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How to Successfully Downsize into a Smaller Space

by | Last Updated: Jul 13, 2020 | Beginner's Guide | 0 comments

Downsize into a Smaller Space

Whether you’re moving into a tiny home, retirement facility or even a van – making the decision to downsize can be extremely liberating; however, it can also be both physically and emotionally exhausting. While the idea of keeping the belongings you need and getting rid of the ones you don’t sounds simple, that usually isn’t the case. In an effort to simplify this process we’ve reached out to the experts in tiny living, from Philadelphia to Portland, to compile some helpful tips and tricks to make your transition from more to less that much easier.

 

Identify your “why”

My approach to our potential homeowners is first to determine what their intended use of their Tiny house is, whether it’s an investment rental, full-time part-time living situation, vacation home? or? How many individuals, children, hobbies, pets, ladders stairs, size, budget, Tiny house placement? On off-grid? You get the picture. A lot of times folks are enamored by the thought of going tiny but really haven’t thought through what that would mean for them as an individual, it’s not a one size fits all. The process gets pretty in-depth for someone that’s serious and I walk them through this process to be sure that there are no surprises once their Tiny arrives. – Tiny Mountain Houses

 

Differentiate between needs and wants

When downsizing into a van, storage is going to be a huge obstacle. You will quickly realize you have way too many things. Before converting a van, I’d recommend laying out everything that you plan to fit in your van in one room to see how much you actually have. You will want to make sure all of your items have a “home” within your van, which may require you to measure many of your items. – Outbound Living

Downsizing may seem overwhelming, but it should be liberating. Most people accumulate “stuff” over the years that they don’t use or need and it just piles up and becomes a burden. Once you decide on your ideal tiny home, floating home, or a houseboat, visualize the minimum you’ll need in each room. If you haven’t used something in the past 3 months, you most likely won’t need it and it should go — sell it on Craigslist or at a yard sale, give it away, or as a last resort, put it in storage. When you’re done, you’ll feel like a weight has been lifted and you’ll be amazed at how little you actually need to be happy, healthy and comfortable! – USA Waterviews

When you’re moving into a small space like a tiny house, an RV or a campervan, you’ll really have to go through your stuff with a fine-toothed comb. Only take what you will truly love and use every day, and either donate the rest or get a small storage unit. Severing your psychological connection to your stuff might be painful, but as soon as you get rid of your unused things, you won’t even notice. Trust me, I’ve done it! Use packing cubes to organize your clothes, and bins for things like kitchen items, camping gear and toiletries. Only keep as many dishes, forks and cups you will use on a daily basis – for example, we only own two of each. And have fun with it! When you downsize, you’ll be happier and clutter-free! – The Wayward Home

 

Organize and optimize

Check first the storage capacity of your new home. Moving into a tiny house generally means smaller spaces. Furniture that worked in your large home may be either too large for space or not fit at all. We recommend measuring the height, width, and depth of all the furniture you’re not sure about. Write down all the measurements. This will save you a lot of time and List down all the things that you cannot live without and things that are ok to leave behind. – Tiny House Citizens

Downsize into a Smaller Space

When creating storage in a Tiny Home, it’s a good idea to display “pretty items” (such as dishware) on open shelving, and storing “ugly items” (such as a crockpot) out of sight in a closet or cabinet. Build your cabinets to be very high or very low, to allow for a clear eyeline throughout your home. Every inch counts! Doing this throughout your home will make the space seem larger. – Tiny House Giant Journey

Kitchen items that collapse are especially beneficial when moving into a small space. You can now purchase specially developed pots, pans, cups and even bowls that collapse when not required. This means you can drastically de-clutter your kitchen. – Vanlife Adventure Team

We were living in a NYC apartment when we decided to downsize for van life and full time travel. At first it can be hard to get rid of physical things, but once the travel begins you realise how little you really need and how happy you can be with less! Storage is key for keeping our tiny space tidy, we use a lot of TouRig bunker bags to keep the van organised. They hold everything from our socks, camp chairs, computers, to the dogs toys and treats. – TouRig

Utilize dual-purpose items

If you’re planning on downsizing into a vehicle like a van or another small space, we highly suggest thinking about how to have more than one use for the amenity you’re including. You’ll want to prioritize not only what you bring along, but how you configure your new home to maximize spatial utility. For example, if you can have a bed that also converts into a couch you can make dynamic use of the space and not have to have a separate lounge area from your sleeping area, which will open up more opportunities for storage, other living amenities, or open space! – Beartooth Vanworks

We always say we think in cubic inches instead of square feet. When planning spaces it is important to consider the entire volume including the height and use the tall walls and ceiling as one would the floor space. In preparing for your new living style we also suggest measuring the items you are taking with you. Measure the stack of folded clothes, blenders, Instapot, etc. so you know exactly how much space they need and you can design storage specifically around them. – Teacup Tiny Homes

Don’t be afraid to let things go
Moving from a 1400 square foot house full of antiques and heirlooms to just over 350 sq feet meant we had to get rid of everything. I decided to start with my most treasured piece, a solid pine kitchen table that all my kids grew up around, did their school work on, ate our meals at, carved their names into! I listed it privately and it was scooped up by a friend. Letting go of that piece really allowed me to move on in this journey. Our goal was to live tiny and this was part of the process. We’ve lived tiny for almost two years and have no regrets. There is not one piece of furniture that I miss or wish that I had kept. I know that everything I let go of is being loved and enjoyed by others. – Great Canadian Tiny House

Downsize into a Smaller Space

The “one in – one out” rule

One in – one out! Whenever you purchase something new or bring anything into your smaller space, you have to get rid of 1 belonging in exchange. On top of that, make sure you’re doing regular purges! Assessing your belongings every few months is always a good idea. If you haven’t used something within a month or so, donate it! – Go-Van Team

 

Moving into a smaller space with a partner, kids, or pets

Communication really is key – living with a partner is tough as is, and living tiny sometimes means taking “me time” outdoors. Know how to ask for space and always be growing. Plan ahead for your pets or kids by choosing stairs over a ladder. Plan ahead in your layout for storage, dedicated space, or bathrooms (like our hidden cat bathroom for Oliver). – Tiffany the Tiny Home

Our top tip for moving into a smaller space is to make sure that everything serves multiple purposes. When we moved into our van, downsizing our wardrobe from a large closet to a single dresser drawer each was challenging. We decided to invest in clothes that could work for multiple situations, such as walking around a new city and going for a hike, and that is made out of higher quality materials and can be worn multiple times, limiting how many items we actually needed. – Adventures of A+K

 

Maybe a houseboat is more your style

12 things you need on board a boat to live comfortably

1. Easy-to-inflate dinghy
2. AC/Heat Thermo pumps
3. Marine binoculars
4. Folding deck chair
5. Boat vacuum cleaner
6. Inflatable floating dock
7. Galvanic isolator
8. Replacement Outdrives
9. Inflatable life jackets
10. Bow and stern thrusters
11. Propane
12. First aid kit

All About Houseboats is the website for Houseboaters by Houseboaters its new ebook “How to Live on a Houseboat the step by step guide to making a dream a reality” is now available. – All About Houseboats

Originally Published on Redfin

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