Downsizing can lead to stress and anxiety, but it doesn’t have to! Moving from a suburban home to a city apartment? Kids moving out? An empty nest makes space for possibilities and excitement. The anticipation of creating a new living space and freeing ourselves of dated furniture, accessories, clothes and collectibles is liberating to some and daunting to others. If you come up with a plan before you downsize, you can create the perfect environment that pays respect to your past and makes way for the future.
Here are my tips for downsizing your life to live in a more intimate space.
Don’t procrastinate. Start planning your downsizing early, set realistic goals, and let your family know! If you have adult children, plan a day for them to come reminisce. Let them take any specials items they want and get your camera ready! This is a great opportunity to take photos of the belongings you are parting with. Get your kids in front of the house for one more family photo (have fun and recreate an old family photo!).
This can be especially helpful for young children who don’t want to let go of an old stuffed animal or dolls. They can get a group photo before donating the excess toys to children in need!
Be careful not to dump boxes of keepsakes on your family. If they don’t want it and you don’t have room for it, it’s time to say goodbye! Don’t forget you can digitize– scan your daughters adorable grade 2 project and recycle the real thing! You can store digital copies of everything (This goes for the first-time home buyers, too! Don’t hoard old keepsakes when a digital copy will do just fine.).
Where are you going and what lifestyle do you want to embrace?
Does your new pad have room for oversized furniture?
Exactly how much smaller is your new home?
Do you want to keep unneeded items just because you spent a lot of money on them?
Small spaces are expertly crafted. There is a reason for every corner and every shelf. With some planning and self control, a shelf becomes a chic office or a corner becomes an recording studio.
Let a trusted friend/family member help or consider hiring a Pro who can offer an objective opinion when it is time to start eliminating. Trust me, you’re going to feel like a million bucks when you’re finally free!
When it comes to cozy spaces you need to be smart with your electronics. Media centres are a thing of the past. Edit your technology and go cordless! This is the fun part…UPGRADE! Choose a TV that mounts to the wall, get a sleek printer with wifi, and say goodbye to your DVD player. (Besides, you already digitized everything, right?)
If you’re purchasing new furniture for your downsize, go for multipurpose (pullouts, ottomans that offer space inside for extras, night stands with secret compartments, etc.).
Make sure your new items can stand the test of time. Smaller homes mean double duty for your chairs and couches. Don’t forget about your pets! Start house training ASAP. Smaller spaces means no room for kennels and giant dog beds. We trained our pup in a kennel for the first few months and now our efficient town house is kennel free!
More 2 in 1’s: If you have to say goodbye to a few excess china sets don’t forget to keep one or two of your favourite teacups! Your new place might not have a china cabinet, but you still need a fancy tea light holder. A larger loved mug can be a pencil holder in your home office or for makeup storage in your bathroom. I even use my favourite tea cup as a ring holder by the handwashing sink!
If it’s not working, CUT IT! Don’t force it. You may think that L shaped lounger is the bees knees, but it isn’t working. Most places will take back furniture for a small restocking fee or no fee at all! If it is an older item find it a happy home on Craigslist. Don’t be fiercely loyal to furniture. That’s just silly.