If you’ve caught any of the “tiny living” TV shows that have become popular lately, you might’ve found yourself staring longingly at the screen once or twice, thinking “Wow, that would be pretty awesome to only own a room’s worth of stuff…”
Which is rather funny actually when you think about it, because it pretty much directly opposes the “American Dream.”
But these days, more and more Americans are finding themselves disillusioned with the never-ending quest to acquire more STUFF and are instead daydreaming about what it would be like to own less.
The good news though, is downsizing doesn’t have to just be the makings of daydreams and fairytales.
Even if you aren’t ready (or interested) to take a big step like moving into a tiny house, there are plenty of ways you can start downsizing right now where you are at.
1. Clean Out Your Closet
Although this could be taken both literally and figuratively, we’ll just tackle the literal interpretation for right now.
Whether you live in 100 square feet or 1,000 square feet, chances are, you could probably stand to get rid of some of your wardrobe. That’s not to say you have bad taste. It’s just a fact that most of us only wear about 20% of our wardrobe. That means, the other 80% just hangs there and takes up space.
We hold onto things because they used to look good on us, they might look good on us again one day or we wish they looked good on us. Because we “should” wear them, we “used to” wear them and about 1,000 other excuses that really all boil down to the same truth: WE DON’T WEAR THEM.
So take a honest, hard look at your closet and get rid of everything that you don’t actually wear or haven’t touched in the last six months. I can pretty much guarantee you will be shocked at the size of the pile that comes out of there (it’s rather like a clown car, the way it just keeps coming out…), but you’ll be glad in the end.
2. Go Paperless
Let’s face it. Paper takes up a lot of space… receipts, recipes, bills, files, the list goes on and on. But one easy way to start downsizing and decluttering right away is to go paperless. Don’t let that word scare you. With all the technologies available today, it is actually a lot easier to go this route and still feel assured that you’ll have access to the documents that you need.
Investing in a quality document scanner will allow you to scan bills and other documents as they arrive and scan receipts as you make purchases, so you can then shred the paper copies. The electronic files can then be stored in a filing system on your computer (or the cloud), allowing for easy access and less clutter!
You can even scan your favorite recipes out of old cookbooks, magazine clippings with decor ideas or book recommendations or even old love notes if you’re the sentimental type.
The point is, if you were to have the unfortunate luck of having a fire in your home tomorrow, you would lose all of those “important” documents anyway. So why not determine what is really important, store that in a fire-proof safe and then scan the rest.
Then you can even donate your filing cabinet!
3. Get Rid of All Those Books
Again, if you’re like the average American, you’ve probably accumulated quite the collection of books over time. It’s just something that we seem to do. In fact, I haven’t met a friend yet who hasn’t had several ridiculously heavy boxes of books to carry when I help them move.
But the truth of the matter is, if you’re not running a bookstore or a library out of your home, then you don’t need to keep 100’s of books. Are you really planning to read and re-read all of them? Most likely not. Especially now that you can read pretty much any book you want on an e-reader.
So, keep a few of your favorites that you do go back to or maybe a few that have sentimental value and then donate the rest. Or take them to one of those buy-and-sell bookstores and make some instant cash.
Maybe then you can use those crisp new bills to buy yourself a Kindle.
Are you ready to take the plunge and start downsizing all of your “stuff”? Jenn Baxter’s new e-course collection, De-Clutter, De-Tox, De-Stress, will help you every step of the way. Plus you’ll learn how to clean up what you put in and on your body and how to start living a simpler, more meaningful life!
Class begins on March 14th, so check it out now!