Cut your housework in half, eliminate tedious yardwork and increase your savings. I've got your attention now, don't I? With enticing benefits like these, how is it that downsizing still has a negative connotation for many? For some, it's hard to leave a cherished home when children are grown or when managing it becomes too difficult. However, many folks are now considering the virtues of downsizing -- or "smartsizing," which is what I think it should be called -- at a younger age. Maybe it's time to reevaluate your lifestyle, shifting energy from child rearing and property maintenance to the freedoms inherent in a smaller, smarter home.
Kimberley's do's and don'ts
DO reconsider your needs. Perhaps that industrial-size range and Sub-Zero refrigerator aren't really necessary. Can you opt out of a second bedroom in favour of a dedicated hobby space? If guests visit only once a year, then maybe a hobby room is more worthwhile than a guest room.
DO draw up a floor plan for the new space before determining any furniture choices. Your favourite sofa may look like it fits in your new home -- make sure it does! As well as assessing your furniture for room arrangements, measure large, wide pieces like sofas to see if they'll fit through the front door, and keep in mind any stairs or elevators to be negotiated.
DO eliminate the entertainment centre by purchasing a flat-screen TV to mount to the wall.
DON'T decorate for how you wish you lived; rather, shape your home to how you actually live. In other words, don't surround yourself with crystal and fine silver if you're more of a put-your-feet-on-the-coffee-table type.
DON'T limit rooms to a single use. The living room may be ideal for watching TV, crafting and housing the occasional overnight guest. Again, a floor plan helps you realize your goals.
DON'T overlook the potential to reap financial gains by purchasing a smaller property. Consult a financial adviser to invest newly available funds, pay off debt or take that dream vacation.
Image courtesy of Pottery Barn
Kimberley's guide to home editing
• Nearly everyone agrees the task of moving is monumental. Ease the strain by beginning the process of editing months ahead of the moving date. Set a time goal, say 20 to 30 minutes daily, and tackle a single room for that period.
• Ruthlessly consider the need for each item. You know the rule: If you haven't worn it, used it or enjoyed it for more than a year, it's unlikely you'll miss it.
• Children and relatives may be less enthusiastic about receiving your castoffs than you imagine. Respect their right to create a home that matches their vision and instead consider charities that will sincerely appreciate your gently used goods.
• Take care not to edit so much that your personality and expression are absent from your new home. Incorporate collectibles and display items that have special meaning, allowing your most treasured possessions to assume pride of place.
Image courtesy of Pottery Barn.