* Any book considered a very reliable guide to some activity may be called a "Bible".
        Your Survival "Bible" *
 ”The reason they call it the American Dream is because you have to be asleep to believe it.”        George Carlin  
DownSize to Thrive is a HUB for your search for knowledge, inspiration, emotional balance and understanding of what's going on in places 
you don't have time to research. We have done the work for you. DownSize to Thrive is a map,with great directions that are vital for finding 
your way through the maze of modern life. Let me know your favorite sites and any questions you may have. Email [email protected]

Sick of hearing yourself talk about change but it doesn't happen?Are you fried from trying to juggle your jobs, kids, rising prices, too much house, too much "stuff", stressful relationships, no time for yourself? Exhausted? Yearning for simplicity, clarity? Escaping a little too much? Still smoking? Need a different point of view? New nervous system? Better attitude? More understanding of what's going on economically, emotionally, politically, spiritually, physically? friedSick of hearing yourself talk about change but nothing really changes? Are you DownSize to Thrive is your homebase for coming back to center to find the help you want.
The question to ask yourself is:
"Have you had enough yet"? 
Section #1:
So, how do we quickly learn to embrace (and enjoy) a far different 
personal view of the world than the one we have believed to be true.

  How Do We Move Wisely 
Into the Future?
Tough Times and 
Exciting Times Coexist !
  " DownSize to Thrive's Survival "Bible" ...
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or your will or other documents...
 if you haven't done it already

Here is a perfect website which has all the forms for lots of necessary paperwork.


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So since humans are known for their flexibility,  here’s your survival map. DownSize to Thrive will help you move into hard-times mode with the best chances for survival at your fingertips. We can learn to laugh and to enjoy what we used to fear. I guarantee it.
How do we spread the word to our family and friends about the immense value of talking about such interesting and stimulating things as pooling our resources and learning how to Downsize to Thrive during this extended crises? After all, “less really IS more” and who needs the stress of overconsumption and more stuff, stuff, stuff to watch, drag around and fix?
This article is an overview to help you see if you are prepared  
emotionally, mentally, physically, socially, economically, spiritually 
and psychologically…for the future that is your present.  
We must learn to share space, to live in common and to cut expenses..... and to do that we have to learn to deal with our personal issues so we CAN live with each other and help each other as a LIFESTYLE, not just give help here and there as a momentary feel-good fix or as a religious philosophy. We have to live our beliefs and it's not a quick fix.
Although this website presents an overview of what's going on from a broad spectrum, this page offers a synthesized personal picture of  WHAT TO DO to cope with this "Perfect Storm" disaster. Complete with details of what you can do to revamp your lifestyle, this page is concise and focused on your personal work. You're going to have to do it, so why not go step by step in an organized fashion. We must learn to Let Go, shift and speed up our changes with a calm center. Frantic isn't working anymore and neither is inaction. 
Your Survival "Bible" puts these into an organized fashion so you can more easily wrap your mind and emotions around these gigantic present day life modifications. As you better comprehend how our life works, you will feel positive, even excited,  about digging into the mayhem. Helping ourselves and helping each other overcome obstacles is the potent core during these difficult times.... As more and more overwhelmed citizens become willing to pitch in together within their own personal circles to effect our local environment, we can actually create a world that suits us far better than the old one which is falling around our ears. We have very little time left to reorganize our lives, so use DownSize to Thrive during these  difficult times and send it around to your friends so you will have a central focus for discussions and activities. If you're in Maine, you can call me and set up a discussion to help you get started.
 Fragments of information and questions about everything are flying about everywhere; careening into each other from mainstream media, different types of schools, religious organizations, psychological counseling and family dining tables conversations. We are constantly bombarded with bits and pieces of conflicting data resulting in a high level of confusion for almost everyone.  
This SURVIVAL BIBLE page breaks down the process.of how to deal with our various personal issues. We are sculpting a personal model, a vision of how to get through the turmoil with courage, humor and wisdom. In order to thrive, each individual needs a comprehensive vision of our rapidly altering, yet increasingly integrating, world.  When so many elements are changing simultaneously, understanding "pieces" isn't enough to calm your nervous system. To make the best choices you have to be far more aware than almost anyone you know.

DownSize to Thrive will help you make alterations in 
your lifestyle in a short time.  
EMBRACE SIMPLICITY: Why do we need to do it in the first place? 
Greed is the foundational reason our economic reality has crumbled beneath us. Greed is an addiction. Once it takes hold, one most people get more than they need, fear of losing what they have comes racing in. This creates any number of psychological twists and turns. Sometimes greed is partnered with power and sociopathic behaviors like modern day CEO's of Enron or Madoff is the result. But sometimes greed is simply a desire to never have to feel a single moment of having less than "a lot".  A fear of running out of money motivates a lot of people. They don't trust their own power to GET BACK UP

But now, the stock market is more than unstable for small investors. (This page was written in 2008. It's now 2013. Sure hasn't gotten any bettter, has it?)  More and more people  ARE losing their jobs. We are the only Western Nation without a comprehensive health care system. Stocks, real estate, retirements and even the dollar itself are no longer secure. "Having enough"  was always an illusion, only now people realize it. We have our very own "Madoff Depression"  in which to learn to EMBRACE SIMPLICITY so we can thrive and not join the bread lines.

EMBRACING SIMPLICITY as a way of life swiftly builds back our skills, fostering confidence and independence.
So to get there we must divest ourselves of as much as possible as quickly as possible. Can't even fathom it, huh? I know I started reading books to talk myself into EMBRACING SIMPLICITY in the 70's. It took a long time to sink in really deeply because I had enough money and didn't have to simplify. I had to search for avenues to create the awareness of the values we must now all embrace. "Less is More" was not very popular. I was lucky that it was an innate tendency that went along with political awareness. If it's not yours, you'll have to convince yourself to learn this skill because it will be far too painful when the system grinds to a halt, if you haven't prepared yourself for the inevitable. So keep reading DownSize to Thrive.

EMBRACING SIMPLICITY  takes a shift in our state of mind.
We have become slaves to our concept of materialism and our possessions are burdens. Accumulation of electronics, antiques, collectibles, unnecessary clothing, toiletries, travel, whatever.... consume our time and life energy. We have enslaved our own selves to accumulate these physical objects and can't kick the viscous cycle until it grinds us down one way or another.  

Until this last year you couldn't give away the concept of running a nice, tight little ship named "AWARENESS of REALITY" Now the People are rapidly learning to do with less because they have to. "Live simply, that others may simply live" was not popular......... but now it is grudgingly being accepted because we have no choice. That's the way of humanity, but the great news is that once this kind of freedom is accepted and practiced, humans realize that we don't need very much to be happy. We have been programmed to think in millions and must go back to a few short years ago where hundreds of thousands was a fortune. Imagine the relief in knowing how to fix your own cars, broken pipes and other common glitches most people could always do for themselves.
Well, here’s the cat that’s out of the bag: times of excess are over. So if you don’t know how much of your energy, your emotions, your physical wellbeing and your money you are wasting in every aspect of your life, let’s look and see what you can do to DownSize to Thrive . 

Ordinarily an article about thriving during hard times would begin with a discussion of money. Nope. To deal with money we have to have psychological stability. Our emotional, mental and even our physical realities determine our courage to deal with financial stresses and woes.  Money is tough and is wound into the psyche at levels we can rarely understand.  

My joy is to help you learn to handle your fear-based mind chatter. We don’t know what will happen in this economy.  No one knows which investments will flourish or which will take a nose dive. We need to learn to live with this and flourish regardless of the insecurities.
We have many small details to learn. We will have to learn to work together and live together and communicate with each other honestly.  Everyone is annoying, so you must start with your own parts and get them to work in harmony and not blame others for your issues or miseries. Start with yourself! Then move on to your family, friends, coworkers and community. The world is too big to imagine yourself changing (although one person can certainly change parts of the bigger world) but it will be more than enough for you to so change yourself  and then your energies will ripple out endlessly.  Humans are known for their flexibility, so here’s your survival map. “DOWNSIZE TO THRIVE” will help you move into hard-times mode with the best chances for survival at your fingertips.  
Gone are the fantasies of opulence, paying all our bills without struggle, world travel with ease, having our children almost automatically live better lives than we have. The days of "imagining all possibilities" have been replaced with successive challenges, much the same as those which have distressed people from the beginning of our stint on the planet. We must reframe our beliefs and concepts of "The Good Life", and we must do it quickly! 

For most socialized beings, what is rewarding and fun has never differed too greatly throughout time. The details change but the substance is basic: good company, good food and drink, entertainment, dancing, sex, hobbies, sports and building interesting and comfortable living quarters have been the major activities that intrigue most people. How different are people today? So let’s talk about what we visualize for our future since no one is going to come and save us. We must create our own future, just like the gurus throughout time have told us. 

The most important thing is to learn how to live with others and keep growing and changing on deep emotional and psychological  levels. We can’t do it without learning how to be happy to be our true selves. We need to talk with each other and agree on what our future will be like. A satisfying life during hard times is not as hard as you think. Survival puts a spin on things and the simplest of things can be savored more than a steady stream of luxuries. The happiest families share common dreams and goals and are glad for the simple pleasures, good music, good food, good companionship, good will toward one another. Fun arises from being grateful for the smallest gifts of life. So imagine the worst and see you and yours dancing through the briarpatch with a song in your heart.
Click on the houses for their websites
Tell a friend about this page
Efficiency is intelligent laziness. - David Hume
OTHER PEOPLE'S HINTS for Off-Grid Survival

Backdoor Survival Blog - very cute. Naive, but where all the materialism for the concept of "getting off the grid" is getting itself  marketed.One of many such sites, but this one is full of the creator's optimism.  Good luck, honey, if things really do go down. More sites to come.
A little emotional input:

I started gathering information for Downsize to Thrive 15 years ago. We knew this time was coming and started preparing for it mentally and emotionally during the 60's.  Others knew it was coming when the Federal Reserve was created in the 30's and they said so clearly.   And then walking backwards, there were Nostradamus and all the other seers.........   Well, the truth is that there are many layers and many people know different pieces.  Helping each other during these trying times is what we all must do. The emotional system is the key to our success at adaptation. 
"Your Easy Start Program"
   A Crash Course in Survival Skills 
DownSize to Thrive

HOLDING ON to a lot more than you need is the first poor life style decision to address. "IN or OUT" of the system.... no one should wait around for the dollar to be virtually worthless. You must not only learn what to do, but you have to do it before the crashing system dumps on you. Can you say Bernie Madoff? We are helping each other develop the courage to take the best course of action ASAP. Staying fearful isn't going to get you to the next step, that's for damn sure.

Slow Down, for goodness sakes. Relax: How many times have you complained that you are running around like a chicken with your head cut off. So why is slowing down so hard? Could it be that you will be faced with yourself because you won’t have so many distractions. The old story is truer.... you do have to become your own best friend…. Can you do it? Can you SLOW DOWN, relax and make your home the focus of more of your time? At the very same time, don't wait for everyone else to agree with you about the need for self-sufficiency and simplicity. Don't follow the crowd on this one if your friends are pretending their lives are OK. Don't wait for the crowd because it will be too late. If you are reading this information you are a leader of your pack. You have reason to be proud of that fact.

Regardless of the resistance, you must create a Quiet Time in Your Family's Day: This psychological shift of actually creating a totally quiet time for everyone is hard to institute. It takes patience and perseverance. Don’t expect the kids to calmly agree when you really strive to change their habits. Wailing and gnashing of teeth (a response to withdrawal from any habit, be it tv, video or computer addiction) are often heard. At first it may make you nervous to shut off the noise. It is not uncommon for people to leave their TV on 24/7. They never experience silence/peace in their daily lives. So turn off everything that has a battery or an electrical cord attached to it. Do it for a short time each day or as often as you can and don’t let anything interrupt your family’s special time. Use this time to talk about what you want to do as a family. 

Next, take the time to create a personal space in which you will be able to relax and feel safe. Create a nest-like environment in which you love to go and be alone. What you will do with your own private time is your own decision, but for some period each day you need a space for uninterrupted aloneness-pleasure. It gives you a space where you can practice looking within, to increase Learning to give to yourself is tough. It's hard to see that many of us don't take care of ourselves well. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I was able to turn my phones off in the morning. It’s a tremendous psychological shift to prove to your own self that taking care of yourself matters. 

It’s also time to make a space that includes the people who are most important to you, focusing on each other, talking sincerely or even just hanging out. Although any favorite game will work well, there is one product that works wonders for bringing families together. Here is the information on the UnGame and you can order many variations of this game. This page gives you a lot of the options.My grandchildren, who are 8 and 10, are used to my focus on family dynamics, so they loved the UnGame immediately because it levels the playing field. Everyone in the family has to fess up with each other and the questions are more clever than we could have come up with on our own. They ask to play it themselves. It’s a great game for getting to know more about each other and yourself. So take your time. Be patient. It took a while to get a frantic household and it will take a while to reverse it. Falling in love with Quiet Time will happen. 

Dinner Table Conversation is Vital: One of the saddest losses of our modern age is that the family no longer eat together around the dinner table. Family cohesion is "iffy" at best. Television has taken the place of family conversation and getting to know each other has taken a backseat to television obsession.This must be reversed, and as early as possible, if parents want to have high functioning relationships with their teenage children. If you can't get to them at 10, why would 16 be easier? 

Spread Out the Household Jobs: Stop doing everything around the house alone or with just your mate. Spread out the household jobs to everyone, including the toddlers. It makes total sense that everyone has to take part in the work that it takes to keep a family going. How could it be possible that someone is exempt? Is a precious child a crown prince or princess just because they exist? What did they do to be so special? If they don’t have regular chores, they may very well grow up to be a not-so- adorable-mate who doesn’t pull their own weight and that's not fair to the child, of course.  
People need to have a “purpose” in life to feel good about themselves and if you do everything for a child they feel they aren’t needed. If they don’t help and things get done anyway, then the brain says that they are expendable. Simultaneously, a spoiled child learns they don’t have to do anything to still get everything……. It’s a mess.

So don’t leave your beautiful children out of the household chores. Yes, sure, it's easier to do everything yourself, but you'll be sorry later on if you don't take the time now to teach your children to be responsible, reliable and easy to live with. As times get more difficult, getting along with each other is going to be the most important trait we can develop. 

Transportation decisions: Gas prices and just the plain cost of driving a large vehicle are putting some people on notice to find a really intelligent alternative system for travel. Some people are really serious, like my friend who has not had a car for 20 years. She manages. It’s her life style. If you want to learn how to do this, there are plenty of groups who promote bicycles, walking and efficient motorbikes for short trips. Think about trips in terms of distance and then figure out how you want to get there. Can you walk 2 miles? Can you bike 5 miles? Do you have the time or do you need to take a car. 

Preparation, Organization, Planning: You must learn to think ahead. This is a good thing and lowers anxiety because you are being organized and getting prepared at the same time. Are you headed toward self-sufficiency? Do you have a garden plot? Have you put away food? Do you live among close friends who talk about these issues and are working toward unity of action? Do you have any tentacles in the community or your neighborhood for support? Does your family really like each other and enjoy being together?

Fulfilling Ourselves in a Compressed Economy: We must figure out what will fulfill us if our economy suffers for a protracted period. Americans are used to thinking of ourselves as the luckiest people on the planet. Our dreams of the future were filled with opulence, however, so now we must shift to a perception that equates simplicity with great value and enjoyment. Comradic activities, dancing, singing, cooking together, renting movies, trading, finding new and productive talents, learning more about our inner selves, writing, creating art. You can more easily find out your true talents when you must learn to be resourceful. 

Create Something of Value That Represents Your Own Self: Make sure to think long term and be patient with how long it takes to bring an idea to fruition. Stay broad and vary your activities as you go along so you won’t bog down and get tired of your pet project. DownSize to Thrive has taken over 10 years to form, going through several iterations before being launched. Timing is vital to success and the “right time” can be felt. I have been working on other projects as well, going from one to another when I felt like changing direction. That way I didn’t drop the ball because I never got bored. 

Be Aware of How Long it Takes to Get Things Off The Ground: Many people have trouble judging how long it takes to accomplish projects. We all have timing difficulties. It's easy to think that things take far less time than they do. It's hard to believe, because of the way tv and movies makes things seem so easy, but for a big project in your life, 10 years is more the norm for projects or real accomplishments than we are told. I have been working on DownSize to Thrive for at least 10 years, and all the pieces came in their own timing. Also, to keep going, I worked on several other projects all these years, to switch up and stay fresh and learning other fields. If you don't stay current, you may get bored and quit something wonderful.  

While you keep on track with your process and progress, simultaneously keep your eye on the bigger picture, the broader scope, the fact that "right timing" is real. "Everything in its own time", is not a platitude, it's the truth. So do a little each day, go from project to project and work on what you feel like doing so you never run out of steam or get bored or frustrated and quit. 

Everything is a Process. Remember that not every decision is etched in stone. You will choose to do many things that are necessary for today that you will have to change in the future. It's the direction that is the key. The long term goal is SELF-SUFFICIENCY, so all that you are learning will evolve into that chosen reality. Don't stress over the process because the elements involved are not rigid. Every type of learning leads to something else. Life is organic. Researching, for example, a house to build can range from a yurt to a straw bale to a tiny house or one made with tires. More forms emerge constantly. Don't fret if you change your mind 4 times. You are learning as you go. From carpentry to environmental systems to leach fields.... It's the direction that matters. We walk before we run. Keep going and the vision will clarify itself. Forces are working that are way beyond the conscious mind. Inner and outer. Lighten up, keep the faith and breathe and make sure to switch-up the order.

Change Your Own Piece of the Planet. Standard advice, but worth repeating. Do something in your own small world to make improvements. Improve your space.... do it with your neighbors, friends and family group and local groups. Do one project at a time. Small is good. Less is more. Just do something. Plant some trees, either fast growing or fruit trees. Organizing to do something rewarding isn't rocket science, but it does take organization. Make a Big Chart for your wall with a LIST OF THINGS YOU DO THAT YOU REALLY ENJOY. Make a ranked list of all the things you love and whether they cost money ($) or not. This kind of a list helps you quickly remember your options.

The average median income in the US is $26,000.00 dollars... about the same 
  amount of money as it takes to change one tire on a car of the Super Rich.
  (from Untold Wealth: The Rise of the Super Rich by David Faber) 

  The Power of Personal Change

There is, however, another way. It involves approaching the problem at its root. Those who depend on change happening through technological or political routes often dismiss or fail to recognize the power of individual choices in shifting the course of history. But every aspect of the old road map – every decision, every law, every technological breakthrough – was crafted by individuals. Each policy maker, each engineer and each politician is an individual. Yes, cloaked in their institutional roles, people can be narrow-minded and self-centered – but as they sit alone and quiet, free from the influence of cultural contexts, they know they are, first and foremost, ethical,compassionate human beings.

Tapping into that core of truth will give us the energy to change the culture of consumption into a culture of enough. We must make our values our allies and not simply treat consumption as a numbers game. Skeptics of grassroots activism, believing that change happens only through business or government, may not recognize that the cultural and political will for new initiatives is generated in the hearts and minds of individuals.

So, taking responsibility for challenging and changing the culture of consumption in our own lives is one key to creating a low-consumption, high-fulfillment society. Such self-empowerment is necessary, energizing, convincing and inspiring. It can take years, decades or even lifetimes to slog through the bureaucratic swamps necessary to change public policy. Relying on technological solutions that may or may not be found in the future is risky. But individual lifestyle change can begin as soon as an inner decision is made.

‘Your Home is your Castle” looms large...

Stay Home to Save Money My oldest son was captivated when he realized how much money he could save by staying home. Today even musicians are learning to stay home and make merry in their own apartments. Home is no longer a “pit stop”. It is now a necessity to use our homes for living our lives. We simply don’t have the money to spend that we used to so that’s that. ADAPT. The psychological shift will effect your whole family because now you are together. Whoops, that could be a challenge. Learning to get along takes priority status. You might find that you are your very own reality tv show.

Many years ago I realized that when you go out, you spend money. When you stay home, you don’t. Life with less money to spare means your home just rose in value. You will be spending more time there, so if you aren’t smiling, surrender NOW to changing your attitude.

Staying home means you have to feel cozy and grounded in your own home. You have to be able to relax there. And you have to have something to do there that amuses you. Most importantly, the people in your home have to get along and like to be around each other. Being happy to be home is essential for health and happiness.

Helping you create a home which suits your desires and supports your growth is part of the DownSize to Thrive model. Home is not just a place to slam through to change your clothes or catch a power nap. Home is your base, your safe spot and a reflection of who you are. Let’s make it so. 

We’re here to help in all ways and that means talking about the real issues. The Elephants in the room don’t scare us. We’re riding our own for all to see. No secrets here. And we can help you address what’s blocking your flow regardless of the subject. We know how to cozy-fy your dwelling space. On a physical level, we help you REDESIGN, cut your house costs, evaluate your stuff and help you get rid of what no longer serves you. We also have associates who will help you clean out your attics and basements and junk drawers. If you haven’t done it so far, it’s more than likely you aren’t going to do it alone. So call us. 

Make your House Really Cool There are a lot of places you can trade objects for free (a swap shop) that are popping up like bamboo. If you can't find one in your area, create one. (Even corporate is doing it.) Then take home your new exchanges and rearrange the house for a completely new look and feel. Don’t even think about buying furniture you can’t afford. Of course you can go thrift shopping or even trade furniture with your friends. Make use of the new websites popping up in all communities where people want to get rid of stuff for free if only you will haul it away.

 Think about fixing everything you have been avoiding. Pretend someone is coming to visit (you know how busy we get cleaning up for visitors). YOU are your own new friend, a new visitor in your life, so you deserve the best surroundings possible. That means dealing with things you have been tripping over or bumping into. Consider putting up window treatments that keep the oil bills down. Create a more cozy space for all your personal activities from reading to knitting to scrapbooking. Make your cooking space a delight. Food increases in importance in a more simple life because we are used to pleasure and must get it wherever we can. 

The real psychological shift here is to figure out, if you don’t want to be home, why. If it’s dread you feel when you think of spending more time at home, check out your emotional reaction. Do you need to learn to spend time alone with your own self? Do you need a hobby, could you start your own business, watch the Iron Chef and surprise the family with a totally amazing dinner once a month? Commit to finding out why your own home, on which you spend a giant chunk of your income, is not your favorite place to be and change things one small issue at a time.  

How does one go about getting the time and money to actually CREATE a sustainable lifestyle?
 A wage earner can’t even keep up with basic costs, so it’s vital for the working person to cast our lot in with others to create a possible future to sustain us during this downturn. Having been living for many years with others to cut costs, I know the dynamics are varied and never ending. DOWNSIZE to THRIVE will address them all with candid frankness, so call if you want your FREE hour to get started. 
A crisis can happen at any time and most folks aren’t already depending upon a social group for their safely. We need to look at options.
Do you have a garden? Have you put up food? Who lives next door? Down the street? Like in NYC during the blackout, don’t wait until the crises to get to know your fun neighbors. Organization are out there to join, like Time Dollar for trading hours. 

Get your marital troubles on the table. Nothing is more difficult than going into a crises with your enemy. Prepare your kids. Don’t go into a hard time with a whiney, selfish, nasty kid beating into your legs when you are trying to get something done for him or her. 

Learn to be an intelligent shopper. It’s a learned skill, for goodness sakes. When you pick up a 40 dollar tee, put it down. GET MAD. Who the hell ever heard of spending $80 on a damn pair of blue jeans. You are brainwashed. WAKE UP and take pride in SAVING money, not spending it. 

Yes, everyone says this who has a bead on the future. It's true. Moving to cash IS a progression away from the insanity of our times. Spending cash makes your economics real. Creative solutions come when the blinders are removed. Get unstuck through the Cash-way. If you think your credit card debt won't catch up with you, you better have a recession proof job. Know any? A CASH ECONOMY is the kind of freedom you can choose for yourself, and many articles have been written about this for quite a long time. Read about it to get the understanding you need. If people tell you, “just do it”, that is not being realistic. You are either thrown into it because you can’t do anything else, or you have to learn WHY it’s so important.and THEN you will WANT to do it. 
Ease your way into it by turning all your available money into cash for a pay period so you know what it feels like to have a real limit until your next pay check. Before you run out of available cash, get a game of Yatzee or Scrabble and be prepared to hang out with each other when your money is gone. Focus on doing things at home so you don’t use your credit cards to amuse yourself anymore. Cash is more real than plastic to the psyche. Use it and feel the difference.

So now you’re going to be home more. If you can’t stand each other and you're making the kids crazy (some of them will tell you if you dare let them tell the truth about their feelings... they really will), go to counseling or draw up divorce papers. No one can survive these hard times if they can’t get along. Dealing with your money will make you wake up and face reality. Consumer research has shown that moving to a cash economy drops expenses 20-25% than if you use a credit card. Believe that research to benefit yourself. Get into the habit of using currency, not plastic… at least as long as we have the dollar. Some folks think the Amero is coming and it's not just "conspiracy theorists" who believe it. Make up your own mind. 

STOP BUYING BRAND NAMES and buy generic, but focus on quality ingredients. Check the ingredients until you find the ones that are the same as the quality products... and they do exist. But don't buy cheap mayonnaise or Miracle Whip. You gotta splurge where it counts.

CO-OP and BULK Purchases. Share and shop in bulk with other families or join groups to purchase directly from distributors. Co-ops have been around forever. Join one.

KEEP TRACK of your money, for goodness sakes. It's really annoying for many of us, including me, but keep track of your money because you have to do get through this change. Open the monthly statement and read it .CATCH THEM if the banks are taking advantage of you! Money is a GAME. The people who like the game and want to play it are always controlling the ball. That's larceny. YOU MUST BE ABLE TO CONTROL YOUR BALL or they will take you to the cleaners and you will be responsible for letting them do it to you. Naivety or ignorance is only an excuse the first time. After that, get a clue regardless of how annoying money and bureaucracy really are. Distaste for handling money issues is one reason why people want out of the system, so make up your mind what you are willing to do and choose your direction. Are you IN the system or as far OUT as you can get? 

ELECTRICITY & GAS: Turn off lights, computers and air conditioners unless you really need them or are using them. Stop being inattentive. We've been living like kings and it's time to economize. Shoot for 10-15% reduction to make it doable. You can cut more energy drains as you get used to thinking more frequently about how to “DownSize to Thrive". More details are: 1.) Change your high wattage bulbs and turn off unnecessary lights, 2.)turn off any clocks that are on electrical devices since they use more electricity than you realize. 3) stop doing unnecessary loads of laundry and high energy dryers. Go to the laundromat and do large loads of laundry in larger machines. Hand wash your underwear. Dig out your 40 year old clothes and wear the paisley from the 60’s like everyone is buying new now.Go to Good Will or Salvation Army or the new clothing swap parties. Get over yourself. It was never wise to purchase high-end retail. Now it’s downright suicide.

For example, when you stop buying a coffee out each day, you are saving almost $3.00 each time, which is $60.00 a month for 5 days a week. Why does Starbucks need your $720.00 a year? It's rewarding to buy good coffee and make your own. Get more for less. You can get a cappuccino maker and make better coffee for 1/3 the price. Become an expert "foamer" yourself. With or without cream (Edgar Cayce said black coffee was a food so I listen to "The Master") . It 's economically intelligent and my coffee is terrific.  

Bring your own lunch 2 days a week. $84.00 a month. Almost $1,000.00 a YEAR. That is 1/3 of a GREAT VACATION. Although you want to take the family out for celebrations going to a movie for a family of 5 can be $40.00 - $50.00, but renting a movie with microwave popcorn and root beer floats cost less than $10.00. Paying admission and taking your own popcorn and candy in your giant pocketbook will save up to $17.00 . Your vacation is looking better al the time. 

Don’t fail to pick up things left on the street on "Big Trash Day". I have a very close relative who is a self-made millionaire. She started by picking up thrown away furniture on the streets of N.Y.U. She created a very, very successful business. Also, per my mother: Don’t charge anything you will “use up” before the time comes to pay for it. Like food. You won’t want to pay for it after it’s gone, so don’t charge consumables. You will SAVE A TON OF $$$ if you get more organized. 

GET SCARED ABOUT ANY SPENDING ADDICTION: If buying stuff you can’t afford doesn’t become frightening, many shop-a-holics won’t stop. Do you want to be a slave for the rest of your life, paying 30% interest on stuff you don't even have anymore? It's scary to see the enslavement that debt truly is! But remember... in order to see yourself more easily, you have to learn to laugh at yourself. It will come naturally as you become more honest and forgive yourself for being programmed and blind. Having trouble laughing at yourself? Better email “Downsize To Thrive” right this minute and get your FREE HOUR to see how we can help. We’ll help you learn how to make change FUN if you are open to it.

SORRY to rain on your P.C. ...BUT HIGH-END HEALTH FOOD STORES are RIP OFFS. There's a reason even the people working there call Whole Foods, "Whole Paycheck". Unreal! I do buy their house brand and the fruits that are on sale are often excellent bargains, but SERIOUSLY. Stop buying the overpriced boxed and packaged products and buy in bulk . Mix your own. Are you reading those little tags that say $56.74 a pound for a soy product that tastes like cardboard? Soy isn't even good for you. The overpriced “Health Food stores” products are some of the most outrageous of all. Who are they kidding? Nine dollars a pound for a macaroni product? Are we insane?? Switch from packaged foods to buying the basics and mixing your own so you know they won’t contain fillers and additives. Store everything you can in a cool, dry environment. 

MAKE YOUR OWN......“Rub” is a perfect example of how to save money. A tiny jar of less than 2 ounces of RUB costs 5.00, but a pound of the ingredients purchased separately costs 7.00 a pound. You do the math. How hard is it to buy Celtic Sea Salt, minced dehydrated garlic and onions, paprika, black pepper and Italian herbs in bulk? Add a little cayenne, perhaps some smoky chipotle powder to some of it and put the different ones in your old jars you kept when you started thinking about DOWNSIZE TO THRIVE activities. Make extra for your kids and save a ton of money.

FAKE SHOPPING: Years and years ago a friend of mine used to do this and I though he was nutz. Now I get it. Need to STOP SHOPPING? Make a game out of it the way they use fake cigarettes. Practice walking though your favorite store with no money or credit cards with you. Shop like you usually do. Put everything you want in the cart and when you are finished, walk out the door leaving the cart standing in a corner. I know a friend who did this years ago and I didn't get it then. Tell a clerk what you did when you leave and thank her for helping you conquer your addiction. The clerks are underpaid and would appreciate your honesty and probably feel a lot better about their job if they knew they were helping someone. So “Shop until you drop” now has a revised meaning. Shop until you “drop” your mindless addiction to more crap you don't need. 

CAR STUFF: I have a good friend who doesn’t own a car on principle. At least most of it is principle. Some of it is probably a lack of money-driven decision, but nonetheless, she has been walking miles each way to work and to the grocery store for 25 years and she is now in her 60’s. The bus routes in her city are sparse and she carries everything by hand in snow, rain, sleet and heat. She looks a hell of a lot better than most anyone else her age even if most of us wouldn't trade with her even for better looks. She's hard core Green, but the rest of us could use our cars less, carpool or at least get a energy downsized car. Here is a great site called Alternative Energy: Cars of Tomorrow With Energy-Saving Technology, posted in Future Energy, Hybrid Cars, transportation. Yes, we need to make a psychological and physical shift, so put your car away once in a while. You might like it. 

Being a FREEGAN: Dumpster diving, scavaging, trading, and buying literally nothing. How to be a FREEGAN. Freeganism is an anti-consumerist lifestyle whereby people employ alternative living strategies based on "limited participation in the conventional economy and minimal consumption of resources". Freegans "embrace community, generosity, social concern, freedom, cooperation, and sharing in opposition to a society based on materialism, moral apathy, competition, conformity, and greed."[1] The lifestyle involves salvaging discarded, unspoiled food from supermarket dumpsters, known as dumpster diving. Freegans salvage the food for political reasons, rather than out of need.[2][3]

This is the first paragraph from an article from eHow: There is a new way of living that is sweeping the nation. If you have ever felt guilty from throwing food away or consuming more that what is necessary to live, and have a strong for the environment freeganism may be the life for you. This article will provide suggestions for how to implement a new thought process and begin consuming less.

KID'S STUFF: Training children is like training any other animal.WE NEED EARLY, HEALTHY PROGRAMMING.As mentioned before, this is not about training out individuation. Just the opposite. Freedom and true success come from being brutally aware of far more than we are trained to understand. So if you get the basic training you need to deal with being human when you are young , then you have a better chance to develop the organizational skills needed to be a creative, intelligent being. What we learn as children runs our lives like a computer program. It IS a living computer program. That's just the way it is. So make it good. Make it healthy. Make it work well by not screwing up your kids due to your refusal to evolve.

Include the children in ideas for saving money. Show them the real story about money right from the beginning and don't hide reality. People who are born into families with money teach their children everything and they grow up comfortable with the world of money. No wonder the few own 90% of the wealth. So help your kids learn to do things like pack their own treats or lunches instead of buying the overpriced junk at the stores. Give them a portion of the money they save the family. This reality works.

Stop eating out except for special occasions. Use netflics, but when you go to the movies, take your own treats in. They aren't searching your bags and if they do, don't go to that theater. Get tough and include your children in the plans for how to alter you are over-spending. Try for a family consensus on what you aren't going to do this week. Children don't mind limits if they understand what's going on. It's the need to know that is the issue. THAT is respect..... telling the truth. And don't be a hypocrite. If you say you are cutting back your spending, then don't buy something you can't afford and expect your kids to be OK with it. Would you be? Today's children are far more capable of speaking up for themselves, so expect a rebellion if you break an agreement. This will be a trial for everyone, but it has to be done. Turn off TV if the ShamWOW commercials get you! 

          Section #4:
          Emotional Health 
       is the Key to Thriving

Section #2:
     Section #3
      Learning to be Frugal and Enjoying It
YOU MUST WORK WITH YOUR MIND.  Assuming that by the time you read this, you are aware that realism is a crown prince of our time.  
I'm all about being aware, but if you don't get some distance from the happenings of our highly charged (and propagandized) information stream, you won't be able to calm down enough to get perspective and make clear choices. Since everything is a paradox and everything exists at the same time, we must bring in the good news along with the obviously prevailing precarious issues. That's how Obama got elected. We went for the man with the calm and determined message. We needed it and we must model his style for our own selves. Steady on. Govern your mind. Stop watching the third repetition of CNN or even Keith Olbermann and turn on crazy Andrew Zimmer and watch him eat raw calves brains in Ethiopia. Whoa. 

GET MORE HUMOR IN YOUR LIFE IMMEDIATELY! Forevermore. In this time of gigantic upheaval, if you can’t laugh you are screwed.
George was the man. Carlin set the bar and we loved him but most didn’t quite believe that we were those fools about whom he told the truth. But we are, down to the last human and we are, in truth, “circling the drain’. Laughing about it is the only way to thrive, so let’s keep George's beautifully scandalous humor alive within ourselves, our families and our communities. It will be too painful to do less. As George said, “the only way you can believe the American Dream is to be asleep” , so let’s wake up and live fully without all that material drag around our necks. Ultimately, one of the gifts of economic collapse will be the end of our resistance to pure fun, joy, play, comedy, art, dance, music, and unimaginable human creativity. But in order to navigate collapse and dissolve those barriers more quickly, we all have to become our own "Georges" and open the channels of our individual irreverent humor and let it out with gusto.

YOUR FEELINGS ARE IN NEED OF YOUR ATTENTION:  Be willing to pay attention and give time to your feelings and don’t consider them to be “stupid” or “weak” or “crazy”.   Once you can laugh at yourself, especially in times when you are in the middle of acting out or accusing or blaming someone else for your misery, you can take on your ego, denials, projections and resistance to the “truth”.
The unexamined life is not worth living. Socrates 

GET REAL!  So how many tv shows and books do we need to watch before we give in and do the work in our own lives? GET REAL. Get honest, especially with the people in your family and your close friends. I do it with everyone regardless of the circumstances or I don’t bother with them. GET REAL at work as well, but that may be the hardest part for most people since work is where you make your money and where are afraid, especially in this economy, of losing your job if you piss off the wrong people. Get your own business so you can BE REAL and you will be surprised how well your business will fare. Honesty will be the premium in our coming times. No time to bullshit.
So don’t let anything go underground. Deal with it when it happens. Come back to any situation that snarls into an emotional snit, deal with your feelings about nasty quips, look at any hidden agendas you feel are repetitive and bring it out into the open. Put it on the table. Don’t let a passive aggressive roommate dominate the household. Don’t let things go unfinished, unspoken or unaddressed. Learn to admit that we are all damaged, all troubled and annoying. All of  us. Everyone. No one is exempt, even the sweet, nice, kind and helpful people. Sometimes they piss us off more than the others because they are hiding their true feelings. So start with yourself and own your own part even if they other person has been the instigator and aggressor. When one person comes clean, they others are left knee deep in their own misery, since you have stepped out of yours. Make time to have family and friend talks with those who are willing. Learn to be a good listener. Shut up. Say 1/10 of what you would ordinarily have said but make it REAL.

Bond with something alive that doesn't look like you. Energetically it's really important. You don't have to be responsible for your very own pet if you are resistant to additional responsibility because the heart can relate personally to animals with whom you don't live. Think birds or squirrels or prairie dogs. It's really lonely and a little scary to focus on only humanity. What a relief it can be to bond with turtle energy when 3 kids are racing mindlessly from room to room screaming all the while. 

So get something in your life that you can talk to without it talking back. Caring for another being is scientifically proven to help your psychic and emotional well being.  Spend time watching or interacting with this sentient being and you'll not only be amazed at how smart they are, but you can also feel your internal world expanding to encompass an ancient,  broad and deep reality. 

We're Being Led Astray by Our "HEALTH SYSTEM".    Along with increased humor and emotional focus comes dealing with your Mental an Physical Health.  They work in tandem.  Panic attacks as common as colds these days. But for goddess' sakes, don't go to a drug-happy doc for help. Want some 2013 updates?..... 50% of all Americans are on Pharma drugs, , .... 100,000 Americans die each year from Prescription Drugs.....alcohol and street drug abuse abounds, violence in all its variant forms is neverending, kidnapping of women and children for sexual purposes is enormous and has been denied until recently, compulsive behaviors (like gambling, overeating, cyber-sex, corporate greed, anonymous sex etc. are all increasing to divert people from dealing with the wrecks of their personal lives. The unspoken rule for denial is “Keep busy, avoid pain and increase pleasure even if it turns to misery.” Here's a great little article that briefly sketches the issues. "America's Prescription Drug Addiction Suggests an Sick Nation."

Learn to look at yourself. Make a point to catch yourself when you are being just like the other people you criticize. So pay attention to all that you do, say, feel. If others have the courage to tell you something is amiss, LISTEN to them.  Find people, ideally true friends and family, to talk to about the pressures and ruminations you have—your deepest fears. If you need help, get it now, and make sure that help includes tangible ways for you to handle that stress better in the future. Talk about your mother only if it helps you understand how to live a more productive life TODAY and gets you moving in the direction you claim to want to go in. Make it okay to schedule “mental health” days..you know, those days when you are just taking time off from work to smell the roses, sleep late, schedule a ‘melt down,’ or otherwise live life.

BE OF SERVICE    What keeps me going is to know that what I do will be of service during these hard times. I have several projects and several jobs on which I work systematically. A little on this one, a little on that one. They  are all related through the concepts inherent in DownSize to Thrive and doing them makes increasing sense of my life. So to bolster your own emotional wellbeing, sharing the information you are learning is KEY. 

 If you have book in you……makes notes. Put them away. If you have a project that feels like a big dream, get it started. Do something on each project every day, or stick with one longer and then move on to another when you get tired of it. Go with what you feel, but stick in there and work every day. You won’t believe how the integration of intent and dedicated work will make things comes together ... all in its right time.

In 1963 the lights went off in Manhattan. It was quite something. So all night long people stumbled from room to room, spilling out into the halls with candles and flashlights, and suddenly finding ourselves in each others’ apartments, partying and laughing the night away. A space had been created for a different world to emerge, and emerge it did. We had a ball.
So make it happen now.  Create a time of your very own where no one answers one single phone, nor watches anything with an LED screen, or answers no outside stimuli. It’s your half hour of special family time, where the people you would usually treat worse than anyone else because you think you can get away with it, are now the players in the real reality game. There is a great game called the UN-game which will help you make that transition because it’s hard to think of what to say or do with each other, with these most important people in the world to you whom you have less connection with than is vital. The Un-game does it. It makes the transition smooth and easy and the kids love it because it levels the playing field and everyone is called on to become a clearer channel for the truth. Expect yourself to have more problems than your usually resistant children. 

Integration of Children into Family Life. Core for all else. Bringing the children into the family as an integral member (learning to work as well as play), is a vital process of bonding which creates psychological health. Helping with cooking, cleaning, taking things to the car, dressing themselves, helping others in the family with projects.........it's all about cooperation and organization. The parents have to make this life skill process a goal and stick to it. It's hard. Especially if the parents don't get along that well.

If you are fortunate enough to have a family businesses, make sure you let your children help from an early age. Sure, it's always easier to do things ourselves instead of taking the extra time to teach a young one to do something in a systematic manner, but that's not what creates a functional human being. Learn to do things early in life and they are yours forever.  Children, no less than adults, need a real purpose, a function, in their family life.  Many people raising children after the 1960's didn't realize that it's vitally important to train humans (as all animals are trained by their parents). That piece of info was lost for a while and now it's coming back, 40 years later. Now we realize that it takes focus and practice to learn to be responsible, helpful, reliable and to put the interests of others on a par with your own for the good of the “community”, be it at home or in a larger group. This is not about brainwashing a child to be subservient, but to help them learn to enjoy pitching in and helping without thinking about it in any way other than just "what people do". They help. They pitch in. They work together. No one is so special that they get a free pass in life. With the sinking of our dollar, this will surely be the case! Their future mates will surely thank you 

Section #5:
1.) For your psychological health 

and also

         2.) To Sell It for the Best Possible Price

Let's cut to the chase. Whether you have to sell your house, want someone to move in to help you with expenses,  or want to sell, begin this liberating DOWNSIZING process way before listing your home for sale, so it sells quickly and at the highest possible price. You better have a welcoming and attractive space if you want a responsible roommate.  If you are selling, you want to maximize your sale.  You can't control the market, your job, the interest rates, or how many other homes will be for sale that are similar to your own.  You can't control the banks or the buyer's credit. What you can actually control, however, is how ready your house is to go on the market.  

Think about the growing number of "house staging" television shows that  this reality in bold technicolor. 

Reality is that you have to do the work. It takes time, dedication, hard work and some money.  Of course you can hire someone to help, but basically, you are the one who is going to have to clean out those kids' toys and make the rooms clean and spatially pleasing. You have to  empty closets stuffed to the brim, mend and paint walls , tear up dirty rugs and refinish floors and spruce up the outside of the house!  YOU and your family (and hopefully some helpful and supportive friends), and not a team of  professionals with time lapse cameras.  You have to do all the work.... so get started NOW if you plan to sell your home EVER. 

Seriously, this project will take you a lot of time and effort. It's a lot of work, especially because sorting through a lifetime of personal treasures and figuring out what to do with them is hard. It takes time to feel through each item and the people to whom you want them to go.   

The key to downsizing is to make your decision to do so. Like we do with any decision, start NOW. Clean off a shelf or take some clothes to Good Will or pack away the crap in your drawers that you haven't used in 10 years. And while you're at it, talk out loud to yourself and tell yourself, "Hey, I'm DOWNSIZING". Yes, out loud. CALL IT DOWNSIZING. Name it. Tell your mind YOU ARE DOWNSIZING. Get started NOW so you don't have to worry about how long it will take you. 

BENEFITS of starting NOW to give yourself plenty of time to downsize:

1.) Reduce your stress
2.) Assures you it will get done in time for whatever you need to do
3.) Have time to really deal with either selling or giving away your "stuff"
4.) save on packing and moving costs because you have had time to gather free materials. 

1.)  Start with other people's things because you know they bug you when you see them..... we're all the same inside.... it's just a matter of percentages.  You know... we all have patience only some people have LOTS more. So if you have anyone else's possessions ask them to take what they want home with them. If they won't help you by being responsible for their own things, box them up, label each box with the person's name and what's in it and put them someone safe but our of your hair. If they really don't believe you because you're been a pushover, put the boxes outside the house so they know you mean business. If there are some things they don't want that you do (memorabilia), make your own box and keep them. Some people really need to do that even when they downsize. My mother kept all of her children's art work. It meant a lot to her peace of mind and sense of family. 

2.)   Some people are lucky enough to have one member of the family who has the financial capacity to rent a small storage unit for the family possessions that they really don't want to throw out. If the family is close and works this out, that makes a lot of sense. An extra 100 a month for family unity at a time of such fragmentation, is a blessing. Take advantage of this option if you are able to do so.

3.)  Give everyone in the family their favorite things if they have places for them. Keeping them FOR them is great IF YOU CAN DO IT. These are hard things because some people are packrats and others are unconscious of the emotions imbedded in objects and just throw everyone out like an automatic dump truck. Communication with your family is essential here.  If you need help and you are near Portland, Maine, email us and let's see if we can help.

4.)  So now you have stuff no one else in the family wants and you don't want it either.  Decide what you want to sell. You can label things you know others will love with a sticky tag of some sort. I have a friend who used colored stickies you can get at any office supply store of even a drug store. Be creative.

Learn to use Ebay or any of the other 7 sites which are becoming popular. The more expensive ebay becomes, the more other sites pop up to fill the opening. Besides, Ebay has gone toward the fixed price market like Amazon and sellers are dropping like flies. Here is a good little site that tells you about the top 6 selling sites on line. One of them is even an on-line television "infomercial" site you can do yourself. 

If you are busy or computer sketchy, go to someone who will do all the work for you for a reasonable price.  "We Sell Your Stuff on Ebay" businesses should do everything for you, and they can charge 30 to 35% of the sale price. If you don't know what you are doing, it's worth it. But it has to be something that brings in a decent price. Junk isn't selling very well these days. Remember to make sure to ask the  Ebay seller to show you in writing exactly what is included. It should be: 1.) all the fees; 2.) their commission and 3.) taking the pictures, 4.) writing up the description, 5.) answering all emails and 6.) packing and shipping the product. 

5.)  I have a friend who put ALL, yes ALL her mother's antique and family jewelry in a bag to keep them together while they were moving. She left the innocuous bag on the stairs and came back to find that her industrious husband had thrown it out and taken the trash to the dump to be even MORE helpful. Yep, it's true. And no, there was no miraculous end to this story. The jewelry is in the dump in Lynchburg, Va. if you want to know where the buried treasure remains.  So go for transparent bags for everything you want to sell or keep. Color code by stick colored paper inside with a simple label because you can see the items. Get small ones, large ones,  medium ones and zippered ones.  Ebay for "Zipper Storage Bag" .

6.)  Make sure that you create  a storage area which won't annoy you  to look at it. You can even throw a tarp over the stack of boxes if you want to. 

7.) Don't overdo. Stress is not a stranger to anyone who is not already downsized, so don't add stress to your process. You are striving to eliminate stress so don't create it as you go along. Do a little bit at a time. Relax and learn to enjoy the process.   Start with a simple room so you really don't give yourself excuses to quit. If you really aren't organized well, find yourself a treat that will keep you happy while you pack. For some it is food, a special coffee or tea, great music so you can rock and roll while you pack. 

8.) I really enjoy the process of downsizing, so I didn't have to talk myself into doing the work. I LOVE TO DOWNSIZE. One of my 4 downsizing adventures started 8 months before I knew I wanted to move. That time I happily went through every single piece of paper I had collected .... old projects.....years and years of writings.... business papers .... closets, frog and eagle collections...etc. Stick in there and don't flit around and leave boxes half finished. Even if you can only get to one box a week, make sure you put a label on it so you will feel a persistent sense of progress. Remember: PERSISTENCE is the key.

What are the STEPS to the DOWNSIZING process?

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