18 Practical Ways to Downsize and Simplify for the New Year

When people think about downsizing, they often imagine it as decluttering or minimalist living. In reality, there are so many ways you can downsize and simplify your life that have nothing to do with your stuff. However, it’s important to remember that clutter plays a huge roll in your mental health and can be crazy helpful when you want to simplify all areas of your life. Today I have got 18 practical ways to start downsizing and simplifying your life without stressing you out.

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

Ditch one thing on your calendar

Whenever I tell this to people, most people instantly know something they would take off their calendar. Unfortunately, we can’t easily scratch off all of our commitments, but this is me giving you permission to get started now.

Look at your last month’s calendar and decide what felt like your biggest time consumer. Something you really didn’t enjoy doing. Now, make a plan for how to get that off your calendar for good.

In some cases removing pesky tasks from your calendar could be as simple as making a phone call or sending an email. Other things may take time, but you will be happier once you get to delete that event from your calendar!

If you’re struggling to juggle all of the different things on your calendar and to-do list, it might also be worth it to look into a Simple Planner that helps you keep everything in one place!

18 ways to downsize and simplify your life

Remove one app from your phone

Let me tell you, I used to get so sucked into the wide world of Facebook, it was almost frightening. I would spend hours just scrolling mindlessly and when I managed to pull myself away, I felt like crap.

Don’t do this!!

If you have an app on your phone that is distracting you from actually living your life, delete it for a week. See how you feel at the end of that week.

Make a note of how many times you reach for your phone! Once that app is not available you will become highly aware of how much you actually rely on it!! 5 Tips for Less Phone Time This summer

Automate your tasks

Are there certain tasks that you feel like you have to cram into your day or certain things you dread doing? Consider finding a way to automate them.

Of course, I understand not all of us can just flip the bill for a full-time maid. But, what about a Roomba? Yeah, most of us can’t afford that either!

While your budget not be crazy high for paying for help, consider paying a neighbor kid to mow your lawn or start picking up your groceries!

Taking the time to automate these small time-consuming tasks can make your life so much easier. And, if it’s saving you time and sanity, it might be worth it it costs a little extra cash. Get my best cash-saving tips!

Enjoy your night in

Let’s face it, sometimes a night out feels impossible when you are balancing work, family and your sanity. Trying to get out of the house can suck your time, money, and energy in a big way.

So whether or not you are planning a date night or just wanting to treat yourself to a night-in to relax, try making an event of it.

Doing something like having a Gobble meal delivered that you can make with a glass of wine can be a lot more fun and relaxing experience than Netflix and Chill. But you can still do it in your PJs! (wink, wink)

These practical ways to downsize your life and simplify are easy to start and can make huge changes in your life. Plus, you can start them today!
Make a Gobble meal at home with a glass of wine!

Empty your junk drawer

Ok, so no one really sees the junk drawer and maybe you’re happy to just have all the crap in there hidden away without giving it a second thougt.

However, the junk drawer holds a superpower in your home that you’re probably not aware of. It has the power of spiraling you into getting motivated to declutter a little more.

Starting with easy-to-clean spots in your home can encourage you to keep going and help you get psyched about the idea of having less crap piling up in your home! How to Downsize Your House One Room at a Time.

Ditch screens one hour earlier

Just like clutter itself, too much screen time can up your stress levels in a big way. Especially before bed.

Movies, TV, social media and screens in general can mess with your sleep patterns and increase that before bed anxiety.

So make it easy on yourself and try cutting screens one hour earlier than you normally do! That means if you fall asleep with the TV on, try intentionally turning I off at a certain time.

Not sure what to do with your spare time? Studies show that reading 6 minutes before bed can improve the quality of your sleep in a big way! So, you could give that a try! And I mean, 6 minutes…that’s pretty simple.

These practical ways to downsize your life and simplify are easy to start and can make huge changes in your life. Plus, you can start them today!
Reading 6 minutes before bed can improve the quality of your sleep.

Create a donate bin

Instead of trying to have big moments of decluttering and cleaning, why not have a permanent donate bin?

This way, as you go through your day, when you come across something you no longer want, you can toss it in the donate bin. By the end of the month you’ll have one bin already prepared for donations!

Don’t stress, a donate bin doesn’t have to be a big eyesore in your home either. Here are some great examples of aesthetically pleasing donate bins that you could use.

Great time-saving posts:

18 ways to downsize and simplify your life

Rotate your clothes

If you are someone (like me) who tends to be crazy indecisive when it comes to what to wear every day, try rotating your clothes seasonally or trying a capsule wardrobe like Project 333.

Simplifying your wardrobe can declutter your closet space and reduce the time it takes you to get ready in the morning!

This can also be a great way to experiment with getting rid of certain clothing items. You don’t have to commit to donating right away. Try living without certain items for a while and then see if you miss them at all! If not, you can add them to your donate bin!

Automate your savings

Saving money automatically every month can help simplify your life in so many areas and reduce stress. Some of the biggest benefits of setting up automatic savings are:

  • Build an emergency fund
  • Create a vacation savings
  • Stress-less about spending
  • Avoid temptation of spending instead of saving
  • One less thing on your to-do list!

Our family personally has several CapitalOne360 savings accounts set up. However, if you struggle with saving, the Savings Builder account through CITBank can be incredibly helpful. When you set up automatic deposits every month, you get to take advantage of their highest interest rate!!

*Side notes: set up a savings separate from your current bank and be sure to take advantage of ones with higher-paying interest rates so you make money while you save! The best savings accounts to have.

Have a card for fun money

If you struggle trying to keep all of your budget numbers in check or are terrible at estimating how much you’ve already spent, I highly recommend opening a Cash App account for your fun spending!

When you spend money with the Cash App, you can easily check the app to see how much money you have left to spend! This can prevent you from having to constantly add up your spending, or worse yet, spend too much!

Do this for the areas of your budget that you love to spend on (and maybe go a little overboard)! Like shopping, dining out or even treating your friends!

These practical ways to downsize your life and simplify are easy to start and can make huge changes in your life. Plus, you can start them today!
Use the Cash App for your out-to-eat expenses instead of your debit or credit card!

Rotate your subscription services

Just like with clothing, having too many options to watch on TV can add way more stress to your life than you might know!

Instead save yourself some time, stress and cash by rotating your subscriptions. Try hanging onto Netflix for 3 months, then switch to Hulu, after that try Disney+.

This way you have less shows you feel obligated to watch and more money in your pocket!

Get rid of doubles

One of the fastest and easiest ways to get rid of clutter (and fast) is to start by getting rid of any doubles you have in your home. What I mean by doubles are things like:

  • Spatulas
  • Pots and pans
  • Crock pots
  • Coffee mugs
  • Utensils
  • Bathroom products

We tend to hang onto a lot of extras in areas where we just don’t need to. Chance are, you have “favorites” of these things anyway. Why not try selling or donating your least-used items instead?

Turn off notifications

When we hear a little “ping” message notification from our phone, our brains get a quick shot of endorphins. Like a quick drug high. This of course means, we stand the chance of becoming addicted to our phones!

Not only do we run the chance of becoming dependent on our phones, but every time we hear and answer a notification, we are taken out of the present moment.

Being present in everything we do allows us the opportunity to fully appreciate the now.

We allow ourselves to be fully present, slowed down and uninterrupted when we take back our air space. Here’s how to turn off iPhone notifications.

These practical ways to downsize your life and simplify are easy to start and can make huge changes in your life. Plus, you can start them today!
Phone notifications can give us a false sense of joy (which means they have the power to take it away too!)

Practice once-a-day gratitude

If you are someone who loves the idea of journals and gratitude but just can’t seem to get the hang of it, try simplifying it!

Instead of jotting down all of your feelings and emotions, why not try one single sentence each day that reminds you of one thing you are thankful for.

I read about once-a-day gratitude in the book, Hold on But Don’t Hold Still. This simple practice doesn’t take up a lot of time but stands to benefit you greatly in the gratitude department.

Stop texting. Start talking.

Instead of just typing out that next text, why not try talking it out instead? No, I don’t mean send your spouse a talking message reminding them to pick up the milk.

Next time you think of someone out of the blue or want to send a thoughtful, kind message via text, try sending a voice memo instead.

Voice memos can be a much quicker way to spread a little love through someone’s text message inbox. It’s more thoughtful and it takes less time!

https://www.instagram.com/the.fun.sized.life

Adopt a simplifying habit

What if your entire life, every single day could become a little bit simpler? Well, friend, it totally can if you work at adopting new habits.

Simplified life habits could be things like:

  • Drinking more water
  • Making your bed
  • Washing your face
  • Putting clothes in the hamper
  • Taking walk with your dog

So often we look at things like this as burdens. They become something more we have to do on top of everything else. I challenge you to flip this mindset a little.

If you are struggling with your digestive system or lack of energy, making a habit of water could save you from constant Google searches, making coffee throughout the day or even some serious doctor appointments.

Putting your clothes in the hamper will prevent you from that before-work panic where you can’t find anything because your room is such a mess.

Simple habits can be life-changing and how we can change them is actually pretty interesting! If you are curious about how to start changing, I highly recommend you read, The Power of Habit.

Declutter one area

If you are feeling overwhelmed by the clutter throughout your entire house, consider just decluttering one spot at a time. This doesn’t even have to be one room at a time!

Start with your dresser drawers, make your way to the closet. Then, try under the bed. Decluttering doesn’t have to be a grand day-long event. It can be something that you dedicate 20 minutes to each day.

Doing this will still drastically change your day to day simplicity.

Avoid energy-sucking people

This one might be the hardest thing on the entire list but it can be the one that has the greatest benefit!

Clearing our lives from negative people allows us to take back our own lives, freedom, and energy!

I’m not saying you need to go cold turkey and just start ignoring or blocking all of the people in your life that you don’t like. But, you can set healthy boundaries, and you definitely don’t have to go out of your way to spend time with those who syphon your energy.

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18 ways to downsize and simplify your life
18 ways to downsize and simplify your life

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47 COMMENTS

  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.

    -Lauren

    • 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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