When my husband and I moved to Arlington, Virginia, into a small apartment, I let him have the master bedroom closet, the larger of the two closets in the apartment, because he wears suits or sports jackets to work most days, he has quite a few, and he’s kind of a “shoe guy” and needed the extra space. (Yes, I know, so generous of me to give him the master bedroom closet!)
My closet (in the guest room where I also have an office) was awful! Even outfitted with additional Elba shelving from Container Store, it’s pitiful. (I went from six closets in our two houses to one small closet; I’m still amazed I got through it!) After hearing about my plight, my good friend Melanie Williams, herself a happy downsizer, suggested an option for storing clothes which I would ordinarily hang in my closet but didn’t have room for: “Go to IKEA and get three tall dressers, put them side by side, and customize one piece of glass to cover the tops of all three dressers to make them look more like one piece.” It has worked out – and looks – better than expected, although it was a bit more expensive than I wanted to pay for something that’s likely not a piece that I’ll take with me after we relocate again. (This is not the last place we’ll live. Having already downsized, it will be so much easier to pick up and go when it’s time to find a place when it’s time to “retire”.)
The dressers themselves were reasonably priced (all three together cost around $550), but they came unassembled. I hired someone to do the job (I’m handy around the apartment but have absolutely no patience for THAT kind of project), and I paid him around $400. And the glass cost ($350), so the total price exceeded the $1000 I wanted to spend. It was the best option for the space, so I went with the plan. I was so happy to have such a large space for it, and lucky to find such a large piece that fits so well. (It’s not really my style – though all that shifted so dramatically after leaving the two houses, where I had a huge mix of styles at play, that I guess my current “style” is up for grabs!)
Rolled up jeans and pants
Never before have I had pants and jeans all rolled up (a Marie Kondo trick). But it’s cool that I can fit a bunch of them in the drawers. They’re easy to find when they’re all rolled up. Scarves and sweaters are also nicely organized. HA! I even have sheets in one drawer – no linen closets in this apartment, GAH! – and all my jewelry in the two small top drawers.
Creative fixes to “smaller living challenges” are everywhere: In blogs, magazine articles, books, and YouTube videos. Every downsizer has his or her own tips and techniques! My downsizing story is all working out. I’m having a blast during my reinvention – without the stress and worry that’s so often associated with owning houses. Now that it’s over, I can say downsizing was the best decision of my life.
And if you think to yourself, “There’s no way I can downsize!”
… think again. Everyone can and should lighten their load! You’ll LOVE the space you create from taking many of your favorite accessories, lamps, rugs, artwork and a few pieces of your favorite (smallish) furniture. During the process, just remember that you’re designing the next decades of your life to be as simple as possible. When you live a simple life, you have so much more room for family fun, travel, outdoor exercise, reading and enrichment, and other pursuits.
(Footnote: Rest assured that “family time” doesn’t necessarily need to occur in your home. Sell now in this fabulous sellers’ market, buy a smaller place, and with the all the extra money you’ll have, you can take your family on amazing vacations on the river, in the mountains or at the beach. Think about it!)