Personal Finance

7 Ways to Downsize Your Lifestyle

We take on a lot in our lives. I don’t just mean responsibilities, either — I’m talking about all of the things that we carry with us from day to day, week to week, whether it’s debt or the myriad of material items that are weighing us down. These things may vary from person to person, but if you’re one of these millions of people who have chosen to complicate their lives with unnecessary burdens, then you’re going to want to give this article a good read.

The decision to downsize one’s life usually spurred by some significant event such as a divorce, a move for a job, or the loss of one’s home. These incidents are often the wake up call we need to minimize the chaos that is cluttering our lives when. Unfortunately, sometimes this comes the hard way after your oversized lifestyle has already cost you in one way or another.

1. Take a Life Inventory

Downsizing can be achieved through any number of methods- a tighter spending budget, moving into a smaller home, or just clearing out the current place in which you live because everything is holding you back from progression in your life. It’s time to assess your situation. What do you need and what is superfluous? What are you still holding on to that you can now let go of in your life? Once you start asking the right questions you might just find you have a lot on your plate that doesn’t need to be there.

2. Set a Plan for Achieving Your Goal

They say a goal without a plan is a wish, so instead of wishing you could downsize your life, set an agenda for accomplishing the task. This starts with you identifying the kind of life you want to live. Decide on what’s important to you now. What are the values and motivations that you consider the most essential in your life at this moment. Only after you’re able to define your goals can you begin to locate the excesses that exist. This will help empower you to excise any unnecessary elements.

3. Minimize Your Home

How much space do you really need? The answer may surprise you. Maybe the home in which you live now is just too large. There are too many rooms you’re not using, too much stuff packed into areas of your home that you haven’t visited since you can’t remember. Your large home is probably proving to be a drain on your finances, too, as you’re spending money to heat and power rooms that are nothing more than storage for belongings and furniture that you aren’t using.

Moving out of that large residence is a great way to downsize. Only you know how much space you actually require. Find a place that better suits the plan you’ve made for reaching your life goals; it might be smaller than the home you’re currently living in.

4. Purge Your Stuff

The clutter in your life can manifest itself in various ways, none more glaring than the heaps of material objects that have piled up around you on bookshelves, cabinets, closets, dressers, and display cases in your home. You might even have more boxes of stuff stacked in the garage and basement and an attic filled with old items that you’ve been unable to release for whatever reason. It’s all weighing you down and, if you’ve decided that it is indeed time to move, do you really want to drag all of it with you?

The answer is no. So if you are moving or even if you’re not, one great way to downsize is to literally lighten your load. Donate clothes, have a garage sale, or throw out the junk you don’t use anymore. Take it even further by purging furniture or appliances that you don’t need…and for pete’s sake, get rid of any broken or outdated electronics that are still hanging around!

5. Spend Less

Downsizing also means taking a closer look at your monthly spending budget. Finding ways to tighten your belt will help you minimize your life and prevent the clutter from returning to your home. Buying fewer things, spending less on your monthly necessities, simplifying your financial burden – these are all great ways to downsize your life.

Consider the amount of credit cards you own and assess your debt responsibilities, developing a method by which to pay them off quicker will go a long way towards streamlining to fit the life you want. Then cut up the cards you don’t need, limiting yourself to one or two at most.

6. Prioritize What Matters Most

Now that you’ve decided what needs to go, start to focus on what needs to stay. Downsizing isn’t just about letting go and getting rid of, it’s also about retaining the essentials. Those essentials are determined by the new life requirements and goals that you’ve drawn up in your plan.

Focusing your resources on the things that matter are as big a part of this process as the clearing away of the excess. If you want your home to look a certain way, devote your time to decorating it just so. Maybe you’ve cleaned out all of the old clothes in your closet and now it might be time to get some new stuff. Now that you have a new life planned out, begin to outfit it accordingly.

7. Don’t Fall Back into Old Habits

Now that you’ve downsized your life, continue to live along this path for the future. Stay cognizant of old lifestyle habits where you bought things you didn’t need, kept items that no longer represented any real value, and any other routines that lead to a life of burden and excess. If you have truly decided to downsize, then this shouldn’t be too difficult for you to accomplish.

But as they say, old habits die hard, so re-assess and evaluate your life at periodic intervals. Maybe once a month or twice a year, get in touch with yourself and be sure that you’re living the life you planned before you started this process. It will help you persevere and stay dedicated to a simpler life.

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