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It’s one of those unfortunate truths in life: homes that are just right when we move into them don’t always stay that way. You might have more children than planned, find that an elderly relative needs to move in with you, start working from home, develop a disability, stop sharing a bed with somebody you still want to live with, or simply acquire too much stuff to comfortably fit. If you don’t have enough money saved up to move to somewhere larger, what can you do?

Cut down on clutter

The first thing to think about is whether or not you really need all that stuff. Having a clear-out could make your spaces feel a lot less crowded. You don’t have to throw it away – you could Freecycle it, give it to a charity shop, sell it, or gift it to friends or relatives who would find it useful. Look through your possessions carefully and think about what’s useful, what makes you happy, and what you actually need right now or can reasonably expect to need in the future. If there are things you’re just not sure about and think you might want later, storing them away for the meantime can still help. 

Get smart about storage 

Think about the spaces in your home that could be utilised for storage. Are you using them efficiently? Do you have unused loft space, room under the stairs, or spaces under the beds or on top of wardrobes where boxes could go? Is there room for damp-resistant items in a garage or under the floor? Are there little niches where you could fit shelves? If this approach proves inadequate, you could look into self-storage units as an option. It’s often possible to get discount deals for long-term storage, and with a good provider, you can be confident that your possessions are safe and secure, ready for you to retrieve when you are finally able to move to somewhere bigger.

Rethink your furniture

When you’re trying to make the most of your space, it helps to have the right furniture, so when items need replacing, consider choosing more practical alternatives. A futon instead of a sofa provides extra sleeping space with no compromise of style. A folding table won’t get in the way as much when you’re not using it. An old-fashioned writing bureau with a pull-down shelf can be a much neater solution than a desk, folding out of the way when not in use. Consider an ottoman if you want to combine seating with storage. Slim down the look of your rooms by choosing furniture with clean, straight lines and avoiding bulky soft furnishings.

Divide up spaces

If you have children who are keen to stop sharing a bedroom, or if you’re struggling to work or study in the living room, sectioning off areas can help. This doesn’t need to mean building walls, which only eat up more space. Sometimes, curtains can be an adequate solution. Alternatively, you can use shelving units or wardrobes – carefully secured so that they can’t fall over – to create a divider while freeing up space against the walls. This approach won’t cut out noise problems, but it can be psychologically helpful and provide an increased sense of privacy. Where young children are concerned, space can also be divided vertically using bunk beds. 

Consider an extension

If you can’t afford to move to a larger property, you may still be able to afford to extend your existing one. For this to be a practical solution if you’re still hoping to move within the next few years, it will need to add value to your home, which isn’t automatically the case. Local estate agents are often willing to give free advice on this, so ask around – if other local properties have extensions, then the chances are that it will be a good move. Even a modest conservatory can make a big difference, and some people find that a simple shed, if well secured, can help ease the pressure in the home by functioning as a workroom.

The planning and organisation involved in taking steps like this can be helpful when you eventually do move because it means that you’ll be more aware of what you have, what you need, and what works for you and your family. In the meantime, you’ll have a more comfortable home and one that feels a little fresher, reminding you of when you first fell in love with it.


Making it fit: how to cope in a home that’s too small
Digital Mag

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