When it comes to housing today, less is the new more. More people are choosing lifestyle over living space and discovering the rewards of living with less—more freedom, more time, more energy. Even more money.
Thinking about downsizing? These pro tips will help you streamline your belongings without guilt or regrets. Whether you’re planning to move to a smaller home, or just want to declutter your space, be prepared to find the process quite liberating.
Choose the keepers
It can be difficult deciding what to get rid of. Instead, decide what to keep, such as everyday essentials and items you simply can’t live without. Then let go of the rest. The fastest, easiest way to get that stuff out of your home, is to donate everything. But you might prefer to take a stab at turning your clutter into cash to help pay down debt, pad your savings account, or finance something on your bucket list.
Ask this critical question
As you consider items, consider their purpose in your present life. Ask yourself: Would I buy this today? Give yourself permission to let go of the past—things you used to love and use—as well as those things you are saving because you think you might need them someday. Most of the stuff we hold on to “just in case” can be replaced easily and inexpensively.
Paper is the number one clutter challenge in even the most organized of homes. Start with the easy stuff. Trash or recycle expired coupons, old restaurant menus and event guides, travel literature and maps, outdated calendars and fliers. Then, if you haven’t already, opt for paperless statements from financial institutions and utility companies. As for important documents and other papers you want to keep, there are apps for that. With Evernote, for example, you can digitally store and organize everything from insurance policies to recipes to articles—and access them anywhere, anytime with your smartphone, tablet or computer.
Think twice before buying
See something you want? Sleep on it and see how you feel in the morning. Is it worth the drive back to the store? Chances are good that you already have something that will suffice. If you’re a shopaholic, make a commitment to buy nothing except essentials for the next 30 days. When you do go shopping, don’t leave home without a list—and stick to it. Paying with cash is another way to make you think twice before buying.
Be grateful for your abundance. If you have clutter, you’re richer than you think. As you pare down your belongings, give thanks for all that has enabled you to have such abundance in your life. Remember that someone, somewhere could really use the stuff that’s just junking up your life.
Do you have any tips to share for those thinking of living with less?
Donna Smallin Kuper is an uncluttering professional who recently downsized from 3,500 square feet to 350 square feet! She writes for eBay about ways to leverage your smartphone to go paperless and consolidate your belongings.