How to Downsize Your Life and Not Just Your Stuff

Minimalism is meant to be about more than just the possessions that you own or the possessions that you let go of. It’s about a mindset, a way of life. Minimalism should help you to live an all-around simpler existence. But beyond downsizing your home or decluttering your stuff, how can you downsize your life? What changes can you make that can have a ripple effect on everything else? There is one simple word that can help you out in 3 major areas of your life.

*This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures

The magic word is…”No.”

Get ready because up ahead we have a lot of different ways we are going to practice saying, “NO.”

This word can literally change your life if you allow it to. 

Now, I don’t mean running around saying no to everything or turning yourself into an anit-social hermit. The word, no, however, can have some serious benefits if you learn to use it right.

The No Mindset

The first thing you need to remember is that saying “no” does not make you a bad person. It can actually make you a better person.

The more you start saying no to things in your life that you don’t need or want, the more you can say yes to things that truly bring you joy.

Let go of any guilt that you feel over this word and start to embrace what possibilities would open up if you started using it more. It can be the best way to downsize your life.

A downsized life is right on the other side of the word no just waiting for you! Ok, that sounded corny…

You can downsize your stuff, sure. But, can you downsize your life in other areas? There is one special word that can help you in 3 major life areas.
The more you start saying no to things in your life that you don’t need or want, the more you can say yes to things that truly bring you joy.

Say no to debt

Drowning in clutter and stuff can make us feel panicky, hopeless and stressed.

Drowning in debt offers up those exact same feelings.

No one wants to live their lives feeling like they are shelling out their hard earned cash to debt collectors, credit cards or car payments.

If any of your goals require you to have financial freedom, now is the time to buckle down and get serious about demolishing your debt.

How to say “No” to debt:

  1. If you have a lot of loans (especially with high-interest rates) you might consider taking out a loan with a lower interest. This can help lower your monthly payments and decrease the amount you pay in interest. Therefore, you can pay the debt off sooner.
  2. Build up a secure $1,000 emergency fund so you won’t be tempted to get into deeper credit card debt during your debt payoff.
  3. Use the Debt Snowball method. To begin knocking out your debt.

Living a life where you don’t owe your money to anyone can open up a world of opportunity.

Related posts:

Say no to a full schedule

Like most people these days, you probably have some seriously jam-packed days. Whether you are working, have kids, go to school, or all of the above. One thing people tend to do is get away with saying yes to everything.

It gets exhausting.

When your schedule is already full, saying no can be one of the most freeing things you’ll ever do.

Things you can say “no” to:

  • Social events.
  • Playdates.
  • Extra hours.
  • Helping a friend.
  • Volunteering.

Whatever it is, whatever the extra addition to your schedule, chances are you have an idea of the areas in your schedule where you need to downsize your life.

Schedule clearing posts:

The more you start saying no to things in your life that you don't need or want, the more you can say yes to things that truly bring you joy.

Say no to expectations

Now this one can be tough.

What expectations are you putting on yourself that are just plain unrealistic?

Are there expectations someone else is putting on you that are unrealistic?

Time to let go of all of them.

Putting high expectations on ourselves can easily add stress where stress is not needed.

One huge way to avoid the stress of this is to just totally own up to your limits. Be honest about what you can and cannot handle and proceed accordingly.

Have you ever considered setting the bar lower?

Big goals are great, but the reality is that it takes a lot of tiny goals before you make your way to a big goal.

So, what is one small goal you can set for yourself today instead of piling a ton of stuff on your to-do list and then either accomplishing none or just half-heartedly doing some of them.

Saying “no” means saying “yes.”

If you say “no” to volunteering at your child’s school, you may be saying yes to 1 hour of quiet alone in your house. Never underestimate the power of doing nothing.

Minimalism requires a lot of saying no. It’s all about priorities and knowing what yours are. To start to downsize your life, I promise you no will be the word that can do it all for you.

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You can downsize your stuff, sure. But, can you downsize your life in other areas? There is one special word that can help you in 3 major life areas.


  1. jacqueline garcia | 14th Nov 17

    what such a great post ! (:

    • | 14th Nov 17

      Thanks so much! Have a great day!

  2. Gloria Harvley | 14th Nov 17

    More people should read this! It’s so hard to let go of our thought process sometimes to be MORE than we can do actually do. We try to be Superwoman without realizing that we already are. Definitely going to use this as a reminder to let more things go.

    • | 14th Nov 17

      Exactly. I’m glad I’m not the only guilty one. Let it go.

  3. Erika | 14th Nov 17

    First of all, I love the GIF from Pitch Perfect and second, this is something I meant to dive whole heartedly into this year but only made baby steps. This is my top priority for 2018. Happy mind = happy life.

    • | 15th Nov 17

      Haha Thanks Erika. You have totally got this, I have no doubt! 2018 will be your year…until 2019, of course!

  4. Donyell | 15th Nov 17

    This is a great post to read before starting the new year! Definitely sharing this!!

    • | 15th Nov 17

      Great! So glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing. Have a great day and a super amazing (peaceful) new year!

  5. Kim | 15th Nov 17

    I needed to read all of that about expectations! Oh man that spoke to my soul. Thanks for sharing this. I’m pretty minimalist when it comes to my stuff, but clutter can come in MANY forms.

    • | 15th Nov 17

      I absolutely can! I’m glad you found it helpful. We all need these little reminders sometimes!

  6. Ngumabi | 15th Nov 17

    This post has made me understand better the need to minimize
    I used to think that it all about living on a few things and this made me fear minimalism
    Thanks for this

    • | 15th Nov 17

      Yes. People can definitely take it that far, but really, it’s just about living a little bit more simply.

  7. Oh to Be a Muse | 15th Nov 17

    I can definitely relate to the full schedule hard pass. I sometimes have days of the week that seem way more jam-packed than other days. But every time I read the word “downsizing” in this post it reminds me of the new Matt Damon movie coming out. Have you seen previews for it? It’s all about downsizing in a funny way.

    • | 15th Nov 17

      Oh man! I will be Googling that right now!

  8. Tom | 15th Nov 17

    I can relate to every point, a great read!

    • | 15th Nov 17

      Thanks so much Tom. Have a great day!

  9. Holly | 15th Nov 17

    This is a great post! Expectations would def be the hardest one for me to give up. I put so much pressure on myself which causes stress and anxiety. Especially during this busy holiday season! I need to let some of it go.

    • | 15th Nov 17

      Yes! Let it go!! I used to be/kind am the same way. I’m working on it. Hope you can too because you are already awesome! Whoop whoop!

  10. jill conyers | 16th Nov 17

    My husband have been working on minimizing life over the past year. The next step is right-sizing to a new home. Following your Pinterest board 🙂

    • | 16th Nov 17

      That is so exciting! It has been a little over a year since we “right sized” (I like that!) and life has seriously taken off. Good luck to you as you head toward your next phase!

  11. Luci | 16th Nov 17

    I have been meaning to minimalize for a long time but I can’t find the time to do so.

    • | 16th Nov 17

      I dream of a job where I can declutter people’s houses for them. Haha. Hope you can make some time soon!

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