetime of belongings


Five-part documentary

The excitement is building. By the time you read this column, the first episode of The Big Downsize will have aired. We’re pretty darn proud of our Halifax talent with this five-part documentary series shot for VisionTV by Tell Tale Productions (well known for The Curse of Oak Island).

You can catch the other four episodes on Monday evenings at 10 p.m. Atlantic. Throughout the series I work with two families who must downsize a lifetime of belongings. Whether you call it tidying up, de-cluttering, or simplifying, it can be a daunting exercise filled with emotion and anxiety.

Unlike the somewhat light-hearted approach on the show Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, in our show we dig deep in order to move forward past the ‘stuff’ and embrace a different future.

I bonded with our first client Pam almost immediately. She is facing the need to move from a packed three-bedroom house into a one-bedroom apartment as part of a new single life following divorce. Dividing belongings and dramatically reducing her stuff is a daunting task for Pam, but together we achieve success. She is one amazing woman and I know her story will resonate with you.

If you follow this column, you will already know that one year ago I sold my house and downsized dramatically to a 600 square foot one-bedroom abode following a relationship breakup. Some of my personal story will also be explored in the series. Just have to say that I am still loving every minute of this minimalist life.

The other family we worked with, the MacNeil siblings, are far from being minimalists. They are facing the monumental challenge of clearing out their childhood home to prepare it for sale. The house has been in their family for 50 years and is literally packed with 50 years of stuff. With four people trying to move this project forward, they were having difficulty deciding what to keep and what to let go of — and what to do with the mountain of items that needed to go. I was fascinated by the four very different personalities and feelings they each had to this life-altering project.

We literally rolled up our sleeves and got down to business and managed to clear most of the house over the course of one month. I have to say there was nothing magic about it and very little opportunity for exploring joy (yes, that’s a Marie Kondo reference). It was just plain hard work, both physically and emotionally. I had such a great experience getting to know the family and the history and discovering some pretty unique items along the way.

If you want more information, you can go the The Big Downsize Facebook page or my Get Organized by Design Facebook page or check out the VisionTV website at http://visiontv.ca/shows/the-big-downsize/.

Jane Veldhoven owns Get Organized by Design in Halifax and loves working with busy people to help them de-clutter, redesign, and redecorate their spaces, move to a new home, or renovate their existing home.

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