Ever heard of the term “rightsizing?”
In the business world, companies often use the term in place of downsizing because it sounds less drastic. It’s the process of restructuring by cost costing and reducing the workforce. The end goal of rightsizing in this sense is achieving maximum profits.
In my former world of city management, the term rightsizing describes street design. It’s a process of reconfiguring the layout of a street to essentially serve all modes of transportation — pedestrians, bicyclers, commuters, public transportation users, and individual drivers.
In the home building industry, rightsizing is not downsizing and simply moving into a ranch-style home once you’ve reached the empty-nester phase. Rightsizing here is the concept of making better use of existing spaces in your home. There is a mass movement to build smaller, “smarter,” durable, and resilient homes.
Now my doctor probably wants me to work on rightsizing my body — lose a few pounds, exercise more, eat healthier, etc. I know little about this definition of rightsizing. Period. Full stop. Let’s move on.
As Earth Day passed by this week, I pondered this term rightsizing and how it applies for us inhabitants of Das Schmidt Haus, especially in relation to Care for God’s Creation, one of seven key themes at the heart of Catholic social teaching. Yesterday my daughter came home from preschool so excited to tell me it was Earth Day. “Mom, mom, mooooomm! Do you know what day it is today? It’s Earth DAAAAAAAAY! Let’s do something fun for Earth Day.”
Well, this event director had nothing earthy planned and I wasn’t about to get crafty simply because the calendar read April 22, Earth Day. And this is not because I don’t believe in the principles of Earth Day. Remember, I’m the mad housewife who has been known to rescue cardboard, aluminum, and other recyclable materials from my neighbor’s garbage bins and place them in my recycling bin so those materials can have a proper burial — earth to earth, ashes to ashes, and dust to dust. Care for the earth is not just an Earth Day slogan; it is a requirement of our faith. We are called to protect people and the planet, living harmoniously with all of God’s creation.
So how are my actions matching that call? What am I doing to rightsize my behaviors in response to our Church’s instructions? Beyond recycling, I’m not really doing that much. So yesterday I wrote out some thoughts and set goals for our family to work on throughout the year. Here they are.
We live within walking distance, as in under .5 of a mile, to a major grocery store, a Walgreens, several restaurants, convenience store, bank, movie rental store, and on and on. There is absolutely no reason, in decent weather, we cannot walk to these locations to buy the household necessities, specifically the grocery store. Walking to the grocery store leads to having only so much room in my arms or stroller to carry items back home. This leads to only purchasing the necessary items, which then leads to less spoiling, throwing out, and wasting of food. Bonuses: supporting local business and getting a bit of exercise and fresh air are feel-good things, too.
Build a vegetable garden and grow tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, peppers, and lettuce. And radishes. Oh yes, radishes. Finally looks like we’ll get a break in the weather this weekend, allowing us to plan and prepare some garden spaces.
Build a compost pile to recycle food scraps and other biodegradable waste. Plus I just read that Chick-fil-A’s bags and waffle fry & nugget boxes can be composted, too. SCORE! If we eat fast food, it’s typically Chick-Fil-A. (Like I need another reason to continue patronizing them!)
Last week we received notification from the county assessor that our home’s assessable value was once again devalued. Since purchasing the home in 2007, the home’s assessable value has decreased by nearly 10%. At the price point of our home, 10% is essentially equal to the all the equity we’ve invested. Like it or not, we are in this home for a while, so it seems like a good time then to apply the “rightsizing credo” to our home: simplify, declutter, organize, store things properly, and donate excess to Goodwill or the Habitat for Humanity ReStore. We can live with less, so much less. And with another bambino on the way, now is a great time to repurpose our living spaces.
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So there you have it — four “Care for God’s Creation” goals for Das Schmidt Haus. Does a list seem better to end at five? Well, I don’t have five, so four it is for now. Help me round it out. What are some lifestyle behaviors you practice in the spirit of Care for God’s Creation?