From Downsizing to Rightsizing

Heather Higgins

As we move into summer, it reminds us that there is always a new season. Just as the seasons transition, so do our lives. This post explores solutions, when life transitions lead to downsizing our living space.

Seasons of Change

My interest in interior design surfaced as the result of a life transition. At the age of five, my Father’s job promotion transplanted our family from a small, quiet town in Florida to the windy city of Chicago. I had to leave almost everything that was familiar to me behind, including friends and relatives.

To fill this void and at great embarrassment to my parents, I would forage through the neighbor’s trash, looking for treasures to decorate my room. You probably have not resorted to picking through rubbish, but I’m certain that you can relate to wanting a living environment comprised of elements that have meaning to you. When everything and everyone around me was new, my room felt like a warm hug.

When the Solution is Downsizing

During times of personal transition, our home environments are often radically disrupted and don’t feel or function as before. When the outcome involves downsizing to a smaller living space, it can feel overwhelming.

With a design practice based in New York City, it is not unusual that many of our clients live in less space. In fact, we are real advocates of small space living. Requiring less time, energy and money, smaller living spaces provide greater lifestyle flexibility.

Whether you’re an empty nester moving from a house into a condo, or a renter trading in a two-bedroom for a studio and shorter work commute, many people now see downsizing their home as a step forward, not backward.

From Downsizing to Rightsizing

The benefits to living in less space are many, but saying goodbye to a familiar living environment and memory-filled belongings, can be a challenge. Having helped numerous clients through this process, mindset is crucial. Following are some suggestions that may help to make it an easier experience for you:

  • Consider your future home as a fresh new slate, not a lesser version  of your former home.
  • Visualize the lifestyle you want to embrace as you move forward and be willing to make sacrifices and part with furnishings to achieve this.
  • Shift your focus to the time, energy and money a smaller space saves and the greater lifestyle flexibility it provides.
  • Choose quality over quantity. Select one great piece of furniture that makes a statement, rather then several smaller, less significant pieces.
  • For items that are too hard to let go, put them in storage and if you don’t need or use them within twelve months, give them away.

As we experience life transitions, our homes can nourish us emotionally and spiritually. They provide a personal connection between our past, present and stepping into a future of new possibilities.

Understanding our personal needs and priorities is the first step toward moving forward. If you need assistance, we are here to help!

In addition to full-project design, we also offer design consultations, when you just need a few hours of support from a seasoned professional.




This entry was posted in Blog, Change, Small Spaces.