Changing your life to a simpler lifestyle can be achieved in many different ways, for many different reasons. And there are lots of different names being tossed around the web these days as lifestyle options: e.g., downsizing, downshifting, anti-consumerism, the slow movement, voluntary simplicity, going green, being frugal, or simple living, to name a few:
Political and moral stance against consumerism and materialistic societal norms. Activist outlook on living in a way that does not promote consumer-driven marketplace goals. Conspicuous consumption is rebelled against by anti-consumerism, and lifestyles are changed accordingly.
Considered by many to be a precursor to full Voluntary Simplicity, a.k.a. "simplicity lite." Downshifters alter their lives to a more managable lifestyle without taking drastic measures of change. For many, this is a transitional period where there is a commitment to "the best things in life are free" before more the drastic steps found in voluntary simplicity are undertaken. A mother who changes her job to part-time so she can have more time with the kids is downshifting; parents who go to one-income and accordingly, sell their house to avoid their high mortgage are voluntarily simplifying (see below).
Commonplace among empty-nesters, lifestyle attitude isn't changed so much as physical environment is altered, i.e., moving to a golf course condo from large family home, etc. Ecological concerns, cost-cutting measures, political stance are not motivations here so much as increased free time, less responsibility for material things, preparation for retirement.