Photographer: Monic Richard | Story: A Montreal Home That's a Little Bit Country and a Little Bit Contemporary
Moving into a smaller space often means making the decision to live with (a lot) less. Here's how to ease the transition from big to small before moving day.
A house isn’t just, well, a house, made of bricks and mortar and beams. A house is a home and the decision to move into a smaller one, whether out of desire or necessity, can be an emotional one. The longer you’ve lived in your home, the more memories you’ve made and the more stuff you’ve accumulated.
As you start to edit your belongings in anticipation of your move, you’ll have to sort the treasures and decide what to do with everything in between. But, we’re here to help! Here are eight factors you need to consider when you’re downsizing:
1. Consider your lifestyle
Whether downsizing is a dream or a necessity, consider your lifestyle before moving into a smaller space. Make sure that your new space, while smaller, still has enough room to accommodate things that are important to you. Is there room for your exercise bike? Does it have a backyard for you to indulge your love of gardening? If not, are you okay with that? You don’t want to move into a space that forces you to sacrifice lifestyle habits that are important to you and bring you joy.
2. Don’t procrastinate
You need time to thoughtfully sort through your things and decide what to keep, toss or donate. Don’t leave this important process until the last minute, or you won’t have the time you need to carefully edit your belongings. This can be a difficult and time-consuming process and the added stress of a time constraint won’t help.
3. Make sure your furniture will fit comfortably in your new space
Your new space is obviously smaller so make sure you measure room dimensions to ensure that your furniture will fit. You don’t want to move furniture in, only to find it’s too large. Measure in advance and don’t forget to take scale into account. For instance, your large sofa may technically fit into your new space, but will it take up the whole room?
4. Don’t pack everything
Edit, edit, edit! Seize the opportunity to minimize all the stuff in your life. In every room, divide your belongings into three categories: Keep, Donate, Discard.
5. But don’t get rid of everything either!
As tempting as it is to throw things out, make sure you’re careful about what you’re tossing. Go through paperwork carefully to make sure there’s nothing important before you start shredding in bulk. Carefully consider family heirlooms or items with sentimental value; in your rush to purge, you don’t want to regret throwing something out later.
6. Don’t get rid of things the kids want
Make sure to ask your kids if there are things they want to keep before you toss or donate them. Photos, books, toys, clothing or any number of other things may hold sentimental value to them so be sure to ask for their input first.
7. Too many single-use items
In a small space, you’ll want to make sure that as many items as possible serve a dual- or multi-purpose. So it might be time to reconsider that waffle maker, single-serve coffee maker and maybe even your toaster, depending on how often you use it.
8. Don’t put things in storage
The whole point of downsizing is to live more simply with less — not to store all your excess somewhere else. Plus, storage can be expensive! Downsizing is a time to reflect on what you truly need in your life and to be honest about what can stay and what needs to go.