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10 Ways to Downsize Your Life

by
author image Matt Schneiderman
Matt Schneiderman is a longtime New Yorker now based in San Francisco. His writings have appeared in various print and online publications including Runner's World, Popular Science, Maxim and Cosmopolitan.

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10 Ways to Downsize Your Life
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Participating in the 24/7 rat race to achieve, get stuff and stay informed can be stressful. That’s why more and more people are taking on jobs with fewer responsibilities, owning less or moving into tiny houses. Here are a few ways to simplify your life that don’t involve living in a cave, perpetual couch-surfing or entering a convent or monastery.

1. Clear Out the Negative
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1 CLEAR OUT THE NEGATIVE

A lot of what’s rattling around in our heads is junk. Just think how much more space we could make for what truly matters by avoiding negativity! Speak less and avoid gossip and complaining. Worry less about the small stuff. Unfriend your downer pals, whether they’re stalking you on Facebook or in real life. And be sure to forgive: Holding a grudge is a surefire way to sabotage your own happiness.

2. Get Rid of Unnecessary Clutter
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2 GET RID OF UNNECESSARY CLUTTER

Marie Kondo’s “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” has become an international phenomenon by espousing the importance of jettisoning those things which serve no purpose. Whether or not you decide to make a house-wide purge, you can start with a few simple tips. Try giving away one thing for every new thing you get. Cancel your magazine and newspaper subscriptions because you can read those online. Get a library card and stop buying books. And don’t forget to clean out your wallet or purse of all those receipts.

3. Clean Regularly
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3 CLEAN REGULARLY

A little goes a long way when you clean as you go. Get a shoe rack for your entrance and have a no-shoes policy to keep your floors from getting dirty. For a deep clean, consider hiring a service to come in every few months. And drop off your laundry at a wash-and-fold to save hours of your precious weekend.

4. Simplify Your Finances
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4 SIMPLIFY YOUR FINANCES

Debt can be a crushing burden. Do what you can to reduce it, whether by consolidating or refinancing. Having trouble keeping up with your credit cards? Pay for things in cash.

5. Choose to Be Healthy
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5 CHOOSE TO BE HEALTHY

Getting in shape can be simple, and the rewards are more energy, better mood and a longer life. Plan out what you’ll be eating for the upcoming day or week. Simplify meals with one-pot or Crock-Pot cooking, and make extra so there are leftovers you can have the next day or freeze for a later date. Avoid artificial ingredients. Consider intermittent fasting, which is proven to be beneficial. Carry a water bottle so you’re always hydrated. And it should go without saying that addictions like habitual smoking, alcohol abuse or using drugs compromise your health and happiness.

6. Banish Work Stress
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6 BANISH WORK STRESS

Who says you have to work 40 hours or more per week? Consider cutting back on your job responsibilities and hours even if it means a smaller paycheck. This could mean working out an arrangement with your current employer or looking into other opportunities, but the payoff will be greater life satisfaction. If you do stay where you are, avoid taking your work home with you or arrange for a work-from-home schedule. When you’re doing work, focus on a single task to stay efficient. And delegate: You don’t have to do it all yourself.

7. Go Offline
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7 GO OFFLINE

Admit it: You’re addicted to your screens. Consider a social-media fast (just don’t go on your social networks to tell everyone about it). At the very least enforce a strict “no electronics in bed” policy. Unsubscribe to all those email newsletters, and set a specific time each day to check and reply to all emails. Now you have time to go outside or to play board games with friends in person!

8. Slow Down
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8 SLOW DOWN

We need to have silence in our lives every day, so incorporate time to simply be. Take on fewer commitments, and be able to say “no” so you can schedule alone time. Meditate. Create an empty space in your home. Slow down and be deliberate.

9. Set One or Two Goals
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9 SET ONE OR TWO GOALS

Forget making a long list of resolutions at New Year’s — those never get accomplished anyway. Instead, focus on one or two goals and set out to achieve them. One way to narrow your focus is to pick SMART goals — ones that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely. Let others know what you are doing so they can help and cheer you on.

10. Buy a Tiny House ― or Move Abroad
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10 BUY A TINY HOUSE ― OR MOVE ABROAD

Bigger doesn’t always mean better, even when it comes to your home. A tiny house is generally less than 500 square feet, whereas the typical American home is nearly five times that size. But a smaller space is more efficient — less cleaning, less upkeep and less expense in terms of taxes and building as well as heating and maintenance. In cities with higher costs of living, one-room, 250-square-foot microapartments are being built with foldout furniture to optimize space. Or you could chuck it all and move abroad for a soul-enriching cultural experience. There’s no way you could take all of your stuff with you.

What Do YOU Think?
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WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Have you been searching for ways to declutter your entire existence? Has the amount of emotional and material junk in your life caused you to have a personal crisis? Do you have other suggestions for simplifying your life to improve your health and wellness? Tell us in the comments!

Related: 8 Warning Signs of Depression You Shouldn't Ignore

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