“Downsizing” doesn’t have to be as pessimistic or daunting as it sounds. Personally, I view it as an all-encompassing term representing the many opportunities a smaller space brings when there isn’t as much room for clutter & non-necessities.
Maybe that’s me being overly optimistic… but either way I’m rolling with it!
With an increase in Toronto’s housing prices, downsizing is a reality for many Torontonians. Rather than looking at it as a huge cause of stress, I challenge you to see the opportunity to re-organize & re-prioritize your life & belongings to bring happiness & fulfillment to the forefront.
The ultimate goal, right!?
It’s easy to get bogged down with “things”. Look at downsizing as a reason to evaluate what “things” aren’t working for you so only those that are will move with you!
My two major considerations for downsizing are your immediate needs & your future needs. If you get stumped along the way, ask yourself if the item in question is a “need”. If the answer is no, move on!!
Keep It Functional: Spatial Considerations
A clear, organized space is the beginning of your journey to obtaining peace of mind. It is vital to de-clutter your existing belongings & take stock of the things you use regularly. This will help you determine how much space you actually need based on the items you already have that you can’t live without.
Prepare, prepare, prepare!
If you save this process until after you have found that perfect house or condo, you run the risk of either purchasing a property that does not fit your needs, or is actually more than what you need. Plus, the burden of de-cluttering will still be hanging over you, clouding your ability to plant happy new roots.
Do you only have guests a few times a year?
Consider a sofa bed or a condominium building with guest suites for rent (usually at a small fee) instead of committing to more bedrooms than you need for day to day living.
Everyone has different priorities & requirements for the space they call home. Make sure you have spent some time writing out what is MOST important so you can prioritize where your money really NEEDS to be spent. This will maximize your return on the transition to a smaller space or condo living.
If you’re really struggling with this one… downsize the BIG stuff & take the small stuff with you!
It is vital that you focus on quality over quantity when downsizing. While we have already addressed that in the first part of this blog, part of what adds to an item’s “quality” is its ability to be multi-purposeful.
If you have a coffee table in your living room right now but are moving to a small condo with limited storage, it may be beneficial for you to buy an ottoman that opens & has storage for things like blankets or kids’ toys. If you are buying a new bed frame consider one that has drawers or enough space underneath to store off-season clothing or extra linens. If you have the budget, a great space saver for a spare bedroom is a Murphy bed so the space can be multi-functional.
The "One Year" Rule
The One Year Rule? What’s the one year rule?
Well, If you haven’t warn, used or needed an item in the last year, pass it along!
It is tempting to hang on to things we think we will need or want, especially if they were once loved & treasured. Depending on the space you are moving in to, keeping everything might not be a luxury you can afford. If you haven’t warn, used or needed an item in the last year there is a good chance you won’t in the next year either.
Hidden Costs & Maintenance
The way we live on a daily basis is very heavily impacted by the type of property we live in. While there are many draws to the beautiful garden oasis you can create having a house with a backyard, this oasis is going to cost a lot of time & money to maintain.
Is that something you can afford in your life right now or that a long-term goal?
Is fixing up the flower beds in your current backyard on your spring cleaning list every year but somehow never gets checked off?
There are many draws to a smaller space without the physical maintenance or costs associated with having a large home. Many common element townhouse complexes can give you the outdoor space you crave while offering maintenance help in other areas such as snow removal or roof repairs. If a townhouse isn’t the answer, maybe a semi-detached is the right move to give you a balance between a smaller outdoor space but the feel of a freehold home.
It is important to look at how you WANT to live & what your realistic responsibilities will be with different home types.
A lot of things we keep are items that can be digitized! Documents & photos can be scanned. DVDs, CDs, videos & old cassettes can all be digitized & put on a hard drive to free up some much needed space! You will be surprised how much space paper really takes up in your home once you have sifted through it all to put on a computer!
Everything I have at home has a place. Is it always in its place? Oh hell no… but it definitely has one!
When I find myself with more things than spaces to put them, I know it’s time to declutter. The same principle can be applied when downsizing. Only bring things that will have a place & make a place for all of the things you bring!
Everything else needs a new home & a bitter sweet goodbye as you move on to your next chapter!
Lara Stasiw • Real Estate Agent & Home Design Connoisseur
You made it to the end! THANK YOU!!
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