So, you have decided to take the plunge and downsize to a smaller Seattle home. Maybe it’s your kids, flying from the coop. Perhaps it’s the need to boost your financial health. Or, maybe you found yourself drowning in clutter and decided that the time is ripe for embracing your inner minimalist. Whatever your reasons, before you make your big move to smallness, have a look at how you can make moving to a smaller home in Seattle work.
Get into the right mindset
An important rule of thumb to stick to is to always move into a home and not out of one. Allow us to elaborate.
You’ve likely already thought about the money downsizing will free up, but that shouldn’t be the only reason for thinking small. Consider how moving to a smaller home in Seattle could be profoundly life-enhancing. This way, when you step into your new dwelling for the first time, instead of feeling like the walls are closing in on you, you’ll see your new home for all the positive changes it can inspire and experiences it can offer that you’ve always dreamed of but never had in the previous home.
Perhaps you’ve always wanted to find a way to channel your inner minimalist, and downsizing might just be your chance to finally give up the excess. In other words, you won’t feel that you have to be there but that you actually want to be there.
Have a reality check
Yes, it’s good to turn your attention to the positives of downsizing. But it is also important to be realistic about the sacrifices you will have to make in the process. The biggest and the most obvious downside is that you’ll have less space to work with, which, in turn, means having to part with some of your stuff. Not to mention there’s a possibility that it may not be as monetarily beneficial to you as you initially thought. For instance, although downsizing will help you save on your mortgage and utility bills, it is not always so simple. The dirty (little) secret about downsizing? It costs money, too.
For example, house selling expenses can be a heavy lift, especially if you want to get the most value for your house. So, make sure to account for Seattle’s top real estate agent, as well as home inspections, necessary home repairs, and taxes. Then, there’s the relocation part and furnishing your new locale.
We’re not trying to be a “Debbie Downer,” it’s just how it is: downsizing isn’t all fun and games. Yet, it is being aware of all the hurdles and roadblocks that downsizing may bring that will help you plan ahead and make your new living situation work.
Scout out the neighborhoods
Most downsizers are so focused on finding more manageable properties that they forget all about the rewarding intangibles of living in the right neighborhood, with all the right amenities and a close-knit community. But if there’s something you can be absolutely sure of, it’s that the well-known phrase ‘location, location, location’ isn’t thrown around by agents very lightly.
It’s the golden rule in the real estate world, and it should be yours too if you’re moving to a home that is a lot smaller than what you’re used to. That kind of thing may take time to get used to, and until that happens, it’s inevitable to feel overwhelmed by the small space from time to time. When that happens, it’s nice to have a yard to drink your morning coffee, a park to go for a relaxing stroll or any other outdoor space where you can go and reset.
Besides green spaces, when choosing the perfect neighborhood, make sure it has the sporting and social clubs you need, restaurants, bars, and coffee shops you like, that you’re satisfied with transportation options, and the time of your commute, and that it has top-notch schools if you are moving with your kids. Finally, it can be challenging to establish a new social circle when you move. So, you may like to find a neighborhood offering communal facilities such as outdoor barbecue areas or rooftop gardens that allow you to meet your new neighbors.
Luckily, Seattle boasts plenty of wonderful neighborhoods to choose from. For instance, Ballard and Capitol Hill are only some of the great neighborhoods in Seattle with a nice collection of quality smaller family homes and a sense of community.
One tried-and-true trick to make your small home feel cozy rather than cramped is getting rid of excess things. Make sure to plan a decluttering session before you start packing for your move. Set clear decluttering rules, and only keep things you need, use frequently, and like. The rest of your items you can donate, sell, toss, pass down or digitize (through a photo).
Think about storage space
But, a lot of things may be hard to let go of. We’re talking souvenirs, memorabilia, old family albums, and probably most of your kids’ stuff, although they moved out a long time ago. So, your “maybe” pile may quickly start to stack up and, if that happens, you must find a good solution for your belongings. Renting a storage unit is great for downsizers, as it’ll take those extra things off your back and keep them safe until you decide what to do with them.
But if you’re moving into a really small home, even the “keep” pile may be an issue. In that case, make sure to carefully choose a home with plenty of well-planned built-in storage, or consider increasing storage in your home by installing wall-mounted storage or shopping for multifunctional furniture.
Make a small room look bigger
For many downsizers, it is the decorating stage that makes moving into a smaller home in Seattle exciting. This is because, nowadays, the Internet is swarming with sneaky decorating tricks and ideas that make the smallest of spaces feel larger and more open. If you take the time to go through such articles, you’ll likely find interior design experts suggesting that you avoid decorating with dark colors and overly busy patterns. Instead, you should stick to light colors, specifically neutrals, because they tend to make a room seem brighter and more open.
Another tip is always to dress your windows minimally. Heavy, dark curtains and window treatments will give you the opposite of the desired effect. Also, hanging them higher gives the illusion of extra height. You can also get creative with mirrors, see-through materials, and shiny surfaces that bounce light around the room, thus visually expanding its footprint.