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.

How to manage an office downsize

Modern office reception area

With the growth of home-working, hot-desking and virtual offices, more and more companies are choosing to consolidate their office space, both as a cost-saving exercise and as part of a shift in corporate culture as technology increasingly allows employees to carry out their work using remote digital environments, without the need to be physically present at their office.

Downsizing can improve a company’s efficiency and, ultimately, its bottom line, but will inevitably present its own set of challenges.

Keep your employees informed
If your company persues an office downsize, it’s important that the situation is managed carefully. Even if the physical downsize isn’t the result of economic challenges, staff may feel nervous, leading to rumours and assumptions that moving to a smaller office means the company is in trouble and therefore their jobs may be in jeopardy. Such anxiety can lead to increased stress levels and reduced productivity, and even potentially employees looking for jobs elsewhere.

In this situation, communication is key. Don’t keep your employees in the dark; create a communication plan, detailing your key messages and the positive reasons behind the change.  Explain to your staff as early as possible why the downsize is happening, focusing on the positives that affect them, such as increased flexibility, efficiency and remote working. Encourage opportunities for two way discussion so they feel their questions are being heard.

Whether your downsize involves consolidating your existing office space or moving into a new building, consider how this will affect your employees and give them plenty of notice, particularly if a new building means additional commuting time for some.

Make the most of your new space
When preparing for an office downsize, it’s important to carry out a detailed space plan to help you save money in unnecessary rental of redundant office space while identifying any under-utilised areas and maximising the space you intend to use.

Pickfords Business Solutions offers a detailed space planning and interior design service to help you best utilise your office space for the needs of your business.

Carefully plan your IT
Getting your new infrastructure right is vital to ensure minimal disruption to business operations during an office downsize, particularly if upgrading or installing a new virtual office environment.

To help you manage a potentially complex IT relocation, Pickfords Business Solutions works with your IT supplier or internal department to ensure a seamless infrastructure move, including disconnection and reconnection services, server and data relocation, network patching and auditing services, portable appliance testing and cable management.

Consider storage as an option
While planning an office downsize, you may find it necessary to store certain furniture, equipment or filing, either as a temporary solution between office moves or a longer-term option to save on the costs of property rental.

Pickfords Business Solutions has a national network of storage centres for any length or size of business storage.

Meet your CSR objectives
Consolidating your office space normally results in an excess of furniture and IT equipment. Use this opportunity to meet your CSR targets by opting for environmental disposal of your unwanted goods, which can help raise thousands of pounds for local charities and causes while proving a cost effective alternative to landfill.