Let's face it: Over time we tend to accumulate quite a bit of stuff – some meaningful, some not so much. When you're pressed for space, the "stuff pile" can be your worst enemy. When assessing the amount of belongings you actually need, ask yourself these questions:
If can't answer "yes" to at least one of these questions, it's time to say goodbye. Make yourself a promise to remove an old item when introducing a new one, and to never trash what can be donated.
A smaller living space reduces your carbon footprint because you're using fewer resources. However, just because you're living light doesn't mean you have to sacrifice style. Minimalist design is a perfect match for a small space because the aesthetic's spare philosophy (don't over-decorate) makes your space feel larger. Minimalism typically features modern design elements, but feel free to use whatever pieces you love to make the space truly yours. Focus on keeping only what you need to combine elements from traditional, chic and classic styles for an eclectic look that speaks to your personal taste.
Since storage space is at a premium in smaller homes, get creative. Staying organized will not only make your home feel larger, it will help you keep your sanity! Look for untapped storage that is available under the bed, in cabinets or through functional furniture, such as storage ottomans. You may also benefit from open storage options or shelving units. Baskets, bins and canisters are great for storing personal items while also serving as accessories.
Technology has come a long way over the last several years. Keeping current with the latest advances is not only a great way to save space, it's an effective method for greening up your home. New designs for home appliances, such as washers, dryers, refrigerators, bathroom fixtures and water heaters, use less energy and water, and take up less room in your home. To save space, use stackable appliances where possible and free up closet space with a tankless water heater. To help save the planet, look for the Energy Star rating.
To get more satisfaction out of every square foot, break each room into zones. For example, use a small writing desk instead of a nightstand in the guest bedroom to create an office space, or place a sleeper-sofa in the living room to create a sleeping area for guests that can easily be tucked away.
The same is also true for the items you have in your home, especially your furniture. Look for pieces that are multi-functional or adjustable, such as a dining room table with expanding leaves that can be stored when not in use. To keep within the green mindset, search for furniture pieces that are timeless, versatile and durable. Don't buy into trends that will be outdated within a few years. Instead, look for great pieces that will work with many styles of décor, and through each season.
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