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Tips On Downsizing and Decluttering

Living small means more than giving up STUFF and SPACE, it means changing your mindset on what is needed in life. We have this idea that we “need” all this stuff in our lives, but once you are living without these things you think you “need”, you become more aware this is not the case.

After a year and a half of downsizing and living full time in an RV, I can honestly say I don’t miss anything I have gotten rid of. There are some things we did store and keep that can not be replaced per say, but I couldn’t tell you most of what’s in those boxes. We are in the process of going through those boxes once again to downsize.

Before this journey, downsizing meant I would go through all my stuff, get rid of all the “junk” in my life, and live happily ever after clutter free! I wish I could tell you that was how that story turned out, but unfortunately this is not a minimalist Disney story.

To my surprise, downsizing and decluttering is a continuous process.

With that being said, I tell on myself by saying DOWNSIZING IS HARD! I am an emotional person and parting ways with people or things can literally leave me short of breath.

Have you ever dropped things off at Goodwill only to walk inside and buy even more than you parted with? Yup. I’ve been there. But I’m a recovering stuff-a-holic and here are a few thoughts that have helped me along the way:

The Best Way to Organize is to Eliminate

I’m probably told this on a daily basis by the organization machine known as my husband. I’m sure he read it in one of the many books he read on this topic.

If you think about it, the less you own the less there is to sort and put away. This has been a huge eye-opener to me as I have struggled over the years with organizing. Eliminating as much as you can leaves open space for the important everyday things we need to access and enjoy!

Do I Love It?

I love to shop. Retail therapy is a bad habit of mine and I am the first to admit I will purchase things when I am stressed. I have no idea why, but shopping and purchasing items helps me feel better. I don’t want my joy to be placed in “things”, so this is something I have struggled with over the years. I have learned to ask myself the question, “Do I Love It?”

Asking “Do I Love It?” has saved me from making multiple nonessential purchases. While shopping pre-RV living, if I liked something or thought it was cute, I bought it. That’s how I ended up with an entire room for a closet while living in our house.

Now when I shop, I really have to LOVE it. If it isn’t love and it is just LIKE then it is not worth my tiny RV closet’s prime real-estate.

Are You Willing to Replace it?

Living in a small space doesn’t mean you must give up shopping forever. However, it does mean you need to replace items when you purchase new items. I am sure you’ve heard the saying, one goes in and one goes out, and that is what I tell myself when I am shopping. Not only do I ask “Do I love it?”, but I ask “Am I willing to part with another item to replace it?”

I have came across items that I do say “Yes” to the question I love it, but at the same time I need to love it enough to say goodbye to an item competing with it for closet or living space. This can be a tricky a situation.

It’s not easy, but pinky promise the retail monster inside you stick with the “one in, one out” path to living with less.

There are lots of other great tips and tricks to downsizing, but it ultimately comes down to making the decision daily to commit to the process of living minimal. Find out what drives you to live small and want less clutter in your life and focus on the outcome you aspire to live. For me that drive is a life of travel, adventure, family time, and freedom!

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