Many people have downsized their lifestyle, either by choice or due to issues with the US economy. In spite of this, people are still surviving! Personally, I found a lot of clutter that I could do without, which leads me to believe that many people in the US have a lot of stuff we really don’t NEED. Maybe instead of saying downsizing, we could call it right-sizing. Why? Because by getting rid of the excess, you simplify! When you simplify your life, you reduce your stress, and when you reduce your stress, your body becomes healthier. This is a part of my theory for living a simple, healthy life!
I’ve been simplifying parts of my life over the last 8 years and in the next few months will be taking a leap of faith to try and right-size most everything. Here are some ideas:
Question your hobbies. For example, when was the last time you picked up those rollerblades, the paint brush, those ballet slippers? Be realistic in what you will or will not do. I recently got rid of a backpack I never used along with exercise equipment that I ended up hanging clothes on. Have a garage sale, put things on consignment, sell cheap to your friends or donate to charity. Get rid of the things that you aren’t using and realistically will never use.
Filter through and organize papers like magazines, letters and bills. Set yourself a limit to when something is considered old. I go through my papers monthly and if it’s over 3 months old and I haven’t gotten to it, I toss is out. If you have an option to receive these online rather than via paper, sign up for it. It’s usually cheaper and you’ll save a tree! Set up online statements and bill pay. Set up email notifications or have it automatically pay. I’ve taken mine further where I pay my bills with one credit card that gives cash back. I reconcile it all at the end of every month by making one online payment from my checking account to my credit card.
Next, go through your clothes. If you haven’t worn it in a year, donate it. Give yourself a limit on space and any time you want to get new clothes, throw out a comparable old one. Buy basic color pants, skirts and shoes so that you can wear them with any top. I only have a couple pairs of pants but I’m loaded with the latest tops and rotate them out as the fads change. Frankly, if I didn’t have to wear work clothes I would simplify it even more! Get rid of fabrics that don’t wash and wear. It takes more time and money to dry clean, hand wash or dry your clothes flat.
What would life be without music, pictures, movies and books? Life wouldn’t need as much storage! With the latest technology, everyone can move their media to electronic form. Plus pictures and books deteriorate. Scan pictures; sell old books, albums, DVDs and CDs through used book and music stores. Get an e-reader. Replace albums, CDs and DVDs with digital music and movies storing everything on a drive or in the cloud. I can’t tell you how much space you save!
Depending on your circumstances, you may be able get rid of your automobile and walk, bike, carpool or use public transportation instead. With the cost of gas and insurance these days, you could save a lot of money. If you walk or bike, you increase your fitness level along with giving yourself a way to relieve stress on your way home after a bad work day!
Finally, living space is relative. If you don’t spend a lot of time at home, why would you want a large house that requires cleaning, maintenance and yard work? Get an apartment with efficient use of space and lower utility bills. Let someone else deal with taking care of the space.
Can you imagine a life without all of this excess?