Long Island’s lifestyles have changed. In the last decade, more and more homeowners have sold their “ancestral home” (that was before the market turned tough) to move to “Camp Condo.” Whether over 55 or not, the move allowed for more of a diversity of homeowners as well as giving more seniors the ability to stay on Long Island.
So what happens when the decision is made? Picture this. You’ve lived in your present three, four or five bedroom home with attic, basement and two car garage for twenty years or more and now it’s time to pack and start a new life chapter in a home usually around 1800-2000 square feet or less. What do you do with your stuff? One thing is for sure, you shouldn’t take it all and figure it out when you get there.
The goal is to make a plan and do a plan. Start well in advance of the move and take stock of what you own – How much do you really need or want? Look at the space you’re moving to and create a floor plan layout using furniture you would like to purchase, but take your furniture as a placeholder until you do. When making your new purchase, look for furniture with more storage (i.e. a breakfront instead of a server, a closed piece instead of a console table, wall units instead of book shelves).
Next, look at the existing storage space and see how it can be maximized, (i.e. closet organizers, roll-outs in kitchen cabinets, attic, garage or basement space to be utilized with built-ins). And speaking of built-ins, perhaps that’s the answer to not buying or taking as much furniture. A built-in wall unit in den, living room, dining room or master bedroom can supply and maximize multi-functional space so you can ditch the old television stand, CD cabinet and bookcase.
Once we understand the plan and find ways to use all available new space to its best advantage, we still need to face our stuff. It’s amazing how it has grown to epic proportions over the years. Now, since you have an opportunity to start fresh and clean, do you really need or want all you accumulated? It may be hard to decide what stays or what goes, but it will be worth it in the end when everything has a place in your new space and you can control the clutter instead of it controlling you.
The trick is to give yourself enough time before you move to sort, give away, throw away, pack and label what’s actually going and where. Remember your new home means an opportunity to start again – in short, new beginnings. If you don’t bring the excess baggage with you, the things you do bring will look better and you will feel better. Looking at your home with this frame of mind will inspire you to make good choices without feeling you have to hold on to everything. Keep in mind, the less you pack, the less you’ll have to unpack.
Plan on getting help if you need it so you’re not overwhelmed. A move is a big endeavor and exhausting both emotionally and physically. In addition to leaving enough time to get it done, anticipate some road blocks along the way.
My own downsizing move from a 4500 square feet home to a 1900 square foot condo 8 years ago was the same ordeal as it is for everyone even though I counsel folks on how to do it – not enough time, many hard decisions and a husband who needed 16 dumpsters to part with his stuff! On top of which, my built-ins had to wait because my client’s couldn’t – until I set a deadline for everything and made everyone, including myself stick to it – despite my busy lifestyle. And it was worth it. My lovely home is orderly, comfortable and inviting. I feel I lack and want for nothing I left behind (I have photos of those things I loved and happy memories) and this new space suits us now. And I didn’t have to compromise on the one thing I wasn’t leaving behind – my baby grand piano. I just extended my loft to accommodate it into the air space over my living room!
So don’t compromise – maximize what you have and don’t super-size your stuff. It’s a new home – open the doors and windows and let in the new you, along with that breath of fresh air.