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8 Tips for Downsizing Your Bedroom for the Move

These days, moving to a new location does not necessarily mean moving on up. More often than not, individuals and families are downsizing to smaller locations; students move from bedrooms to dorm rooms, young professionals transition from living with the folks into tiny studio apartments, empty nesters and small families downgrade to a more manageable space, and others switching from the spacious suburbs to cramped city limits. There are undeniable benefits to downsizing your housing, from the reduced utility bills to the diminished hours spent cleaning.

The minimalist trend in interior design seems to echo this pattern of “less is more”. Years spent accumulating things can take decades to purge through and get rid of, and everyone seems to have trouble with clutter in all areas of the house. If you find yourself preparing for a move, either now or a few years down the road, here are some tricks to keep in mind to take your bedroom from a “Hoarders” level of chaos to a “streamlined” mode of basic essentials.

1. Rotate and Clean – Work in a circle around your bedroom and go through a section of stuff each day, cleaning the area completely and determining what to toss, save, donate, and put into storage. Remember the mantra “Quality over quantity”; it’s better to have a few items with profound nostalgia and meaning than tons of things with no significant value. Get out of the mindset that you need to keep things in case of emergency, because it is high quality, or that you may one day get around to using that fondue set that still remains in the box. You should only hold onto items that you love, routinely use and serve a clear purpose in your new place.

2. Get Control over Your Wardrobe – It is more likely than not that you are the proud owner of a closet jam-packed full of clothes, shoes and bags. Start with a purge: clear everything out, section by section, and determine which pieces will be kept, which will be tossed and which will be donated. When returning the items to their place, devise a system that tells you plainly how often those items are being used. For example, turn the hangers on your shirts and dresses backwards, correcting them after they have been worn and washed; or store all of your pants or shoes on one drawer or side of the armoire, and only move them back to the other side once they have received wear. You will come to realize that perhaps the dress shirt or handbag you kept for wear “when you finally lose those pesky fifteen pounds” will never actually get its moment in the sun.

3. Preserve Surface Space – Surface areas are a finite resource that you need to make the most of, while still keeping the area organized and clear. After all, cluttered surfaces make small rooms look even smaller. Any type of collection that goes along your vanity, desk, or night table should have a designated storage space. Jewelry should be kept in a closed box, or even a hanging armoire like these from Shop Get Organized to free up more room. Similarly, watches should be preserved in a watch box; ties on a tie rack; office supplies like pens, rubber bands, and paper clips should each have a separate bowl, and all papers should be neat and filed away.

4. Go Vertical – To assist with renouncing clutter, look upwards for inspiration. Hang photos on the wall or displayed on a shelf instead of mounting them on a desk or dresser. Utilize creative shelving solutions like these examples from All Modern, or create your own honeycomb shelves where anything from books, knick knacks and crafting supplies can be stowed. Cosmetics can be stockpiled on a cake stand instead of across the vanity, table lamps can be replaced with ceiling and standing lights, and shoes can be hung in over-the-door organizers instead of across the floor.

5. Draft a Room Plan – When getting ready to move, take measurements of your new space as well as your furniture pieces that will be accompanying you there, and draw up a room plan. This will not only help you know where bigger items are going on moving day, but will make it clear what will be able to fit in your new bedroom and what won’t. Is there space for your king size bed, bookcase, makeup vanity and TV? It’s better to find out ahead of time than get stuck once you arrive!

6. Find Furniture Combos – Give a little thought to your existing furniture pieces, and decide if any current items might be swapped out for another that provides dual functions. A futon that can transform from a couch to a daybed is ideal for studio apartment living. Furthermore, there are plenty of comfy benches that double as trunks you can house your scarves, gloves and hats in. Can you also find a small dining table that can be used as a writing desk or for entertaining with a game of cards? How about upcycling basic folding chairs with new fabric and a coat of paint that can be hung on the wall to save room and taken down for when guests come to visit?

7. Host a Yard Sale – If you have the time, setting up a yard sale gives you a deadline by which you need to root through your belongings. The extra cash will support in purchasing pieces for your new home, and whatever does not sell can easily be packed into boxes and donated to a thrift or consignment shop. You can also sell bigger ticket items on Craigslist or Ebay, artisanal items on Etsy, or buy a cheap table at a local flea market that will do the advertising for you.

8. Use Tricks to Make Your Space Appear Larger – The act of downsizing will make any room feel more claustrophobic than usual, even after a binge purge of unneeded furniture and clutter. Once you are set up in your new space, there are a couple of ways guaranteed to make the space feel more open. When painting, make the walls white, designating bold colors and patterns to either an accent wall or the ceiling. Bring in some live plants to bring the feel of the outdoors inside, and decorate with transparent furniture like these coffee tables featured in Decoist. Utilize mirrors – over the bed, the dresser, or on the door – and especially if their reflection can catch a window to lighten and maximize the feel of your bedroom.

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