Downsizing

Next month, we are downsizing from this to this:

loft

…and I’m not alone. Time Magazine published this article a couple of weeks ago about the changing housing market and the collapse of the big box house. Even Apartment Therapy says that successful people have less stuff.

It was the cost savings that convinced us to break our month-to-month lease. We’re hoping that being on the District Energy system for heating and cooling in a newer building will save us – plus parking and internet are included. That and the living two blocks from work (on the skyway!) will save us parking costs on the days we do have to drive for work.

I’ve been reading a lot about downsizing. Though I am dreading getting the couches back down the 3 flights of stairs, I’m excited to take this as a chance to design my life better and be a little more intentional about the stuff I have.

Like Matt from Unclutterer, I’m a little sad that guests won’t have their own room anymore. We’ve hosted everyone from cousins to parents to dogs to long lost friends over the last year, and having two bedrooms and two bathrooms made this easy. But I’m excited that cleaning won’t take as long… it’s amazing how much one really does expand to fit the space available. I’m looking at you, giant overflowing closet.

I’m packing a little bit as I go, asking questions like these from About.com:

  • Can I get by without it? Would I have to replace it if I choose to get rid of it?
  • Is it in good shape? Will it last for a long time?
  • Does it need repair, and if so, how much will that cost and is it worth the price?
  • Do I know someone else who would benefit a lot more from its use?
  • Does it serve a purpose in this new life that I’m moving to?

There are a couple of treasures I’ve found buried. Hello, beautiful hand-sewn gloves that were once my grandmother’s, hiding in the sock drawer! My trunk is already full of non-treasures ready to be repurposed at Goodwill.

And I know it’s early to be thinking about this, but I’d really like not to leave future generations with a lot of crap and unnecessary paperwork when I do (eventually) die. At 24, I’ve already accumulated a scary amount – and I’d rather not make someone else take care of sorting and dividing what is useful. I want to have everything in order.

With law school ahead, I’ve been eyeing our growing collection of furniture with an equally wary eye – and am excited to be forced to jettison some of it. Bankrate.com recommends measuring and plotting the space on graph paper. Lauri Ward’s Downsizing Your Home with Style goes even further, recommending floor plans and photographs of every piece of furniture you currently own. I may settle for a list on notebook paper… but one piece of her advice I will DEFINITELY be taking into account is designing around the electrical outlets in the new space. It’s amazing how much more we in modern society depend on electricity than the original designers of my current 1893 apartment had in mind.

Have you downsized? I want your advice!

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