For decades, it was the norm to live in a large house that allowed for entertaining, welcoming family and storing your belongings over a lifetime. But that’s changing. 

Clutter plays a large role in how humans feel about their lives, and more researchers are linking it to stress. When your home, mind and life are cluttered, it can directly impact confidence, happiness and attitude. As a result, more and more individuals are looking to simplify and declutter their surroundings for the sole purpose of feeling better about themselves. What your surroundings look like are often a direct reflection of you, how you feel and how well you manage daily responsibilities.

If you have been looking to simplify your life, by now you have probably heard of Marie Condo, whose name is trending thanks to her approach to decluttering a home. Through the KonMari Methodâ„¢, Condo encourages individuals to decide whether an item brings joy before deciding to keep it. But you can choose among several prominent decluttering methods, including: 

  • The Minimalist Game created by “The Minimalists,” Ryan and Joshua. Their concept has participants pick one month and remove items from their house each day. By the end of 31 days, individuals should successfully get rid of 496 items. 
  • The Four Box method has been used for years and encourages individuals to set up four boxes labeled Give Away, Put Away, Throw Away and Undecided. Tackling one room at a time, clutter must be placed in one of the four boxes. 

Individuals are also downsizing to smaller houses. In the past, larger homes typically housed several generations’ worth of people. As of 2014, the average house had just three people living in it, according to TekCarta.  

One trend known as “tiny house living” continues to grow in popularity these days. Homeowners trade in their normal-sized homes in favor of ones that are about 500 to 1,000 square feet. Living in a tiny house makes it impossible to hold on to too many things and helps homeowners feel better about giving up belongings. 

How small-space living can reduce your expenses

If you’re still unsure whether simplifying your life through decluttering or downsizing is right for you, check out the cost savings. 

For starters, living in a smaller home means using less electricity and other utilities, which cuts down on these bills. And if part of your decluttering efforts involved getting rid of the car, you’ll also forgo the car loan payment, insurance and gas expenses. 

Smaller homes also tend to come with smaller mortgage payments. That could mean either living in a more desirable location or paying off the mortgage early and ditching a huge expense. Want to live by the water but not pay beachfront prices? Coastal resident in places like Greenville, NC spend an average of 49% more on insurance than the rest of the state for their traditional home, so having a tiny home could reduce that expense significantly and give you those desired beach vibes.

You’ll also spend less on homeowners insurance and property taxes because the home takes up less space. If your tiny home doubles as an RV, you could also consolidate costs by getting one policy for your auto and home insurance. 

Knocking out these expenses could free up money to travel. And with fewer chores to do around the house, you could focus your energy on saving for a big trip.

Benefits of simplifying your life

Simplifying your life could lead to several health benefits, including:  

  • An improved attitude: Holding on to too many things is draining, which can dampen your attitude and strain your relationships. By getting rid of useless items, individuals can feel better about themselves and regain a positive outlook on life.  
  • Reduced anxiety: When your environment is out of order, it may make you feel disorganized and anxious about decisions and priorities. Once you regain control of your physical environment, the anxiety lessens and you feel calmer. 
  • Increased creativity: Clutter can hinder creativity and consume your mind. Once the clutter is gone, you’ll have less to worry about and can focus on more important things. Downsizing also gives you a sense of freedom, which improves creativity and helps you establish priorities.   
  • Improved self-confidence: Clutter can contribute to a lack of self-confidence, which makes it hard to make decisions. When you decide to declutter and downsize, you’ll practice decision-making and problem-solving skills, which can be a confidence-booster for any area of your life.


  • Maxime Croll

    Product Manager, ValuePenguin

    Educating and assisting shoppers about financial products has been Croll's focus, which led her to joining ValuePenguin, a consumer research and advice company based in New York. Previously, she was product marketing director at CoverWallet and launched the personal insurance team at NerdWallet.