By Rita Wilkins
The Downsizing Designer

Are you tired of spending money on things you don’t use?

  • The expensive little black dress you just got to have but you’ve never worn?
  • The timeshare you bought on a whim when you were on a vacation, but you’ve only used it twice in the last 10 years?
  • The big house that was once filled with kids and with all of their friends?

It’s an interesting thing how houses get larger while families get smaller, draining dollars from our budget every single month. Related blog post: The Benefits of Living in a Smaller Home Do you have rooms or spaces in your large home that you never user… or rarely use? Are these rooms filled with stuff that you never use… or rarely use?  


Have you ever asked yourself just how much unused space you have in your home that you are paying for each month?

If you are like many Americans, likely, you are wasting valuable real estate space as well as money. All of these spaces we thought we needed when you bought are large house. What rooms are you not using or rarely using? Typically, the formal living room, formal dining room, 2-3 extra bedrooms, attic, and basements are areas that people don’t use well.  


Have you ever asked yourself just how much space you really need… that you’ll actually use?

This is a highly individual and deeply personal question but is an important question to ask if you want to make sense of it all.  


Why do we buy large houses?

…. When we only use 1/2 to 1/3 of them and yet we continue to have to pay for the unused real estate each month?

1.   We are influenced by our culture.

More is more, bigger is better, and it conveys our status or level of success to our colleagues, family, and friends.

2.   We’ve convinced ourselves we need the extra space for entertaining, for holidays, and for guests.

The reality is our formal dining rooms, while they are certainly festive and add a touch of elegance to our lives, the national average for people who actually use their formal dining rooms is 2-4 times a year. In terms of the extra guest bedrooms, the national average for overnight guests is also 3-4 times a year. Certainly, there are times in our lives that the size of our home is dictated by our life stage.

  • The young growing family with children.
  • Middle age family with active teenagers.
  • Empty-nest, kids have left the home that is now used by just two people.

Even though our lives have changed and we’ve moved on from having a larger house, many of us still hold on…

  • Even though we are using only ½ to 1/3 of the space…
  • Even though we are having to pay for unused or rarely used space…
  • Even though the big house is more of a burden to our time, energy, and budget…

Downsizing: Don’t know where to start?


Is it time for you to consider downsizing to a smaller home that better suits your current life stage and lifestyle needs?

Ask yourself these questions: When in your home…

1.   Where do you typically spend most of your time?

A University of California study says that we spend 68% of our time in the kitchen and family room near food prep, eating, and TV. According to the same study, another 22% of our time is spent in our bedroom and bathroom.

2.   What spaces do you rarely use?

  • Formal Dining Room?
  • Formal Living Room?
  • Guest rooms?
  • Basement?
  • Attic?

3.   On a floor plan of your home…

  • With one color, color areas of your home that you use the most (kitchen, family room, bath, home office, formal master bedroom, closet, garage).
  • With another color, color the areas of your home that you rarely use (the dining room, living room, guest rooms, basement, attic).

4.   Now, look at the percentage of used vs unused space in your home.

5.   Calculate the cost of unused space.

Divide the total number of unused rooms into your total monthly housing expense to calculate the cost of unused space.  

6.   Weigh the cost and benefits of continuing to live in your larger house versus the possibility of downsizing to a smaller house where you will actually use all of your space and pay for only what you will use.


  Bottom line:

The best solution is not always a larger home.

Do you need help with decluttering or downsizing? We offer a full range of downsizing and decluttering services. If you wish to discuss this, I do offer a 30-minute complimentary call. Click here to sign-up.