Until recently, the goal of most homeowners was to upgrade to a bigger home, with the average home growing from under 1,900 square feet 20 years ago to more than 2,400 square feet in 2013. But that trend is reversing. An increasing number of homeowners are opting to downsize to smaller homes.
There are several reasons for the new downsizing trend. As baby boomers head into retirement, many are looking to move into smaller dwellings with less required maintenance, often in retirement communities. Empty nesters are finding themselves with more space than they need. Other retirees may simply find that their retirement incomes can’t support a large house and need something with a smaller mortgage payment and smaller utility bills. Even homeowners who are years away from retirement are choosing to downsize so that they can reduce their carbon footprint or to enable them to live in urban areas where living spaces tend to be more compact.
Whatever the reason, downsizing offers both advantages and disadvantages. Advantages include the aforementioned lower mortgage and utility payments, along with lower taxes. A smaller home also means less space to maintain and clean. The biggest disadvantage to downsizing is having less space. Obviously a two-bedroom condo is going to have significantly less space than a 4-bedroom home. And storage space in particular seems to diminish the most when downsizing. Even giving up a few hundred square feet can greatly impact the amount of storage available.
So how can you enjoy the perks of downsizing without feeling like you’re sacrificing? Reduce and declutter. Eliminate things you no longer need and look for creative organizational and storage solutions.
The first thing you should do is inventory your belongings and decide what you really need to keep and what you don’t. Be honest with yourself. Do you really need to keep the supplies you bought for that hobby you’ve been meaning to start for years? Do you really need to hang on to all those books you’ve already read? Get rid of any duplicates or excess items you have as well. After you’ve decided which items you no longer need, donate anything that is still in usable condition.
Now it’s time to deal with the items you’ve decided to keep. Because your new living space is smaller, it’s important to be creative with storage. In addition to built-in storage, look for furniture than can double as storage, such as ottomans or coffee tables that feature storage compartments. Shelving can also help maximize space. But you still may not be able to comfortably fit everything you want to keep into your new home. Self storage is a great alternative for those things that you don’t use on a daily basis. This could include things like seasonal lawn equipment, power tools, holiday decorations, seasonal clothing, hand-me-down clothing and toys, sports equipment, small business supplies, documents, and furniture you’re not using but want to keep for future use or sentimental reasons. In some cases you may have inherited furniture or belongings from relatives that you don’t want to part with but also don’t have space for at home.
Good organization is also important as you move items into your self storage unit. Group like items together by room or by function. Be sure to label each box so you know what is in each one. Place items you use infrequently in the back of the unit and keep those things you anticipate needing to access on a regular basis at the front. Keep a master list of everything that is stored in your storage unit and be sure to update it as you add or remove items.
Whether you need to store a few boxes of seasonal items or several rooms’ worth of furniture, AAA Self Storage of Lansing can assist. We offer several different sizes of self storage units from which to choose. We also offer climate controlled units for those items that are susceptible to extreme temperatures. At AAA Self Storage of Lansing, we want you to feel confident that your belongings are safe, but we also want you to feel secure while you’re on the property. For that reason, our property has video cameras and requires a passcode to gain access onto the property. You will have access to your storage unit 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We also offer month-to-month leasing, providing you the flexibility to rent for as long as you need or upsize or downsize your storage unit as needed.