Downsize Your Lifestyle for a Lighter Future

Downsife Your Life - Get Rid of Things

Could you use to downsize your stuff?

It occurred to me last Christmas, as my husband asked me what I wanted, that I had too much stuff.

I couldn’t really think of anything that I really wanted — much less actually needed. And, as I looked around at a house full of things, I began fantasizing about getting rid of some of our stuff.

The fact that my family might have to move has me even more interested in downsizing, since I don’t want to take it all with me.

But where do we begin with downsizing the lifestyle? It isn’t always easy to get rid of stuff, and it can be just as hard to break habits of spending money on more stuff. So, as I work toward downsizing my lifestyle, here are some things I want to try:

Stop Buying Stuff

The first thing you need to do as you begin downsizing your lifestyle is to stop buying stuff. Impose a waiting period on anything you think you need. After a couple of weeks, you might realize that the “need” is actually a want.

When you do buy items, consider how you will use it, and how often it will be used. Consider instituting a balance rule: Whenever you buy something, get rid of an item you already have.

I have to admit a weakness in this area, though. I love books, and I have a hard time not buying a book. With the Borders in my town closing, I went a little crazy and bought a bunch of books on discount.

I could probably downsize my lifestyle with the help of some sort of e-reader, but I’m just not there yet. But I’m trying to work up to it.

Start in One Area of Your Home

It can be overwhelming to try and downsize all at once. Instead, start in one area of your home. The closet is a good place to start; you can get rid of the clothes that don’t fit anymore, or outfits you haven’t worn in years.

Also, concentrate on boxed items. If you haven’t thought about it in a long time, why do you need to keep it? Make a plan and move through different areas of the house.

Find a Way to Lessen the Blow

It can be hard to get rid of stuff. We become emotionally attached to things quite often. In order to overcome this, it can help to find a way to soften the blow. Sell your stuff at a yard sale, or online.

You can donate your items. This will help you feel better about helping others, and you can get a tax deduction for the value of donated items in good condition. You can also consider how much time, energy and money you will save now that you don’t have to worry as much about maintaining, storing and buying stuff.

Shift Your Focus

Finally, it can help to shift your focus. I’m more of an experienced-based person. Without spending so much money on stuff, I would have more disposable income to enjoy dining out (which I love to do), and travel.

Additionally, having less stuff means being creative about finding ways to spend quality time with my husband and son. Shift your focus to relationships and experiences, and try to break the tie between material possessions and feelings of status and worth.

When you shift your focus to developing desired inner traits, rather than focusing on outward material things, you might find it easier to downsize your lifestyle.

Photo by striatic

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About Miranda Marquit

Miranda Marquit is an author, journalist, and award-winning personal finance freelance writer. Her work can be found at The Hill, Investopedia, Student Loan Hero, US News & World Report, The Huffington Post, and many other outlets.


  1. Harry Hilders says

    Thanks for the tips, Miranda.

  2. bluesauger says

    Great article. I never thought about downsizing one room at a time, but that makes it sound a lot less daunting of a task.

  3. cashflowmantra says

    Definitely overwhelming when you think about living in one place for 11 years. Stuff just seems to accumulate. Starting in one area and working in sections is the way to go.