Over one third of over 55’s in the UK are looking to downsize. As well as retiree’s, plenty of other people will be sticking to smaller homes or looking to downsize as well. Perhaps to save money for a bigger property, move closer to a city, or free up money to do other things. Whatever the reason, there are plenty of people currently, or in the very near future, who will be looking to make the most of a smaller property.
Living in a smaller property comes with many positives such as:
- Lower bills
- Less capacity for clutter
- Cosier spaces
- Easier management
However, there are also many struggles to living in a smaller property, particularly when downsizing as it becomes tricky to adapt, having lived in a much bigger space. Not to worry though, there are lots of ways to get around common issues you might come across when you start living in a more compact environment.
Before You Move
First things first, you’re going to need to do some careful preparation to help you when you actually move in to your downsized property. Clearly, the matter of the items you own is a really big consideration. Quite simply, the stuff you currently have will not all fit in the property you are moving into. Or it could fit, but there wouldn’t be any room for living! So, you need to downsize your belongings before you can downsize your home.
Before you start going through the emotional turmoil of chucking out beloved items, declutter first. Decluttering is great for your mind, physical space, and even your bank balance and only involves getting rid of stuff you don’t want or need anymore. To declutter effectively:
- Put some music on you love
- Have everything you need ready to declutter (bags, boxes, labels etc)
- Set aside time and commit to spending that time on the job
- Go in deep, into every drawer and cupboard, considering each and every item
- Have 4 piles or boxes on the go – charity, chuck, sell and keep – and when you finish a box, label it really well and start a new one. The more completed boxes you have, the more accomplished you will feel!
After decluttering, you then need to look at being more choosy with the items you are keeping. This should only be done when you have a smaller property to move into as otherwise you could get rid of sentimental items for no reason.
Great ways to downsize items you love:
- Group items together that are similar and then keep only one of that type of item
- Gift items to friends or family members who always loved them or who need them
- Gift the item to someone in need
- Sell the item if it is worth a lot of money, and put that money aside for your first dinner party at your new place, or for a day out when you’re settled in
If you don’t want to get rid of items you love, there are always self storage units where you could store your items as long as you are willing to pay for the extra space. You could also see if friends or family have a spare bit of space for you to use.
After you have downsized a lot of your items, really that is the main bulk of preparation for downsizing done. Some people can find it difficult to let go of their old home emotionally which is completely normal. In this case looking at all the positives of your new home can be really helpful.
Making The Most Of Your New Compact Home
Once you have moved into your new, more compact home, it is time to make the most of the space that you do have. Sure there’s not tons of square footage to play with, but there’s sure to be cute little spaces to cosy up in, quirky design features, practical spaces, and efficiently proportioned areas, all to enjoy and make the most of.
Here are some top tips for making the most of your new smaller home:
Get really good at storage
In any compact space, storage is key. Try to look at every space as though any part of it could hold clever storage, from floor to ceiling. The way you store the items that belong in that space will heavily dictate how practical that space becomes. No matter how awkward or small the space is, there will be several storage solutions for it, you just need to commit to finding them, and when you do the reward will be extremely satisfying!
Don’t be afraid to divide space
Perhaps you need to create multi-functional areas to accommodate the different uses your home will have.
When you have limited space, it can be tempting to avoid dividing it up even more, creating even smaller spaces as a result. This makes sense, if you were to use solid open and shut doors made of solid wood or plastic, as it would shut out light and close in the spaces it divided. What you can do though, to divide space and maintain the light and open feeling, is to use clever tricks like:
- Zoning – a common trick used in open plan living where you use design, dividing furniture, levels and lighting to designate different zones depending on their function.
- Internal bifold doors – Using glass internal bifold doors that let the light in, and enable you to divide or open up the space depending on your preference. A key benefit of glass doors is that the light streams through regardless of whether or not the door is closed, so it keeps the illusion of one big open space and links different areas together.
We are taught to believe that the more spacious you want a room to look, the lighter it needs to be decorated. When you move into a smaller property you may feel like you have to use light colours everywhere to make the most of the small space, but you really don’t need to do that. It does make sense to keep things fresh and uplifted, but you can layer shades of any colour into any room. Grey for example, is an extremely popular colour in interior design at the moment, and you can use all different shades of grey for a room, not to mention different textures and materials. A darker stone tiled floor combined with lighter grey furniture, metal accessories and perhaps some very light grey lampshades, large knit upcycled blue/grey poufs, a cosy ombre grey rag rug, and a gorgeous faux fur dark grey throw – sounds wonderful doesn’t it? You can also add splashes of colour into any neutral design, not to mention pattern. Don’t feel restricted by the space, it may well even bring out the best in your creativity!
Small Home, Big Heart
Downsizing can be very tricky, and very emotional but, in the long run, you’re likely to fall in love with more compact living, especially when cleaning takes a third of the time and your bills are sliced in half! There’s every reason this new, smaller home could be the making of your home-life. A home is what you make it, so why not make your smaller one incredible?