The new year is here, and with it comes new plans, endeavors and decisions. Perhaps this is the year you have decided to exchange your current home space for another. In particular, downsizing one’s living area has become quite popular, especially among those of us whose children have left the nest, those looking to save some money, or people who simply wish to trade in suburban living to experience the excitement of a downtown dwelling.
There are also other reasons to lessen your square footage. In many metropolitan areas, living space is becoming increasing scarce, and as a result, people are learning how to survive, and even thrive with less of it. Finance expert Dave Ramsey points out that while today, the average new home is 2,600 square feet, back in 1950, the average home size was less than 1,000 feet – and families were larger.
Downsizing your home, while it can initially be frightening and somewhat confusing (“But… where will my autographed collection of NFL jerseys go?”), is nearly always a solid decision. If you’re thinking about doing it anytime soon, we’ve got some tips to make the experience much less harrowing.
Assess Your Situation
How large/small is your new space compared to the one you are leaving? The answer will determine the severity of your reorganization plan. A good general rule of thumb is to take a record of everything in your home. If you have not looked at, or touched an item in more than 12 – 15 months, consider donating it or placing it into storage. Go back to your storage unit after you’ve been in your new space for eight months. Anything you haven’t used by then, donate it. Of course this doesn’t include your wedding gown or other useful or nostalgic items, but try to be adamant about making sure you do not bring things you don’t need into your newer, smaller space. Lifestyle magazine Lifehacker.com suggests simply asking yourself, “What things would I replace if suddenly, everything was gone?”
Speaking of Storage…
Does your new home have much storage space of its own? Make sure you know what you’re working with, as it could save you some headaches in the long run. Taking an accurate record will help you to figure out how much you will need to unload before moving, in order to live comfortably in your new spot.
Take accurate measurements
Don’t be caught by surprise! Know the dimensions of your furniture before you move. As a matter of fact, it’s best to know the dimensions of everything you plan to relocated into your new place, including clothing – and even plates and cookware. Some smaller condos and apartments can have tinier drawers and closets than you may be used to.
Design/construct your new space in your own image
Just because you may be losing some real estate, doesn’t mean you have to lose yourself in the process. Incorporate your own unique attributes into your home. Are you an avid reader? Perhaps construct a space-friendly library to store your all-time favorite volumes. Artist? Carve out an area specifically dedicated to your creative passions. If you work from home, your office should be given special attention. Consider painting one of your walls a color(s) that inspires and invigorates you. Especially in smaller spaces, the color schemes you choose can make all the difference between your space feeling tiny, or feeling terrific. Experiment with color – perhaps a shade of purple or a warm burnt orange or red in one spot could do the trick.
Organize, Organize, Organize
Smaller areas clutter up more quickly than larger ones. For this reason, it’s good to decide right away where certain items will belong. And make a commitment to, at least once a week, put them there. A cool idea: just tackle one room per day. While you want your place to feel lived in, too much stuff in too small of a space can affect your mood in a negative way. Your home should be your happy place.
If you are downsizing this year, congratulations on your exciting undertaking. Make it a fun change, one that will enrich your life and the ways in which you choose to live it. When you do, send us your photos of the outcome!