Skip to main content

Tips for Living on Less and Downsizing

  • Author:
  • Updated date:

Stacie L became a DIYer for many reasons—mostly to save money. She has tips that she has used herself to help with your DIY projects.

Less is more

What does it mean to downsize? Can you live with less and be happy? Do you know how to make cutbacks and save money? These questions are important to know the answers to for your peace of mind. There are a few ideas to start with that will help you downsize comfortably.

Downsizing your home and /or possessions is the first way to save money. Start by looking around your home and write a list of items you haven't used in a year. The largest items to eliminate would be your furniture.

Do you need two or three couches now? If you’re moving from a home that had a den, family room and a living room, you probably have that many. The new home will may have one living/den/family room. One couch is all that is needed. Sell or give the others away.

You may also want to sell or give the formal dining set away. The new, smaller home or condos will most likely have an eat-in kitchen. One dinette is enough for a family of four.

Take the kitchen, for example; most people don't need 10 mixing bowls and won't get teary-eyed over losing a second spatula. . You may have special occasion dishes and utensils that are used only once or twice a year. Table place mats and table clothes will also unnecessary.

If you're downsizing from a house to a condo, target the garage. There’s a lot of good stuff to sell in a garage sale. Make extra money, while cleaning out the home. The less you have to move, the less it will cost you to move.

If you have a storage unit, take everything out and sell in your garage sale. You may be able to have people come to the unit to buy from it, but check with your storage management first.

Video How to downsize your home


Plan your rooms on paper to see the size of the home that results. Try very hard not to end up with a storage building, thus just relocating items you don't need in the first place. Plan accordingly about what to take and what to leave. Visit the new home also to understand how you will manage with your furniture, where to put them and whether to keep huge furniture with you or not.

Start with areas of your home that you don't use that much, such as the attic, the basement, the laundry room or spare bedroom. Designate items for donating or giving to family and friends in a room or area of the house that you don't go very often because you will be tempted to pull items back out before they are given out. Starting with the largest items in your home and working your way down to the smallest of items will make the downsizing process much easier.

Closer to work

Another consideration is to move closer to work and or closer to a city, where resources are closer and the drive time is less. This will save time and money. You may even get by without a car, if you live in a city. Of course a lot depends on what are of the country you move to. Manhattan is extremely expensive to live, but Brooklyn is more affordable and the bus service and trains are close by.

Start a home business

This is the best time to start a home business and see if you can make a living at it. Service is the most popular sector and consulting for corporations on a contract fee basis is another option. You can make extra money trying these two options.

Buy in bulk

This may sound contrary to downsizing but buying in larger quantities will save money and you can share the items with family or friends.One more item to consider if, you’re not doing so already is to buy in bulk. There are bulk mega stores springing up all over this country, such as Sam’s Club... I know, in rural areas, they have not close enough to shop, but there are Wal-Marts galore. Love’ em or hate’ em, they do save many families on their food bills and household necessities.

Yard sales make Good Money

Yard sales make Good Money

Scroll to Continue

Senior years

Now, if you’re moving on into your senior years, you may have thought about downsizing into a smaller house or maybe a condo. Some seniors have elected to move into senior communities like Century Villages in Florida.

Seniors can also find a roommate and share expenses that way. Whatever the reason, it can be a daunting task, so get some help from family or a professional .And a warning, don't buy smaller than what you need.

If you can’t sell your present home

A larger family may consider sharing a larger home with a relative.This is not easy for anyone but with a lot of patience and planning you may have to be able to pull this off. I know family members that have made two family homes out of a one family home. You also can convert a basement into an apartment for extra income. Be sure to check with the neighbors and the town regulations beforehand.

Companies that help downsize

There are companies that can help you downsize your possessions after a job loss, a parent dies or a relocation is necessary. Estate sales and tag sales are all too common in a bad economy and the task may be overwhelming, so ask for help. Of course there are private individuals that also conduct estate sales so ask around.

Ask new neighbors or friends may have recently moved about their recent downsizing experiences. They may know someone and give great advice to help you.

In conclusion

To recap, downsizing your life doesn't have to be painful. You can learn to live in a smaller house or condo, drive less or not at all, shop in bulk, use the same dishes and utensils everyday and de-clutter your life. You’ll save money, be less stressed, save the planet and learn to be happy with less. Ask yourself, honestly, when was the last time you used some items? Will it really fit in with your new home and lifestyle?

So less can really be more and I hope you got something out of these tips for downsizing. You’ll have everything you need instead of, everything you want.

*Note: if you see this article anywhere else,please contact me.

© 2008 Stacie L


Girish puri from NCR , INDIA on August 01, 2012:

Good suggestions to control and manage life, voted up.

Stacie L (author) on April 29, 2011:

@Ddraigcoch; oh there must be something you haven't thought of.LOL

Emma from UK on April 24, 2011:

Great hub. I could not down size any more though. We are already on the bottom rung of the property ladder.

Stacie L (author) on March 11, 2011:

@eventsyoudesign; thank you for visiting and leaving your kind comments.I update occasionally so check back ;-)

eventsyoudesign from Nashville, Tennessee on March 11, 2011:

Good article. I live in a small apartment and I still need to down size. I have a lot of stuff. I like your ideas and agree down sizing would be beneficial and I look forward to more pointers. Teresa

Stacie L (author) on August 05, 2010:

sirrot: thank you for reading and commenting on my hub! :=)

Stacie L (author) on February 10, 2010:

Mom Duncan;thank you for commenting....=)

Mom Duncan from Wisconsin on January 19, 2010:

great hub, thanks

Stacie L (author) on December 16, 2009:

Thank you for your comments mpurcell10!

mpurcell10 from Arkansas on December 14, 2009:

Great Hub! Thank you for sharing. Great tips. Times are tough and we do need to start looking at how to pinch a little before we are forced its much harder that way.

Stacie L (author) on February 04, 2009:

Thank you for your comments earnestshub.

yes,we need to be more concerned with more important matters at hand.

Our spending excesses did not work to keep the economy and environment healthy

earnestshub from Melbourne Australia on February 03, 2009:

Good timely advice Stacie L. I feel we are shifting from an ego-centric world view to a more charitable and less self obsessed position. Many of your tips will be required as we are forced to move towards a better distribution of wealth and consumption.

Stacie L (author) on November 12, 2008:

Thank you for your comments Kulsum! I think we have become slaves to our possessions

I don't want to work in order to have a big ,expensive house.

Dr Kulsum Mehmood from Nagpur, India on November 12, 2008:

A Great Hub stacie. I am also in favour of downsizing my life. Life can be so clutter-free if we have only the necessities of life.

Stacie L (author) on November 07, 2008:

Thank you Patty; you say that solar powered homes only pay $10 a month for electricity? Wow!

I think I would like to live in a book store,myself!;=)

Patty Inglish MS from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on November 07, 2008:

Good information! There is no way I would ever live in a gigantic home and pay for the huge amounts of utilities unless the house was all solar powered or 3/4 underground, both of which have examples in my city. They keep the local electricity hooked up but spend less than $10 a month even in winter.

Actually, I want to live in a library or book store. :)

Stacie L (author) on November 03, 2008:

thank you nancydodds1 for your comment. I appreciate it.

I think we need to think that having less means more freeedom froms stress and worry ;=)

nancydodds1 from Houston, Texas on November 02, 2008:

Good tips and nice stuff. Its very interesting and very helpful information.

Stacie L (author) on November 01, 2008:

thanks for the commnets Rik....i know so many peole getting wood burning stoves or inserts now. we've all got to tighten the belts and stop wasting money where ever we can! ;=)

Rik Ravado from England on November 01, 2008:

Good stuff - with the energy crisis and the recession we all need to take these ideas on board - we are about to have a wood burning stove installed.

Stacie L (author) on October 28, 2008:

thanks Dottie1!

I'm sure there are more tips and I welcome more comments or suggestions! ;=)

Dottie1 from MA, USA on October 28, 2008:

Great tips Stacie. A well thought out hub and thanks for the many new ideas.

Related Articles