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Peter Walsh's reinvention in the Third Age

Written by Margot Taylor
on June 07, 2024

A tall, dark forest inked on the arm of downsizing guru Peter Walsh is a striking symbol of his shifting mindset as he approaches the Third Age of life.

The tattoo sits in stark contrast to the smartly dressed 67-year-old, who has graced the couches of Oprah and Rachel Ray, sharing his expert knowledge on decluttering and organisation with millions around the world. But that’s the point.


“I’d always wanted to plant a forest and when I turned 60 my mum passed away, and I realised I would probably never do that,” Peter says.

“I decided to have a forest tattooed on my arm and I'd never had tattoos before and someone very, very close to me said to me ‘I never thought you would be the kind of person to get a tattoo’.”

Speaking to host Jo Stanley on the first episode of Ryman Healthcare’s podcast Pod of the 3rd Age (P3A), Peter outlines how ageing is an opportunity for personal growth and reinvention.



“In the third age there’s no reason why you can’t take a step in any direction that you want and be whoever you want to be,” he says.

“It’s about reframing your mindset because if you think about every single stage of life, it involves letting go to be more.”

For Peter, ‘letting go to be more’ is about examining both the physical items people have accumulated over a lifetime, and the roles a person has held which may no longer define them.

“The stuff we own has power because everything in our home is there for a reason, everything in our home has come into our home by choice and everything in our home represents something,” he says.

“You have to right size for the vision you have for the person, the couple, you want to now be.”

Peter Walsh3Pod of the 3rd Age (P3A) host Jo Stanley and Peter Walsh in the studio.


During the episode Peter shares tips and tricks for people considering a move to a smaller home.

His ‘kitchen table test’ involves placing a person’s most treasured items on their kitchen table. As a kitchen table is often proportionate to the size of one’s home, items that don’t fit on it are often revealed to be of less significance than previously thought.


“You simply can’t have 1000 treasures, because if everything is important, nothing is important,” he says.

His advice for how to enjoy life in a smaller space is equally pragmatic.

“It's really important to think of your space in the same way you think of a relationship,” Peter says.

“If you don't honour and respect someone a relationship goes belly up pretty quickly, and it's the same way with your space. If you don't honour and respect the physical limitations of a space it will turn on you very quickly.”

For Peter, the Third Age is a time to embrace the life you have always wanted.

“As we talk of the Third Age so much of it is just giving people permission to step into an exciting new phase of life because we spend so much of our life collecting, we spend so much of our life nurturing other people...”

“We have to make a choice: do we want to step into that great, new phase of our life, or do we want to sit on that nest and kind of guard that stuff?”

Raelene Boyle Retirement Village resident Glenice Cook joins the episode to share her own story about moving from her family home of 30-years to a three-bedroom apartment.

“I don't think there's anything where I've said, ‘oh gosh, I wish I'd brought that with me’,” she says.

“It's the people, it's having friends, and as long as I've got a plate to serve food on it doesn't really matter which plate it is - it's the food and fellowship that's the important thing.”


  • Listen to ‘What is rightsizing and how can it change your life’ on Pod of the 3rd Age (P3A) on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and on our website


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