When it comes to choosing a new home, bigger is not always better. Many people are now opting to downsize—whether due to recent retirement, becoming empty nesters, or simply to save money in a high-interest environment.
If you’re considering downsizing your home, here are six tips to help you make the move and make the most of a smaller space.
Sort It Before You Move It
Moving is expensive, so make sure you’re not paying big bucks to move stuff you no longer want. Go through everything carefully, room by room—no shoving it all into a box and hoping for the best! In terms of furniture, take careful measurements of your new home and plan out what will fit where, before you start loading the moving truck. It you do need to buy new pieces, see what’s available from your local thrift store before buying something new.
Find New Ways of Organizing
The organizing style that worked in a bigger house won’t always work when you downsize. Get creative and don’t be afraid to try something new. Instead of using precious kitchen drawer space for your silverware, try a slim caddy with forks, spoons and knives that lives on the kitchen table. Install hooks on the back of as many doors as you can, and get rid of those on-floor storage bins. Under-sink shelves, designed to fit around pipes, are a great way to store more cleaning supplies in limited space.
Think in Three Dimensions
Living comfortably in a smaller space means making the most of the space up, above and around, rather than just spreading out. If you can’t fit a sectional couch into the living room, line up some floor cushions for a cozy movie night. Instead of the traditional double bed in the guest room, do a combination double bed plus overhead bunk. Finally, consider installing floating shelves at the tippy-top of walls in the living room or kitchen, to display cookbooks, decorative plates, or any other items you don’t use often but still want to display.
Start a New Gifting Tradition
After downsizing, you may find yourself thinking differently about gifts. Nobody wants more stuff they don’t need. If you’re worried about clutter, suggest alternate gifting ideas for the upcoming holiday seasons. Maybe everyone can gift each other subscriptions, make a donation in love ones’ names, or only give homemade treats which are meant to be enjoyed together. As an added bonus, these kinds of alternate gifts are often cheaper and better for the environment—and they might even be more meaningful for the receiver.
Maximize Storage Spaces
With smaller home, you’ll need to make what storage spaces you do have work even harder. Install shelves to maximize space from floor to ceiling, and reorganize these shelves often so that everything fits and you don’t forget what you have. The last thing you want is to accidentally purchase a duplicate! Renting an external storage unit is also an option, but if you’re looking to keep costs low, prioritize frequent decluttering and making the most of your in-home closets, pantries and garage.
Stop Buying So Much Stuff
Consumerism is a habit. Once we’re used to buying stuff just for the sake of it, breaking the habit can be tough. Downsizing is a great excuse to buy less. With a smaller space, you’ll be thinking harder about what you need and where you’re going to keep it. Make an effort to avoid big box stores, which are designed to encourage impulse buys. You might shop at smaller outlets, or only hit the aisles you need. The ultimate aim is less stuff, less spending, and less clutter in your space.
Enjoy Your Local Community
Having less space at home is a fantastic excuse to get out and enjoy more public spaces in your local community. Head to the library or a coffee shop if you need to do work on the weekends; read a book in the park; take a walk downtown after dinner. Local facilities such as pools, libraries and so on depend on support from residents in the neighborhood. Making use of these resources is a fantastic way to build a stronger community and meet new people; so even if you’ve downsized your home, your life might feel bigger and better than ever!