Moving from a 5,000 square foot house into a 750 square foot condo can feel less like downsizing and more like miniaturizing. Switching from one type of space to the other can require a lot of practical planning. What will you take with you? How will you define your new space? Here are a few things to remember when preparing to downsize:

Utilize Multi-Purpose Items. With limited space, your furnishings need to work a little harder. Look for an ottoman that opens up to store quilts, a coffee table that lifts up to become a desk, a drop leaf table that serves as a sideboard (and opens up to seat eight), and a couch that pulls out to become a bed for guests. All these items are practical on their own but with extra functionality they can help to minimize clutter.

Focus on What is Practical. It can be tough to get rid of items that you once spent a lot of money on. If they will not serve you well in your new space, they will cost you more in the long run. Not only will they take up much needed space (where you could have had something you use more often), they will also cost you money to move or store. Ensure you are only taking the practical or extra-special items with you.

Furniture Can Be a Big Hurdle. Some of the big ticket items in your home are also probably just plain big. It may be necessary to replace outdated bulky furniture with newer sleek designs. Older large furniture that has been in the family for years can be very hard to let go of. Before you make any big decisions, decide if passing the furniture on to friends or family members is a possibility. This way, you can still go by to see the items and know that they are being used well. Tip: Large sectional furniture is great because it can be pulled apart and set up in new configurations – great for smaller or hard-to-furnish rooms.

Take Your Time. Moving is an important decision and it should not be rushed. Make sure you make the right move. Do not downsize too far. Retirement is a time to explore hobbies and spend time with loved ones, so make sure your new space can accommodate this.

Consider Future Restrictions. Look for a home with few or no stairs and that has easy to reach cupboards to help keep chores and maintenance to a minimum. As we age, our eyesight worsens so ensure you have enough natural light or plenty of lights with high-wattage bulbs to aid with vision.

You are Downsizing – Not Stepping Down. If your home has been the family hub for years, that does not have to change. Your new home can still be a place for the family to get together. Ideally, you would have a separate apartment or suite for visiting family, but we know this is not always possible. Instead, design your rooms with movable and versatile items. For example, if you have a craft room, include a sofa and make sure you can easily fold up tables and move them out of the way for a convertible guest room. The key is to design rooms for maximum usage and enjoyment. As long as you can offer a little bit of privacy and comfort, your guests will be more than happy to stay the night!

There are a lot of decisions to be made when planning to downsize. If you require assistance with the real estate side of things, call me at 416-921-1112 to have your questions answered today.