How To Downsize For Life

Decluttering and downsizing are not quick fixes. Becoming a minimalist overnight isn’t very practical. I look at minimalism as a longterm plan. I’m figuring out how to downsize for life as I go. With a little work, you can, too.

Don’t you just love the stark simplicity and the clean lines of the architecture in the picture above? I know I do. But guess what? That’s not the goal of downsizing. Do you really want to spend a million dollars to live in a big empty house? It’s impractical and snobbish.

Downsizing is something that is intentional. It’s less about style and more about practicality. How much do you really need. How much money do you want to spend/save? It’s something you should think through.

If you want to know how to downsize for life, you’ll have to do some soul searching. The process is different for everyone. There’s no one-size-fits-all method. But here’s how I’m tackling things:

  1. Do regular inventory: If you just let your stuff stack up, you don’t even know what you have. I still have a lot of downsizing to do, but I know what I have at any given time. I know I still have more than I need, but each time I do inventory I let a few more things go. 
  2. Let unneeded things go: I go through all my household belongings several times a year. When I find something that I no longer use or need, I give it away. This way I’m always downsizing. 
  3. Watch your buying habits: You can’t downsize if you always want more. If you want to live simply, you have to stop buying stuff you don’t really need. Be critical of your own buying habits. Don’t buy things impulsively.
  4. Know your limits: I still have a kid living at home. And I don’t want to force minimalism on her. Everyone has a comfortable threshold of stuff. I like my home sparsely furnished, but I have enough that it doesn’t look empty. 
  5. Have a longterm plan: Know where you want to be in the future. Minimalism can work well for single millennials. It’s a little more difficult for established families. But even those of us with more traditional situations can have a plan. I’ll continue to slowly downsize my belongings. In the future, I’ll likely sell my modest home and move into something that’s less than 800 sq. feet.

What Does Downsizing Look Like To You?

For me, downsizing looks more like this photo than the first one. Although I’m not a big fan of container homes, I have no problem with things that are old and rough around the edges.

I can’t tell you how to downsize for life for you. But I don’t need a sleek looking home with fancy minimalist furnishings. I’ve discovered that used and refurbished furnishings work just fine. I’ve furnished my entire home for less than $2000 by reusing older stuff.

When I move into a smaller space, I’ll be able to use much of what I already have. I’ll have to let go of some pieces, but they weren’t worth much in the first place.

Downsizing Is A Daily Process

I downsize every day. I may not get rid of things every day, but I’m constantly envisioning and planning ways to live more simply. That’s key to downsizing: to have a vision.

If you really want to know how to downsize for life, here’s the secret. Always be conscious of what you have, what you need, and where you see yourself in the future. It’s that simple.

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James Ewen
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