Condo Living: How to survive and thrive in small spaces

Fish does condosWouldn’t it be nice to finally de-clutter and downsize everything you own to the bare minimum? I’ve had this goal for as long as I can remember. Vehicles? All I need is a truck or an SUV and a bike. Gadgets? Just give me a reliable laptop for work/entertainment and a tablet for communication/reading. Clothes? Just a handful of the best ones I own that are of good quality, so I can use them as long as possible.

But it’s harder than it looks folks, especially if you have a large house filled to the brim with stuff. If you want to downsize everything in your life, a good idea would be to identify the essential things that you just can’t live without and get rid of the rest. Once you have that down pat, look at condos for sale in a neighborhood or city that you’ve always wanted to live in. If you work in the city, a good idea is to get a condo near your office so you can just walk to work. You’ll be saving money on transportation and you’ll be getting some much needed exercise.

Does Size really matter?

When you’ve lived in a house all your life, learning to live in a condo can be a challenge. Unless you get one of those luxury condos that occupy a whole floor or penthouse, you have to get used to smaller rooms and limited closet space, especially if you have kids.

The very first condo I ever lived in was a studio and everything was small, from the bathroom to the bedroom. It felt claustrophobic at times, and I never really spent anymore than a few of my waking hours inside. I was either out or sleeping, because I dreaded the feeling of being trapped. Growing up in the country, I was used to wide open spaces, so living in a shoebox was a huge adjustment for me.

When looking at a potential condo, remember that you’ll be calling it home for the foreseeable future. That means actually staying indoors from time to time, cooking your own meals, spending time with your loved ones (if you have a family) and entertaining friends. Don’t choose a condo based on price and smaller room size. You’ll want to choose one that’s already built so you can see the actual rooms yourself and gauge if the space is enough for you – the bigger the rooms, the better for your sanity.

Choose what to take with you

With limited space, you have to be wise when it comes to what goes with you and what gets donated, sold or kept in storage. That’s why before you even consider moving into a condo, you must make a decision of downsizing and eliminating all the clutter in your life, or else you’ll agonize on what to bring.

  • With space at a premium, your furniture should be scaled down as well. If you have a favorite couch, but it takes up the entire living room of the condo, consider replacing it with a scaled-down version. Same goes for all your other furniture – from your refrigerator down to your coffee table. Your TV would most likely be wall mounted to save space.
  • Get some plants to spruce up your living space and help filter the indoor air. Plants also add a touch of warmth to any room, so adding a couple can definitely bring something positive to your smaller living space and benefit your well being.
  • Keep everything as neat, organized and clutter-free as possible because you’ll make the rooms look a lot bigger if you have less furniture and knick-knacks lying around. Invest in a few mirrors and hang it on the walls if you want to magnify your space.
  • Use every inch of storage space your unit has, and ask if the building has additional lockers for unit owners or tenants. If you simply run out of space, look for paid storage options near you where you can keep your extra stuff if you don’t know what to do with it yet.

Can you do it?

Condos are definitely doable if you have the right frame of mind. Choosing the perfect unit is always a challenge, so before you take the plunge and sell your house; ask yourself first it you can pull it off. Make a conscious decision and talk it over with your family and close friends who know you best.

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