4 Areas to Downsize for a More Simple Life
This week, we’re talking about the next way to begin simplifying your life: downsize. If you missed the first post that gave 5 ways to simplify your life, check that out. Or, read this post that helps you learn to say no.
Downsizing Your Life
In the first post of the “simplify your life” series, I talked about downsizing as one of the ways you can start making your life more simple. But, what do I mean by downsizing?
Downsizing could mean something different to each of us. You need to figure out what you can do without and which of those things are in your control to change.
Could you do without two rental houses to keep up? Could you do without three bathrooms to clean? What about those five mixing bowls? Or those three Bible studies (yep I said it!) or books you are reading? Me too. I can do without all of that. Some things just cause more stress than they are worth.
Don’t miss this great post: how to declutter your entire life!
For me, I know that I need to downsize my schedule. I can’t handle as much right now as I have in the past, and that’s okay. I’m trying to slow down, so I’ve removed a few things from my schedule, and I’m refusing to take on anything new.
I knew that I needed to do this as soon as I noticed that I consistently treat my kids like a distraction, an inconvenience even. Not okay, right?! Right now we are enjoying fewer activities on the evenings and during the day. We are taking a breather and really starting to enjoy some time together as a family again.
Want to know more about what made me decide to simplify and minimize my life? Check out my post on how simple living is really just minimalism in disguise.
What about you? What do you need to downsize? Keep reading for 4 great options to help you get started.
4 Areas to Downsize for a More Simple Life
Downsizing your life can seem overwhelming when you try to take it all on at once. I would focus on one of the areas below at a time until you are happy with your progress, if only for the time being.
When you are downsizing for a simpler life, there are 4 key areas to downsize and declutter your life:
1. Your Stuff
If your stuff is giving you an excessive amount of stress, it’s time to downsize. In fact, if you can even call your stuff “your stuff” that’s a good sign that these items are no longer valuable to you. “Stuff” isn’t what we call items that mean a lot to us, the items that we love.
If this is you, focus on one area of stress at a time so you are downsizing your life consistently but not too quickly. Don’t try to sell all of your stuff in one weekend. Pick one room or area that is out of control and begin decluttering your home there.
Are cups or snacks falling our of your kitchen cabinets when you open them? Are you stressed when you cook because you can never seem to unearth the right measuring cup or pan? Then you may want to start on your kitchen.
If you can’t keep up with cleaning the size of house you have, consider selling. Again, this is about stress. If it isn’t stressing you out, leave it alone.
I have been downsizing my stuff for some time and I’ve found that my view of “enough” keeps changing. Don’t worry if you aren’t where you want to be after your first go at it. Downsizing your life takes time and patience, but the rewards are great.
2. Your Schedule
Do you feel like you never have time for the things you want to do or the people in your life? If that’s something you are ready to change, start by evaluating your schedule.
First, write down everything that takes up your time and try to estimate how much of your time they take up. Include work, activities, driving, watching tv, getting ready, reading, browsing social media…include every thing.
Second, make a list of things you HAVE to do, and a list of the things you WANT to do (even if they aren’t already part of your schedule). What are you willing to give up? What can you sacrifice so you have time for what matters most to you?
Also consider whether or not your obligations can be controlled at all. Could you work fewer hours? Could you occasionally work from home to cut back on commute time?
Third, select at least one thing that you are going to take out of your schedule and either replace it with something more important…or simply take a breather if that’s more what you need right now. Need more direction? Check out this post on decluttering your schedule.
Check out these posts on establishing a routine and being more productive!
3. Your Expectations
You might just be too hard on yourself or others. This one might be more difficult to recognize, so I’ll try to give you an example.
There was a time in my life when I felt really stressed, but when I thought about why, I realized it had more to do with the standard I had given myself. I had a certain ideal of who I wanted to be, and I tried to force myself to be that person IMMEDIATELY.
I didn’t take the necessary steps to actually become that person, to change my heart. Instead, I forced myself to fake it til I made it. This is a good way to burn out quickly!
Maybe for you, you expect yourself to balance a busy schedule with family/friend time, or you expect yourself to keep the house clean with 5 kids. Or you expect yourself to be good at every area of your job.
You need to downsize your expectations. It’s great that you want to be better, but don’t expect to be better today. Give yourself time. Give yourself grace. Take small steps to reach your goals.
4. Your Negative Thoughts
For the most part, negative thoughts need to go. I am the first to admit that I hold onto negativity in the name of being realistic. And, sometimes that’s true, but often it’s not.
I’ve learned to recognize when my negative thoughts are truthful and keeping me realistic, and when they are lies and holding me back from a full life.
If you struggle with this as well, you will probably need help. PLEASE seek it out. Visit a therapist. Talk to a trusted friend. Start to separate your thoughts into fact and fiction. Balance the negative truths with all of the positive truths.
When we take the time declutter our minds, we are better able to downsize in other areas as well.
The Simplify My Life! Starter Kit
Want even more tips and advice about how to downsize your life? Get the “Simplify My Life” Starter Kit!
The Simplify My Life! Starter Kit will help you simplify your life so that you can live the life you’ve always wanted!
This starter kit will help you:
- find a clear vision for your life and home
- declutter your home so that only what you love is left
- maintain and organize your newly decluttered home
- simplify household chores such as cleaning and laundry
- create a meal plan that’s simple and sustainable
- declutter your schedule and get your time back
- establish an effective routine that lines up with your priorities
- learn to use your time more wisely so that you can begin living the life of your dreams!
Are you ready to simplify your life and get your time, space and sanity back? Grab your starter kit now!
Next up, learn more about the third way to simplify your life: slow down.
What do you need to downsize? What step will you be taking today to begin the process of simplifying your life? Let me know in the comments!
Theresa Bedford is a syndicated freelance home and travel writer with regular contributions to the Associated Press wire and MSN. She helps everyday people love the life they have through simplicity, organization, and prioritization.
Downsizing negativity and one’s expectations of oneself – that’s a great way to put it. It is so easy to keep saying yes, and so easy, then, to get overwhelmed. This is a great reminder to reevaluate!
Thanks, Jeni! Consistent reevaluation is key, because it sure is a slippery slope. 🙂
This is great! Thanks a bunch for sharing and stay blessed!
People always tell me I’m too hard on myself. I know I am, it’s such a difficult habit to break! Definitely need to downsize in expectations.
I struggle with the same thing, Joline! You are right, it is a tough habit to break. Don’t give up! Let me know if I can help in any way. 🙂
Downsize your expectations—that’s great! That is a fantastic way of putting it and your explanation affirms that it is a GOOD thing to let go of the idea of perfection. NIce.
Thank you so much!
We have downsized our belongings so much. Our house is currently on the market and its so easy to keep it “show ready”. I need to work on the other aspects you mentioned here though.
Owning less definitely helped us when we moved last time as well. Good luck on the sale of your home! Let me know if I can help you in any way with the other areas to downsize. 🙂
Excellent post! I really liked the point about downsizing expectations. I put a lot of pressure on myself to be perfect – perfect mom, wife, homemaker, employee, daughter, etc. But then I end up falling short in all areas because I’ve picked too many areas to focus on. This will give me something to think about over the next few days. Thanks!
Thanks, Amy! We put so much pressure on ourselves as women, don’t we? Sometimes we think that the pressure comes from others, but usually it’s just us! I’m so glad that you found that part of the article helpful. You are so right that it’s important to focus on only a couple of areas at a time. 😊
I so want to downsize. Our home is far too big for my husband and I now. The kids are out on their own. Unfortunately my husband refuses to consider selling and downsizing. He doesn’t want to get rid of any of his stuff! So frustrated.
I’m sorry to hear that you are frustrated, Gina. That’s hard! I would recommend working on downsizing your own stuff, and he just may come around over time as he sees the benefits of a simpler life. Less stuff= Less to do!
I really appreciated this article Sheila 🙂 I liked how straightforward and clear it was but I also like that it surprised me. I thought it would about moving to a smaller house but what you wrote is what I needed more.
I like the part about downsizing expectations. I struggle with expectations for my blog, my body, and even how minimalist I am. I think that grace is what I need to give myself because it all is improving, just slowly. I need patience.
I have also found the downsizing my desire for perfection has helped me pursue things I actually want to do more of like learn languages and play music and express my creativity.
Downsizing my things had made me feel lighter and freer than ever and it’s on going process of feeling more and more ready for anything!
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