Design Dilemma: Part 2, Downsizing While Staying Put | Home Design Find

Home Design Find

No Comments »

Design Dilemma: Part 2, Downsizing While Staying Put

downsize3 how to tips advice

Last week, we explored ways to downsize when moving from a large space into a smaller one. It’s a tough move to make, but can be filled with rewards, including more time and money available to spend outside the home, less cleaning and lower utility costs. This week, we thought we’d spend some time on how you can downsize without going anywhere at all.

1) Start with a journal. Ask yourself these questions: If you were starting over in a home, what would you do differently? Buy less stuff? Eliminate a rarely-used guest room? Opt for an open floor plan instead of a separate dining room? Asking and answering these questions may help you pinpoint where and how you can streamline your home.

2) Use your routines as a guide. For instance, if you use your dining room table as a desk more often than a dining table, then you need a study or office space, but not necessarily a dining room. Or if you have a guestroom but rarely, if ever, have guests, perhaps your guestroom would better serve as a dedicated study (with a pull-out couch for the occasional guest.) Below, check out a guestroom reconfigured so that an unused closet becomes a desk/study space.

downsize2 how to tips advice

3) Adjust or revamp your space according to your routines. If you never have formal dinners, it may make more sense to turn your dining room into a study or den. If you never have guests but do yoga every day, it may make more sense to turn a guestroom into an exercise/guestroom. Think multifunctional. And if most of your day is spent in just one or two zones of your house (lets say kitchen, dining and family room) maybe it makes sense to open up a few walls to create an inviting communicative environment.

 how to tips advice

4) Eliminate furniture, objects and collections according to your routines. Once you have identified ways in which your home could better meet your needs, eliminate or consolidate unnecessary spaces. As you do so, you can also begin to eliminate objects that are no longer serving your life. For example, in the rarely used dining room, you might decide to keep the dining room table which can double as a desk, but to eliminate a buffet or hutch that holds plates and silverware that is never used. You can sell or donate those housewares. Instead, you might move bookshelves into your space which can operate as both a dining room and study.

5) Pay special attention to areas where clutter builds. When it comes to clutter, most of us tend to let things pile up in a few key areas: clothes and closets, papers and documents, books and collections, kitchen implements and gadgetry. Take a day to dedicate yourself to each of these areas. On Monday, go through your closets and plan to donate any clothing that hasn’t been worn in a year, that you don’t like, or that no longer fits. Be rigorous. If you are unsure about something, put it in a special “maybe” box. If you haven’t touched or needed the item within the next month or two, then donate the box to charity.  On Tuesday, go through your book shelves.  Many people decide to hold onto reference or art books but let go of paperback novels, which tend to pile up more quickly and which are often read only once. Keep only those books that truly hold a special meaning for you.  Take your books to a used bookstore or donate them to the public library. On Wednesday, spend the day going through your kitchen cabinets. Eliminate  items that are redundant along with never-used gadgets and plastic containers that tend to build up. Likewise, spend a day in your bathroom, in the garage, in your basement, and clear out the unused and disliked items. Donate everything, so you feel no guilt about letting stuff go.

6) Resist the temptation to fill up again. When spaces are empty, we have a tendency to want to fill them up again. In order to enjoy your new downsized state, learn how to enjoy space for itself. Every corner need not be filled. When you are tempted buy new items make yourself wait a week or two before you actually make the purchase. Consider whether you really need the item and remember how much trouble it has been to let go of items collected over the decades.

You can receive our articles for free in your email inbox or subscribe to our RSS feed. Just enter your email below for the email subscription:

| Buy | Print

Leave a Comment