If you’re living in a large house with a vast outdoor area, lots of rooms, and plenty of available space, you may find it difficult to imagine your life compacted into a tiny home. Yet, some personal factors or changing external circumstances may cause you to reconsider your way of life and set your mind on moving to a smaller space. Whether you want to live in a more desirable neighborhood or into a downtown apartment where you’ll be closer to amenities and work, cannot afford a spacious house or don’t need so much space as your kids have already grown up and moved away, moving to a smaller home may be the perfect solution for you.
As is often the case, however, this is easier said than done. Moving into a small space is quite a big challenge – not only do you need to deal with all the arduous aspects of the relocation process, but you also have to fit your life into a tiny place and make it work. If you’re not entirely sure how to achieve such a feat, the following tips for moving to a smaller home will serve you well – they will help you organize a smooth relocation and make the most out of your small living space.
How to move from a big house to a small house
It is no secret that downsizing involves adopting a minimalist mindset and approach to life. You need to let go of everything you don’t really need or value and pare down your possessions to the bare minimum that will ensure your physical and emotional comfort. To achieve that, you need to determine your priorities and make a list of the things you can’t do without and will bring to your new home at all costs. When you define your must-haves, you should sort out the rest of your possessions and set aside any damaged, duplicate, outdated, or outgrown items, as well as all the items you don’t really like or won’t be able to use anymore (these things should be gotten rid of prior to your move).
Everything else should wait until you can take accurate measurements and find out the actual dimensions and layout of your new house or apartment – then you’ll be able to make a detailed floor plan and determine which of your old household items will suit your new home design and fit in the available space and which ones will not be worth bringing along.
Once you know exactly what you’re going to take to your new home, you should dispose of everything else – organize a yard sale or sell online any items that are in good condition and have high monetary value, donate useful items to charities, give away items of sentimental value to relatives and friends, and recycle whatever you can.
All that will be left to do then is pack the things you’ve decided to move to your new home in a safe and efficient manner and organize their shipment – hire professional movers to do the job for you or rent an appropriate moving vehicle and ask several reliable friends for help.
Moving to a smaller home tips
So, you’ve done all the necessary preparations, completed all the required moving tasks, and arranged the shipment of your belongings to your new address. Moving day comes and suddenly it’s all real – you need to lock the door to your spacious old home for one last time and start your new life in your smaller house or apartment.
The very first challenge you’re going to face when moving to your smaller space will be how to get your larger household items inside the tiny home.
Even if you have measured the dimensions of the rooms and the sizes of your furniture pieces in advance and know that they will fit inside, it may be really difficult to squeeze the bulky items through single doors, narrow corridors, steep staircases with low overhanging ceilings and other tight spaces.
To make the furniture pieces easier to carry and reduce the risk of damage during the relocation (both to your items and to your new property), you’re advised to have your larger furniture disassembled. Beds and couches, wardrobes and dressers, cabinets and bookshelves, tables and other bulky pieces should be taken apart before shipping – any detachable parts (drawers, shelves, decorative elements, glass elements, etc.) should be removed, the legs – unscrewed, and the main frame – dismantled (if possible). This will make your items much easier to maneuver into your small home and will save you a lot of headaches.
Have in mind, though, that disassembling and reassembling furniture (especially more delicate or intricate pieces) is a difficult and risky process that requires a lot of time and effort, specialized tools, and expert skills, so it’s better left to the professionals.
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Deal with the larger items first
Another useful trick when moving to a small space is to get all the larger household items inside before the smaller ones. Bigger pieces are very difficult to move around, so you will want to have as much space as possible when maneuvering them inside your small house or apartment. Once the large furniture and household appliances are positioned at their designated places, unpacking and arranging the smaller items will be easy enough.
Maximizing small space
Your next and greatest challenge when moving into a small house or apartment will be how to make the most out of your limited space. It’s all about changing your set of mind and your living habits, yet you can take advantage of some clever tricks that will help you maximize your small living space:
1) Create more visual space
- Paint the walls in light colors to brighten up the space and make it look larger;
- Allow a lot of natural light inside and add plenty of artificial lighting that will create a bolder and brighter vibe;
- Place big mirrors at strategic places throughout the home – they will catch and reflect the light and make the rooms appear bigger and brighter;
- Use glass doors and room dividers to create the optical illusion of a large, open space.
2) Use the vertical space in the rooms
- Install floor-to-ceiling shelving or cabinets to maximize your storage space;
- Install shelves and cabinets over doors to utilize the commonly overlooked space above the entrance to a room;
- Create sleeping and reading lofts to gain some extra space and provide privacy in shared areas;
- Transform the space under the stairs into a storage area, home bar, or work station, or fit in an appliance, aquarium, dog house or closet – whatever will be most appropriate in your case;
- Put storage boxes under the bed to keep rarely used items out of sight;
- Turn every nook of your home into a storage space or functional area of some kind.
3) Use multi-functional furniture
- Consider furniture and decorations that can store things, such as ottomans and seats with lids that have storage space inside;
- Use convertible furniture and expandable pieces;
- Use the same piece of furniture for several different purposes – a small desk or a chest with drawers can double as a nightstand, a kitchen table can serve as a meal preparation area, etc.;
- Consider using a bookshelf (instead of a curtain or a screen) to partition a larger space into separate areas – this way the divider will provide storage solution as well.
4) Stay organized – Keep your items arranged in a logical and systematic manner and stored out of sight and refrain from buying anything you don’t actually have space for. As long as you keep your small space clean and tidy and free of clutter, you will be able to enjoy a comfortable and cozy life without any actual limitations.
One last thing to consider: If you have valuable items you don’t want to part with but don’t have enough room for in your small house or apartment or if you think you might move again into a larger place within the next several years and will need the items you can’t use in your current surroundings, you can rent a storage unit and keep everything that doesn’t fit into your small home there. Have in mind, though, that paying for storage will put an extra burden on your budget, not to mention that time may render your belongings useless or worthless.