Intersection of Life and Faith

The 7 Most Amazing and Biblical Benefits of Downsizing

  • Dawn Wilson Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
  • 2020 5 Oct
The 7 Most Amazing and Biblical Benefits of Downsizing

Downsizing is often described as moving out of a larger home and trading it for a smaller space. But for seniors, it’s so much more.

Last year, my husband and I helped his elderly parents move to another location, and it was an eye-opener for me. So many things that once brought them joy had to be sold or left behind.

I determined to start downsizing in my own home.

Without much effort, I discovered 20 pairs of scissors and 10 bottles of hydrogen peroxide. It’s a process I’m still pursuing, but I’m already surprised by the benefits.

Our culture celebrates excess, so as Christians we need to think counterculturally. Whether we are candidates for the television show Hoarders, or simply surrounded by too much stuff, there are advantages and blessings in downsizing our possessions. Doing so may involve acquiring a rational minimalist mindset, or simply evaluating what we own and making wise choices going forward.

Here are seven biblical benefits of downsizing:

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  • wooden person holding back the word chaos in letter cubes

    Benefit 1: Rooting Out Chaos

    One benefit of downsizing is rooting out disorder and chaos, but to do that we first need to wipe out mistaken thinking or lies we believe about our “stuff.” Here are a few examples:

    • That was a gift. I can’t give or throw that away.
    • I paid good money for that. It’s wasteful to get rid of it.
    • My children might want or value this someday, so I’ll store it for them.
    • I’m too old to change, and too tired to tackle my messes.

    Downsizing helps us think through why we accumulated so much stuff. There are basic types of people who struggle. The “Messies”—who may or may not be lazy, but they aren’t organized—have so much stuff stacked up, they don’t even know what they have.

    Some “Collectors” allow collections to take over their lives, budgets, and large chunks of time that God may want spent other ways.

    “Legacy guardians” view themselves as protectors of family heritage; but “the kids” typically don’t want most things saved for them.

    “House-party consumers” buy because it’s expected, and they don’t want to disappoint—even if they don’t need the items.

    “Just-because-I-love-it” people buy beautiful things, but their purchases are soon unseen or unappreciated, in piles or on crowded shelves. 

    The “Save-it-for-someday” person has multiple duplicates of things on shelves—but who needs 20 pairs of scissors?

    Having too much stuff also brings consequences like frustration, guilt, regret, embarrassment, fear, and lost opportunities. A benefit of downsizing is rooting out this chaos so stress can also be removed.

    Marcia Ramsland’s Simplify Your Life: Get Organized and Stay that Way, and Kathi Lipp’s The Clutter Free Home: Making Room for Your Life, offer help with downsizing.

    Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/valiantsin suprunovich

  • hand stopping dominos from falling

    Benefit 2: Eliminating Distractions

    Jesus said Martha was distracted by many things (Luke 10:41-42). In her case, it was the intrusion of busyness, when in that moment, Jesus valued the priority of devotion.

    We may need to eliminate distractions in our lives that keep us from the higher priorities God has for us. Distractions might be an overfilled calendar or an overstuffed closet. The good may crowd out the better.

    With less clutter, it’s easier to focus on what matters. We need to seek God, and not waste time seeking more and more possessions.

    Abundance of things—the prosperity mindset of today—is not the same as the abundant life we have in Christ (John 10:10). Living a more abundant life may mean pursuing less so we can discover more of God.

    Jesus addressed this with the rich young ruler, encouraging the wealthy man to release the weight of his possessions to follow Him. Likewise, the Bible tells us to “throw off everything that hinders” our walk with the Lord (Hebrews 12:1).

    When we love things more than we love God, we have a problem. Simplifying our lifestyle and downsizing can help. 

    John the Baptist said, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” When we “decrease” or downsize what we’re doing, spending, stockpiling, etc., we can learn to live with less and direct more focus toward what Jesus is passionate about for us!

    Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/ilkercelik

  • senior couple hiking in beautiful countryside

    Benefit 3: Cutting Back on Maintenance  

    There is nothing unbiblical about having possessions or money; but—whatever our financial status—by maintaining less, we may find less stress and fewer “things” to worry about. Many of the principles of Christian minimalism are spiritual truths. For instance, God does not want us weighed down or burdened by the anxieties of life, which might include caring for an abundance of possessions. We can be robbed of opportunities to serve Him as we spend endless hours caring for our “stuff.”

    No one should be forced to live a minimalist lifestyle. It doesn’t make us godlier. But it can be healthy. Christian minimalism might be defined as a conscious choice to eliminate more of what is of no eternal value while retaining what is important and valuable. Minimalism aids us when it doesn’t steal our focus from faith or obedience to God.

    I prefer the rational—not radical—minimalism of Joshua Becker, a Christian who says, “There is more joy in having less than we can ever find in having more.” In a YouTube church message, Becker asked, “How would your life be better if you owned less?”

    One of the benefits of downsizing our possessions, he says, is less time in maintenance of our things—less time spent in repairing, cleaning, managing, organizing, storing, and replacing. 

    Downsizing yields more time and capacity for spiritual growth, and greater margin for generosity.

    Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/monkeybusinessimages

  • letter blocks changing from Share to Care for being a Cheerful Giver

    Benefit 4: Pursuing Kingdom Opportunities

    Unfortunately, the things we own can end up owning us. They can become demanding idols. They may even drown out the voice of the Lord who calls us to kingdom opportunities no matter our age. Hoarding is certainly not a lifestyle of generosity.

    We need to see our possessions as God’s, not our own, and recognize that He has the authority to tell us what to do with them. He may say, “Use that for My glory.” Or He may say, “Get rid of all that stuff!” 

    For the Christian, downsizing might better resemble “upsizing” our generosity.

    Jesus said, “Store up treasures in Heaven” (Matthew 6:19-21). Having endless piles of things on earth does not equate to “treasure” in eternity. If we do have stockpiles, items can be sold to get out of debt, if necessary. And a beautiful benefit of downsizing might be greater generosity: raising money for missionaries or Christian ministries, or giving needed things away to churches, Christian schools, ministries, or homeless shelters. 

    Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” As we get older, we need to invest more of our treasures (our financial and property resources) in actively loving God and people the way Jesus did.

    Our Lord lived a simple lifestyle so He could spend substantial time interacting with people and changing their lives. Your downsized excess may become another person’s much-needed blessing.

    Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Fokusiert

  • happy multicultural senior friends walking on beach

    Benefit 5: Overcoming Comparison

    So many people buy things for status rather than usefulness. They give in to the hype and lies of advertising telling us we can be better, stronger, or more beautiful than others. Becker says, “Statistics will tell us that, on average, we see 5,000 advertisements every single day, a million by the time we reach the age of 21.” Imagine what seniors heeding those ads have accumulated over the years! In trying to “keep up with the Joneses,” we only become more discontent with the use and focus of our money, things, and energy. 

    The Bible tells us to be content with what we already have. Paul encouraged contentment with food and clothing (1 Timothy 6:8), but we crave the newest and best of everything advertisers tell us we must have.

    It’s a matter of perspective. Are we placing our identity in things? Do we love possessions too much? Do we relish showing off our things?

    Our confidence should never be in what we own or what people think of us, but rather solely in our Father God. 

    Because comparison of things can get ugly—revealing the true the true desires of our hearts—when we decrease the abundance of our possessions, we’ll have less to compare. In other words, if we have a foolish comparison problem in our hearts (2 Corinthians 10:12), downsizing can help us overcome that issue.

    Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/monkeybusinessimages

  • senior couple gazing at sunset peaceful Peace Be With You

    Benefit 6: Using Resources Wisely

    When we realize life isn’t just about us, and God wants us to do all things and use all things for His glory, we will be careful about what we keep and what we eliminate. We may consider living below our means rather than beyond them. 

    We need to think through whether we are living by faith or trusting our possessions for “what if” scenarios. The stewardship of things is wise; but excessive stockpiling or hoarding “just in case” can be foolishly trusting in our stuff rather than God’s provision. (Read the parable in Matthew 25:14-30.)

    There’s a strong link between faith, downsizing, and the grace of giving. We see this in the early church. Church members shared freely and sold off property and possessions to give to those in need (Acts 2:44-45). They pursued the highest ideals of vibrant faith, church unity and Christian charity. 

    God wants us to trust Him and then prudently use our resources to honor Him and obey His direction. Through intentional downsizing, we may be able to sell our things and spend that money on Christian projects that make a difference in lives.

    Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/shironosov

  • multi-generational family holding hands on a hike

    Benefit 7: Leaving a Biblical Legacy

    Wealthy King Solomon knew he would leave everything he owned behind. He wondered whether those who received his possessions would use them foolishly (Ecclesiastes 2:18-19). There’s no guarantee our family members will have our priorities, or desire to have or care for our possessions.

    Japanese author Marie Kondo encourages readers to decide whether objects they keep while downsizing bring them a “spark of joy.” But the truth is, Christians need to find their joy in Jesus, and then ask Him for wisdom about what to keep or eliminate.

    It’s wise to fast-forward in our thinking and ask two questions: “What will be my legacy, and how do the items in my home reflect that?” and “How might possessions I want to pass on help or hinder my family after I am gone?” 

    Christians make better choices about downsizing as they set their thoughts on heaven, eternal values, and things that cannot be lost or destroyed (Colossians 3:1-2).

    The most powerful benefit of downsizing regards the future. The Lord wants us to leave a biblical legacy for our children and generations to come. He wants us to live in light of our eternal home—and model a freer, hands-open, non-grasping lifestyle on earth.

    Our children and grandchildren are watching and learning from us about the importance of downsizing and the value of “upsizing” for eternity.

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    Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Sam Edwards


    Dawn Wilson and her husband Bob live in Southern California. They have two married sons and three granddaughters. Dawn assists author and radio host Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth with research and works with various departments at Revive Our Hearts. She is the founder and director of Heart Choices Today, publishes Upgrade with Dawn, and writes for Crosswalk.com and Christianity.com. Dawn also travels with her husband in ministry with Pacesetter Global Outreach.