Last Updated on May 10, 2022
We are constantly inundated with the message that more is better in our society. The truth is, however, that less can be much more fulfilling. If you feel overwhelmed by all of the “stuff” in your life, it might be time to simplify.
When you consider how to downsize and simplify your life, you may realize that it’s a great way to reduce stress and anxiety, as well as make room for the things that matter most. Many of us have so much stuff that we have lost track of everything. Just pull open your junk drawer (it’s usually in the kitchen, right?) and take a closer look at just what is in there.
Then multiply that one little drawer by the contents of your entire home. Wow.
Simplifying your life is about more than possessions, too. Consider cutting back on the number of commitments you have to free up time to spend with family, take care of yourself, or pursue a hobby or passion project.
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Benefits of Downsizing & Simplifying
When it comes to considering how to downsize and simplify your life, there are so many benefits, my friend. Here are just a few:
- You’ll have more time and energy for the things you really care about.
- You’ll be less stressed and overwhelmed.
- Your home will be neater and easier to clean.
- Freeing yourself from the physical clutter can also give you more mental space, clearing your mind as well
- You’ll save money because you won’t have to spend money as often.
Moreover, there are several other benefits to simplifying your life. Some people find that living with less stuff helps them feel more in control and empowered, which helps reduce anxiety.
Other people like the idea of fitting all their possessions into a backpack and enjoying freedom from an attachment to material things.
Depending on how far you take downsizing and simplifying, you might also find that your life becomes more environmentally friendly and sustainable. For example, if you get rid of all your unnecessary possessions, you won’t have to waste energy or resources on maintaining them or transporting them from place to place.
It really can lead to a simpler life, whether you stay where you are and rid yourself of unnecessary things, or literally relocate to a small space with less square footage and start over with fewer material possessions.
Now that we’ve established some of the benefits of downsizing and simplifying let’s look at how you can do it. So how do you downsize and simplify your life? Read on for the top tips.
How to Start Downsizing & Simplifying Your Life
If you’re tired of all that stuff and are committed to living a simpler life, take some time to evaluate each of these tips, as they are all a valid part of the process.
Start with a Plan
Downsizing can be overwhelming if you jump into it without thinking things through first. Before you purge any belongings, think about what areas of your life you want to simplify.
It is more than just the material possessions, although those are a part of the process.
Do you need to cut back on work or volunteer commitments? Do you have too much stuff in your home? Are there areas of your finances that could be trimmed down, such as subscriptions and memberships? Saving money is always on the table.
Make a list of the things in each of your life that take up time and energy, and consider what you can do to simplify. The entire process could take weeks, months, or sometimes even longer.
Once you have a plan, it’s time to start simplifying and downsizing your life.
If you get overwhelmed by the amount of work involved in downsizing and simplifying, take a break and come back to it when you are ready.
Evaluate Your Needs vs. Your Wants
There is a big difference between needs and wants, friend. Needs are the things you must have to survive: food, water, shelter, etc. Wants are everything else that makes your life more comfortable or enjoyable.
When it comes to simplifying your life, focus on your needs first. Determine what you absolutely need in each area of your life (i.e., home, finances, work/volunteer commitments) and cut out anything that is not a need.
Once you’ve downsized the things in your life to only needs, evaluate whether or not you have enough wants to make you happy. If so, keep them! But if not, consider getting rid of some of your wants to simplify further.
For example, if you have more subscription services than you can keep track of, consider canceling some or all of them. If you have an extensive wardrobe overflowing with clothes, get rid of the items you never wear to make space for what’s left.
Have you considered a capsule wardrobe? It’s a great way to minimize what’s in the closet, save money on clothing purchases, and still look great.
The concept behind minimalism is simple: only own things that you love or add value to your life. This can mean anything from having a home with minimal furniture and decor to owning only one pair of shoes (or none!), and limiting the number of possessions you have altogether.
The great thing about embracing minimalism is that it allows you to reprioritize what matters most in your life. If your possessions constantly bog you down, it might be time to consider a minimalistic lifestyle.
There are many ways to embrace minimalism and the philosophy of voluntary simplicity, so find the one that works best for you and stick with it. You don’t have to go all-in at once — start small by getting rid of one or two things you don’t need and work your way up from there.
Create Limits for Yourself
When it comes to simplifying your life, boundaries are key. Setting boundaries can help you reduce the amount of stress and anxiety you feel by limiting the number of commitments.
One way to simplify your life is to set limits for yourself. This could mean setting a limit on the number of work hours you are willing to put in each week or only buying groceries for one week at a time. If you find yourself constantly feeling overwhelmed, try setting a limit on the number of social engagements you agree to each month.
Creating limits for yourself will help you eliminate things causing you stress and focus on the things that are truly important to you and make your life less complicated.
Downsize Your Home
Many people have more stuff than they need or want, often due to emotional attachment to items that are taking up time and energy. We all have sentimental items that we cling to, and it’s hard to let them go. Family heirlooms can also take up a chunk of space, literally, and it can be really difficult to pass them on to someone else.
To simplify your life, it’s essential to take a hard look at these possessions, decide what you absolutely have to keep and what can go, to free up some space in your home.
Downsizing your home can be a great way to eliminate excess belongings and make your life less complicated. Getting rid of your extra belongings can be one of the most challenging yet rewarding aspects of downsizing and simplifying your life.
I’ve been through this process over a period of time, and although it can be hard to let things to, it is amazing how a smaller space with fewer things filling it actually sparks joy and relieves stress.
So, before you begin purging your belongings, take a moment to decide what is truly worth keeping and what isn’t. Make lists of items that are important to you or add value to your life — this could be anything from sentimental items to things you use frequently.
Once you’ve identified the items worth keeping, start getting rid of everything else. It helps to have a system, going through one room at a time, making note of what is going to stay, be sold, or be donated.
You can sell your unwanted possessions online (eBay or Facebook Marketplace are great places to start) or donate them to charity for someone who needs them more than you do!
Create a Schedule and Stick To It
When you consider how to downsize and simplify your life, it includes your commitments and how you keep track of them.
When you have a lot of commitments, it can be hard to keep track of your days and weeks. Creating a schedule will help simplify your life by keeping everything organized in one place — no more wondering where you put that appointment confirmation email!
Try creating an online calendar with Google Calendar or Outlook so that you never miss another appointment again.
Alternatively, schedule your days in a physical planner and stick to it. Having a set schedule will help reduce the amount of stress you feel by knowing what you need to accomplish each day.
Simplifying your life doesn’t have to be complicated — it just takes some discipline and a willingness to get rid of the things that don’t serve you anymore. Getting started can be challenging, but there will be no turning back once you begin simplifying your life!
You won’t believe how much simpler and less complicated your life will be once you’ve decluttered and streamlined your routine. Not only will you feel more organized and in control, but you’ll also have more time to focus on the things that truly matter to you.