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4 Tips for Making the Most of a Smaller Living Space

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4 Tips for Making the Most of a Smaller Living Space

The Gardens at Barry Road assisted living community offers a wide range of care options and three floor plans to choose from. You can choose:

  • A studio, which is 295 square feet and includes a combo living/bedroom space, a bathroom, closet and a kitchenette.
  • A studio deluxe, which is 370 square feet and includes a larger combo living/bedroom space, closet, bathroom, kitchenette and small porch.
  • A one-bedroom apartment, which is 510 square feet and includes a separate bedroom and living room, bathroom, large walk-in closet, kitchenette and porch.

The apartments are designed to meet a variety of senior needs and be comfortable homes for residents in the community. And with many services and amenities throughout the community, including walking paths, common areas and dining rooms, you don’t have to rely on your apartment as your only daily living space.

Creative and efficient use of smaller spaces can help to create a lovely home an older adult is proud of and can spend many hours in. Here are a few tips that you can use in a smaller apartment or other space to maximize your enjoyment of it.

1. Cut down on clutter.

Visible clutter can make a space look more crowded and smaller than it is, so cut down on areas where items may start to congregate. Tabletops are a favorite place for things to collect. You may come into your assisted living apartment after a crafting time and drop your supplies on the table. You might arrive home from a shopping trip and toss your new acquisitions on the growing pile, thinking that you’ll put them away later.

Even if you’re generally a clean and organized person, you might still find certain areas of your home collect clutter. It might be the table, the kitchen counter or a shelf. Making a plan to stop that habit of clutter can make a huge difference in a small space. Here are some options for doing so:

  • Make it a habit to put things away immediately. Don’t set them down for more than a few minutes as you’re putting them away.
  • Create a routine for clearing items up regularly. Spending just a few minutes after breakfast or dinner scanning surfaces and putting things away can help keep your entire space cleaner all the time.
  • Choose a space for everything. Sometimes the one drawer or the table gets cluttered because it becomes a catch-all for things that don’t otherwise have a home, such as tablets, pens, keys and mail. Place small baskets on a shelf or a rack on the wall to hold these items.

2. Choose furniture with dual functions.

Many people like to bring a few of their own furniture pieces from an existing home to an assisted living apartment. This is a great idea for numerous reasons. It saves you money since you’re not buying new things, and it also surrounds you with items you’re familiar and comfortable with. Choosing some of your favorite items, such as a chair or table, to bring with you is a great first step to furnishing your assisted living apartment.

But if you do decide to invest in new furniture, consider looking for options that can be used in multiple ways. For example, a small table with a leaf can be a desk or work area when you’re alone and expand to provide a place for dining, playing cards or laying out snacks when you have someone visiting.

Another option is a storage ottoman that’s sturdy enough to provide extra seating when you need it. Such a piece would provide a footrest, a place for storing blankets and a seat.

3. Rethink old habits, especially when it comes to storage.

After living in a certain house for years, you may have developed storage habits that don’t transfer well to an assisted living space. For example, perhaps you have always had a clothes tree in your entryway where people could hang coats and hats. This may not work well in an assisted living space, where the clothes tree could block a walking path and take up space in your living area.

You might need to get into the habit of putting coats and other items away in a closet. Alternatively, you could place a few hooks on the wall or back of the door to hang just one coat and hat for ease of reach when you’re entering and leaving your space.

4. Create a capsule wardrobe.

Clothing can take up a lot of good storage space in your closet. Consider converting to a capsule wardrobe for each season. A capsule wardrobe cuts your clothing items down to only the favorites you wear regularly. It also helps you choose clothing efficiently.

For example, you might have a pair of pants and a lightweight top that look casual as is. But add a cardigan and necklace and you’re ready to socialize. That same cardigan and top might also go with your favorite skirt. In this way, a dozen articles of clothing can make many different outfits.

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