Real Estate: Downsizing with Style and Grace: Part One

Studio shot of a fish in bowlUp-sizing is real easy to do….we start with very little and at each and every stage we add more…and more. Fast forward a few years and young or old….you look around and find yourself surrounded by THINGS (of course they are Family Heirlooms too)….but do we really need them?

Could we live in less space? Could we live in multiple locations at different times of the year by selling the larger home. Of course…but the enormity of the job ahead  hits with major depression and the reality is that Downsizing Sucks!

I thought I would give you some ideas from my home-selling experience that might help you deal with some of the challenges of this new adventure: Downsizing with grace and style.

When I start showing  smaller properties to those downsizing, I watch their faces trying to imagine their new lifestyle in terms of their existing furniture, art, entertainment options, cooking, etc….I can see that they are taking all their possessions and mentally cramming them in to tighter spaces. Don’t even try! It will never ever work.

Keep what you must but start looking at apartment-sized furniture. Most clients go wrong by not differentiating full size and apartment size furniture when they decorate. A couple of times I’ve suggested to small space Sellers that we replace existing furniture with more advantageous sized staging and to their credit, they did at great benefit to them.

The issue is the same: When downsizing, try to visualize the smaller space with smaller scale minimalistic accouterments. Start looking at Magazines, TV Shows and web sites that focus on “Living in Smaller Spaces” at HGTV.

It is amazing what you can do….visit the IKEA store or web site and look at what their designers do in managing space. I’ve been told that IKEA now features their staged designer rooms with the square footage noted… to help you grasp the reality of smaller spaces and what can be put in them. A great idea!

Start fresh, reinvent yourself, create a new look, change styles…make it a fun project and approach the next step of your life as a challenge. Don’t focus on what you are leaving but on where you are going and the new lifestyle you can create there. You may be very surprised!

More to come but feel free to leave your thoughts and comments!

Related Posts:

Real Estate: Downsizing with Style and Grace: Post Two

Real Estate: Downsizing with Style and Grace: Part Three

9 Responses

  1. darcy

    Great story, I really hope you do this as a series on what people can expect Richard. I down-sized in 2002 and feel much better for it. I own my possessions now, and not the other way around. It was almost liberating, and I personally had a great time doing it.

  2. Anja Howard

    Bravo Richard!

    What a refreshing and timely article. I have recently moved from a larger to smaller home and it is really quite a remarkably liberating experience. Cleaning up takes half the time and accumulating things without a purpose is much less likely since there is less space to put it. Simplicity reveals the beauty that the world holds and it is much grander than anything on clearance at the nearest Target:)..

    Thanks for sharing-
    Have a blessed day,

    Anja Howard

  3. Natasha

    Love this. I loved my little 1425sq foot home and will say to everyone that small space living was fabulous for the full decade I had it! You DO have to apartment-size things and consider function and room flow in planning your rooms – but its not hard. I have just upsized by doubling+ our square footage. All this for a thirty-something couple with 2 cats …this space seems cavernous and overwhelming.

  4. larissa milner

    YES ON THE SECOND FLOOR THEY SECTION IT OFF in different rooms.. at Ikea…Which one are you Richard

  5. Grace Cortellini

    Hi Richard,
    I too have clients who are “downsizing”. Just the thought of it can create some anxiety in some. Maybe we should come up with another name, perhaps to one that sounds more positive. Let’s put it out there to see if collectively we can come up with a much better name.
    Thanks for writing, looking forward to the second chapter.

    Grace

  6. Richard Silver Post author

    Grace is right! What will we call it?

    Any suggestions for making it a more positive experience mentally….Clearing? Uncluttering your life? Dropping the Deadweight? (that might offend your partner)

    Your thoughts are appreciated!

  7. Barry Lebow

    Richard, I think what makes you a top ranked Realtor is your ability to work with trends and to be far ahead of the herd. As Toronto ages, this posting is valuable. I will be including it and your other posts on the subject in the Accredited Senior Agent seminars. On a personal level, I am downsizing, find it daunting but necessary.

    You are a leader Richard.
    Barry Lebow, ASA
    Founder, Accredited Senior Agent designation program

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