Most home buyers dream of a spacious house on a big lot with a fenced yard and plenty of privacy. The reality when it comes to home buying is that the “dream” home is often way over budget. That doesn’t mean that you can’t find a phenomenal home in your price range, but it does mean some sacrifices will need to be made – and most often that sacrifice is space.
Size equals $$$. But don’t fret. Living in a smaller space can often be a blessing; there is less space to upkeep, it’s less expensive to heat and cool, the limited storage options keep you from collecting things that aren’t useful, and when it comes time to sell your home, you will find more interested buyers than the large, expensive mansion the next street over.
When moving into a small space, it’s important to have an organization plan to start. Your space is finite so maximizing every square inch is paramount and so is taking stock of your necessities.
Take a long hard look at the items you own. Duplicates items, unused kitchen gadgets, worn out shoes, clothes that don’t fit, text books from classes taken five years past – they should all go. You need to be ruthless when decluttering. Most people think they need a certain size home to fit their stuff but when you take an objective look at your belongings, you will be able to rid yourself of many items that you don’t truly need. The fear that you might need it one day is not a compelling enough reason for you to pay rent for it to take up space in your home.
If your space only has one room that is meant to serve several purposes, like living room, dining room, and office, then you can divide the space into zones. A separate office or dining room may not always be possible but you can still make a space for dining by using your furnishings to delineate where eating should take place. Keeping the areas compartmentalized and walkways clear, you can have an open feeling to your space.
Think outside the box when it comes to closet storage. If you don’t have a pantry, but need one, you can build shelves in your entry closet or share space with a nearby linen closet for dry goods storage. For older homes without walk-ins, looking into closet systems that will help you not only hang more clothes but give you space for folded items and shoes. For children’s rooms, you can put small dressers inside closets to make the most of unused space at the bottom to allow for more storage while also making more room in the bedroom that now isn’t taken up with furniture.
Use space creatively
Many homes have unique layouts with space that seems traditionally perplexing. But if you have a need, figure out how to make what space you have work for your lifestyle. If you only have a single vanity in your master bath, adjust the shelving in your walk-in closet to make room for a vanity desk and mirror and now you and your partner have your own spaces for getting ready in the morning. Odd nooks are great spots for desks or bookshelves. Get creative!
Keep things off the floor
Your floor should only be used for furniture and rugs. Once those are down, everything else should be stored on or in something. Using the floor as storage instantly makes a room look and feel cluttered. By making a specific spot in a drawer, cabinet, on a shelf, or on a hook for everything, it’s not only easier to clean your home but it’s easier to find what you need when you need it.
For children’s room, try bunk beds. For the master bedroom, try floating shelves. For bathrooms, mount baskets or cabinets above the toilet. There are many spaces in your home where the walls are simply not utilized as well as they could be. Not only does it make practical sense, you can make it a cool design element, too.
Choose your future additions carefully
Once you have gone through the process of purging and organizing, don’t let a few shopping trips ruin all your hard work. You should be incredibly choosy about what you bring into your home. If it doesn’t serve multiple functions, rethink bringing it home. If you do decide to bring in a new item, a good rule of thumb is one thing in, one thing out. If it’s important enough for you keep it permanently, it’s time to purge something else that either serves the same function or something that is likely in need of being thrown out or donated anyway.
Living in a small space doesn’t have to feel like a challenge. Living smaller is a lifestyle change that takes some effort to put in place but once you put it into effect, you are well on your way to being tidy and happy in your cozy home.