Traditionally, moving home was all about climbing the “housing ladder.” For your first home, you’d buy somewhere small, take out a mortgage that you could afford, pay it down and then when you had enough equity in your home, upgrade to a bigger house.
But, buying somewhere larger isn’t always the best option. Some people want to downsize, using house movers to go from a large, four-bedroom detached to a much more modest apartment. The reasons for such a move vary considerably from one circumstance to another. You might want packers and movers to help you move from a big house to a studio to cut your costs, be closer to work, live somewhere temporarily during relationship breakdown, or lower the amount of time you spend managing your property. The list of possible reasons is virtually endless.
Unfortunately, however, because moving from a big house to an apartment is a less common type of move, there’s not a lot of information out there from interstate removalists on how to do it efficiently. The majority of articles focus on moving from a small home to a bigger one, or transferring possessions between two households of a similar size. There’s relatively little practical guidance for those who want to downsize and give up their large homes for a much smaller apartment.
The differences in space can be considerable. The average sizeable detached house can easily exceed 3,000 square feet, with many 4,000 square feet and above, attics and basements included. Apartments, by contrast, often measure 1,500 square feet or less. What’s more, a lower proportion of the space is available for “stuff” since essential items like toilets, baths, kitchen units, and closets take up a fixed amount. When you go from a large house to a small apartment, you have to make do with substantially less space than you think.
So with that said, what can you do on a practical level to make moving from a big house to a much smaller apartment efficient? Let’s take a look.
Remind Yourself Of The Benefits Of Apartment Living
If you’re using interstate furniture removals to move to an apartment because something bad has happened in your life, it’s worth reminding yourself of all the positives apartment living brings.
- Lower costs. Apartments are much smaller than their detached, four-bedroom counterparts. Because of this, you’ll face substantially lower costs. You do not need to use as much energy to heat an apartment, especially if you live in a unit sandwiched between a bunch of others. What’s more, your local taxes, water costs, and maintenance are all likely to be lower.
- Lower mortgage/rental payments. Paying the mortgage on a big house is expensive and, in most cases, requires two professional incomes. Paying a mortgage or the rent on an apartment costs much less and means that you have greater freedom to use your money as you please. Less of your hard-earned income goes towards paying for your accommodation, and more of it can go towards other things, like holidays or cars.
- Closer to work. If you work in the city centre, then apartment living can bring you closer to work. Travelling to work from a large house in the suburbs is a daily chore that you can avoid by living in an apartment in a better location.
- Less time spent on maintenance. When you own your own home, you have to dedicate a substantial proportion of your free time to maintain it. The garden, gutters, and plumbing won’t look after themselves. Apartments, however, are different. Most don’t have gardens, and those that do are usually managed by professional gardeners hired by the community as part of the ongoing running costs.
Measure The Space In Your New Apartment
Once you’re feeling more positive toward your apartment move, the next step is to measure the space to make sure that all your furniture and appliances will fit. You can ask a furniture removalist for help with this.
Measure The Kitchen
Kitchens in apartments tend to be much smaller than they are in regular homes. Apartment planners tend to sacrifice kitchen space to provide people with more extensive living and bedroom areas – the parts of the apartment that are in use the most. Many condos also combine kitchen and living areas in open place, possibly giving you more flexibility.
The first thing you’ll want to do is to measure the kitchen to ensure that all your appliances will fit (if you plan on bringing them with you). If you have a double-door American-style fridge-freezer, then you’ll want to double-check not only that there’s space for it in your new kitchen, but also that you can easily open and close the door to the kitchen once it’s in place.
Check also that there’s room for all your utilities too, once your fridge-freezer is in place. It’s not just a question of whether the kitchen can accommodate all your appliances individually, but together too.
Measure The Bathroom
More often than not, your bathroom is furnished and set up for you before you move into an apartment. All the basics should be there, such as the toilet, bath, shower, and sink. You may want to check, however, that you’ve got space for your vanity. Again, apartment bathrooms tend to be small.
Measure The Living Room
Typically, the living room is the most spacious part of an apartment, but you may still have difficulties fitting all your current lounge furniture. It may not be possible, for instance, to have a three-piece suite arranged around a central coffee table. You may have to sacrifice a couple of furniture items or put them into storage. You may also have to place furniture against the wall – something which you probably don’t have to do if you currently live in a big house. Again, you can ask furniture removalists for help with this.
Change Your Layout
When you live in a big house, you get used to the luxuries that it brings. You can invite guests to stay in the spare bedroom, go out for a stroll in your backyard, and enjoy indoor-outdoor spaces in the summer. Unfortunately, those same luxuries don’t exist when you move into an apartment. You may have a shared garden, but not something you can enjoy by yourself. And if you do have a spare bedroom, it’s likely taken up by something else, such as your home office.
The trick to getting the most out of apartment living is using all of the available space in the most efficient way possible. You’re not going to be able to indulge in some of the luxuries that you get with a big house, but you can still attain a high quality of life with forethought.
Don’t Accept Waste Space
When you live in a large house, you get used to the idea that you have a lot of unused space. You might have entire bedrooms, basements or attics which play no role in your day-to-day life whatsoever.
The situations will be different when you move into your new apartment. You’ll have to avoid wasting space and come up with living arrangements that maximize the existing floorplan. You probably won’t have space for a “music room” or “games room” and will have to focus much more on the essentials, like living space, bedroom, kitchen and bathroom.
It is tempting to try to bring as much furniture with you as possible when using a removalist to move into a new apartment. But if you cram your rooms too full, your belongings will soon become an inconvenience, and you’ll resent having them around. Moving to an apartment is all about becoming more minimalist and thinking about what you actually need to have a good quality of life as professional movers and packers will tell you.
It’s nice to have a proper dining table where you can entertain guests. But the reality is that you probably won’t have enough space for one in your living room.
There are options. You can use a coffee table for your dining setup, or you can use a fold-out dining table which either fits on the wall or folds away and becomes a side table.
Create A Storage Space For All The Essentials
When you live in a big house, you don’t have to think carefully about where everything will go. But when you live in an apartment, everything needs to have its place. You can’t live in situations where you don’t have sufficient room for essentials, like towels or kitchen utensils.
Everything in your new apartment, therefore, needs a particular place, all to itself. The most challenging room to get right is the kitchen, but you could have issues in other rooms too. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you have space for kitchen essentials, such as crockery, cutlery, cooking utensils, blenders, food processors, crock pots, toaster, kettle and coffee machine?
- Do you have space in your bathroom for towels and toiletries?
- Does your closet have sufficient space to accommodate all your clothes and shoes?
- Do you have enough space for an office computer?
- Do you need an ottoman to store all your lounge essentials?
- Do you have space for your DVD collection, or will it need to move online?
- Do you have cupboard space for vacuums, cleaning products, and mops?
Downsizing inevitably means getting rid of some of your possessions. Unless your current accommodation is bare, you’ll need to be ruthless about what you get rid of and what you keep when it comes to removals. There’s only so much you’ll want movers to bring with you.
However, you don’t need to send everything to a charity shop or landfill: storage is an option.
Whether you use storage or not depends on your circumstances. You might want to use self-storage, for instance, if you have a lot of valuable possessions, such as antiques, that won’t fit in your new accommodation but that you want to keep for the long-term or sell at a later date. Today’s storage solutions are exceptionally secure, using a variety of CCTV cameras, code-activated locks, perimeter fencing, and on-site security staff. Self-storage is probably more secure than your current accommodation, so theft or damage should not be a concern.
You might also want to use storage if you think that you move to an apartment is temporary. Your current plan might be to downsize for a few months while you decide where you want to be or who you want to work with. Storage keeps the option of moving back to a large house open, without having to buy new stuff all over again.
As removalists know, you’ll have to pay for storage. But remember, you’ll have a lot more extra income after you downsize. Both your bills, mortgage costs/rental, and maintenance will all be lower.
Adopt Smart Technology
Technology can’t magically make a small apartment bigger, but it can do a lot to enhance your living experience.
Climate control systems, for instance, can modify the temperature (and sometimes the humidity) in your space to adapt to your preferred comfort levels with a click of a button. Security monitors can run 24-hours per day, giving you peace of mind and alerting you automatically if the system detects a problem. You can program the lights to turn on as you walk into your apartment using Philips Hue and other smart lighting brands. And you can issue voice commands to Alexa and Google Home, telling them that you’d like them to play your favourite music or order some groceries for delivery.
Storage is at a premium in most apartments, so you’re going to have to get smart about how you use your space. One trick is to go vertical, using all the space above eye-level in your new abode.
Check out some of these vertical storage ideas:
- Over-the-door organizers. These are great for storing shoes, toiletries and small, miscellaneous items, like torches.
- Hang pots. Cupboard space in your kitchen might be limited, but you could hang large items, like pots, to save space.
- Place shelves near the ceiling. You don’t want your new apartment to feel claustrophobic, but you dramatically increase storage space without reducing living space by placing shelves near your ceiling.
So there you have it: how to move from a big house to an apartment efficiently. Which of these ideas will you use?