Design Dilemma: Downsizing in Style | Home Design Find

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Design Dilemma: Downsizing in Style

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There comes a time in life when many of us must downsize. Sometimes the transition comes when the kids grow up.  For others, it happens in the senior years, when a big house or large apartment become too much to handle. Still for others, it happens as a result of a relocation, job change, or a change in finances.  And for many people these days, it’s happening just because more of us are finding life easier, cheaper and more rewarding when lived on a smaller scale.

But here’s the deal: moving from a large space to a smaller space can be daunting when it comes to deciding what to keep, what to get rid of. So how can you graciously and painlessly squeeze into smaller quarters? Here are a few ideas:

In your old larger space:

  • Before you do anything, consider the place you will be moving to. How would you like it to look? How would you like it to feel? Instead of focusing first on what you want to get rid of, think in context of your new space and what you’ll need to live a happy and productive life there. Draw up an actual floor plan and pretend you’re furnishing from scratch. Write up a list of everything you’ll need. Create a mood board that will reflect the tone you’re after.
  • Once you’ve developed an idea of what you’d like your new space to look like, life gets so much easier! Basically, everything that doesn’t fit into that plan must go. This will be painful, but when you have a clear vision of where you want to arrive you will avoid the problem so many downsizers encounter of stuffing their new places with furniture and goods that are simply inappropriate. The beauty of creating a mood board and floor plan of your new space is that it also generates excitement about the next phase. It will motivate you into ridding yourself of unnecessary objects because you’ll be so excited about the new space you’re creating!
  • Decide on how you will rid yourself of unneeded goods. Probably a combination of yard sales, donations, and gifts to friends and family will help you rid yourself of unneeded possessions.
  • Avoid the storage option. Many downsizers, unable to really part with their possessions, opt to rent a storage unit. But in the end, who are we kidding? What is put in storage is either not really necessary (obviously, or you would choose to use it in your home) or unlikely to ever be used again. Unless you are sure your move to a smaller place is just temporary, it makes more since to avoid the expense and hassle of renting storage by parting with your objects definitively.

In your new smaller place:

  • Choose multi-functional furniture. Most of the furniture you bring into your new space should serve several purposes.  For instance:  a pull-out couch can serve as both a sitting area and an extra bed for overnight guests. A convertible coffee table can serve as a place to rest coffee mugs but also possibly as storage or even a dining table.
  • Opt for an open space floorplan. Even though your new space may be smaller than your old one, it may feel bigger just because open floor plans allow for more light, expansive views and an easier flow between rooms.
  • Rid yourself of one-purpose gadgets. This is especially true in the kitchen. We have a tendency to collect gizmos and gadgets for some specific purpose that may happen as rarely as once a year. Get rid of it all! You’ll be amazed at how much space you gain and how little you’ll miss these things.
  • Opt for quality and get rid of the flimsy and rickety. If it’s well-made, beautiful, useful, you love it and have space for it, keep it! Don’t bother hanging onto things that are not well made, as you’re just as likely to have to buy something new to replace the old thing when it finally collapses.

Though downsizing can be painful, it can also be freeing, liberating, exhilarating. Life becomes much more fun without the worry or the extra expense of unneeded space. Embrace your new smaller life and you’ll never look back!

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