Personal Improvement 

Downsize Your Life for the New Year

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A new year often represents a new beginning. One of the best ways to start off the new year right is to think about how you can downsize life a little bit.

This isn’t just about moving to a smaller home. It’s about looking at your lifestyle, and figuring out how you can make it a little bit simpler. As you consider what you want your life to look like going forward, it might be time to downsize a little bit.

Cut the Clutter

One of the best ways to downsize your life is to cut the physical clutter throughout your home. Cut the clutter in your home, and you’ll immediately feel the positive effects. First of all, look around. Does everything in your house have a place and a purpose? If not, consider tossing it out. Think about why you want to keep something, from that grilled cheese sandwich maker that you never use, to that knick-knack that you don’t particularly care to look at.

Get rid of your clutter by selling, donating it, or even tossing it (especially if it is not usable). Your home will feel more open, and you’ll feel better about life in general.

Learn to Say No

Sometimes, the downsizing needs to take place in terms of your general busy-ness. Do you really need to participate in all those activities? Are you really accomplishing anything? Being productive is not the same thing as being busy. You can run from meeting to meeting, frantically in motion, and not really progress in anything meaningful in your life.

What you end up with is a life so full of activities and bustle that you may not spend quality time with the people you love. Or you might not have time for you. This is a problem if you want to feel as though you do something that matters with your life.

If you want more time for you, for family, and for the most important things, learn to say no. Figure out which activities are most important for your family, from extracurricular activities for the kids, to realistically assessing whether or not you can take on one more duty. The say no to the things that aren’t helping you progress the way you want to in life.

Spend Less

Another good way to downsize is to reevaluate your spending. Perhaps it’s time to downsize your finances. It’s easy for finances to become bloated with unused subscriptions, unnecessary expenses, and an overabundance of stuff. You’ve decluttered your home, but will your spending habits just fill it up again?

Decide how you want to direct your resources, and get a solid idea of how you can reduce spending on the unimportant things and use your money more profitably for things that are actually important to you. You might be surprised at one you do without in terms of what you have been wasting money on.

There is no reason to stress yourself with a life that includes large amounts of activities and things that aren’t important to you. Downsize your life this year, and improve its quality drastically.

(Photo: mullica)

{ 8 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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8 Responses to “Downsize Your Life for the New Year”

  1. Jim M says:

    This is a huge part of my personal philosophy. My favorite day of the week is trash day and one of my favorite places is the dump.

  2. admiral58 says:

    The last one is the hardest for me. Spending less is certainly difficult.

  3. Although we also observe “spring Cleaning Day”, the cleaning that we do on this day is not as much as what I do during December. I do my annual general cleaning every December, before the year ends. For 2011, I gave away old clothes and bags that we are no longer using. I also donated to our favorite charity the coffee maker we never used. It was given as a gift to us two years ago but we prefer to use our old one.

  4. Shirley says:

    I am definitely a big fan of cutting the clutter. If we don’t use it, I see no reason to have it. The way that works best for me is to take one room at a time and go through it quite thoroughly, consciously squelching my tendency to think “but what if…”.

    Each room is its own ‘project’ and I don’t feel overwhelmed. Each project completed is a great feeling of accomplishment.

  5. BrianC says:

    “Being productive is not the same thing as being busy.” Very true, and something I need to remind myself of often.

  6. jsbrendog says:

    I have a bunch of clothes and stuff I want to get rid of but in NYC it is hard to find dropoffs or places to donate them that are close, or open during times when I’m not sitting at a desk.

    • Megan E. says:

      @ jsbrendog – in NYC it’s easy if you don’t want the tax write-off, just find someone begging and hand it all over, they will figure out what to do with it.

      If you want to donate it for a tax-write off/more officially, a lot of charities (like goodwill, salvation army, etc) will have a “pick-up” that they come to your place and get the items (especially for larger things). Finally, check with a local store and they may have a program.

  7. Julie says:

    De-cluttering your finances is so important. Just like with the “stuff” we collect over the years we often keep expenses for much longer than required and in some cases pick up expenses that we don’t even need. For example, my home phone bill. I have been paying this for the last 4 years but neither of us actually pick it up when it rings knowing it will be a telemarketer. We know our friends/family will call our cell first so why bother with the home phone. That reminds me I am calling them today to shut that down!

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