When children leave the family home for college, or for a first job, the emptied space forces homeowners to re-evaluate their living space: are four bedrooms, three bathrooms, a den, and a library really necessary?
That’s why so many couples choose to move to Manhattan—a down-sizer’s dream. Sonya Weisshappel knows that the decision is a financial and emotional one. Founder of personal organizing company Seriatim, Sonya understands that a smaller residence will reduce your financial burden, and help you to feel less towered over by room upon room of unlived-in space. But she also described the choice to downsize as the first of several trying decisions.
“The reality is that when you’re going through these life changes, you need to be more clear about what you take,” she told me. “You can’t go from four bedrooms to one and take all you have. You can’t go from a big house in the suburbs and go to a space in the city and expect for the things in your garage and in your attic to fit.”
Sonya explained that downsizing is less about getting rid of furnishings, and more about abridging the contents of closets and drawers.
“People have rooms full of collections: a fishing collection, a pottery collection, or a hobby collection, whether it’s beading or knitting or scrap booking. Lots of people have holiday-oriented stuff as well: Halloween decorations and Christmas ornaments. They tend to have extra rooms where they just had space and they filled it with an activity,” she said.
Sonya told me that downsizing is really a reevaluation of your life and your daily needs:
“The most important thing is understanding that your new home will have a certain-sized space, and you need to conserve that certain-sized space. You have to look around and think, do I really use beaded jewelry everyday? Is that a priority in my life?”
“Or, I have a huge bookshelf of books that I’ve already read, am I going to read them again? Or can I downsize by moving my books onto an electronic reader? Once you start asking those questions, downsizing becomes simpler.”