balcony with water view

View from my condo

If you follow me in on facebook, you probably already know I’ve recently downsized to a small space.  I was nervous about it – changing spaces for me always seems to be a big deal, but my sojourns south have helped reinforce I can be very happy with a lot less.

Since moving is one of the major stressors in life for everyone, I thought I’d share some of what stood out for me on this journey.  I invite you to a short series over the next few weeks on how to get your small space organized, from selecting it to making the space serve you.

Disclosure: I got to work with some great brands to shape the space. Stay tuned for examples from Neatfreak, FoodSaver, Homesense and Ikea.  You’ll also see how I integrated Pliio, and incorporated some smart kitchen pieces from Jospeh Joseph.*

 

Here’s what’s coming up:

Part 1 – Planning  Your Space

Part 2 – The Kitchen

Part 3 – The Closets

Part 4 – Functional Living

Part 5 – Fashionable Space

 

PART 1 – PLANNING YOUR SPACE

 empty condo, water views, downsizeCondo “Before” photo

Step 1 – Define your needs

I knew that to be excited about the move to a smaller place, I had to be excited about the space into which I’d be moving. I looked for several months and finally found a unit which met my key criteria which I discovered were in this order.

  1. Light
  2. Privacy
  3. Peace
  4. Amenities
  5. Space

If you’re looking for a new space, be sure to identify what matters to you in advance. And if not sure, tune into how you feel in each space, and trust it to guide you.

I’ve traded ample space in a beautiful traditional, dark gum wood home, for a much smaller brightly light corner unit condo complete with water views on both sides.  I’ve never felt better.

I put myself through my own organizing process – the four step P.L.A.N.™ (Prioritize, Liberate, Arrange and Nurture). What a great opportunity to put myself in my clients’ shoes!  It was a wonderful reminder of how challenging a time it can be, and how having a plan really helps make it a smoother process.

 

Step 2 – Choose your new space

When selecting the condo unit I wanted, I first narrowed down on the geographical area – close to my old place, yet on the water. Condos have sprouted forth furiously on the lake in the past five years.

Working with a supportive agent from a real estate team was very helpful in this process. I quickly learned which condos had layouts and facilities that would work for me which helped narrow the decision down quickly.

Vacancy rates are at near record lows at the moment so I needed to be quick to respond. It was important to have credit history and letters of recommendation ready to send. I also discovered I needed a healthy dose of patience to keep searching.  Units would evaporate in a day!

 

Step 3 – Plan your space

  1. Get the floor plan

If the floor plan is not included in the listing itself, request it from the sellers, or do some searching online. I was able to find a website which listed many of the floor plans of condos in the city. This is invaluable for high level planning and useful in striking a lot of units off the list without having to waste energy visiting them.

 

  1. Measure furniture you intend to take with you

Create a log of each piece per room. Measure the height, width and length of each article.  Include wall art dimensions, light fixtures and important plants as well.  This will be important to make sure they fit in the new space with space to move around them.

floor plan drawing for downsized condoDraw a floor plan for each room, to scale.

  1. Space plan each room IMAGE

You can work on paper or with software, whichever is more comfortable for you.  I went old school and drew each room to scale (1 cm = 1 foot) on graph paper, noting electrical outlets, air vents, windows and doors, and ideal travel paths.

On another piece of graph paper, draw your items to scale and label them. Cut them out.  Now have fun placing them on your floor plan. Be accurate. In a small space, every inch matters.

 

If you or someone you know is thinking to downsize, or is already in a small space, Streamlife organizers delight in helping you make the most of every inch.

*Brands have sponsored me and/or provided products for use in the space. Opinions are my own.

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