5 Tips to Help you Downsize Your Lifestyle


5 Tips to Help you Downsize Your Lifestyle

downsized_1222001559 © by Mandy_blue

One of the most effective ways to live a more sustainable lifestyle is to downsize. Downsizing your lifestyle involves cutting out the things that are less important, and finding contentment with a little bit less.

If you are ready to downsize your lifestyle here are a few tips that can help you get on the right track:

1. Decide What’s Important to You

Before you can downsize your lifestyle, you need to figure out what you want that lifestyle to look at. What’s most important to you? What are your priorities? Downsizing isn’t always about getting rid of everything and moving into a  tiny house. Instead, take a look at what you like best about your life right now, and then figure out what spending serves as a distraction. Once you figure out what’s important to you, and prioritize, it becomes easier to know exactly what to cut out of your new lifestyle.

2. Stop Buying Unimportant Stuff

Now that you know what’s important, stop buying everything else. If you want to collect books, but don’t care about having a bunch of dishes, or knick-knacks, stop buying more kitchen items, and don’t buy more souvenirs. If you are going to downsize, you have to stop adding more things to your household. Some people make the rule that, if they buy something, they have to get rid of something else. This is one way you can limit how much clutter you have in your home.

3. Go Through Your Home One Area at a Time

Once you have decided what’s important, and stopped buying what isn’t important, it’s time to get rid of some of your stuff. Focus on one area at a time in your home. We recently did this in our kitchen. We realized that we didn’t need a whole bunch of different types of pans. We figured out what we liked to make, and what was made most often, and kept the pans and bowls that made the most sense. Everything else was donated to the local thrift store.

Concentrating on one area at a time can help you manage your efforts, and better focus them. Plus, it makes the whole process less overwhelming. Take it a little at a time, and you will be more successful when trying to figure out how to simplify your life.

4. Soften the Blow

In some cases, you might want to downsize your lifestyle, but you are finding it difficult to let certain items go. If this is an issue, you can soften the blow by looking for ways to turn it to your advantage. Donate goods to help raise money for a charity, and get a tax deduction. Sell items to start making money online, or hold a yard sale. When you are getting something in return for your items, it can help you let go of your things.

5. Focus on Developing Inner Traits

Focusing on the non-material things that add fulfillment to your life can help you get over your stuff. Think about what you already have: Friends, family, health, good experiences, access to the outdoors. These are all items that can add interest to your life, and take your focus away from material things. Developing talents and finding a hobby can also help fulfill you in a way that takes your focus away from things.

Do you have ideas about downsizing your lifestyle?

33 comments to 5 Tips to Help you Downsize Your Lifestyle

  • Stop buying unimportant stuff is essential. I always look at whether I need something before I buy it. Rarely will I splurge. :) I have also been thinking about getting rid of some unnecessary books lately (which is huge for me).

    • Jon -- Free Money Wisdom

      I agree with you 20’s Finances. I could fit my entire belongings in my car. I am a minimalist at heart. However, I think my fiancee will change that once we’re wed. haha…but it is true. If it’s not a need why spend my hard earned money on it? More than likely it will go unused anyway.

    • I go through the Canadian Tire flyer every week and mark 2-10 items. I buy nothing. I really don’t NEED it.

      • I love looking at the glossy mailers I receive from The Container Store and Bed, Bath & Beyond. Clever marketers make everything look so shiny and wonderful and new. They almost make you want to buy something. Instead, I marvel at how ridiculous many of the items are. Like a pillow that connects to your iPod. Who needs that?

  • I still have college books lying around, probably gonna sell them for some Christmas money :D downsize!

    • I sold off my books during university – needed beer money.

      Thing is, a few years ago @ garage sales I bought them again (about 2% the original cost!). Haven’t read any. They all go into our 1st garage sale ever, in the spring.

  • We live a low profile simple life. We downsized from a large house to a townhouse 14 years ago. We maintain a fairly simple lifestyle. We travel overseas every other year, but use frequent flier miles.

  • Getting rid of stuff can make your space seem so much larger too. Kijiji is my best friend when it comes to getting rid of stuff. Nothing like someone picking up and paying you for something that you’d be willing to pay to get rid of!

  • These are great tips – I think the most important is number one. Many people say that X is important to them, but spend money on Y. What you spend money on is what you think is most important.

  • Thanks for stopping by, all. It’s true that you can feel better with a less cluttered space. I know I always feel a sense of openness and space when I get rid of some of the clutter. I also prefer to focus on things that are most important to me. I think you’re right, Jeff, that so many people SAY one thing, but their money says something else.

  • That’s right. Always think before you buy something especially when your emotions are high. I almost bought a new car when I really didn’t need it. Good thing I walked away from the dealership.

  • We have made a real effort this last year to determine what really matters to us and then adjust our spending accordingly. It has been working quite well for the most part. We are much more satisfied and our finances look good. It will always be something to work at though and re-evaluate.

    • We buy a lot of baby stuff – especially clothes. But we buy them used whenever possible – saved a ton. Lil’ SPF has outgrown a lot of stuff already (Dutch genes!) but we’ve packed that stuff up and will keep it as we may have another child in the future.

  • We have committed to stay put in our house. Its a nice house. Nothing fancy. Built in the late ’70s. I would always get the urge to move and buy bigger. However, my wife would always crush that idea. Her thought is bigger = more to clean and more to heat/cool. Within the past two years I have shifted my focus on staying put and paying this sucker off. Cant wait to have the extra money every month.

    • That’s great MLM. I bought the last house and stayed in it for 5 years. But I met Mrs. SPF a few months after buying it. We eventually wed and wanted to buy a home together, and we did. We plan to stay for a few decades, or more. We love living near down town and in a community. It’s called “The Avenues” – wonderful. We’re on pace to eliminate our 25 yr mortgage in 11 years. Well, 10 now.

  • We have been decluttering for a year. Now, we are moving, so it is the perfect time to get rid of the remainder of unnecessary stuff. I am looking forward to a clean slate.

  • It’s funny, I tend to spend my pocket money on beer as well! Although I am guilty of wanting new things, I’m a big believer in less is more too. It can be tricky when it comes to your kids because you feel like you need to give them the best or what others have, but really they would trade it for time with you any day of the week. My theory it to buy less stuff that takes time away from that and just give more of myself instead.

  • We are learning to be content with what we have. Yes, we did purchase a new home 6 months ago, and normally we would have undertaken about a bajillion home improvement tasks…..but we need to focus on eliminating the debt. So… we are making due with what is already here. We are so happy to be in our new location, that is all that matters for now.

  • Not accumulating a bunch of stuff is an important factor. However, I’ve noticed that since we moved into a slightly larger place last year, we’ve started to accumulate more furniture. I’m not so sure we’ll be able to “downsize” to a small house anytime soon. ;( Large spaces fill up quite easily.

  • The holiday season is a great time to take advantage of charitable donations. You be surprised by the deduction amounts the IRS allows just for clothes or electronics. It’s a great way to de-clutter your life and help someone out too.

  • I moved 3 times this year and when I got to my final destination I did some major cleaning out of my stuff. I was mad at myself for paying someone to move my old junk that I didn’t want 3 times when I should have just took the time to clean it out before moving!

  • Cutting down on stuff and knickknacks is a good way to simplify. Just like a new leaf blower is just another engine to maintain, a new little pretty for the coffee table is just another thing to be dusted.

  • I agree. Stop buying things that are not really important. Another way to downsize is to think of alternatives. When dining out with friends, consider staying home and cooking. It will increase your bonding time for a lot less money involved.

  • I love these tips. I got started on the right track once I stopped buying stuff every week and every month. Now I can’t see what the purpose of all that stuff is. I went on a trip and coming back in the US, the customs agent asked me. “what are you bringing?” “nothing,” I said and then remembered “photographs”. it felt great to say it! My motivation to simplify/downsize is to feel more relaxed and less worried about money. I think it’s working.

  • On paper it is so simple, just a few steps make a HUGE difference and most people would see some ease on lifestyle drain just by simplifying in one area. Thanks for the link to my post.

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