Think back to your first apartment or home. Did it feel as if you were downsizing from your parents home?
Life is said to be circular, and it looks as if the size of the space we call home is also circular. Most of us start our adult lives with few possessions. Perhaps, you were lucky to have relatives eager to pass along their castoffs. I rounded out my castoff collection with flea market gems so that I had everything I needed. I often bought things because I liked them, and could afford them, but gave little to no thought to the result. As time went on, I wanted more for my home. I didn’t want my possessions to get by on bare necessity; I wanted them to suit my needs and reflect my style.
As life moves along, we accumulate more things for our home. In time, most of us have things we don't need anymore. When it comes time to downsize, we have some very unique opportunities.
Choosing items for our home that are beneficial functionally and emotionally.
Clearing our houses of clutter which also clears our minds.
Years of compromising for family members gives way to honoring your own desires and needs.
Getting started is often the hardest part of downsizing. I have two great ways to get the ball rolling followed by twelve tips and tricks.
Downsizing Realistic Thinking
When planning for your smaller home, be realistic with yourself. What is your day to day routine? You want to make the most efficient use of each room in your new home.
Ask yourself questions like:
Where do I eat my meals? At the large dining room table, a smaller breakfast table, or in front of the TV?
What spaces are a priority in your life? For example, is having a home office essential or do you rarely use your desk?
Do I enjoy having guests in my home? Where do I like to sit with them for conversation or a snack?
Downsizing Game of Tag
When downsizing, you'll let go of some things you've accumulated. For example, things you've had for a long time but you've kept out of obligation. Start by walking through your home. Put stickers on everything you still love after all these years.
Do you find yourself saying...
"It’s all got to go."
If you dislike almost everything you own, start from scratch. There is nothing like a clean slate to make you feel like a brand new person.
"I’ll have to make do."
Is your situation is one where you must make the best use of what you have? Most likely, you're still letting go of some things. Put stickers on the things that you love and think creatively to
re-purpose what you have.
"I want a few new pieces."
You might be somewhere in the middle. You have things you love, but you're open to the idea of purchasing some new items. A collected mixture of old and new is my favorite way to create a beautiful home. It creates a visually and personally satisfying environment.
It's up to you; any of these downsizing scenarios can work. They will all require measuring and thoughtful space planning. As you plan, be sure to think about function, allowing for generous walkways, and good flow in each room.
When you know what your priorities are and what you'll bring, use the tips and tricks below. They'll help you make the most out of your new home.
Downsizing Tips and Tricks
1. Conserve space by investing in pieces with multiple functions. For example, storage ottomans, and coffee tables with shelving or a lift up feature for storage.
2. Round dining or breakfast tables are ideal for small spaces. They are much easier to navigate around than rectangular tables. If possible, use a round table that can expand with extra leaves. That way, you'll be able to accommodate more people when you have guests. Remove the leaves, and your dining area will feel bigger without the boxy corners of a square table.
3. It's terrific if you were able to reuse what you already own. Sometimes what you own will be too large for a smaller-scale space. You might want to consider buying a few key pieces of furniture in the right scale, such as your couch and end tables.
4. On the flip side, don't be afraid to use large pieces of furniture in a small room. A small room doesn't mean it must have small furniture. Sometimes a large sectional can feel better than a small sofa & chair
5. It might seem odd, but if you have large-scale art, don't think you need to get rid of it. Use large artwork to create a focal point, showcase your style, and even make the room feel more spacious.
6. Small spaces need a bit of extra attention to organization. For example, technology can create clutter with its chargers and cords. Create a charging station where your technology has a dedicated home and recharges. This also keeps your technology available when you need it, tidy, and safe from spills.
7. Mirrors can make a small space seem bigger by maximizing the natural light you have. Place then near windows, tuck them into corners, doorways and in small areas like hallways. If placed at the end of a hallway, a mirror bounces light back and makes a dark hallway look brighter.
8. Make a small space feel bigger by making your windows a focal point rather than the TV. By inviting the outdoors in, you'll make your smaller home feel more expensive. American households often focus their attention on the television. They face chairs and couches towards the TV making it the focal point. This takes your attention away from more attractive features, like a beautiful view. Place seating towards a window to draw the eye to the light, the view, and bring attention back to your space. Not to mention the added benefit views of nature provide to our health.
9. If a large coffee table doesn't suit your small space, consider using two smaller tables. You can move them around wherever you need, making them more versatile. Instead of a coffee table, use an ottoman. Pair it with a tray to become a coffee table or remove the tray and kick your feet up.
10. Hang curtains so that when open they are beside the window exposing the entire window pane. Open curtains that don't obscure any of the windows give a sense of extra space.
11. Hang your curtains very close to the ceiling to make the ceilings feel taller. You'll add height and some drama to your space.
12. Use nesting and tables at different heights. Store them underneath one another and bring them out as needed.
Will you use any of the tips or tricks in your downsizing move? I’d love to know what your biggest take away off this article was. If you want help with your move I offer relocation room planning services.
Next month I'll write more in-depth about thinking vertically in a small space.