Keep Calm & Cut It Out: Part 2

Small space living is not only the key to keeping our cities dynamic but there are other advantages; less square footage equals lower cost for purchase or rent; smaller spaces mean lower heating and cooling costs, which can equal a smaller carbon footprint. However, small space living, once the purview of the low-budget , dorm room set, is enjoying renewed enthusiasm among ‘regular sized home dwellers.’ When we get right down to it, we can live with less, less space, less stuff. In the age of the Macbook Air, ipad and the tablet, we can easily justify ditching our bookshelves, and our media consoles. Furthermore, how many of us really need a desk when we work and pay bills on our laptops? For many of us a well placed basket or bin with a stapler, some pens, paper clips and maybe some mailing supplies will suffice. Many people report that shedding their extra belongings is freeing, and with so many options, once doesn’t have to sacrifice space AND style. The fact of the matter is: people with options are opting to downsize.

Moving to a smaller space may seem retrograde, and truly this level of minimalism is not for everybody, but it is increasingly on the radar for myriad reasons. Websites such as Apartment Therapy give much attention to the resourcefulness and creativity of small space dwellers under the rubric of “Small Cool.” So, if you are considering it, know that you are in good (and stylish) company.

Here are some tips for making the transition:

As any frequent viewer of Hoarders knows, we often develop emotional attachments to our belongings. If this applies to you in any sense beyond, “oh, I love those shoes,” maybe enlist a friend who does not share your enthusiasm for your belongings, or better, who has already downsized and ‘gets it.’

1.) Assuming you already know where you’re headed, assess what you really need. If you are really embracing this process, make a floor plan reflecting the basic placement of your large pieces. (there are several apps for this. Better Homes and Gardens has Arrange-a-Room software, and Google has a free program called SketchUp that is very user friendly – with SketchUp, you can even see your space in 3D!). Consider that since you won’t be able to throw a dinner party for 8, you probably no longer need more than four glasses or place settings. If you are committed to keeping, say, Grandma’s china, some experts recommend renting a small storage space for six months and then reassessing your needs. However, if you are committed to reducing your carbon footprint remember that space is space, whether it’s in your apartment or not.

2.) Commit to technology. Put all your cd’s on mp3 or your phone. Stock your kindle, ipad or tablet with your favorite books; for that matter, cut down on clutter, go green and arrange to get all your magazines and newspapers online. Yes, there’s something to be said for the feeling of a book in your hand, but there’s something else to be said for not hauling 30 boxes of books up the stairs to your next place! Thanks tech gods! Once the media is done, tackle your photos, you’d be amazed what you can store on one thumb drive.

3.) Once you know what stays, start unloading what doesn’t. Decide what’s not worth the trouble of selling and join a freecycle-type group, or donate to local shelter or church. For all other items, craigslist, ebay, and local consignment shops are your friends.

4.) Address your vice(s). If you collect vintage pyrex dishes (Don’t mock. It’s a thing) and you are unwilling to pare down, address how you will store, or better, display these items. If you collect something large, like Bull Mastiffs, you might reconsider this move.

5.) Purge your closet. Accept the 80/20 rule; that is, we wear roughly 20% of our wardrobe 80% of the time. In fact, apply the 80/20 rule to your kitchen. I think we all gravitate to the same coffee mug every morning. It’s time to get real about what we use in relation to what we need. The same goes for beauty products. Ladies, we can’t use more than three hairsprays at a time, and if you have found a way to, this lifestyle may not be for you.

6.) Get organized sooner rather than later. Remember that when you are moving into a small space, you are not going to have room to live with a mess. Pack and label your boxes and unpack store the items in their designated place as soon as possible so that you can reap the rewards of your simplified lifestyle.

7.) Embrace this choice. With a little planning, you will soon be able to revel in the joys of your manageable, efficient and stylish lifestyle.

Hopefully you’ll find these tips helpful in simplifying your surroundings. Need some more help? Check out this article from Casa Sugar, and see our small space designs throughout this post.

If you agree that variety is the spice of life, you will get in touch with your zesty side while gathered around this red table in these sleek modern chairs.

Like your stunningly beautiful friend who rescues puppies, and is always the life of every party, it’s hard to find something to dislike about this modern and compact living room.

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