Organization tips for empty nesters in a smaller home
Many empty nesters have made the move out of their larger family home into a smaller space. A smaller single family home, townhouse, condo, or independent living facility – all of these are wise choices for couples looking to downsize their lives once the children have flown the coop.
But the challenge is getting used to daily living in a smaller space. Before, you may have had multiple bedrooms, a guest room, den, larger kitchen with lots of storage, a foyer with coat closet. When you move to a smaller space, you need to streamline how you live your daily life.
Start with what is probably your most-used space: the family room. Furniture that can double as storage space can become a real sanity-saver. Use side tables or a coffee table with drawers – you can store DVDs, CDs and magazines. Armoires are also a real space saver. Here you can store your electronics equipment and computer, as well as things like board games and books. You can even add a few decorative baskets on the top for additional storage. If you have space by a window, invest in a storage bench. This seating area can double as a place to store blankets or winter gear like gloves and hats.
The kitchen in a smaller home is another place that can benefit from a few clever organization solutions. There are lots of options for dry goods storage – things like cereal, rice and pasta can be stored in air-tight stackable containers that maximize cabinet space. Install vertical shelf dividers to organize items like cutting boards and cookie sheets, and racks made specifically for pot lids. And go horizontal by adding wire shelving units on cabinet shelves to double your storage capacity.
Bathrooms can be difficult to create extra storage space. Maximize the space in your vanity. Stacked baskets or shelving can be used to store toiletries as well as cleaning supplies. If you have a pedestal sink, use small baskets at the base to decoratively store extra towels and toilet paper. Use the wall space – you can get an 8” deep medicine cabinet to really increase storage. Narrow crown molding shelves can hold pretty glass jars with cotton swabs, cotton balls and makeup items.
Bedrooms are the perfect place to take advantage of “hidden storage.” Utilize the space underneath your bed to store out-of-season clothing, shoes, and bedding in under-the-bed boxes. You can also use that space for infrequently used items like gift wrap, holiday décor items, or books. Another great tip is to store these items inside luggage and stash them under your bed. As in the family room, you can place an upholstered chest or ottoman by a window or at the foot of your bed for seating and storage.
In just about every room in your home, the closet can be a lifesaver or stress-inducer, depending on how well it’s organized. Invest in planning and organizing your closets with a custom closet organization system. These systems maximize the available space in every closet. In the foyer, you can double your coat closet space by installing a second closet rod, and install drawers or shelves for baskets to hold cold weather gear, purses, and shoes. In the bedroom, a thoughtfully laid out closet system creates a space for everything. Adjustable shelves and hanging rods, tilt-out shoe racks, drawers and shelves, valet rods, even built-in laundry hampers and jewelry drawers – everything will have a place. Your laundry area can also benefit from the organization of custom shelving.
Downsizing your living space doesn’t have to mean going without the items that enhance your daily living. By giving some thought to how you organize storage spaces and maximize efficiency, you’ll find you save time – and stress – while increasing the enjoyment of your new home.