Downsizing. The idea conjures images of sad faces carrying boxes of precious items. It’s associated with loss, tragedy, and change. But what if you could spin it? Downsizing from a house into an apartment doesn’t have to be painful. There are ways to make the transition easier.
The quality of the apartment that you live in will affect your life for the next year or more. If possible, shop as far in advance as you can to avoid having to pick the first available unit that comes your way. To find quality units, seek referrals from friends and family in the area. They’ll know which areas to pick and which to avoid entirely. Newspaper ads and community bulletin boards are other sources of rental listings. Or just ask on social media. Someone is bound to know someone else who is selling.
Evaluate The Transaction
For best results, you should know how much you’d like out of the transaction before you put the house on the market. If possible, start early so that you don’t take the first bid that comes along. If you can wait a year or more you might get more money for your home. More money means more to invest or put into an emergency fund. But if you can’t, seek the help of professionals in the business who can direct attention to your listing quickly. Or, ask friends for who they’d recommend.
Use This as a Time to Focus
Donating half your possessions can be seen as a loss or as an opportunity to gain fresh perspective. What items do you really need? What have you held onto that doesn’t serve a purpose anymore? Getting rid of the clutter is also a great way to process emotional baggage and negative associations.
Prioritize Space Saving
Not everything will fit in your new living space. What items can you do without? You may not be able to fit three dozen towels in your new master bath or fit an entire book collection into a large bookshelf in your living room. But you might be able to fit your favorites on a small bookshelf. If possible, purchase storage options that don’t take up more space. A corner stand-alone closet can add extra space in a small kitchen or bathroom and an under-the-bed container can help you utilize your space more effectively. Other options include furniture that doubles as storage such as a footrest with a lid or a coffee table with drawers. If you must, rent a storage unit until you can arrange your items effectively.
Focus on the Positive
Think of all the time and money you’ll have now that you’re in an apartment. Weeding? Gone. Painting the house? Also gone. What’s left is the ability to enjoy your living space without needing to also spend time maintaining the exterior or fixing appliances. Another perk? Lower utilities. Rates are generally cheaper for apartments than they are for houses due to the smaller square footage. A final perk? Security. Apartments are close enough together that a thief isn’t likely to go unnoticed for very long, especially once the community gets involved.
Make the Space Yours
With their white walls and sparse interiors, apartment can be a drab place to live in. Spice it up by adding decoration that adds color but won’t break the bank. For example, add an inexpensive couch cover, some bright throw pillows, and a small painting to highlight your living room. For bathrooms, new towels and mats can brighten an otherwise boring space. For kids rooms, buy them new bedding or removable wall decals. Need more ideas? Visit Houzz to see what others have done with their small spaces. Remember that less is more when it comes to apartments.
Downsizing doesn’t have to be a tragedy. Whether the reason is because of retirement, a layoff, or a divorce, there are always ways to spin things around. Living in a flat isn’t a failure; it’s an opportunity. An opportunity to start fresh, meet new neighbors, and to free yourself from the burden of a housing scheme or land ownership contract. This is your time to make your life yours and do things differently.
Sean Ryan works in property and has overseen plenty of downsizing scenarios. He likes to share his thoughts on things like downsizing strategies with an online audience. Sean writes regularly for a number of property-related websites.
Photo Credit: MarkMoz12