6 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Start Downsizing for 2023, According to a Minimalist Lifestyle Coach

published Jan 2, 2023
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The new year can feel like the perfect time to organize and purge. But as a minimalist coach and professional organizer, I’ve seen how this dive-in approach can, surprisingly, lead you down a less straightforward path. So before you get going, explore your overarching priorities and your emotional connection to different facets of your life. Then, use your answers as the guideposts for each lifestyle and organizing decision you face in the coming year. 

Ready? Give yourself space (and a deadline) to noodle on the following six questions.

What are my downsizing goals, specifically?

Defining your goals more explicitly than “I want to simplify” will help you articulate downsizing action items for next year. For example, are your goals to reduce expenses, lower upkeep time to make time for more life experiences, eliminate some stress, or always know where to find what you need? You likely have multiple goals, so note where they support each other and where they come into conflict. Be sure to prioritize.

What’s my vision for a more minimalist lifestyle?

With your goals in hand, think about what you want your simplified life to entail. How do you want to feel when you wake up? What do you want to see when you look around? And what are specific experiences you want to engage in throughout the year? Begin to map out the general vibe, and note significant changes that following this vision will require. 

How am I spending my time versus how do I think I’m spending my time?

Often there is a misalignment between the two. First, track how you’re using your time over the course of one week. Then, map out how you’d like to allocate your time in 2023 by determining in which areas you’d like to increase time spent, like devoting more time to relationships, and in which ones you’d like to cut down time spent to make room for other goals (for example, maybe you watched far more TV than you realized). Double-check that this new plan relates to your goals and vision. 

What’s my relationship to the past?

Do you keep things out of sentimentality? Do you keep things because you’re afraid of forgetting them? Do you keep things representative of your past self that no longer serve you? Dig into all angles of the past. This self-discovery will help you see your stuff and systems more clearly.

What’s my relationship to money?

Money issues come up big time when simplifying, from stress around finance tracking and paperwork to discomfort with the specter of having to repurchase an item in the future if you get rid of it now. Maybe you resist letting go of things you spent a lot of money on, despite not using them. Perhaps you’re too frugal about purchasing what’s most important to you while splurging on minor quick fixes. Be honest with yourself, and all of your answers will feed into how you structure your downsizing process and the lifestyle you create.

What’s my unfinished business?

What do you want to complete before year-end, and what do you want to accept that you won’t finish? Consider the minor (e.g., unreturned orders past their send-back date) to the massive (e.g., half-started home renovation projects). Take care of unfinished business — or decide to let something(s) go.

Don’t stop your self-inquiry here, either! Keep checking in with yourself as downsize in 2023 for a successful renewal of your home and lifestyle.