Published January 25, 2013
Downsizing, whether you're doing it voluntarily to simplify your life or if you are doing it out of economic necessity, can be like a giant game of Tetris. There are so many pieces, each with its own shape and dimensions, and they must somehow fit into a limited space, just so. If you are downsizing to a smaller home, this guide should help you to get started.
1. Measure twice, cut once. Before you do anything, measure the dimensions of your new house exactly. When you are approaching anything involving spacial arrangement, accurate measurements will be your absolute ally. If you are deciding what furniture to keep and what to give away, start by making an accurately scaled floor plan of your new home.
2. Go room by room. Looking at the process of downsizing to a new home can be so intimidating. Don't look at it as a whole; go room by room.
3. Pack and move only what you need and love. Parting with possessions can be very difficult. If you need to hire an expert to help you to move, then do it. Compassionate cleanout companies exist to help people move with less stress and difficulty.
4. Go vertical. When it's time to set up in your new house, plan to use as much vertical space as you can. That means installing book shelves, floating shelves, and utility shelves. You can store more than books on bookshelves, and if you have a large book collection, the books themselves can be arranged artfully in-lieu of wall art.
5. Use "stuff" as decor. For instance, in your bathroom, you probably won't have room for all your practical toiletries and supplies, as well as decorative items. Take a cue from spa bathrooms: Use your toiletries as decor items.
6. Use your full-size furniture. The name of the game in small-space living is ensuring that every single item in your house is fully functional and useful. While small apartment couches and arm chairs might allow you to have a "full" living room set in your smaller place, that full set of "apartment sized" furniture might not be as comfortable and as functional as a single full-size sofa. Also, one piece of large furniture can make a small space look cozy and defined, whereas a collection of small pieces of furniture can make the place look small and cluttered.
7. Give your small kitchen character. A small kitchen does not have to be a boring or unattractive kitchen. In fact, its diminutive size can be an asset. Like small bathrooms, a small kitchen can be a jewel box of a room. Just choose a theme or "look" for your kitchen, and tightly adhere to it.
8. Downsize your wardrobe. Typically clothes are stored in the bedroom. You want your bedroom to be as uncluttered and harmonious as possible. Downsizing your wardrobe is one of the most rewarding and satisfying decluttering tasks you can do. If you need to move to a smaller space with less storage, then downsize your wardrobe.