How to Downsize with Ease

Full article first published on Houzz Denise O’Connor, Houzz Contributor

While it can be a wrench to leave a much-loved family home, there are many reasons why downsizing makes sense. A smaller space means less stress (let’s face it, running a large household can be a headache) as well as fewer rooms to keep tidy and clean. It also means reduced household expenditure and, whether you fancy travelling the world or are planning a more luxurious lifestyle, the extra funds are bound to come in useful.

With some planning and well-thought-out design ideas, you’ll soon make moving into your new home a seamless experience.

 Homerton Warehouse - Paul Craig Photography


Save the sentimental stuff for last

Start with rooms that don’t have as much sentimental value, such as the kitchen. Most of us won’t get too emotional about parting with the Tupperware, although a much-loved collection of Le Creuset saucepans might be another matter!

If you’re downsizing from a house to a flat, target areas such as your garage or garden shed. You might not have any need for things such as the lawn mower, ladders and spades.


Plan well in advance

Getting rid of your possessions is never easy. The best strategy is to plan ahead, even before you put your home on the market. Take some time each day to sort out the different rooms in your home.

Going through things such as papers and books can be very daunting; the best strategy is to tackle these one box at a time.

 

Work out what to keep
Antiques or family heirlooms can also be difficult to part with, so it’s a good idea to have them appraised to determine their value. You might find they’re worth far less than you expected and are perhaps not worth holding on to after all.


Assess the size of your new home

One of the biggest concerns for people thinking about downsizing is whether they’ll be able to fit all their possessions into a smaller property.

Try to get a good handle on how much space you’ll have to play with in your new place. It can be difficult to get a sense of the size of the new rooms, so try comparing them to those in your existing home and you’ll soon see which pieces of furniture fit and which need to go.


Measure the pieces you plan to take

Large furniture items, such as beds, can be hard to part with, but will they work in your new home? Make an inventory of your existing furniture, art and accessories and decide what you plan to put where, measuring everything to see whether it will fit.

Try to find alternative uses for pieces you really love. For example, a large hall table could become a functional desk in your new home.


Plan storage in your new space

As soon as you move in, think carefully about your storage requirements. For example, are the items you need to store being used every day? Things that need to be accessed frequently should be stored in a way that allows you to get to them easily. Creating built-in cupboards in the eaves or under the stairs is a good use of often lost space and they’re generally easy to access.

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Opt for designated cupboards

Let what you need to store dictate the kind of storage you select. Designated storage is an efficient use of space, and will help you fit in as many items from your old home as possible.

The bank of cabinets above the double basins here offers lots of useful storage, while the mirrored doors help to create the illusion of space.

Check out 10 steps to making storage boxes work for you


Make a display

Don’t feel you have to hide everything away, even in a small space. Open storage units can make an attractive feature and are fantastic for displaying treasured collections, which will serve as a visual link to your previous home.

Built-in storage will give you a lot more for your money, as it can be customised to suit your exact requirements. You can also incorporate lighting to create a really elegant feature.

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