In 2016, I moved half way across the world with just a suitcase and my guitar. That’s all. That’s all I needed. I had gotten rid of everything else before I left. I moved into a cute little studio apartment which I loved.
Within three years I had accumulated so much stuff that I had to move into a bigger place. It was more than twice the size of the apartment I had been living in before.
And I filled it all up with stuff.
Stuff that I thought I needed. Stuff that I thought would make me happy.
Was I happy? Well, you already know the answer to that.
I was more stressed out and overwhelmed than ever before. I had to declutter my life and get rid of all the stuff that was weighing me down. So I did, and thus began my decluttering journey and my eventual progression to minimalism.
If you’re feeling stressed out, overwhelmed, and like you’re being suffocated by your stuff, then it’s time for a change. It’s time to figure out how to downsize and simplify your life.
Table of Contents
- What exactly is downsizing
- Why you should consider downsizing your life
- How to downsize and simplify your life
- 1. Get rid of anything that doesn’t bring you joy
- 2. Don’t be afraid to live with less
- 3. Let go of the things that are holding you back
- 4. Simplify your routines and habits
- 5. Set some boundaries
- 6. Create more margin in your life
- 7. Learn to be content with what you have
- 8. Get offline
- 9. Don’t be afraid to change course
- 10. Find what brings you happiness
- 11. Live each day with intention
- 12. Love yourself and your life
What exactly is downsizing
When most people think about downsizing, they think about having a smaller home or making do with just one car instead of two. And while that’s part of it, there’s so much more to it than that.
Downsizing is about decluttering your life, not just of material possessions but also of obligations, relationships, and anything else that isn’t serving you.
It’s about creating more space in your life – both physical and emotional – so that you can focus on what really matters.
Why you should consider downsizing your life
Everyone has stuff. But do you really need all that stuff? Most of us could probably stand to downsize our lives a bit and get rid of all the non-essentials. Here are just a few reasons why downsizing your life is a good idea:
Less stuff means less clutter
A cluttered home is a stressed home. More clutter means having to clean and tidy more often. It means constantly having to sort through things to find what you need. It means feeling like you’re never really able to relax because there’s always something that needs to be done. Getting rid of clutter results in a calmer, more relaxing home environment.
You’ll save money
When you have less stuff, you have less to maintain and take care of. This means saving money on things like storage units, home repairs, and insurance. You may even be able to downsize your living situation which will further reduce your expenses.
You’ll have more time
When you have less stuff, you’ll spend less time cleaning, organizing, and maintaining your belongings. You’ll also have an easier time finding things when you need them. All of this adds up to more free time that you can use to do things you enjoy or just relax.
You’ll reduce your carbon footprint
If you care about the environment, then downsizing your life is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. The less stuff you have, the less energy and resources you’ll consume.
You’ll be happier
It’s been proven time and again that material possessions don’t lead to lasting happiness. In fact, they often lead to more stress, anxiety and other mental health issues. When you downsize your life and focus on experiences and relationships instead of stuff, you’ll be happier as a result.
You’ll be more mindful about your purchases
When you only have room for a limited number of things, you’ll start to think more carefully about your purchases. You’ll only buy things that you really need or that will bring you joy.
How to downsize and simplify your life
1. Get rid of anything that doesn’t bring you joy
One of the easiest ways to downsize your life is to get rid of anything that doesn’t bring you joy. We all have items that we bought because we thought we needed them or because they were a good deal.
These are likely things that we now barely use, if ever – clothes, books, kitchen gadgets, etc. If you don’t love it or use it, get rid of it!
If you’re not sure where to start, read some of these posts:
- Overwhelmed by Clutter? Getting to the Root of Your Clutter Problem
- How To Declutter Your House In One Day: Room To Room
- How To Be Ruthless When Decluttering Clothes
- How you can declutter sentimental items without the overwhelming guilt
2. Don’t be afraid to live with less
It’s a scary process, there’s no doubt. But living with less doesn’t mean living without. In fact, anyone who’s gone from maximalist to minimalist will tell you that it’s quite the opposite.
When you live with less, you’re forced to focus on what really matters. You learn to appreciate the things you have and to use them more mindfully.
While it may take some time to adjust, eventually you’ll find that living with less is actually liberating.
3. Let go of the things that are holding you back
We all have baggage – both literal and figurative. If you want to downsize and simplify your life, then it’s time to let go of the things that are holding you back, both physically and emotionally.
Start by getting rid of anything that’s been weighing you down. This might include old clothes that no longer fit, sentimental items that you’re holding onto for no reason, or anything else that’s just taking up space.
Next, take a look at the emotional baggage you’re carrying around. Are there any grudges or resentments that you need to let go of? Any toxic relationships that you need to walk away from? Letting go of these things will help to lighten your load and make more room for positive things in your life.
4. Simplify your routines and habits
One of the best ways to simplify your life is to streamline your routines and habits. Start by taking a close look at your daily and weekly rituals. Are there any tasks that you can eliminate or combine?
For example, instead of doing a load of laundry every day, try doing a few loads once a week. Instead of stopping at the store every time you need something, see if you can make a meal plan and stock up on items so that you only have to go once or twice a month.
You might also want to consider simplifying your beauty routine. If you’re using 10 different products every morning and night, see if you can cut it down to just a few essentials.
5. Set some boundaries
In order to simplify your life, you’ll need to set some boundaries. This might mean saying “no” more often, setting limits on your time and energy, or setting up systems to help you stay organised.
For example, if you’re constantly getting invited to events that you don’t really want to go to, start saying “no” more often. If you’re always working late into the night, set a firm bedtime and stick to it.
If your home is always cluttered, set up a system for decluttering on a regular basis. The key is to be intentional about your time and energy so that you can focus on the things that matter most to you.
6. Create more margin in your life
One of the best ways to simplify your life is to create more margin – or, in other words, to have some buffer space in your schedule. This might mean waking up a little earlier each day so that you have time for a leisurely breakfast, or taking a few minutes each evening to relax and wind down.
The goal is to create some space in your life so that you can focus on the things that are truly important to you. When you have margin, you’re less likely to feel overwhelmed and stressed out.
7. Learn to be content with what you have
One of the most important lessons in simplifying your life is learning to be content with what you have. This doesn’t mean that you should never strive for more or set goals for yourself.
But it does mean that you should learn to appreciate the things you have – even if they’re not perfect. When you focus on the things that are truly important, you’ll find that you don’t need as much stuff to be happy and it will be easier to downsize and simplify your life.
8. Get offline
In our digital world, it’s easy to get caught up in what’s happening online. But if you want to simplify your life, it’s important to disconnect from technology and enjoy the moment.
Make a point to put away your phone and be present when you’re with friends or family. Stop the needless scrolling through social media and take some time to disconnect from the digital world each week.
9. Don’t be afraid to change course
Don’t be afraid to change course if you find that your current path isn’t working for you. If you’re not happy with the way things are going, don’t be afraid to make a change.
There’s no need to stay stuck in a situation that isn’t working for you. When you’re open to change, it will be easier to find what truly works for you.
10. Find what brings you happiness
The key to simplifying your life is finding what brings you happiness. This might mean spending more time with family and friends, pursuing a hobby that you’re passionate about, or taking some time for yourself each day.
Whatever it is, make sure that your happiness is a priority. When you focus on the things that make you happy, you’ll find it easier to downsize and simplify your life.
11. Live each day with intention
When you downsize your life, it’s important to live each day with intention. This means being mindful of your actions and choosing to do things that will add value to your life.
Start by setting some goals for yourself – both short-term and long-term. What do you want to achieve in the next month? The next year? The next five years? Once you have a general idea of what you want to achieve, you can start to make daily choices that will move you closer to your simple life.
12. Love yourself and your life
One of the most important things to remember when you’re trying to simplify your life is to love yourself and your life. Appreciate the things you have and the life you’re living.
When you love yourself and your life, it will be easier to downsize and simplify because you’ll be doing it for the right reasons – to focus on what truly matters to you. Not because you think you should or because you think it will make you happy. But because it’s what you really want. And when you do what you really want, happiness will naturally follow.
There you have it: how to downsize and simplify your life.
Simplifying your life is a journey – there’s no need to rush it. Take your time and enjoy the process. And above all, remember to focus on what brings you happiness. You’ll realise that it’s not material possessions or a hectic lifestyle that brings you happiness. But rather, it’s the simple things in life that are truly important.
When you focus on what matters most to you, you’ll find it easier to downsize and simplify your life. And when you do, you’ll be amazed at how simpler your life will be.