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10 Tips from Empty Nesters for Downsizing and Living Small

7/21/2011 3:41:57 PM

Tags: tips for downsizing, downsizing tips, tips for living in a smaller home, how to live in a smaller home, small home tips, how to downsize, Robyn Griggs Lawrence

Robyn Griggs Lawrence thumbnailEd and Joan Kobrinski left a large family home in Michigan for a 1,000-square-foot home on the Chesapeake Bay, and they’ve never looked back. “We’ve learned to enjoy and appreciate living comfortably and contently with less,” Ed says.

Along the way, they’ve learned a thing or two about downsizing and living in a smaller space. Their wisdom could make your journey that much easier.

1. Begin downsizing before you move by reducing your possessions.

2. Read, read and read some more about living in small spaces as you design your home. The Kobrinskis recommend Essence of Home by Denise Geiger and Not So Big House: A Blueprint For The Way We Really Live by Sarah Susanka.

3. Add mirrors on closet doors to make rooms feel larger.

4. Cut corner walls on hallways at a diagonal for a more open feeling without compromising space on the other side of the wall.

5. Use window shades that open from the top and bottom to allow more light in without foregoing privacy.

6. Keep wall hangings, pictures and knick-knacks minimal.

7. Paint walls in shades of white. Use color only as accent.

8. Minimize the use of doors and install pocket doors whenever possible.

9. Furnish with smaller-scale items or with tables that have drop leafs or extensions that slide in and out as needed.

10. Consider having at least one multi-purpose outbuilding to use as a workshop, for storage or for exercising. 

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