Dh & I lived in a very small space before kids (but with a bro-in-law, 3 dogs & a bunch of cats!!!). I almost moved in with my parents it was so bad but we were overwhelmed wih clutter & I didn't get along with my brother in law so it's no wonder! We want to start off on the right foot this time with appropriate furniture, decor, space savng tools, and minimal clutter. Thanks!!!
One of my faves I read daily!
For books, Little House on a Small Planet and any of the Not So Big House series are pretty good (and a library should have at least a few of the Not So Big ones even if they don't have the Little House/Small Planet book). I found the Little House book to be more "inspiration" while the Not So Big books provide more hands-on ideas and a lot more pictures of making small spaces feel big and work well for different types of families.
Spiritual Housecleaning is a not so jazzy title for a really great book that looks at the emotional/spiritual aspects of personal space. It's a very practical book that I found helpful in addressing clutter issues beyond just the "have less" level, and if you're moving into a new space it has some great ideas for organizing a space that is both functional and nurturing.
We're a family of soon to be six people, one cat and a rabbit living in a two room cabin of ~900sq feet. We're building an addition that will bring us up to 4 whole rooms lol and about 1100 sq ft but given that we moved to this cabin from a 4 bedroom, 1600sq/ft home that had a full finished attic and full finished basement (not included in that 1600sq/ft)....well, I've been through the downsizing wringer! :)
Although I was very hesitant to do it, in the end my best moving tip was to get a storage unit. items that I wasn't positive about went into the storage unit... I made DH and I promise to get rid of the unit at the end of a year, but having that space to move things into and out of the cabin was crucial. There were a lot of things I would have sold/given away because I was sure they wouldn't fit or be useful in the cabin that turned out to be perfect after we'd settled in for a month or two. And things I thought I could never part with that eventually moved to the storage unit and then out into the world of craigslist and freecycle. It also gave me a sort of "super closet" holding space that was crucial during that first year since I really needed to live in the cabin space for a full cycle of seasons to figure out what we needed.
And for the actual move... I went through the cabin and marked out "living spaces" based around activities ("this is the living room" "this is the kitchen" etc) and then I went through our old house assigning a certain number of boxes to each space. So if it looked like the new cabin could "hold" about 4 boxes of books in the "living room section" I'd put four boxes next to the bookcase in the old house and have at! Or if the kitchen area in the cabin was limited to three cabinets and one counter I'd measure out the space, tape out that space on the floor of the old house, and fill it up. Having that sort of immediate visual limit really helped me par down and focus. And there was always the storage unit for those items that I thought would be necessary or that I simply couldn't part with that didn't fit in the designated boxes/space.
In general though, moving from a big space into a small space isn't hard, but it does take a real perspective shift to feel like you've moved from space to space instead of feeling like you've been constricted. Brainstorming ideas for creative storage or multiple use items (I lurv Alton Brown and his "no single purpose tools" rule) before you move is a good idea. :)
Hope you have fun! (or as much fun as you can have in a move, which at least for me is usually more of a "I'm never ever doing this again" event)
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