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Downsizing to a smaller home

While some people opt for a smaller home out of choice not everyone has the luxury of that choice. The downturn in the economy has meant that many homeowners, or those renting a home, have had to downsize in order to reduce living costs.

 

Whatever your reason for downsizing, you'll undoubtedly have to make some compromises, get organized, and make some adjustments to your lifestyle in order to make everything fit and not feel cramped.

It’s not always a situation that is easy to accept, but by making the most of the available space you can transform any house into a home. Make use of a virtual planner such as FloorPlanner.com to assist in arranging furniture in your new space.

This article is written with small cottage or garage conversion accommodation in mind, which is also becoming a popular option for city dwellers looking for investment opportunities for holidays and retirement.

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Choose your furniture
What fitted into a larger home may not fit into a smaller space. This is a time when hard decisions may need to be made – to sell or give away what is no longer needed, unless, of course, the pieces can be modified to give them new purpose. If you try to cram too much stuff into a small space, it’s going to feel cramped.

However, if the move is only temporary you could consider storing larger pieces until you need them. Get in touch with local storage facilities that offer reasonable monthly rates and make the most of the container to store everything you don’t need. If you only plan on living small for a year or two it might be worth the monthly storage fee.

Here are a few examples:
A large sleigh bed takes up a lot of space. Simply by removing the footboard and adding underbed storage will allow this type of bed to become less cumbersome and more useful. Alternatively, don't be afraid to try the bed in a new position to fit it into an awkward space.

 

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A dresser or chest of drawers is always useful for storage, and you’re going to need more places to store when downsizing. Look at the piece; can you add more storage onto the top by fitting open or closed shelving?

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When I downsized from a house to a small flat, my large 3-piece wall simply wouldn’t fit. I couldn’t afford to buy new, so looked at ways to modify the unit into three separate pieces; one section was turned onto its side to become the TV stand and media unit, a second – also placed on its side – was placed behind the bed to provide a headboard with shelf, and the third unit fitted nicely into the very small entrance to serve as a display and storage unit.

Another option is to build cabinets around the bed to provide hanging and storage space on one wall, rather than taking up space on another wall.

Utilize all available space
If your new space is a converted double garage, divide the space into zones: sleeping, eating, cooking, bathing and living. Where possible, create zones that are dual purpose, such as a living space that becomes a sleeping area with the addition of a Murphy Wall Bed.

In a small bathroom, the installation of a bath/shower combination provides for both a relaxing bathe or a refreshing shower, depending upon personal choice. In this way more floor space is available and the room feels less claustrophobic.

Free-standing furniture takes up a lot of room and it makes sense to add built-ins wherever you can. A dining banquette seats 3 to 4, yet still offers space under the seat. This type of dining arrangement takes up far less space than a traditional dining table and chairs, and it doesn’t have to be ugly or old fashioned.

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You don’t always need more room - just be clever with the space you have!