Homeowners in all stages of life – from first-time buyers to retirees – are seeing the merit of living in less space. Downsizing and consequently de-cluttering or simplifying, has become a popular “less is more” trend.
In the Washington Post article, “Downsizing the American Dream”, author Haisten Willis claims that the “NAHB (National Association of Home Builders) data shows the average size of new houses fell for the third straight year in 2018. Median square footage of single-family houses decreased to 2,320 after peaking at more than 2,500 square feet. (1)
Tahoe REALTOR® Ryan Schiestel says that his clients are thoroughly examining whether bigger truly is better too. “Fewer buyers are looking for homes greater than 6,000 sq ft,” he says. “Buyers are tending to go smaller, in most cases despite price. For example, in one of the communities I specialize in, buyers are lining up to buy 2,500 sq ft homes listed for the same price as homes over 7,500 sq ft! I am selling homes in the 2,000-3,000 sq ft range before they even hit the market while homes over 7,000 sq ft may sit on the market for three years. I think people realize that the bigger homes require more upkeep and responsibility too, not to mention the yearly overhead.”
So, why is this downsizing trend getting more popular? It could be because these smaller homes speak to two great motivators of human behavior: cash and convenience. (2)
► The Economic Case (2)
According to the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, taxes, insurance, upkeep and utility bills typically run about 3.25 percent of the value of a house, so naturally, a smaller home will help cut down on the actual cost of living.
► Reclaiming “You” Time (2)
If you spend just four hours a week on general upkeep around the house, that totals 208 hours per year, which, over the course of 10 years, becomes 2,080 hours, or 87 days. Time is a precious commodity, and people across a range of demographic groups are beginning to realize that spending it with family, enjoying time with friends, being active, and learning new things is a far more rewarding way to approach life than filling it up with routine maintenance tasks.
► De-Cluttering & Simplifying (2)
There’s a third factor driving the downsizing trend: a shifting mindset that says that less might actually be more. In fact, the “declutter and simplify” movement has gained considerable momentum of late. The website The Minimalists is dedicated to “clearing clutter from life’s path” and has become so popular that the founders have spun their philosophy into films, books, and a podcast. Organizing consultant Marie Kondo has penned a series of New York Times bestsellers lauding the physical and psychological benefits of leading a clutter-free life, equating tidiness with “life-changing magic.”
The low-maintenance aspect is particularly appealing to seniors and retirees. For active seniors who are on the go all the time, they just want to have a place to lay their heads while they’re in town; they want to put their money into travel and other things more important to them at this time of their lives. And after spending much of their lives accumulating, it can be a goal to which to aspire. (3) “For empty-nesters, the kid’s may have left but their things tend to stick around,” says Schiestel. I’ve found that storage is and always will be key.”
Though downsizing is increasingly popular with the boomer-and-beyond set, younger homeowners are also jumping on the bandwagon – although their take on the trend is a bit different than their predecessors’. For millennials, “living simply” is a platform from which to launch. This generation doesn’t want a lot of clutter; they like technology, which has gotten smaller and smaller. Their aesthetic for furnishings and spaces is simple. (3)
The key to any successful downsizing project is incorporating the appropriate amount of storage. Organization is huge in any room. It’s a matter of thinking about what’s happening in that room, what needs to be stored, and coming up with creative ways to store what people need and determine what they don’t need. (3)
With less space, organization become key. Despite a healthy amount of tidying and de-cluttering, we still seem to accumulate a lot of “stuff.” Custom-designed closets for bedrooms, bathrooms, pantries, mudrooms, hall closets and even garages are a great solution for organizing and storing our valued possessions, especially in more limited spaces. With the right design, custom closet organizers maximize your usable space and while making it more functional.
“A modest-sized, updated home with excellent, professionally designed storage, seems to be the trend,” says Schiestel. One client explained to me, ‘why would I want one home at 7,500 sq ft when I can have three 2,500 sq ft homes in very different and exciting locations for nearly the same yearly expenses?’ And, I couldn’t agree with them more” Schiestel laughs. “The fact is with superior professionally-designed storage, a smaller home can store just as much as a home three-times its size.”
Custom closet organization systems have brilliant features and accessories for maximum storage and customization. Side out belt, pant and tie racks, valet rods, slanted shoe shelves, jewelry trays, baskets and tilt-out hampers, fold-out ironing boards, stemware holders, wine racks, tray dividers, sliding drawers and shelf/drawer dividers.
Talie Jane Interiors offers custom closet organization systems in a myriad colors and styles and a variety of hardware options. Contact us at 855-TALIEJANE or visit our website https://taliejaneinteriors.com/closets/ for information about our custom organizational systems.
If you’re interested in Lake Tahoe real estate, Ryan Schiestel is your guy. You can contact him at 702-250-8938 or visit his website at RyanSchiestel.com.