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Allied Member, ASID
Licensed General Contractor
AZ ROC 287314

December 1, 2010

Downsizing and Getting More

Filed under: Storage — Tags: , , , , , , , — jherzlinger @ 4:42 pm

There are many times in a person’s or family’s life when they might need to downsize. The kid’s move out, your lazy brother finally gets married, or your sore knee just can’t handle the stairs anymore. With the economy, many people find it sad and shameful when they have to downsize by moving to smaller home or a different location. I assure everyone that downsizing is not something to be embarrassed by, but rather a natural step in the progression of life. If you have ever been to Europe, they you know just how small of a space can sustain human life. It is not that smaller is worse, it is that it is an adjustment to the way we have previously lived. Remember that downsizing does not mean downgrading. If you are one of the those people who is on to the next phase of life in a smaller space, there are some basic ways to make the adjustment easier and improve your quality of life in the smaller space. Blogs like apartment therapy have fabulous examples everyday of how to make your small space more efficient for your lifestyle, but here I will just cover the essentials to get you started.

The one thing that seems to make or break the effeciceny of a small space, like an apartment, is built-ins. Integrating furniture and storage into the structure of your house basically allows you to keep more of the square footage for your activities. Built in’s means that your walls become the storage and furniture so that you can put the important stuff in your precious floor space. One easy great solution is using a corner near your kitchen to build in banquette seating for your dining/eating table. The wall now becomes a piece of furniture that can also have a storage component. The key to downsizing is giving one thing multiple functions. Modular furniture systems are great for that because they let your activity define the function of the furniture. Another great integrated feature is a Murphy bed integrated into a wall of storage. Integrated cabinetry, especially in your kitchen, will help visually unify your spaces and keep them looking simple and clean.

The main battle you will be facing is that of storage. Finding space to store all your stuff, especially coming form a larger space will definitely be a challenge. However, in this there are TONS of wonderful storage solutions. This relates closely to the integrating of components and giving spaces multiple functions. Benches, stairs, and wall space because viable storage solutions. There are lots of units on the market for free standing and integrated storage, just do a little bit of research to see what goes with your personal style.

The next thing that will help you transition is mass amounts of purging and organization. Go through your stuff and decide what needs to stay and what can go. Many people place a lot of sentimental value on things – but the magic of the twenty first century is that you can capture that memory in digital forms that do not take up room. Digital photos are a great way to keep the memory but not the space. Obviously, there are some things that just can’t go. Try using a rating system on your stuff to see what is kind of important, important and very important. Once you clean out the clutter that is holding you down, you will amazed at how great you feel. Next is taking account from every item that you own and giving it a home. In other words – organizing. Go to target and use organizers for your shoes, make-up, office supplies and kitchen utensils. If every thing has a cubby, space, or a home then you will know where everything is and, again, – really find out how often you are using that stuff. Generally, you should go through your stuff on a yearly basis to keep your space and life clutter free. After that, the last thing to consider it making sure that your stuff isn’t visually cluttering your space. The proportion of your furniture should match the furniture of your space. Even limited furnishings can make a space feel cramped if it is too large for the size of the room. If you keep all these things in mind then you should have a smooth transition to a smaller place. Below I have included some images from all over of products that are on the market right now, modular systems, and well organized spaces. Hope you find it inspirational!

Unique and innovative free standing storage

These modular storage units can be easily attached to the wall and moved from place to place. They would be fitting in any place from a kitchen to an office.

Don’t let any wall go unused – storage is key!

Built in banquette…

This unique wallpaper might not be realistic your home but it just gives you an idea of how innovative product designers are becoming

Martha does it best. Color coordinate to keep super organized.

Modifying in the kitchen but using carts in place of an island and hanging pots and pans on the wall keep precious cabinetry open.

Could you work in a kitchen this big?

Use tack board to get your office supplies off your desk for less clutter. Everything has a home.

Brilliant little organizational idea for cords. Find more creative organizing tips from Martha Stewart online

Convert decorative pieces of furniture into specialized storage spaces.

Happy Wednesday!

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