Eight Tips for Scaling Down to a Smaller Home

This French Country kitchen is actually in an American double wide trailer. Photo and kitchen by Magazine Your Home via Hometalk.com. Downsizing, whether you're doing it voluntarily to simplify your life or out of economic necessity, can be like a giant game of Tetris. There are so many pieces, each with its own shape and dimensions, and they all must somehow fit into a limited space, just so. If you are downsizing to a smaller home, this guide should help you to get started.

1. Measure twice, cut once. Before you do anything, measure the dimensions of your new house exactly. When you are approaching anything involving spatial arrangement, accurate measurements will be your absolute ally. If you are deciding what furniture to keep and what to give away (or planning to buy new, compact appliances), start by making an accurately scaled floor plan of your new home.

2. Go room by room. Considering the process of downsizing to a new home can be so intimidating. It becomes easier when you stop looking at it as a whole; go room by room.

3. Pack and move only what you need and love. Parting with possessions can be very difficult. If you need to hire an expert to help you to move, then do it. Compassionate cleanout companies exist to help people move with less stress and difficulty.  

4. Go vertical. When it's time to set up in your new house, plan to use as much vertical space as you can. That means installing book shelves, floating shelves, and utility shelves, whether you do it yourself or hire a carpenter. You can store more than books on bookshelves, and if you have a large book collection, the books themselves can be arranged artfully in lieu of wall art.

5. Use "stuff" as decor. For instance, in your new, more modestly-sized bathroom, you probably won't have room for all your practical toiletries and supplies, as well as decorative items. Take a cue from spa bathrooms: Use your toiletries as decor items.

6. Use full-size furniture. The name of the game in small-space living is ensuring every household item is fully functional and useful. While mini couches and armchairs might allow you to have a "complete" living room set in your smaller place, that set of apartment-size furniture might not be as comfortable or functional as a single full-size sofa. Also, one large furniture item can make a small space look cozy and defined, whereas a collection of small pieces may feel cluttered.

7. Give your small kitchen character. A small kitchen does not have to be a boring or unattractive kitchen. In fact, its diminutive size can be an asset. Like a petite bathroom, a minute kitchen can be a jewel box of a room. Just choose an attractive, unifying theme or "look" for your kitchen, and tightly adhere to it.

8. Downsize your wardrobe. Typically, clothes take up an enormous amount of storage space, especially in the bedroom. But you want your new bedroom to be as uncluttered and harmonious as possible. Downsizing your wardrobe is one of the most rewarding and satisfying decluttering tasks you can do. 

Chaya Kurtz writes for Networx.com.

Updated August 27, 2018.

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