How to Maximize Space When Downsizing


Downsizing, it is the bane of most homeowners' existences. After spending all those months or years in one home just to move into a smaller home is hard. Moving into a new home is hard in and of itself, but when you need to adjust to a smaller area, it makes it even harder. If you have ever had to do it before, then you know the struggle is real. But, not to worry, this article is designed to help you get through some of the biggest problems that arise from downsizing. But what are these problems?

The largest and most universal, problem that people face when they downsize is finding enough space for their things. We as humans tend to naturally fill the spaces we occupy. We don't want them to feel empty so we naturally start to accumulate more things until we find our preferred balance of space to stuff. This isn't necessarily a problem until you try to downsize, though.

Now comes the big question: How do I deal with downsizing? Well, this article will cover two tips that just might do the trick for you and your home.

Tip #1: Lighten the Load

Now, you are probably thinking, 'lighten the load? What in the world does that mean?', but trust us, this will all make sense in a minute. When we say to lighten the load, we mean get rid of some of your things. With fewer things in your home, you won't feel as cramped in your new home and your things won't have to battle for space in a drawer somewhere.

One of the best ways to lighten the load is to sort through your things. Downsizing will be difficult if you don't do this. All it really comes down to is cutting out the things you don't really need. When you sort through your things, however, you will not want to simply throw things away; instead, make separate piles that represent different destinations for the things you are getting rid of. For example one pile can be for charity, another to sell, another for long term storage, and, lastly, another for the garbage. This will allow you to get the most out of your things. People sometimes have a hard time getting rid of their stuff and knowing that there will be some sort of purpose behind getting rid of it besides the garbage may help to make it easier.

As we mentioned earlier, another option you have to get rid of things is long term storage. You can store your decorations for different occasions, your summer or winter clothes during their offseason, and so forth. These things don't need to be in your home 24/7/365, you just need to be able to access them. Be sure that you use very sturdy containers when you do this, though. Rats and bugs have a tendency to get into long term storage and destroy things, so it is best to use plastic containers. This will not only keep the bugs and the rodents out but will also allow your things to be semi-waterproof. (I say semi because the lids on plastic containers are not always waterproof so if the water level in your storage area gets higher than a certain point, the plastic container will simply fill with water).

Now, you have several options when it comes to storage facilities. You can either go with a self-storage unit at a private facility or you can buy a shed to put in your back or side yard. Both of these options have merit and their own pros and cons.

Self-storage Facilities

Self-storage facilities are great because they are more secure than a backyard shed and they are more durable. However, you have to pay monthly for them, which can get a little expensive if left unchecked.

Backyard Sheds

The great thing about backyard sheds is that it is cheaper in the long-run. You only have to pay a set amount and you can keep using it for years to come. Not to mention, you get to keep your things close by where a storage unit may be across town.

The cons associated with a backyard shed include security and space. A storage unit will usually have better security than your own backyard. Backyard sheds are more likely to be broken into than a storage unit since there is that lack of security.

When it comes to space, you are quite limited. A storage unit can be just about any size you want, where a shed's size is limited to the backyard.

The other tip that can serve you well in a situation where space is limited is to utilize storage life-hacks. A lifehack is a simple trick that can help you out in normal everyday scenarios and many of them are in relation to storage.

Storage Life-Hack #1: Hang Your Things

Hanging things on your wall may not seem like it will save space, but, if you really utilize it, this method can save you quite a bit. The essential idea for this is to hang things that would normally take up space in a drawer or on a shelf. Light things like jewelry, scarves, and other accessories. This will free up a lot of space in your drawers for heavier or more private things.

The best way to start hanging jewelry and accessories is to use a pegboard. Pegboards are great because you can easily change where the pegs go so you can customize your hanging space and change it around when you need to. This will also be great because it won't damage the wall. If you simply set your pegboard atop a dresser or something, it can lean against the wall so you won't have to put any holes in the sheetrock.

Pegboards aren't just limited to clothes and accessories, however. You can also use them in the garage, the kitchen, and craft or play room. The simple reorganizing of pegs and hangers will allow you to hang your tools, your craft supplies, or anything else for that matter.

Another hanging tip is to use Velcro or magnets to hold things up. Let's say you have a lot of small things like nails, screws, spices, cotton balls, etc. and you want to keep them separated for easy access. What you can do is line the bottom of a hanging cabinet with a magnet strip or a strip of Velcro and adding Velcro or a magnet to the lids of a few jars (one jar per item you plan to fill it with). Next, you will want to fill each jar with all of one item (one for screws, one for nails, etc.) and then screw the lid back on. Now, to store all these small things, you just need to lift it so the magnets or the Velcro on the cabinet attach to the magnets on the lid so the jars will stay hanging and out of the way. (Warning: only use this idea with small quantities of things and with things that are inherently lightweight. This will prevent dangerous accidents if the Velcro or magnets give out under the weight).

Storage Life-Hack #2: Utilize Baskets and Boxes for Decorative Storage

This hack will allow you to use the things you are trying to store as decoration when they are not in use. This can be done in several ways. The first way is to simply buy decorative boxes or baskets that you can put in the corner of a room, or atop another piece of furniture, that will look pleasing to the eye. You can then fill them with things you may want to store. One example of this is to get a small basket to put in a living room and filling it full of your extra blankets. This way they look decorative, take up less space and are at the ready if you get cold.

Another way that you can use baskets and boxes in your decor is done by taking lightweight baskets or boxes and attaching bottom of said basket or box to the wall so that the opening faces the inside of the room. This will immediately look like some sort of stylish decorations and it will give you a place to store more things. Mind you, the things you put in them should be lightweight as well.

The best example of using baskets and boxes as wall-mount decor is to attach them to the bathroom wall and using them to hold hand towels and washcloths.

Storage Life-Hack #3: Buy Furnishings that Double as Storage

The most notable of these kinds of furniture is the trusty ottoman. Most ottomans are already designed to hold other things underneath the cushion, but there are some that don't. When you are looking for furniture, and you have the chance to get an ottoman, be sure to get one that has storage in it.

Another piece of furniture that can be used as storage is the coffee table. Most coffee tables will have, at least, a space underneath the table top that you can put things. This may be as simple as books, magazines, and remote controls to the television, but at least, you won't have to put those things elsewhere and can use that elsewhere space for other things.

If you really have the time and budget to do this, you can also convert your stairs into a set of drawers. There are many designs and styles online that show how each step of your stairs can be converted into a drawer for easy storage. This, however, would be a massive project that would cost quite a bit. It would definitely save you money, though.

Storage Life-Hack #4: Use Dead Space

Dead space is a concept that isn't usually talked about. Dead space is the space around your home that is not traditionally used for anything. This can include the wall space above a door, the corners where walls and the ceiling meet, and so on and so forth. This space is necessary because, without it, there wouldn't be enough space on the ground for you to use. Unfortunately, it easily becomes a waste if not used correctly.

One way you can use your dead space is to put a shelf or some other sort of storage on the wall above your door. Just be sure that it is things that are light as you would not want them to fall on you or anyone else when you walk underneath it.

Another dead space idea is to put some sort of storage on the stairs. This is not turning the steps into drawers, but putting baskets on the stairs. There are baskets that are specifically designed to go on the stairs and, with a few of them, you can quickly see space freeing up around your home.

Storage Life-Hack #5: Up Your Game by Raising Your Furniture

This isn't a very novel idea but it is one that can really save you some space. All you need is some bed risers, cinderblocks, and other sturdy materials that you can use as a foundation for your furniture. The idea here is to raise up your furniture so that you can store things underneath it. Most people already do this with their beds, but you can almost double the amount of stuff you can fit underneath it by adding some bed risers.

Some other furniture that a lot of people raise up to store things under are couches, washing machines, dryers, and so forth. Once these are lifted up with something sturdy you can start storing things beneath it. (Warning: make sure that your washer and dryer are secure before you run a cycle in them as they could fall off your risers and cause an accident or potentially a fire).

Lastly, there is-- Storage Life-Hack #6: Gear Up Your Garage

The garage, if you don't have a shed, tends to become the storage area for things that cannot be stored inside the house. So, in order to both free up room in your house let's try and efficiently store all the things in the garage. There are many ideas that you can use to gear up your garage so we will leave you to finding more online than the ones we have here.

One idea is to mount your lawn tools on a wall of the garage. This can be done by mounting hooks to the wall, or by using small pieces of PVC pipe as holding cup links that are screwed to the wall. Now, this will take a bit of work to set up so make sure to follow all safety protocols as you do this.

You can also create a rubber ball cage for you sports balls, if you have any. This is done by stretching three or four bungee cords vertically between a shelf and the floor within a foot of a wall (you will need to find a way to attach the bungee cord to the floor so that it stays in place). Once you have three or four of these stretched out you can slip a basketball, soccer ball, or any other type of ball you may have between the cords and the wall and they will stay there out of the way.

Before we go, however, we want to share a few extra tips for you that we have found to be quite useful in the realm of space control.

The Humble Shoe Holder

Now, you've seen these most likely. They are the large hanging fabric sheets that hang from the back of a door that is covered in a dozen or so pockets. These are originally used to store shoes however, you can use them for so much more.

There are many people that hang their shoe holders and load them cleaning supplies, gardening tools, and other belongings that can fit in the pockets. There are some ways that you can also convert your shoe holder into a vertical herb garden if you don't have much space in your yard and you want to grow a few herbs.

The Ever so Strange Magazine Holder

These things are worth their weight in gold when it comes to organizing and saving space. You've probably seen them on people's desks. They are those plastic rectangular things that are the perfect size for several magazines or a hundred single pieces of paper. And while you can use them to store your magazines and other paper goods, you can also use it for other organizational things.

Most of the time the magazine holder, when it is not being used for its intended purpose, it can be found attached to the inside of cabinet doors. Like the cabinet door below the sink. It can then be used to store tall things like aluminum foil rolls, cling wrap rolls, and other tall and lightweight items saving your drawers and countertops some space.

So there you have it, our methods of dealing with downsizing. Space saving is a hard thing to do, but, with a little imagination, you make a lot happen with just a few simple ideas.