How to Downsize for Tiny Living

How to Downsize to Live Tiny

In November, I shared our downsizing journey and a lot has changed since then.  We continued to scale back, removed what was left from the house, placed it in storage, then moved into the RV.  We’re enjoying simple living in our Happy Camper and we’re still at the farm.

We’ve been asked, “How does one downsize to live Tiny?”  Does it happen overnight or do you begin the process months ahead?” If you asked Robert he’d say overnight because he doesn’t place value on material things.

For me it started when I didn’t even realize it, after years of moving I was hit with the Ultimate Downsize; read here.

I was suffocating and with each move I wanted to hide.  Our things looked bigger in boxes verses sitting pretty on a counter or hidden in a cabinet.  I was tired of moving, tired of stuff and wanted relief.

What I wanted was simplicity…

Downsizing and living with less

How Do You Really Downsize?

So how do you downsize?  To be honest it begins with a decision followed by action without excuses.  Downsizing can’t be forced and sometimes life will trigger you in the right direction based on circumstances.  This could be a move, a life change, or the desire to live healthier.

Did you know sometimes living with excess can have a negative impact on your health? That alone should be motivation to downsize but for many it’s not.  There’s this theory that having more defines success but if we were being honest we know that’s not true.

When rooms are over flowing where to begin can feel over whelming.  If that’s you, let me extend a big hug and words of encouragement… You’re not alone and it’s my hope after reading this you’ll be inspired to move forward.

Even if living tiny isn’t your goal you can use the following information to improve your surroundings and live healthier.

Downsize begins with your closet

Where do you Begin?

Take a look at my new closet, this is where Robert and I share space and notice there’s even some empty hangers.

Downsizing should begin in the closet because this space is a reflection of our style, things we like and speaks volumes about what we think of our self. The closet sets the stage for what it will take to honestly downsize your entire home correctly.

I originally downsized my closet to 40 hangers and 1 stack of work clothes before moving into the RV. Now I have 20 hangers, 1 stack of work clothes and a small box of winter clothes stored under the bed; Robert follows the same arrangement but his work clothes are greater than mine.

This is what I did and it worked like a charm.

  • Give yourself 40 -50 hangers and only put clothes back that you’re currently wearing.
  • For large closets, it might be more realistic to begin with 70 hangers and slowly decrease once you gain confidence.
  • When you’re cleaning sort piles into keepers and get rid of. Remove the maybe pile – maybe never happens!!
  • Only keep what you really like and get rid of everything else.  Seriously give it away!!
  • Begin sorting with the top shelf, the floor and the hangers.  Basically, follow the closet layout as you clean out.
  • Allow yourself a week to get this done, if it takes longer then give yourself a couple more days.
  • Don’t work on it for more than 4 -5 hours in a setting and no more than 4 days a week.
  • Work without interruption and Stay focused.
  • Listen to Music during the process it’s a great motivator.

Once the closet is finished, clean out your bedroom and then it’s time to do the same thing in the bathroom. Remember begin with closets first because that’s normally where unwanted items get stashed.

Downsizing the kitchen will take some understanding

Move onto the Kitchen Downsize

This next room of importance will lead you to the kitchen.  If you thought the closet was hard brace yourself because kitchens are filled with gadgets galore and most aren’t necessary to cook an amazing meal.  Over the years I’ve found a good knife, cutting board and a hand grater are much better than any food processor.

  • Begin cleaning out the food pantry and remove food you’re never going to eat then donate it to a food bank.
  • Clean out cabinets and holy cow downsize those plastic storage containers.
  • Check the utensil drawer next because that’s another place where things multiply.
  • Clean out each area and get that kitchen back to basics.
  • Simplify your dishes, instead of a set for 12 how about a compromise for 6 or 8?  – We now use 4 plates, 2 mugs and 4 glasses.

When the kitchen is finished go through the rest of your home room by room repeating the process until you’re satisfied with the results.  Remember to always begin with those closed off spaces first.  Cabinets and closets are the keepers of stuff we don’t need.

Now if you’re really going tiny remember this:

  • Your probably going to take less than a 1/4 of your belongings with you.
  • There is never a maybe or someday pile while sorting.
  • Space is limited so get serious.
  • If you haven’t used it in a year, guess what you’re not going to.
  • Find good homes for your decorative furniture or sell it.
  • Focus on necessities, like a comfortable bed and dual-purpose furniture.
  • Think outside the box.
  • Remember less is more and you can do this!!

Was this how Robert and I downsized for our Tiny Home lifestyle?  Absolutely and I did about 85% of the removal.  It was a one step at a time process and it didn’t happen overnight.  But I’ll tell you this, the more we removed the happier I became.

  • I had fewer distractions.
  • Learned a lot about myself and grew as a person.
  • Understood that I no longer needed a new purchase to be happy.
  • Became more productive.
  • Best of all, discovered real freedom.

The Stuff in Storage

We discovered freedom in getting rid of almost everything, can you believe it?  We put what was left in storage with our son’s things and after living in the RV for a month I’m not sure we need that stuff either.  Well maybe those tools for setting up new gardens and neat outdoor spaces.

Six months ago, Robert and I thought we’d be living at our new property by now; we’re not because the house hasn’t sold.  It’s difficult to maintain the farm when you’re not here full time so it made sense remain, I’m basically a care taker now.

The good news is our downsizing efforts are done and we listed the farm in June with a realtor. I’m amazed at how content we are living with less; it feels incredible.  If a lifestyle with less is on your radar I’m telling you to go for it.

I hope these downsizing tips are helpful and remember cleaning out is a journey and a good time to uncover who you really are.  Living with less means more freedom…

How to Downsize for Tiny House Living



  1. Karen says:

    It’s probably different for various stages of life, but I find “cleaning out” a continuing process. With kids still at home, new stuff flows in pretty steadily. While we don’t do “tiny living” with 7 still under the same roof, I personally feel calmer with open spaces free of clutter (and continually working to convince the kids of that too). It makes a huge difference and rarely does a week pass that I don’t haul a bag or box of something to the garbage can or donation box.
    Thanks for sharing your handy tips. I’m always up for fresh inspiration and encouragement to keep down the clutter.

    1. Carole says:

      Hey Karen – I get it believe me. The idea of living this small would never have been possible with kids at home. We always had a go to box to get rid of stuff all the time too. Our daughter used it more than our son. Hope you enjoy a nice weekend. Carole

  2. Jemma says:

    Good Morning Carole,

    Great organizational tips for those embarking on a lifestyle change. Any time we have the opportunity to share our experiences with others and save them some of the hassles we have been through is a big plus.
    Your home looks very neat and pretty!
    Happy Friday to you !

    1. Carole says:

      Neat, small and tidy – I’m telling you this works for me. Looking forward to the future and living with less. Decided we didn’t need all that stuff in storage either so I’ll be going through that again after we move on rainy days. Hope you enjoy a great weekend.

  3. Carole,

    It’s amazing that we are on similar journeys right now. I did almost exactly what you did when we started to downsize and I am shocked at how much we had accumulated in just seven short years. As I sat in our new tiny space yesterday I looked around with a big smile on my face feeling so content with life. It is freeing ridding ourselves of so much useless clutter. I’m excited to watch your journey continue…

    1. Carole says:

      Tracy – I know and it’s so neat!! The accumulation of stuff continues to amaze me, folks just don’t realize how amazing things can be when you let it go. I know that smile, I have it everyday. I’ll admit that first week was a little stressful and it really had more to do with finding my place. I still walk into the house and think… I can’t believe all this space and realize how it’s not necessary… The Freedom factor is the best!! I’m excited to read more about your journey and it’s so awesome to know someone who’s on the same page.

  4. daisy says:

    I couldn’t agree more. Less stuff means more freedom. Experiences are so much more important than material things. You’ve done a great job downsizing and I’m so glad that you are feeling that sense of freedom. We need to make space in our lives for all the goodness the Universe has waiting for us!
    Continued blessings…

    1. Carole says:

      Hey Daisy – It’s neat isn’t it… I’ve always been told my home was stale, basically to minimalist…. I think the real kicker is knowing those things in storage I can do without too and my husband is thrilled. There’s a few things I want for the Tiny House but the reality is I just don’t want my life to be about an accumulation of things. I’ve heard so many times as Christians we’re to be more like Christ… If we really put it into perspective that would mean so much less…. It’s interesting to think about and I’ve even seen my faith grow deeper. Very blessed and thanks for stopping by to share.. -Carole

  5. Patti says:

    Hi Carole,

    Great tips for all of us and de-cluttering your home at any size really does feel good. I’m not quite ready to take the tiny living leap but I do need to tackle a closet or two. Thanks for the great reminder and inspiration.

  6. Jane says:

    Hi Carole, love all your tips for de-cluttering! I’m not a clutter bug and it does make me feel overwhelmed! My barn is always full due to my biz, but I have even had to get used to that! When my hubby & I watch house shows & they always want a huge closet..not me! Love the flow of energy of giving up what I don’t need.

    So happy to following you on your tiny house journey, xo

    1. Carole says:

      Clutter makes me feel overwhelmed too, I just don’t function properly, physically or mentally. Living small is so great and I can hardly wait for us to help others do the same at Quail Grove. This is going to be a fun journey.. Thanks for following!

  7. Now if only there was a way to get my hoarding husband on board. As we’ve gotten older, he’s gotten better about not getting every shiny thing he sees, but it’s still a battle of wills.

    I know I’ll never change him, but I don’t look forward to the day when we downsize to a smaller house. He will not let go of his stuff willingly. LOL!

    1. Carole says:

      Well my husband is the opposite – he says let it all go… and now that I’ve been through the process I get it more than ever. Downsizing is about freedom and I’ve found it to be a healthier way to live which is what I’m also after. Nice to hear from you hope all is well at your homestead.

  8. Jane says:

    Loved your article and congrats on the new lifestyle! I’ve already downsized, it’s just a matter of finding a tiny house now.

    Look forward to the updates on your new abode.

    1. Carole says:

      Hello Jane – that’s awesome!!
      We’re in our RV right now and working on future plans for our Tiny House… Decided to focus on getting the community up and running for others which is going to be so fun. I love living tiny though absolutely life changing.. Oh and I did go to our storage unit this morning and got rid of 6 more boxes of stuff.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *