The Importance of Space Planning When Downsizing

Congratulations on making the decision to downsize and plan for your new space! While a home transition can be overwhelming and emotional, proper space planning will ease the worry of what to bring and how to store it. A well planned, downsized home will bring safety, improved mental and physical health, more free time, and higher quality of life.

However, the process of getting there can be daunting and deciding what to let go of can be especially difficult for some. Planning and organizing for this part of the process is particularly important. You don’t want to be crowded by belongings in your new home or to run out of storage space. You’ll want to keep items that meet the needs of your new priorities, and match the square footage of your new space, while letting go of possessions that no longer serve your interests. 


Here are Important Steps to Create the Right Space Plan and Maximize Your Area


Know Your Needs  Envision what you want from your next living experience in advance, and designate space for the areas you’ll need. Will you want computer space, TV space, therapy or exercise space, memorabilia storage, a craft area? Will you need space for guests? Will you be cooking or taking most meals elsewhere?

Space Plan  Knowing the size and floor measurements of your new location in advance will make everything easier and accurate. Many communities have these available. If not, prepare a digital or hand-drawn floor plan or have one professionally drafted. This space plan will eliminate or diminish future problems, especially the common situation of a living space stacked with unpacked boxes full of items that can’t be put away because there isn’t any more storage space.

Furniture Size is Important  You may find that a large dining table or sectional sofa just won’t fit. Perhaps you can maneuver in the bedroom more easily with a smaller bed or can’t fit the larger bed and the recliner. Measure twice, move once! You can create templates of the furniture you want to move and place them on your floor plan to make sure you will have comfortable egresses. Take into consideration the space needed for durable medical equipment like walkers and wheelchairs. While they may not currently be needed, it’s best to be proactive if you want to age in place. Consider if under-the-bed storage is needed and plan your bed height accordingly. Alternately, many new bed styles come with built-in drawers making storing and caring for your belongings easier. 

Closet Space  You don’t want any storage boxes to land permanently in your living room, so planning closet space is equally as important as planning space for furnishings. Proper sorting and eliminating is crucial to reach your storage target. Considerable closet space often goes unused. Vertical space is often overlooked and can be used to hang or store lesser used items as can the vacant space between clothing and shoes. Affordable closet systems and even inexpensive products can really make the most of your space especially when they are expertly customized for your belongings.

Styling  Style goes hand in hand with space-planning. You may have beloved items of color and texture to bring that will enhance the environment you want to create. If your new space feels small, visually extend your space by bringing mirrors, furniture with legs, and glass-top tables to create a sense of openness. To create the illusion of higher ceilings, install draperies and curtains from the very top of the wall even if the window is not that high.


A Space Planning Case Study:  Can I Bring my Piano?’


A previous client, who wanted to downsize, found the process of finding a place for significant furnishings, heavy area rugs, wall hangings, knick-knacks and a piano too much to take on alone. We were hired to help assess the amount of existing belongings and to make the best use of space in her next home. Furniture and room measurements were taken and a professional floor plan was drafted with alternative options. The client could now see exactly how and where key furniture would fit in each room. With these space planning tools she was able to see exactly how and where her piano would fit. With that knowledge she made the informed decision not to bring it. In her opinion, the living space would have been too cramped for her to feel comfortable. This saved hundreds of dollars in moving costs! She was relieved and confident in her decision and able to pass on the piano to someone who would enjoy it even more.  


6 Tips to help if you plan to take on downsizing on your own!


Plan Use a calendar to stay on track to accomplish sorting, packing and donating tasks and meet deadlines so that you are ready when the moving day arrives. 

Keep  Create a list of must have items to bring based on your new lifestyle. Create a list of like-to-have items that you want but are not sure if they will fit. This is where space planning is essential. 

Donate  Know where you’re going to donate or who has agreed to accept certain belongings. You may find that you have more pens, rulers and folders than you will use in a lifetime. If that’s the case, add some to the donate bag. There are many school children, single moms and families who can use these items. Bowls and pots and pans are other top areas to downsize. Fine china? Consider using it everyday! Also donate duplicate items, things in good condition that you no longer use, and clothing that doesn’t fit.

Trash  Learn your community’s trash, and large-item pickup guidelines and dates.

Sell  Decide a method of sale if you are planning to sell items. You can sell items via a local consignor or on user-driven markets such as Facebook Marketplace instead. Allowing others to select and love your items gives it new life and can bring a sense of doing for others.

Digitize  You’ll want it to be easier to locate important documents and some memorabilia. This is also a good opportunity to digitize belongings that don’t absolutely need to be in the form of a physical copy. If this seems daunting there are local services to safely and securely handle this.

The earlier you start making and implementing your plan, the less mental stress you will put on yourself. The more people you get help from, the less physical stress you will put on your body; enlist help from friends, relatives or experts. Try to take it easy and enjoy the process. Before you know it you will be settled and enjoying a renewed and better quality of life. 


Founded in 2009, the talented team at Ideal Organizing + Design offers services in Downsizing, Move Management, Professional Home, Office, and Personal Business Organizing, Organizing Product Services, and Interior Space Planning and Styling


Contact Ideal Organizers + Design at 757.777.8685 or to learn more!