Living in small spaces is increasingly becoming the norm for Canadians in urban centres like Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal. As cities become denser and real estate prices increase, square footages often shrink.
Not that this is always a bad thing: small spaces can mean less to clean, less opportunity for clutter, and a cozier home.
But they do require additional creativity and strategic planning. The following ideas offer starting points for small space owners:
Think up and down: Working vertically will maximize your storage space and give it pizzazz. Slide dust-free boxes with bedclothes or clothing under beds for extra storage and place decorative items on shelves above doorways.
Double-duty: Think about rooms and furniture as serving two or more purposes. A living room with a pull-out couch turns into a guest room; some coffee tables transform into dining tables.
Less stuff, more style: A small space means paring down what you own, from clothing to books to knick-knacks. Concentrate not on volume, but on effect. One great piece of art can have more impact than 10 smaller ones.
Mirrors: This old trick is still around for a reason: It works. Strategically placed mirrors help a space feel much larger. Play around with positioning to see where your mirrors have the greatest effect.
Go light and airy: Light colours open up a room; dark colours box it in. Acrylic and glass will add to that airy feeling. Separate rooms or hide storage behind a light-coloured curtain, panel, or screen.
Increasingly, people are joining the sandwich generation: Raising their own children while caring for aging family members. Among the concerns the sandwich generation faces: A parent’s move from the family home to a condo, retirement home, or long-term care facility.
Moving can intimidate anyone, but especially seniors. They may have lived in their home for decades, making moving emotionally difficult. Diminishing physical and mental health may require special support. And seniors may be more vulnerable to fraud. (Consider recent media reports on rogue movers.)
Fortunately for their families, the burden of helping their older relatives relocate can now be shared. Accredited Senior Agents (ASAs) are real estate professionals who have received extra training in dealing with elderly people. In their role as senior specialists, they are connected to a network of other professionals, from social workers to movers and lawyers to antique dealers.
Their focus is to help seniors and their families navigate this major transition, so one of the first things they’ll do is conduct a needs assessment to determine not only what could be done to sell the property, but also whether there are accommodations that could be made to allow them to stay in their home.
While they may ultimately get the listing, it’s not the focus. Accredited Senior Agents usually are paid a fee for coordinating the myriad of services this kind of a transition will entail.
ASAs have connections to lawyers and accountants specializing in wills, estate-planning, and tax law. They’re also familiar with the retirement homes or long-term care facilities their clients may be considering.
And they recognize the sentimental aspect of a senior’s move – like what happens to the treasures they’ve accumulated during the years. So they’ll also advise on antique dealers and can organize a garage or estate sale, if requested.
To the seniors and members of the sandwich generation, their services are priceless.