By Rita Wilkins, The Downsizing Designer 

It’s been almost 4 years since I chose to live a much simpler life with less… 95% less.

As the Downsizing Designer, people often ask if I ever regret giving up the big beautiful house I built that was loaded with design details, furniture and unique art and accessories that I had collected and curated for 35 years.

They also ask if I miss the beautiful gardens I loved and cared for, or if I miss waking up to the sound of birds chirping near my window.

I would be lying if I told you that I occasionally miss some of those things, but lessons I have learned and the wisdom I have gained are far greater than what I could have ever imagined.

It certainly would have been far easier to stay,  to continue living in my big beautiful home, but after my life-changing experience in Senegal, my head and my heart were calling me to live with less so I could live more, do more, and be more.  It was calling me to confront and unravel the lies I had been telling myself for a very long time… that my self-worth and success were tied to owning the big house, beautiful gardens in that bucolic setting in the Brandywine Valley.  

At that time of my life, that’s what I thought success looked like.

But now, 3.5 years later, I have a far different view of what it means to live a successful life, one that is filled with passion, purpose and fulfillment not one just full of beautiful stuff.

Living this simple life with less has:

  • Provided clarity and perspective about what matters most.
  • Exposed what I once overvalued so I could discover what in invaluable and priceless.
  • Allowed me to experience the kind of freedom and peace I never thought possible.

While I continue to learn and grow on this journey of life, I want to share a few of the greatest lessons I have learned so far.  Perhaps this list will inspire those of you who are considering whether you should downsize to a smaller space, or simply choose to live with less so you can discover a new more abundant lifestyle that awaits.

The Downsizing Designer’s Top 15 Lessons Learned from Living a Simpler Life with Less

  1. When you own less, you have more time, money, energy, and freedom to pursue what matters most to you.
  2. Knowing what you want MORE of and LESS of gives you the power to keep only what adds value to your life so you can let go of what doesn’t.
  3. If “stuff” doesn’t make you happy, more stuff will not make you happier.
  4. Stuff no longer defines who I am.
  5. There is a true peace in not needing or wanting more.
  6. Being ENOUGH is a gift you give yourself each day. Stop trying to prove yourself.
  7. Living a life with no regret means standing up to all that prevents you from having what you really want.
  8. We only get one chance at life. Why wouldn’t you live it to the fullest each day?
  9. Daring to live life on the “skinny branches” is far more fun and exciting than remaining stuck in status quo.
  10. Living a life of purpose… on purpose is the secret to an abundant life. All that is required for greatness is to give freely of the gifts you have been given.
  11. Just because you can afford to buy more doesn’t mean that you should. You are in control of the “buy now” button.
  12. Respect the process. It’s messy. This is what change looks like.  You never know where or when growth will happen. Enjoy the ride.
  13. Invest in yourself. Continue to dream big, take the road less traveled, and expand your vision beyond what you ever thought possible.  Take actions every day to achieve the results you want.
  14. Live each moment. Experience the little things because they are what give life color.
  15. It IS possible to design – and live the life you love, to become the person you imagined yourself to be.

**BONUS: If you are interested in learning more about my 10-Step Process for designing and living the life you love… schedule a 30 minute call  with me: