Downsizing has become a trend. From young families opting for smaller, more eco-friendly spaces to empty nesters trading in their big family homes, little is in. If you’ve always lived small, it’s no problem, but what if you’re used to living large? How do you deal with suddenly having less space for everything? A few simple tricks make it easier and once you learn to let go, you’ll be amazed at how liberating, and green, living smaller can be.Unless you’re moving into your own place for the first time, or you’re moving to a 250 square foot houseboat from a mansion, it’s likely that you will be able to reuse a lot of your existing furniture. The trick is careful editing and taking an honest look at what you can reuse, and what you’re better off selling and replacing with something better suited for a smaller space, or just doing without entirely.
Assess your stuff and your needs – go through your current space and look at what you actually use on a regular basis. Anything you don’t use regularly should be on its way out the door. Then look at your new space and figure out what you actually need and can fit.
Take measurements – measure your new space and any furniture you’re planning to keep. If you don’t have a space yet, measure your furniture so you know exactly how big everything is. If you find that the couch you really wanted to keep fills the entire living room at your new place, it might be a good time to edit that couch right out of your life.
Calculate storage – no matter how carefully you edit, there will always be things that need to be stored. The smaller your place, the more likely you are to need some form of storage. From clothing to kitchen gear and even bathroom needs, it all has to go somewhere. In small spaces, using every inch counts and going vertical can be your best bet. Storage furniture like ottomans and chests that do double duty as seating and tables are great options as well.
Take a seat – your new small space obviously won’t fit as many people as you’re used to, and cramming your space full of a big sofa and too many chairs will make the room feel cramped and cluttered. It all depends on how you use your new space, and how much of it there is. If you entertain a lot, a flexible arrangement of multiple chairs and benches could serve you better than a single sofa. If your room is primarily used for TV watching, a big corner sofa that dominates the room wouldn’t be out of place.
Table the discussion – rethink the need for a big coffee table in the middle of the room. If you’re going for flexible seating, try nesting tables that can come out when needed and go away when not. Or opt for small side tables. Consider the shape of the room, the seating arrangement, and the traffic flow when thinking about tables. Finally, think about what you need tables for – just holding a drink or two? Keep them small.
Shed some light on the subject – in a smaller space, ceiling fixtures like pendant lamps are your best friends. They’re visually striking, give plenty of light and require no table or floor space. Table lamps are a no-no – they take up valuable table space on things you just pared down. If a ceiling fixture isn’t an option, floor lamps are your next best bet.
Technology edit – if you’re going to have a TV, a flat-screen mounted on the wall is the biggest space saver and totally down-sizer friendly. Skip the console and giant entertainment centers and go digital and you can even edit out the DVD collection and player.