1. Stuff, Junk, Knickknacks, tchotchkes and/or trinkets. All of those things you’ve collected over the years that are just collecting dust. You don’t use them, they aren’t adding any joy to your life and they have become things that take up real estate that need cleaned. When I first started the process of downsizing this was the easiest place to start. I eliminated all of the things I knew for sure that I didn’t need. Once those items were cleared I promised myself to continue to eliminate at least one box a week. At first this was still pretty easy, it wasn’t until I had given away everything that I didn’t care about that it became much harder. I found myself thinking about each item and finding someone who I thought would enjoy it. My foodie items went to friends who loved to cook. My artwork went to friends who would appreciate it.
2. Services/bills. This takes a little bit of mental work and a few uncomfortable phone calls but is well worth it! Look at the services you pay for and assess each one. Do you really need that satellite or cable bill? How often do you use it? What about that monthly subscription you bought but haven’t looked at in months. Cancel anything you don’t use and monitor how often you use the services you do pay for and decide whether they are worth keeping. I chose to keep my Costco membership because of the cheap gas, propane and certain food items. You may have a similar membership that saves you money in the long run.
3. Food costs. This is an easy one for me! Even though I absolutely love food and enjoy eating out it is easy for me to tell myself that I don’t want to eat my pay check. I stopped eating out except for a special occasion with a friend. I started buying bags of dry beans rather than cans. Now this is where it gets tricky. If you have the space (like I originally did) you can buy in bulk from Costco and save a lot of money. If you eat meat you can buy giant loins of pork or beef and slice them into chops or steaks and freeze. The giant bags of frozen vegetables are an amazing deal at Costco same with the huge bags of rice and sauces (like pesto, Curries or tomato). If on the other hand, you have already downsized your space you need to do a combo of bulk buying for dry products and shop more regularly for fresh products (I find it’s still cheaper to buy certain items in bulk and stop at a store every few days for fresh produce).
4. Home/rental/ living expenses. At some point you will have eliminated so much stuff that you realize you have too much space. You can either downsize to something smaller like I did or you can rent out that space for extra income. Either way you as an individual are taking up less space and possibly creating enough space for another like minded person to live simply as well.
5. Anything or anyone you see out of obligation rather than enjoyment. I think this happens naturally as your lifestyle changes. You realize that your values have changed and you meet other people who have similar values. I’m not suggesting that you change all of your friends but in my case I realized just how many people I was seeing out of obligation or tradition and not because I was excited to see them. You start thinking of the things you enjoy and start aligning your life up with those things. In my case it also involved a change of career.
6. Negativity. I’m not sure if this is another thing that just happens organically as you change your lifestyle or if maybe you need to make an effort for this to happen. In my case, once I eliminated the things and people I had obligations with and started making more life choices that aligned with my values I found that any negativity disappeared completely from my life. I am so much more aware of anyone complaining or being negative around me and find myself pointing it out or asking them about it. It gives me the opportunity to share what I have learned, how I have changed and what has worked for me.
I really hope this helps you on your journey. If you have other ideas that may help someone else please share them in the comments so that we can all learn from each other. Thank you for taking the time to read this and if you like it please consider subscribing to this blog.