Five helpful tips for designing a functional smaller space.

April 1, 2022

Downsizing can be one of the most difficult processes to begin. Our possessions hold memories, comfort and utility. Yet, our possessions also take up space. Imagining our lives with less space may seem daunting, but for one Holladay Park Plaza resident, downsizing presented an exciting challenge that she describes as nothing but positive.

Sheila Koenig moved to Holladay Park Plaza in 2012. This was not her first time downsizing. She spent 14 years living in a motor coach with her late husband while they worked for the US Forest Service in Oregon. She found inspiration from her time in an RV when she moved from a three bedroom home to her apartment at Holladay Park Plaza.

“I found once I had decided to move to HPP I felt liberated. Getting rid of “stuff” freed me in a way I had not imagined possible.”

Sheila provides some helpful tips to those in the process of downsizing on how to design a space that feels open while also meeting the needs of daily life:
kitchen mugs hanging on a rack

Say goodbye to duplicates

Think about how often you truly use an item like roasting pans or double sets of pots and pans. If it isn’t used more than once a week, you’ll likely not need it once you move. Likewise, if you haven’t worn an article of clothing in a year, you’ll probably not wear it enough to warrant space in the closet.

Choose scaled down furniture that fits the space

When thinking about how your current furniture will work in your new apartment, think of open space. This gives the impression of more space than the actual square footage might suggest. Think about bringing your lighter scaled pieces. Heavy, tall pieces make the space feel crowded and one can feel hemmed in. In your house, you may have had several seating possibilities in your living room. At HPP, a couch or loveseat seat catty corner to each other, or a couch and a couple of armchairs offer a cozy spot for conversation.

drawer space

Assign all items a place

Assign everything in your new home its own space. I have a drawer, cupboard, or hanging space for every item I bring into the apartment. This makes it easy to find what I need and doesn’t take long to put items away.

When it comes to storage, divide and conquer

A closet with one rod across the whole span wastes space. Installing a double rod in the closet allows two rows of shorter clothes. Consider stackable racks inside cabinets to allow for multiple items to be stored in one space. There are endless possibilities if the space can be divided.

Hang when possible

Consider a magnet knife rack in the kitchen to save counter space taken by a knife block. Shoes take up a lot of room. A shoe rack that hangs over a door works well. Any place you can “hang” things will cut down on your use of valuable floor space.

“I was surprised once I got organized how comfortable I felt in this space.”

Have questions for Sheila about downsizing?