18 Practical Ways to Downsize and Simplify for the New Year

Downsizing can seem crazy overwhelming, especially if you have a lot to do. So many people know they will have a huge weight lifted if they can just get past the clutter, but often never get started because the amount of things that need to be done seem impossible. As an expert declutter-er I have some great tips to help get you started. If you were hoping to have 2018 be your year of more freedom, it can be and it doesn’t have to be hard. Well, one funny thing is about downsizing your stuff is that downsizing other areas of your life actually help with the whole process. I’ve gotten together 18 practical ways to downsize and simplify for the new year to help you start achieving your goals and feeling a little bit less cluttered.

*This post contains affiliate links through which I may make a commission. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Pick one area per week

If you have areas in your house or life that you want to declutter, downsize or simplify, choose one area per week to focus on. Trying to do too much at once will most likely leave you feeling totally overwhelmed and that is the opposite of what simplifying is all about. If you want to start with a room, I have got some of my top recommended posts to help you out.

Unplug one hour per day

Downsizing is often seen as a material problem, but really it can be downsizing your wasted time as well. I know for me personally, the days I spend wasting my time in front of a TV screen, phone or laptop are the days that I’m more likely to be angry and accomplish less in my life. When I fail to step away from screen time, I get crabbier, lazier, more frustrated and I’m also less likely to ever get up and do anything about it.

Take the time to declutter your brain a bit and get some time back on your plate. Maybe get a workout in, take a walk, a nap, meditate. Just find something that allows you to relax and recharge. Because your time is valuable and so are you. (Beat that Mr. Rogers.)

In fact, it’s easier than ever to just switch off your Wifi all around with an outlet remote. Just click a button and your wifi goes off and the whole family can get some real R&R. Looking into a company like, OhmConnect is another great option. They are a company that gives you rewards for saving energy! They offer energy saving events to help you save on the cost of your energy bills and in some states will actually pay you to participate!

Practice mindfulness and meditation

Meditation doesn’t have to be setting aside 20 minutes to burn sage, play chimes and sit cross-legged in a room lit only with candles. Although that sounds like a pretty great time to me. Taking the time to be mindful or meditative can happen anywhere throughout the day. My mother in law always insists on hand washing the dishes by herself after every family gathering. Seriously. It calms her down and gives her a little time to just be still and quiet.

This could be done with your morning coffee or tea, on a walk or…sitting cross-legged in a quiet room lit with only candles. Whatever you choose or wherever you find your quiet, make some time to do it daily if possible. Doing this every day can help you get seriously focused on what you want out of your day so that everything you do is intentional and aligned with what you want most out of life.

Make a capsule wardrobe

A capsule wardrobe is a great way to clear out clutter without being too permanent. This is easily done during the change of seasons. First, of all, take the time to go trough all your clothes and clear any away that  you no longer wear. As the months start to get colder, go through your shorts, tanks and all things summer and fold them up in a big container. Find a good place to store the container for winter. Doing this clears some clutter from your closet and can trick you into feeling like you just bought a whole new wardrobe when it comes time to rotate your outfits again. The best part is, you can do this as often as you want; most people aim for every 3 months which is usually pretty close to the change of seasons throughout the year.

More simplifying posts:

Pay off your debt

Paying off debt is pretty much the greatest way to downsize. Nothing feels more smothering than bills that constantly show up in your mailbox. I personally know the feeling of making large payments toward a credit card only to see that barely any of that money was applied to the full balance because the interest was so high. You feel like you will never win. So, it’s time to get smart and get a strategy going.

If you are feeling totally lost on how to begin budgeting, I have a great Fun Sized Budget Bundle that is designed to quickly and easily get all of your finances together! There are also online sources that will give you a free credit analysis.

Steps for debt payoff

  • Get a loan: Reduce your monthly payments and interest by taking out a loan. It’s quick and easy to apply for FREE online.
  • Get a strategy: Try following my Debt Snowball payoff method. My family and I were able to knock out $6,000 in 6 months!

Smart Money Posts

Save money without trying

Everyone wants more money in their lives for one reason or another. Maybe you’re hoping to take a peaceful vacation this year. Perhaps you’re dreaming of early retirement. Whatever the reason to save, there are different programs available to help you get started right away.

Digit is an app that reviews your spending habits and automatically saves for you. You’ll have a “Rainy Day” savings and you don’t even have to think about it. Better yet, Digit will also help protect you from overdrafts! You set the limit on your account and if it goes below it, Digit will make sure you have enough money in there to keep you covered.

If you are hoping to build a savings bigger than a rainy day, then the Savings Builder savings account through CIT Bank is definitely the smartest choice. For just $100 a month and $100 to open, the CIT Bank Savings Builder will pay you 2.25% in compound interest! Start saving today!

Quit one thing

Yup. Go ahead and quit. There are two things that are no good: being a quitter and being someone who tries to do it all. The most important thing is knowing when to quit and when not to. If you are feeling stressed, overworked and overwhelmed, there is a good chance that you have something in your life that you need to quit. That’s when the little steps like mindfulness and dream boards can be crazy helpful. Do you have things in your life that you are putting big efforts toward that might actually be holding you back from reaching things you want to accomplish? If so, it might be a good idea to get a quitting strategy together.

Posts to help you get there

Plan groceries ahead of time

Taking the time to plan your groceries makes an actual trip to the grocery store much quicker and so much more efficient. It’s easy to get in and get out when you know exactly what you’re going in to get. I often base my purchases off of what coupons or deals are available at the time. See how I double up on rebate apps to save the most money. You can go above and beyond this by doubling coupons or using any additional perks and offers that a store might have. Like Target’s Debit Card that gives you 5% back on all your purchases.

Great food sent right to your door:

If you are like me an love saving as much as you can on your food purchases through coupons, apps and discounts, I also offer a great printout in my Budget Bundle that you can take advantage of and help keep your savings organized!

Make meals in bulk

This one goes hand in hand with planning your groceries ahead of time. Planning out what meals you’re going to make for the week allows you to get a grocery list together so you know what to shop for. I do this while still keeping my coupons and rebates from Ibotta in mind. Preparing meals ahead of time in bulk saves you time throughout the week because you won’t have to constantly think of what to cook. There are less dishes to be done throughout the week this way as well. Meal planning takes a lot of time from one of your days but winds up saving you tons of stress throughout the week.

Of course, meal planning might not be your thing. It’s not for everyone, after all. If that’s the case, there are programs like $5 Meal Plan that literally do all the work for you! They will plan out your meals and get your grocery list together for you! Talk about simplifying! The $5 Meal Plan literally takes all the guess work and stress out of creating healthy meals while still sticking to your budget.

Related posts:

Get rid of unused expenses

If there is some area of your life that you have been spending money on without reaping any of the benefits, it might be time to cut that money sucker from your life. I know Tom and I personally have been contemplating the idea of switching gym memberships. We would get major discounts through his insurance if we switched, enough to save us over $70 per month! In fact, you could start a home gym for the cost of a one month membership.

How to reduce utility costs

There are other places to save, like cable and phone bills. More and more people are ditching cable and opting for services like Netflix or just getting a digital antenna.

Another great way to cut your costs is through downloading Trim. Trim analyzes your frequent bills and finds areas where you could be paying less for your monthly bills.

Get rid of doubles

Get some clutter out of your life by going through your kitchen and bathroom. There might be other places as well, but these two are the most common.

If you have cupboards stacked full of pots and pans, clear out the ones that are the least used or any same sized multiples. Most people have a whole bunch of utensils that are totally unnecessary. Get through those spatulas, spoons, and old plastic cups.

In the bathroom, I know I tend to hoard travel sized shampoos and conditioner that we have brought home from vacations. Things like old perfume containers, lotions I don’t use or even ample amounts of floss (that I probably should have used more of!) Anything that is easily considered excess should head out the door.

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Sell your stuff

Going through your stuff to find things that you can sell is perfect for starting the downsize process and also getting a little extra cash in your pocket. Get stuff together in boxes and start planning a yard sale, maybe even go in on one with a friend. Personally, I am not a fan of the yard sale idea because I wind up just creating heaping piles of crap in the corners of my house for months. Then I have to label everything, make signs, spend money on those signs and then when people don’t buy stuff, I still have to donate it anyway! That’s when the internet comes in handy. There are sites like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace. Personally, I am a big fan of the site Decluttr that makes selling as easy as one trip to the post office. See exactly how to make money with Decluttr.

Simply organize

If you’re taking your time to get your home and stuff organized, why not let the rest of your life follow? In the last year I have gotten seriously organized by using the Simplify + Planner . It has everything from budgeting, fitness, daily schedules and long term goals.  You can read my full review here.

Another great way to consider getting organized is by creating a paperless home! I don’t know about you, but one of my least favorite kinds of clutter is the kind that piles up on the kitchen counters in the form of paperwork! So, do away with all of it for good! Get he full guide to a Paperless Home here

Make inexpensive improvements

My favorite thing in the whole world (ok, I might be exaggerating) is making old things new and improved! My best friend originally introduced me to spray paint and I haven’t looked back since. Spray paint is great for a quick fix like turning a simple glass vase into a more modern pot that fits with my decor.

For bigger projects, my new soft spot is for chalk paint. With chalk paint you can easily take old, boring furniture and make it look brand new and have it fit your decor better. Check out my dresser remodel.

Buy nothing

A great way to practice gratitude is by buying nothing except the necessities. You could try this out for one month or the whole year! Not only would this allow you the chance to be grateful for all that you already have, but it would definitely be a great lesson in discipline!

When it comes to the things you have to buy anyway, there are apps like Dosh. Dosh is an app that links up to your credit cards (or qualifying debit cards) and gives you money back on purchases you make. It works like other cash back apps by refunding you money on qualifying purchases. Only you don’t have to keep track, it scans discounts and gives you money back automatically!

Rearrange your furniture

Another way to avoid spending, but still make your space feel brand new is to try rearranging your furniture in order to make the room feel new and fresh. Keep in mind, you don’t have to limit yourself to one room either. Take a chair from your bedroom and try it out in the living room. Move around side tables, switch up the curtains. The possibilities are endless. Doing this can be a great way to give your home a “fresh start” kind of feeling without spending a dime.

Find free activities

When I think back on my childhood, most of my favorite memories are ones that cost nothing. Things like building snow forts in the back yard with my dad or when my mom would set up a tent in the backyard for my friends and I. Life is seriously an adventure if you choose to see it that way. On weekends where we want to find something to do but are trying to save our money for other adventures, I will Google “free stuff near me.” I can easily find local calendars of events as well as things closer to the cities.

Plan a vacation

What better way to enjoy life than on vacation? I won’t lie, my main purpose for saving money is so that we can go on more worry free vacations. There are still so many ways to do this on a budget as well. Instead of laying them all out here, check out my few vacation posts on how to have the best vacation on the smallest budget!

Use my link to get $40 off your first AirBNB.

Take it easy

Whatever ways you find to downsize or simplify, just make sure you’re being true to you and sticking with your ultimate life goals. Take it easy on yourself. One thing I know for sure, there more pressure I put on myself to enjoy life…the less I seem to enjoy it!

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These practical ways to downsize and simplify into the new year are guaranteed to help you simplify and have a better new year! #simplify #downsize #downsizeandsimplify #minimalist #minimalism #newyear















  1. Emma | 14th Jan 18

    Those are some really good tips for the New Year! I started with a big clear out, and I now use my Bullet Journal to plan everything! Makes life so much easier! I hope you had a great weekend!

    Emma | http://www.violetelm.com

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 14th Jan 18

      Thanks Emma! A bullet journal can really work wonders!

  2. Kristen | 15th Jan 18

    Great tips! I started simplifying things last year and want to continue to this year. I feel like I am making great progress, but I should look into the Target card! LOL!

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 15th Jan 18

      Definitely! I really don’t know why anyone wouldn’t be on board with the Target card. All it is is good! Keep at it Kristen!

  3. Daiana | 15th Jan 18

    Great advice! I’ll try to choose a few and start by those, I think I’ll start by number 4: creating a capsule wardrobe. Sounds interesting!

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 15th Jan 18

      Great! Good luck Daiana!

  4. Kayla | 15th Jan 18

    Love all your ideas! I used to do that trick too, with putting away seasonal clothes, I haven’t for a while! I should definitely re-visit that, I’m sure it will make a world of difference in not feeling so cluttered!

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 15th Jan 18

      After we downsized it kind of became necessary to have enough space to not feel so smooshed.

  5. Jen | 15th Jan 18

    What wonderful tips and many new ideas for me! I love the idea of making a wardrobe capsule!

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 15th Jan 18

      It just makes sense, doesn’t it!?

  6. Deborah | 15th Jan 18

    Thanks for all the tips – great to bring them to the New Year and be reminded of. There are
    many things we can do to downsize! And simplify, simplify!

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 15th Jan 18

      Absolutely! Life is so much better that way!

  7. Melissa Javan | 15th Jan 18

    Damn this is such a great, unpredictable list. I like number 1 and the “quit something” suggestion.

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 15th Jan 18

      Haha thanks. I hope unpredictable is a good thing!

  8. Nicole | 15th Jan 18

    I LOVE the idea to unplug for 1 hour per day!! I’m definitely giving that a try this week 🙂

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 15th Jan 18

      Life can be so much more peaceful without all that extra noise!

  9. Melanie | 15th Jan 18

    These are really great tips! I love the pick one area at a time idea, that will make it so much less overwhelming for me, thank you!

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 15th Jan 18

      Absolutely! I think trying too much of anything right away is an instant plan for failure!

  10. Shanna | 15th Jan 18

    I really liked that you had some unexpected ideas for downsizing and simplifying. I anticipated reading about cutting expenses and not buying stuff but I wasn’t expecting to read about paying off debt so that feeling of burden can be reduced. I also liked the ideas of rearranging furniture and storing out of season clothes – both of these are great ways to trick myself into thinking I’m getting new things without spending more money and racking up debt! Plus it revives the space to bring to light things that I’m ready to part with! This is a great reminder especially right here in time for spring cleaning!!

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 15th Jan 18

      Exactly! I’m so glad you like the list. Downsizing and simplifying mean so much more to me than just material possessions.

  11. Sarah | 15th Jan 18

    Great tips! We’re currently working on cleaning out and organizing since we’re planning on moving this year!

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 15th Jan 18

      Oh, awesome! Good luck on your move!

  12. Carolin | 15th Jan 18

    This is an amazing post. I love the idea of a dream board, I think I actually need to try making one 🙂 Meditation is something that I definitely should do more often!

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 15th Jan 18

      I made my first dream board last year! Being an artsy, visual person it really worked for me!

  13. ShootingStarsMag | 15th Jan 18

    Great ideas! I am hoping to sell some of my books/movies this weekend and hopefully get a little cash. It also helps clear out my room a bit. LOL That $5 Meal Plan looks interesting. I’ll have to check it out.


    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 15th Jan 18

      I LOVE selling old stuff! Not only do I gain, but someone else does too!

  14. Gabby Young | 15th Jan 18

    Your idea of picking one area at a time is something I seriously need to work on. I tend to get overwhelmed with my cleaning and organizing and I’ll work all day but by the time I’m done, it looks like I barely did a thing!

  15. Lydia | 15th Jan 18

    I love these tips!! Especially turning the TV off and practicing mindfulness during chores!

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 16th Jan 18

      Mindfulness is such a huge help if you can find the time to do it!

  16. Katie Scott | 15th Jan 18

    Wow! These are such awesome, actionable tips! I felt like every one of them was something I could easily get started on. In fact, I found myself reaching for a pen to jot down a few that really resonated with me. Great job with this!

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 16th Jan 18

      I’m so glad, Katie. I hope you find some ways to simplify!!

  17. Justine @ Little Dove | 16th Jan 18

    I love these tips so much! I think the ideas of picking one area per week to focus on is huge, and I know the meals in bulk really helps my life as a mom of four a lot easier! I also really love the idea of downsizing your wasted time. I’ve never thought of it that way but it’s so true!

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 16th Jan 18

      Thanks Justine. I think my idea of downsizing covers everything…as you can tell!

  18. jessica lynn | 16th Jan 18

    Holy cow, these are awesome ideas. I really like the idea of limiting time online…I do so much more when I close my laptop and don’t look at my phone. We’re also huge fans of making food in bulk and freezing it. Totally going to try to implement some of these ideas!

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 16th Jan 18

      Same here! I spend a lot of time in front of a laptop so I have to make a conscious effort to get away!

  19. Bailey | 16th Jan 18

    SUCH good tips! Thank you for compiling this.

  20. Mary Leigh | 16th Jan 18

    These are really great tips. I really like your tip to pick one area per week. That can make a huge difference, give you plenty of time and mental space to tackle it and not be so overwhelming!

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 16th Jan 18

      Absolutely! I’m all about slow and steady!

  21. Christine | 16th Jan 18

    Great ideas! I love he reminder to get rid of duplicates and things we don’t use. It’s so easy to let things build up!

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 17th Jan 18

      I know I’m guilty!

  22. Rebecca | 18th Jan 18

    Great Tips! I especially like “Quit 1 thing!”. I know I can think I can do more than I can, but letting go of just one thing makes all the difference!

  23. Jean | DelightfulRepast.com | 19th Jan 18

    Renee, these are very practical and doable ways to downsize and simplify. I know this post is going to make a huge difference for a lot of people!

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 19th Jan 18

      Thanks so much Jean! I’m all about simple ways to be simple!

  24. Amy | 19th Jan 18

    these are great tips, I’ve just put away my seasonal clothes and looking forward to trying out the rest of your ideas?

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 19th Jan 18

      Yay! My husband is very good at the seasonal clothes change. I myself need a little work. I’m too cold all the time so I get anxiety packing away sweaters! haha

  25. Marsha | 21st Jan 18

    Downsizing from 35 years here and contemplating a move to I dependent living…all you young people are way more energized than me and so inspirational. Thanks for being helpful and getting me more able to tackle one room at a time.

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 21st Jan 18

      Keep at it Marsha! I helped my grandparents clear their home of many years and my aunt is currently clearing hers as well! It definitely takes a lot of work. Best of luck to you in your new phase of life!

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