One of the first things I did when I decided to simplify my life was to start cutting out everything that I didn’t actually need.
It sounds simple and it is. Many of us have a lot of stuff – stuff that we don’t use, stuff that we don’t even remember we have, and it takes up our headspace, sometimes without us even realizing. It clutters us.
Downscaling is about getting rid of what doesn’t serve us, in order to make room for more clarity, headspace and, well, new energy. Fresh energy. When we let go of the old, we make space in our lives for the new.
Many of us are caught in a life where we pay for things we don’t truly need – subscriptions, memberships, rental or hire charges. There is a constant demand for our money. We absorb hundreds, if not thousands, of advertising messages every day – companies and corporations WANT us to be constantly spending and try to sell us stuff that isn’t actually necessary.
What I’m getting at here is that I encourage you to really analyse just what you need to pay for and what you can let go of in your life. I’ll give you an example – I no longer use a smartphone for a couple of reasons:
- They stress me out.
- I don’t want another unnecessary bill to pay.
Do you get me? Most of us are unknowingly stressing ourselves out just by following the ‘norm’ and buying things that we can, in fact, live without. Just because your brother, sister, cousin, best buddy, mum, dad and every person out there seems to have the latest iPhone doesn’t mean you necessarily need to have one too.
My downscaling experience
A few years ago I woke up and something in me just snapped. Something in the very core of my being declared, ‘I’ve had enough of being a slave, working jobs I don’t like just to pay my bills and taxes. There MUST be another way!’ And I prayed.
I took some bold actions: I sold two-thirds of my possessions and moved to a yurt in the middle of the Welsh mountains where I spent two years living totally off-grid. I learned that it was quite possible to downscale one’s life and to cut out a lot of the unnecessary shit. I reset myself. And I am so much happier living my life this way.
Less is so definitely more! I am not suggesting that everyone go and live off-grid in the remote wilderness – unless you want to – but that it is so worthwhile to apply a bit of scrutiny to your lifestyle and analyse who or what you want to give your hard-earned money to and what stuff actually matters to you. Have a look around you – can you see things you don’t need?
Experiment with downscaling. Spend a weekend decluttering and see how much better it makes you feel. Also, do some online research about the companies that are behind all the products you buy – choose where you spend your money carefully, and don’t buy from companies that you don’t resonate with. Look into renewable energy and pledge to make some changes. You won’t regret it.
Put simply: downscale. Cut out what you don’t really need.
6 tips for effective downscaling
1. Be RUTHLESS. Try and ignore the memories attached with old crap you don’t actually need. Throw it. Or better still – recycle it.
2. Stop ordering stuff! Just stop it. Each time you reach to click, stop for a moment and think to yourself, ‘Do I really need this?’
3. If you do bring a new item into your home – see if you can get rid of one of those items that you already own. Make space.
4. Make a conscious effort to approach downscaling your life with a positive mindset, focusing on how letting go of things will leave you much freer to move forward and start new adventures!
5. Seriously consider your phone. Do you need a smartphone? All the time? Experiment with making an old- style phone your default. And, after the initial cold turkey, observe how this makes you feel. Is the simpler, old-school way of doing things actually something of a relief?
6. Get friends to help. They can support you, help you make decisions and help lift heavy stuff – physically and emotionally!
Find out more:
Short, simple and refreshingly practical, Simplify offers 21 Earth Warrior practices to help us live more consciously and to cope with the ever increasing pace of modern life. Bob Hillary shares the lessons he learned living off the grid, exploring his ‘wild edges’ and practicing a slower, more attuned way of life.