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Scaling Down: Living Large in a Smaller Space

3.67  ·  Rating Details ·  167 Ratings  ·  39 Reviews

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

Paperback, 228 pages
Published March 2nd 2005 by Rodale Books (first published January 30th 2005)
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Sep 19, 2007 Kecia rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: packrats who need a kick in the ass
Shelves: organization
I got this book out of my local library, and read about 3/4 of this book right before bed. Next morning I got out of bed, pulled four overstuffed folders from my filing cabinet and, following the guidelines in the chapter on "Collaring the Paper Tiger," threw out approximately 95% of their contents in about 15 minutes.

So not only do I recommend this book, I recommend it be read before going to bed so that its advice can work on your brain overnight. Like Scrubbing Bubbles, it can dissolve almost
Jun 14, 2008 Lia rated it really liked it
I am one of those people who doesn't like to carry a lot of "stuff" around with me. I like the simple life. This book (though aimed primarily at empty-nesters who are looking at how to pare down enough to move out of a home and into a smaller space) is full of excellent information for anyone who wants to simplify and clear out. One of the reasons I like this book in comparision to others of a simliar theme is that it addresses the psychological reasons for holding on to our "stuff." It is also ...more
Mar 31, 2015 Lisa rated it liked it
This book had some good tips about scaling down and making the most of the space you have. I got rid of a couple more garbage bags of clothes after reading it so it was definitely effective. The authors' commentary on how we have become a 'bigger is better' culture really resonated with me.
Sep 26, 2015 Rebecca rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Helpful quick read to get me started cutting down on paper clutter. Even if I keep a big house, I don't want to be at the mercy of paper clutter.
Feb 08, 2017 D rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well written with lots of good information.

Well written with lots of good information.
Makes you think of how you can improve your life, and I am working hard at doing so.
Jun 11, 2009 Jessica rated it liked it

This is a good book for anyone looking to downsize their home or belongings, moving, or even after the death of a loved one. The authors offer a jculbertson_book1practical approach to going through and getting rid of extra, unwanted, or unused items.

What is helpful about this book is it doesn’t just tell you how to get rid of things, but takes the time to look at the process through an emotional and psychological lenses as well. Within each chapter there are stories of the authors clients to hel
Lacey Louwagie
Apr 08, 2011 Lacey Louwagie rated it really liked it
Although it's not an immediate concern, I'll have to learn to live in a smaller space/share space again once I marry Ivan, so this book caught my attention. The tips it includes and the pep talks for decluttering are inspiring, and it has chapters devoted to unique situations (such as moving into assisted living, going through a loved one's stuff after she or he has died, marriage and consolidation -- followed, a bit disturbingly, by divorce, etc.) All the chapters are written sensitively and ha ...more
Aug 14, 2011 Doctor_dana rated it really liked it
This book tries to tackle your motivation for clinging to too much stuff (and acquiring it in the first place). I was already sold on the idea of simplifying, and I've already done some good decluttering, so I didn't need their help on that front. The section on paper clutter had excellent techniques, as did their list of 28 most helpful tips. The book is worth reading for those two sections alone. And it's a very quick read-- only a few hours, especially if you skim less-relevant parts.
Jan 01, 2009 Jaymi rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2008
I'm in a constant state of de-cluttering my home, it seems. I frequently check out various home simplification and de-cluttering books. This was one that amazon recommended to me and I borrowed it from the library. Instead of just going with the various de-cluttering tips and tricks and whatnot, this book describes how to scale things down and really have only the things you love with you. What I liked about this book were the stories they included about themselves or others who are on the path ...more
Jan 20, 2009 Caroline rated it it was amazing
This book puts my simplifying efforts to shame. It really delves into WHY you're holding onto all that stuff, and how to let go. Even though it's aimed at an older crowd, I was truly inspired to get rid of a lot more stuff. It's also rather thin - the authors pack the information in, without becoming too repetitive. The only parts that annoyed me were the ones on shopping and dumpsters. If you really are trying to scale down, the shopping has to be cut way back (the authors seemed a little soft ...more
Apr 01, 2013 Alicia rated it really liked it
A very helpful book to inspire me to start scaling down my stuff before I pack for our move. Lots of good tips for getting rid of clutter and stopping you from convincing yourself you need to keep something. The section on organizing print photos was so helpful - I literally stopped reading, brought in the big box of old photographs I had, and spent the next two days paring them down and organizing them. I went from a big Rubbermaid box full, to just a small Photo Organizing Box by Iris (got it ...more
Mar 23, 2014 Misty rated it really liked it
I read every book on organizing and simplifying that I can get my hands on, and I usually find a lot of the same tips in all of them. However, this is the first one I have read that addresses the turmoil of scaling down due to the death of a loved one or when circumstances require an aging parent to leave their home. I found their approach very sensitive and realistic in both cases.

The authors also discuss other topics that a lot of organizational books don't cover, like combining households, mo
Jul 16, 2015 Relyn rated it liked it
Recommends it for: empty nesters with a big house
Recommended to Relyn by: spotted at my library
Shelves: homekeeping
The intended audience is 60 somethings who want to scale back their large house to suit their empty nest lifestyle. The thing that drew me to the book was the tagline "Living large in a smaller space." We are not downsizing our home; it's only 1,400 square feet for the three of us. What I am interested in is living well in our smaller space. I'm interested in being content. I'm interested in consuming less, taking care of things and organizing less, and living MORE. So, this was an interesting r ...more
Jan 02, 2012 Rebekah rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011, non-fiction
Culbertson covers both the psychological and practical aspects of decluttering and simplifying in this how-to manual. Go from room to room as Culbertson discusses best practices for organizing paperwork, paring down memorabilia, and letting go of duplicates or lesser used items. The book is aimed mostly at empty nesters looking to downsize, but the tips and advice given will help most any person looking to live a fulfilling life with less stuff.

The most helpful parts to me were how to downsize
Jan 25, 2009 Marianne rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mag-recs
loved this. the principles are basic and the advice direct. they acknowledge the challenges and emotional attachments and provide reasonable suggestions for moving through those reservations. really enjoyed this and found it useful.

definitely geared towards those later in life downsizing or getting rid of adult children's things, but very well organized writing and easy to skip parts that don't apply to you.
Jan 10, 2012 Carolyn rated it it was ok
Given the picture on the front and the title, I was expecting a pep talk on why I should love my house with scant closet space and no master bathroom. And while is does devote chapter 15 to this topic, I had to wade to chapter after chapter of how to get rid of stuff. I do not currently have much problem with moving things out of my house that are no longer useful or functional, so I was disappointed with the content - hence the 2 stars.
Dec 11, 2011 Lauren rated it liked it
Shelves: environment, design
Some great tips on how to simplify and minimize the space and the things around you. I liked the tips and chapters about how to help loved ones downsize and de-clutter.

The only thing that bothered me was the last chapter and the author's writing in total praise of urban living. Sure, I love cities, but I don't think that really has much to do with what this book is marketing. One can use these tips for small space living regardless of the population of the area you call home...
Jun 04, 2015 Gretchen rated it really liked it
This book was very inspirational for me, especially as the daughter and granddaughter of a long line of pack rats and hoarders. It very gracefully and helpfully encourages you to get rid of things that you no longer need or desire to care for without the guilt or shame that some authors use. I revisit it often when I feel myself start to get inundated with "stuff" again.
Jan 21, 2008 Cathy rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone with clutter...
Recommended to Cathy by: Newsletter from Victoria Moran
Do you have a lot of "stuff" everywhere? I did - and wanted to do something about it. This book gave me loads of ideas about organizing, donating, reassessing, etc. It gave me the push to start cleaning out and scaling down. Six bags went to Goodwill the first week - and I'm still working on it. Very motivating!
Sep 30, 2010 Jeannie rated it it was amazing
this was a great book, I learned a lot from it. like maybe I have some hoarding tendencies!! Lots of tips on how to actually force yourself to throw it away instead of making excuses for hanging onto it. It got me going, I actually used some of the techniques today to start on my mess in the basement and I'm darn proud of myself!!
Apr 17, 2014 Nichola rated it liked it
I like reading organizing books, they have such a can do feeling about them. This was also good to combat the ever present marketing suggesting we all need more and more house to contain more stuff. Some practical suggestions were in here, but i don't bother with journalling exercises etc. Some pictures would have been motivating too.
Jan 19, 2016 Stacy rated it really liked it
I think this is the kind of book that cannot be read straight through. Pick it up, put it down, think things over, and look around you. I think that's how it would work best. I wonder a little bit at their uncited pop-psychology, but whatever, the ideas presented are valuable.
May 04, 2012 Jacqueline rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, adult
This book is mostly targeted to an older audience (read: people moving into assisted living homes) but instead of making it feel irrelevant to me I thought that just made some of the examples kind of funny. A very inspiring book which has already had me clearing out my closet.
Aug 12, 2016 Linda rated it liked it
An informative book if one is scaling down, getting rid of the clutter & the unnecessary items that build up with life. Some chapters were more interesting to me than others. It's a pick & choose book. I'm glad I read it. It's a place to start.
Oct 21, 2010 Martha rated it liked it
As I look around me at my accumuation of stuff,I am still overwhelmed, but this book gave me some structure on how to begin. It tries to put a happy face on downsizing, making it seem like fun. HAH!
Apr 19, 2015 Caro rated it liked it
Very practical, addresses a number of scenarios that might spark downsizing, and sympathetically outlines the emotional pull of our stuff. Yes, I donated three bags of clothes and emptied a couple files, so it must work. Some references are dated after ten years, but the gist of this is helpful.
Jul 28, 2009 Roxane rated it really liked it
Great advice for helping you get rid of stuff, whether you're moving or just want to reduce your clutter.
Dec 14, 2011 Carah marked it as to-read
BOY, do I ever need this book. I am a paper collector, so any help on taming The Paper Tiger that we lug from house to house will be very welcomed!
Jan 24, 2014 Desiree rated it liked it
One of the better books on decluttering and simplifying that I've found. It's a short read, and covers more than a few motivations on why we keep what we keep.
Apr 11, 2015 Laura rated it really liked it
good practical advice I will follow on my purging adventure.
Dec 12, 2014 Karen rated it really liked it
Great overview for down-sizing and decluttering to let them go.
Jan 21, 2014 Shellslobada rated it it was amazing
For me-- learning and loving organizing as I do, this is my new bible for that part of my life!!
Stephanie Carson
Sep 06, 2007 Stephanie Carson rated it really liked it
Read this when I started thinking about moving, and wanted to purge all my unnecessary junk. A good book!
Jun 25, 2012 Erika rated it liked it
This book contains practical advice on getting rid of clutter! I so need to read this book!
Aug 27, 2008 RF rated it really liked it
I liked this book - very practical and motivating on living simply. easy plans of action.
Sep 25, 2008 Donna marked it as to-read
Shelves: non-fiction
Trying to get my house organized! This book helps.
Janet rated it it was amazing
Jul 26, 2007
Jennifer rated it it was amazing
Aug 09, 2007
Melissa rated it liked it
Sep 11, 2007
Vivien marked it as to-read
Sep 25, 2007
Crystal King
Crystal King marked it as to-read
Sep 28, 2007
Beth rated it it was ok
Oct 27, 2007
Tanya rated it really liked it
Nov 15, 2007
Ksemana rated it really liked it
Nov 19, 2007
Sugar rated it really liked it
Dec 18, 2007
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