It’s been said that if your dream doesn’t scare you, then it’s too small. What is the passion you have that is deep inside you, the “why that makes you cry?” What is the dream you have that no one knows but you? Learn from Rita Wilkins, the “Downsizing Designer,” how clutter might be getting in the way of your dreams. Listen to the show in using the player below, and go here for more details about Rita and her work.

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Show Overview

Somewhere along the long road to the present moment, probably during the vain efforts to save my first marriage, I was told “the issue is never the issue.”

Now, being both a male and a former engineer, that was a bit of a mind fuck for me. I mean, how can the issue not be the issue?

But it’s true. Often the truth of a matter is hidden behind clutter, both the physical and the metaphysical kind.

And so it is with the stuff you own. I mean all that crap you’ve got stuffed away in your house, garage, car trunk and rented storage space. Yeah. That stuff.

This show is kind about that, but then…it’s not. What it’s really about is your freedom, your money, and your life.

What is the passion you have that is deep inside you, the “why that makes you cry?” What is the dream you have that no one knows but you? That’s what we’re really going to talk about.

My guest is Rita Wilkins, also known as the “Downsizing Designer”, a moniker she embraced after downsizing from her 5,000 sq. ft. home in the country to her 867 sq. ft. home in downtown Philly. Rita’s downsizing journey was inspired by a trip to Africa, where people had little but were amazingly happy. Rita returned to the US with a new set of eyes, and a new lifestyle paradigm. She gave away 95% of her “stuff” to people who needed or wanted it, and is now living on 5% of what she once owned. And you know? She’s never been happier.

I know. I did the same thing, box by box, book by precious book, so that today, I own almost nothing except my guitars. And I’ve never been happier.

But this kind of radical change comes at a cost, one I know about personally, and it’s the cost of possibly losing a beloved partner, wife, or husband who is on a different path to bliss, one where stuff plays an important role.

So what to do? The issue is never the issue, as it’s been said, so listen in as Rita and I unravel the mysteries of love, marriage, stuff, and how to find your unique path to bliss, the one that is calling you from the depths of your soul. My time with Rita was so rich and fulfilling that I split it into two parts, and you are going to want to listen to both.

So please join me in part one of my two part interview with Rita S. Wilkins, the “downsizing designer” and author of the book “Downsize Your Life, Upgrade Your Lifestyle: Secrets to More Time, Money, and Freedom.”

What Rita and I talk about:

  • My visit with surfboard designer Paul of Paul’s Surf in San Juan, Puerto Rico (see pictures below)
  • Her recent trip to the Ivory Coast in Africa
  • Rita’s TEDx Talk: Downsize Your Life
  • The chicken dinner in Senegal that changed her life
  • The importance of the kitchen table
  • Rita was raised in Germany in family of five kids
  • “Your Money or Your Life: Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial MORE” by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin
  • The skill of listening, and how it’s a joy to listen to someone else
  • Huckleberry Finn. Walk around in someone’s shoes!
  • Ask 1000 questions, then design. That is the journey
  • Square pegs in square holes, What is your sense of wonderment?
  • Are you open…willing…excited…like a child?
  • It’s always pushing through fears. Then people become unstoppable
  • Making a difference one life, one smile, at a time
  • Mark Twain: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow mindedness”
  • How The Peace Core affected us both


Affiliate Disclosure

My guests and I often refer to various resources (e.g. books, products, videos, course etc.), which are offered for sale on this page. While I do make a small commission from the sale of these products, you do not pay a penny more for them! It’s called Affiliate Marketing, and every purchase you make by clicking the links on this page help pay for the show. I hope you find the resources useful, and thanks for your support!

Questions I asked Rita Wilkins, the “Downsizing Designer”

How would you compare your approach to downsizing from Marie Kondo?

What differences do you see, if any, between how men and women treat stuff? What about racial differences?

What are the top three barriers, emotional, financial. Psychological, or otherwise, that prevent people from downsizing?

Americans would rather have three days with a powerboat than a month with a canoe. True?

What is the trend? Are Americans finally shedding their stuff anchors in any significant number, or are they as married to it as ever?

What are the roots of our attachment to stuff? Where did it come from?

As a single man, one of the first questions I get asked by women on the hunt is, “What do you do?” I interpret this to mean, “How well qualified are you to provide me with safety and security?” Am I wrong to interpret the question that way?

What am I to make of the saying, “He who dies with the most toys wins?

If I am a man who has downsized to almost nothing, in your opinion, does that make me less attractive to women?

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Presto and grazie!

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