Embracing Downsizing

Downsizing: Taking a Different Look 

I know most of you aren’t senior citizens that are reading my blog. So when I write about downsizing, I’m not necessarily speaking to condensing a whole house into a studio apartment into a community living facility. I’m actually speaking to those of us who find ourselves downsizing because of the economy, moving in with family members, or are remaining in small square footage until the house can sell. It’s often I get calls from people that just can’t move because the real estate, lost their job, or are moving into condos or apartments to reduce living costs. These situations are legitimate and whatever season or situation you’re in, I’m hoping to give you a different perspective on downsizing.

When you think about downsizing, I want you to think about how your lifestyle and daily routines will change. Most people just see downsizing as throwing half their stuff out. So instead, think about your new place, your new interests, and your new lifestyle. Think about these categories.

Entertaining: Consider this question- do you have room to entertain in your new space? You may like to entertain, but realistically will you have a dining room table or large enough kitchen table and eat in area to be cooking and entertaining for a group of people? In most cases, the answer is no. Now, I’m not saying you can’t have a couple of girlfriends over, but you’re not likely to host a 12 person formal sit down dinner. So, downsize your serving pieces, your china, tablecloths, your barware and stemware. All of these take up a lot of kitchen cabinet space that you need instead for daily cooking and baking. Cut way back and keep small sets and small sizes of fun serving pieces.

Decorating: Every woman should have what I call a “Pottery Barn shelf”. If not, I normally help homeowners set up one. This basically is a stash of decorative items, which homeowners can visit and choose from to swap in and out decor. You don’t have to have every knick knack, candle, and vase out at once. So create a “Pottery Barn shelf”. Now I have clients who have Pottery Barn rooms, but in your case of downsizing, that’s just not going to be possible. So pick out a decent size shelf in a closet somewhere and keep that amount plus what you will display out when you move in. Keep just favorite, classic, and timeless pieces that you know you won’t tire of.

Holidays: Gone are the days, where you can afford to keep bins and bins of Easter, St. Patrick’s Day, Fourth of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas decorations. Downsizing just doesn’t allow. Consider consolidating holidays. Pick your favorite two holidays and keep a decent amount of decor for those two, but for the rest of the holidays, slim down to a few items- a knick knack for a coffee table, bathroom, kitchen table, and that’s about it. Each holiday doesn’t need to have a full blown presence in your new place like Christmas or Halloween might. Those two holidays are the biggest celebrated from what I’ve seen over the last 7 years, while digging through holiday stuff.

Upkeep/Repair: This mainly is for the men in our lives. Taking care of a house is a lot different then taking care of an apartment or condo. The amount of tools, power tools, and screwdrivers really does get cut in half maybe even two thirds. A small or medium sized tool box should suffice.

Linens: Count the number of beds, bathrooms, kitchen cabinets, and overall closets in your new home. Pack and downsize accordingly. Each bed only needs 2-3 sets of sheets tops. Each bathroom only needs 2 complete towel sets. Four to six kitchen towels will be plenty. One summer blanket, one winter blanket and a coverlet or duvet will be just fine of each bed.    

Finally, say goodbye to Costco and Sam’s Club. In my honest opinion, we (yes me included) who live in smaller homes, apartments or condos have no business shopping there. We just don’t have space to store three ketchups, 24 cans of soup, twenty pounds of chicken, eight paper towel rolls, and thirty two rolls of toilet paper. Again, change your mentality and just buy when you run out of something. There’s no need to stock up.

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