Before the Great Recession, life in the U.S. followed a “bigger is better” motto. The houses were McMansions, the cars were huge, and life was just generally about who had the biggest stuff. Since that time, even though the economy has recovered in most ways and Millennials have started their own thriving careers, there’s a tendency among more people to want to live simply.
From foregoing luxury resorts in lieu of renting an RV from a peer-to-peer site like Outdoorsy to the tiny house movement, people appreciate the simplicity of life in more ways.
So, how can you start downsizing and simplifying your life to save money, save time and enjoy being in the present?
Cut Recurring Bills
A lot of us have monthly payments and subscriptions that are completely unnecessary. One of the first steps you can take in your quest to have a simpler life is to end these. For example, are you paying a gym membership you don’t use, or paying for cable even though there are cordless alternatives? Do a thorough assessment of those recurring charges that are mindlessly being drafted from your bank account, and see what you can cut out.
It’s an empowering place to start, and it can help you be more motivated to make changes in other areas as well.
Purge Every Few Months
We’ve all heard of spring cleaning, but it can be a lot less overwhelming and more beneficial to do a purge of all that unnecessary stuff every few months, rather than once a year. If you have kids, their rooms can be a good place to start since they quickly outgrow clothes, toys, and books.
You can then do your own closets and just look for any areas of your home where you have clutter that you don’t need. Keep your home regularly purged and you’ll feel more like you can breathe easier in your own space.
Practice Saying No
A lot of times our lives feel cluttered not even because of our physical possessions but because we overextend ourselves, whether it’s at work, social commitments, or activities for our kids. Focus on clearing your schedule from unnecessary commitments, and think about saying no more often.
That doesn’t mean you say no to everything, but downsize your schedule to include only the events that are really important to you.
It’s important to live a simple but fulfilling life that your time is well-spent in ways that you find enjoyable, not that you feel obligated to.
Take Real Vacations
Finally, in our society, the idea of a vacation isn’t so much relaxing. It’s more about spending a lot of money, often adding to your debt, and maximizing every second of the time you’re away. You feel like you spent a ton of money, so you want to squeeze every conceivable experience out of it. Rethink how you vacation.
Simplify your trips, spend less money, and focus on things like enjoying your family and nature. A truly restful, relaxing and unplugged vacation will do wonders for clearing your mind, helping you prioritize and changing your perspective.