What do you think of when you hear the words “downsize,” “simplify” or “minimize?”
Do you envision a lowly little one-room shack with just a wooden chair and a metal bucket? Perhaps a boring closet with nothing in it but a few t-shirts, cargo shorts and a pair of sandals? Or a kitchen stocked with only granola bars and water?
Well, let me stop the feelings of panic, boredom and deprivation right there.
Downsizing is not punishment.
In fact, downsizing done correctly is quite the opposite.
Downsizing gives you freedom.
How so, you ask?
In today’s society of “gimme, gimme, gimme,” we have all become accustomed to acquiring possessions at a pretty staggering rate.
We’ll wait in a long line just to get the latest version of the iPhone (yet we can’t wait more than two minutes in the grocery store without going ballistic), buy a new computer when the one we have is getting too slow and literally knock each other down on Black Friday just to get a TV at the “Limited Time Only” price!
We fill up closets, drawers, cabinets, attics and garages until they can’t be filled anymore. And when every available space is full, we’ll move to a bigger house so we can get more stuff.
We use credit cards to buy all the things we want, then get a loan to pay off the credit cards, then mortgage a house to put all the stuff in, then re-finance the house to pay off the loans… and around and round we go.
It’s an endless cycle that we’re told to want from the time we’re old enough to sign our name.
But what if there’s another way?
Less stuff = Less stress
You may have never really thought about it, but stuff causes stress. The more obviously cluttered your home is, the more stressed out you will most likely be.
But even the “hidden” stuff that’s locked away in cabinets and closets can stress you out.
First, finding an item that’s been lost becomes more difficult. Keeping everything organized and accessible also becomes more challenging, particularly as you continue to buy more stuff. And with things like electronics, appliances, toys, vehicles, lawn equipment and sports equipment, there’s the constant matter of upkeep and maintenance.
On the other hand, keeping your home neat and clutter-free, gives you both physical and mental space, which helps you to feel calmer, more energetic and even more creative!
Less stuff = Less need for space
When I downsized, it was to move into a 160 square foot tiny house, so I kind of had to do it. But the opposite can be true too.
You can downsize your belongings right now, no matter what size home you live in. And once you’ve done it, you will start to realize just how much space you have that you don’t really need! Which means, you could also move into a smaller home = lower rent or mortgage payment!
Less stuff = More money
Speaking of rent and mortgages, one of the biggest advantages to downsizing is the money you will save. Since less stuff means less space, you can live in a smaller home with a lower monthly payment. Doing away with other items that require upkeep can also save money. Such as getting rid of your printer and switching to a “paperless” home office. No more money spent on printer paper and endless amounts of ink cartridges!
And since downsizing is rather addictive (seriously, you’ll see what I mean once you start doing it), you will start to see things with a new outlook. As you become used to living more minimally, you’ll find yourself realizing you don’t need (or want) to shop for more clothes, shoes, purses, video games, or whatever would’ve tempted you before. Now you can look and appreciate these items in the store, without feeling COMPELLED to take them home.
Less stuff = More time
Yes, it is true. The less stuff you have, the more time you’ll have. For one, you don’t have to waste any time organizing, cleaning, moving or maintaining it. Plus, the more things that are around your home to fight for your attention, the more distracted and less productive you’ll tend to be inside and the less time you’ll spend outside at all.
Getting rid of the unnecessary things like DVD’s, video games and the stacks of books you haven’t touched since 1982, frees you up to go do the things that REALLY matter and more importantly, gets you out of the house!
Less stuff = MORE FREEDOM
The moral of the story here is this. Downsizing your life and your belongings gives you FREEDOM. When your life is less stressful, takes up less space and requires less time and money, you end up with:
Funny how that works, isn’t it? You won’t have to work overtime and bring home ridiculous amounts of bacon anymore because you aren’t trying to keep up with a lifestyle you can’t really afford in the first place. You’re living without all the gadgets, gizmos and latest fads, which means instead you get to travel the world, enroll in art courses, take flying lessons, donate to charities or just have regular dinner dates with your friends and family as often as possible.
The point is… you’ll be LIVING.
And not just existing (and consuming).
If you’ve been wanting to make a change in your life, to find more meaning, to feel less rushed and pressured, to find more time for the things you love and to find a life that feels more purposeful, why not try downsizing?
It may just be the best thing you could ever do for your life.
Are you ready to start downsizing your life? Get my FREE “Top 5 Downsizing Tips” Worksheet right now and get started!
Jenn Baxter is an accomplished writer in Charlotte, NC, who launched her website, Live a F.a.s.t. Life, based on her own experiences with clean living and downsizing into a 160 sq. ft. tiny house. Quickly gaining recognition in the tiny house community, her posts have been featured on popular tiny house sites like Cometcamper.com, TinyHouseTalk.com and SimplyTinyFreedom.com. She released her first eBook, “Tiny Abundance” in September 2015 and will be releasing an e-course on downsizing and clean, stress-free living in early 2016.