Downsizing: A short guide to growing smaller

Simply scale down

Whether you find yourselves empty nesters, newly single or hankering after the new baby boomer lifestyle of inner city café society, there are more than a few things to bear in mind when you go from house to apartment living.

1 More than a few things

It’s amazing how much a simple three bedroom house with a garage can swallow up without you noticing. The same cannot be said of a two bedroom apartment, however much the designer has thought of storage space. You really need to be brutal about what goes with you into your golden years of lock it and leave it to go cruising.

I was going to use that!

2 A car space is not a garage

Even if your apartment’s parking space comes with a storage cage, if your garage currently holds two cars, a mountain bike, a trail bike, a tinny, beer fridge and two aisles worth of Bunnings petrol driven essentials, you’re going to need a garage sale, literally.


3 It’s time to go…

All those decluttering gurus will tell you if you haven’t used something for six month to get rid. That’s too savage for all but the most minimalist among us.

But have a good think. Where in your new apartment do you think you can fit your record deck, lounge recliner, coffee table, tv unit, buffet, hutch, ottoman, LP records and cds, treadmill, bookcases, home office desk, chair, and so on as you walk around your house and note forty years of stuff you never got around to throwing out. You want to create the illusion of space in your new surroundings, not construct your own parkour course.

4 A storage unit is not a solution

I know it isn’t, I have one. The bills come in every month reminding me that the many things I should have put on the kerb now have to be put on ebay or gumtree. I’ll do it as soon as I finish this.

5 No means no to pets

Although many apartment committees acknowledge the value of a companion animals there will still be by-laws, and they do apply to you. If the body corporate says no pets, believe it. Speak to other residents before you buy.

Work with me here people

6 Pets adapt

For the most part anyway, especially cats, who no longer face the nightly risk of coming face to face with Sher Khan as they strive to return to the safety of the cat flap. If your dog is a barker which will scare your neighbour every time she comes home with the shopping and lead to noise complaints, or needs a tonne of exercise to prevent boredom, consider if the time is right.

7 You can’t waste space

No matter how great your bed is, even if the mattress is one of those that is split in two to suit spinning top Stuart and mindfulness Marissa, if it doesn’t have storage drawers or space underneath, it’s a luxury you can’t afford. Unless you want to make space for bedding in your wardrobe by losing a few handbags and shoes.

8 Giving books as gifts feels good.

Same applies to DVDs and CDs. Some people still prefer them, but in our online world, even if it is NBN, everything is online and using all the gigabytes of storage on your laptop doesn’t mean it increases in size. Kindle, eBooks, Netflix and Spotify are your storage now! That said, charity shops are saying they have enough copies of The Da Vinci Code to be going on with, thanks.

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