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Downsizing is an experience that can be positively life changing. Think about it. Less maintenance and housekeeping, cheaper utility bills and more financial flexibility and time to spend exactly how you choose. The list of benefits goes on and on. On the other hand, the thought about moving into a less spacious abode can seem incredibly overwhelming. Here, we highlight 10 tips to surviving small space living to ease your worries and set you on a path to success.
The trick to not getting overwhelmed with the downsizing process is to not rush through it. Going through your belongings and deciding what to keep and discard can be daunting. Don’t try to tackle the task all at once. Start small — one space or room at a time. Make piles for items you want to take with you, put in storage, sell, give away to friends or family, donate or send to the curb. When you feel yourself getting stressed, take a break and pick it back up later.
Before moving, measure the rooms. This will help you decide what furniture you can take with you and what you’ll need to buy to fit the new spaces. Will you need an area rug to lay over a hardwood floor? What about seating for an outdoor patio or balcony? Also take note of the counter, closet, cabinet and storage spaces. Assessing your available space will help you make some tough decisions. Do you really need all of those kitchen appliances, cups or pots and pans? Maybe you can part with some blankets, books, jackets or other clothing that you haven’t touched in years to ensure room for the belongings you care about most.
Apartments and condos have varying rules when it comes to how much you can alter your indoor and outdoor spaces. Some prohibit outdoor decorations or planting of flowers, while others are more lenient. Depending on where you choose to live, you may have the option to repaint walls or swap out the carpet. Changing interior colors can make a huge difference in your happiness and comfortability in a new space, so make sure to take that into consideration when deciding where to move.
When moving into your space, take this opportunity to freshen up your surroundings. If you’re allowed to paint, keep it light, but pick a bold color for an accent wall, seating, blankets or decorative pillows that add visual interest and encourage your eyes to wander about the rooms. Mix and match warm (red, orange and yellow) and cool (blue, green and purple) tones to help create an intriguing, well-balanced space.
Whether you plan to refresh your new space or fill it with cherished belongings, don’t get carried away. Choose a few statement pieces and build each room around that. Not only will it allow your favorite furniture or decor to stand out, but it also will help give each room purpose and continuity.
When moving into a new space, free up the floor and make sure everything has a place. Clutter is the enemy of small-space living. From ottomans and shelving units to wall mounts and hanging shoe racks, one of the keys to small space living is utilizing the space you have. That includes walls, as well as spaces under or behind beds or couches. If you’ve never put a few hooks on the inside of a closet door to hang a few jackets, purses or accessories, now’s the time to start taking advantage of that space saving trick.
When it comes to navigating a small space, multipurpose furniture will become your new best friend. From a shelf that doubles as a coat rack or bookcase with a fold down table to an underbed storage option that also functions as a nightstand or side table that folds out into a dining table, lift-top coffee tables and sleeper chairs, the possibilities are endless.
Your new center for culinary creations will likely be smaller than your previous space, giving you the perfect opportunity to put some of the above tips into practice. In this space, consider purchasing a pot rack to hang pots and pans and free up cabinet space or tiered basket to store items that would otherwise take up valuable and limited counter space.
With the variety of affordable streaming options available (most of which are vastly cheaper than a monthly cable bill), there is no need to make space for a massive stack of DVDs and a bulky DVD player. When it comes to displaying photos throughout your home, consider replacing your many picture frames with a single, digital picture frame, which can store and showcase hundreds of beloved memories without taking up valuable shelving or tabletop space.
Although you can’t actually add more square footage to your new apartment or condo, you can trick your eyes into thinking a room is larger. Hanging a mirror gives the illusion of depth and reflects more light, allowing you to easily forget that the space isn’t as spacious as it appears.
When it comes to downsizing, it’s important to remember the benefits you’ll reap and how much choosing the right place to age will enhance your longevity and quality of life. At Upside, we believe in senior living, without the downsides. That means that we’ll be with you every step of the way, from choosing a premium apartment that fits your unique needs to navigating the moving process, nestling into your new home and every day after that. Connect with an Upside Manager today to find out more about how Upside is creating new and exciting options for senior living.
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