Have you ever woken up, taken a look around you, and immediately felt stressed by the amount of clutter? This could mean physical items around your house or mental barriers. Either way, it might leave you searching for ways to downsize your life. The word downsize to me seems scary for some reason, but it really doesn’t have to be. When I initially think of downsizing it makes me feel like I need to let go of things I desperately need. The reality is a lot of us are hanging onto this we really don’t need, and it might be leaving us feeling completely overwhelmed.
When looking at ways to downsize your life, it’s logical to begin with the extra items you have around you, like clothes and knick-knacks. In this article we’ll highlight some tips for ridding yourself of these things, including having your very own garage sale (if you’re a bit of a self-proclaimed hoarder, I know the idea alone of a garage sale could feel like a complete nightmare, but it doesn’t have to be — it can actually be fun!). Then, we’ll talk about how you can move on to downsizing in a bigger regard, as it pertains to where you live and how many things are cluttering your stress level each day.
Using some of these tips, you can find you’ll be making your life much more simple, and learning how to function with less stuff (and less stress). Here are six ways to downsize your life.
1. Clean Out That Closet Once And For All
This is not a lie — I’m 29 years old and just debated for a whole week about whether or not to get rid of go-to winter coat from high school. Yes, high school. The thing barely zipped! Why did I even still have that, let alone feel attached to it? For those of us who love clothes, it can feel especially hard to part with certain items, even if they clearly need to go.
An overflowing closet is a great place to begin your downsize efforts. Elle suggested a good system for clearing out what you don’t need by first removing everything from your closet and drawers to assess how much you have. Then, divide and conquer — sorting the items into pieces you’ll save and pieces you’ll toss. When sorting, consider how long it’s been since you’ve worn the item. If it’s been over a year and you can’t honestly think of when you’ll wear it again, chunk it, according to Elle. At the end, divide the items you don’t want to keep into things you’ll actually throw away, things you’ll donate, and what you’ll sell.
2. Have A Garage Sale
Speaking of selling, here’s where you can actually start to reap some financial benefits from downsizing. That pile of clothes you organized to sell? Put them aside, and now look through some of the other items around your house that you can do without, or things that are blatantly just taking up space. If you have a garage, basement, attic, or other storage space, likely you’re holding on to a least some items in there that you have no use for any longer, but that might be worth some value to someone else. Once you have a substantial amount of sell (alone or combining items with friends or family), organize a garage sale. According to Angie’s List, a garage sale is a great way to get organized, cut the clutter, and downsize. Remember to promote it around your community to ensure people know it’s happening, and organize the items properly on the day of to make it easy for buyers to navigate, according to Angie’s List.
3. Reevaluate The Space You Have
When I hear the word “downsize” I often think of an older couple moving from a big house to a smaller once after their children have left the nest. Downsizing houses, though, doesn’t just have to be for the elderly! Chances are if you’re in your 20s or 30s living in a city, you might be in a space that’s a little too small, if anything. However, if you’re someone who feels they have too much space, you too can be downsizing living spaces like your older counterparts. According to HGTV, choosing less space many times has to do with a desire to live more simply, or an eco-friendly, low-maintenance lifestyle. With migrating to a smaller place, you’ll not only have to take care of less space and live that simple lifestyle, you might also find some growth in your wallet due to a lower rent or mortgage rate.
4. Eliminate The Stress
Downsizing doesn’t just have to do with physical elements of your life — it can be internal as well. If you’re constantly stressed, this could be wearing you down. Some natural and easy ways to dismiss it, according to Health, include taking a long, warm bath, giving yourself a scalp massage and drinking plenty of chamomile tea. If you need some tricks on winding down after work, I got you covered in this article. At the end of the day, downsizing the amount of stress in your life can benefit you in so many ways. After all, according to Healthline.com, stress can lead to all sorts of negative health problems, including heart burn, stomach aches, headaches, trouble sleeping, heart attacks, and much more.
5. Cut Back On That Shopping Habit (Even If Only Temporarily)
If your bank account is telling you you need to cut back on your shopping habit, you better listen. A simple way to downsize your spending, according to U.S. News & World Report, is to come up with a spending plan that is both detailed and realistic. Try to stick to it, even if it means taking a break from shopping all together for a while. Don’t think you can go at it alone? Enlist someone to help you stay on track, according to Today.
6. Evaluate Relationships That Are No Longer Working
Downsizing when it comes to friends can begin at even the most swallow of levels — the friends you’ve collected over the years on Facebook. CafeMom.com suggested a few categories of friends you might consider trimming from your friend list, including old coworkers, exes, people you genuinely don’t remember, and former classmates you no longer speak to. Outside of social media, it’s OK to feel as though a friendship is no longer working for you. According to Woman’s Day, this – for example — could be because the friend has done something incredibly hurtful to you or is a constant nuisance. Florence Isaacs, author of Toxic Friends, True Friends, told the outlet the sanity-saving thing to do may be to let the friendship go. Isaacs suggested, “Draw a line down the middle of a page. On one side, list the good things that you get out of the friendship, on the other, the bad. If the bad outnumber the good, and you're not getting something substantive enough from the relationship, it's time to act.”
As we’ve seen here, downsizing doesn’t always have to do with the physical objects in our lives, but can also be important for our internal stress level and as a means of making sure we have positive interpersonal relationships around us. By downsizing our lives in these ways, we can feel a lot less cluttered by the little things, and able to focus on what’s really important.