Why Rightsizing is Important No Matter What Your Age

senior couple exercising in their home

No matter how old or young you are, it’s important to rightsize. Are you asking yourself “What is rightsizing?” It’s a fairly new expression which can refer to a number of different things. A company rightsizes when it reduces the number of employees to fit the anticipated earnings. In this case I am referring to changing the size of your home. You can say that a family rightsizes when they move to a bigger home to accommodate their growing family.

You can also replace downsizing with rightsizing when a couple moves to a smaller home once their children have moved out on their own.

Rightsizing is important because you want to be like goldilocks and live in a home that is just right for you; neither too big nor too small.

How Many Bedrooms?

In the past, you would have thought about how many people would be living in the home and then considered how many bedrooms you needed. Of course, the home would also have a bathroom or two, a kitchen, and living space. If you were a college student sharing the home and the rent with fellow students, the rightsize for you would depend on how many people could easily share the space and afford the rent.

If you were a young single person, the rightsize home for you might have been a single efficiency room. My son had such an apartment for a short time. The one room had a small living space, an alcove for a bed, a closet, a bathroom, and a kitchenette. It was perfect for him at the time.

Location

The other consideration was location. We wanted our homes to be within a reasonable commute to our work or school. Proximity to things we like to do and places we like to go was also important in the past.

Rightsizing Differently

Now, we are not just looking at our homes as places to be when we are not at school or at work. We are now looking at our homes differently.

Our homes have become the place we work, play, exercise, socialize, eat and relax. They are everything to us. Rightsizing is even more important. Much more important than being in the perfect location because we are doing so much more inside our homes.

Repurpose Rooms

An older couple may want to stay in the home that had been big enough for their entire family because they can repurpose those extra bedrooms.

They may turn one or more bedrooms into office space.

Another bedroom may morph into a mini-exercise studio.

Rightsizing this way means they have everything they want to do in their home.

More Rightsizing

Another older couple may rightsize differently. They may decide to move into an apartment with just enough living space for them, but the building they move into has a fitness center and an office suite which accommodates their other interests.

Rightsizing for a couple with a growing family can mean they are looking for a home with space for an office or two and space to incorporate homeschooling for their children. They will probably also want a separate family room and a yard for the children to run around in, weather permitting.

Life has changed and so has the importance we place on our homes. We are staying in our homes and using our homes in ways we rarely if ever anticipated. No matter how old or young you are, your home has turned into the place you do everything.

Strategies to Repurpose Rooms

Figuring out how to incorporate a home office and a home school in the space which used to be a guest room can be a challenge.

One strategy is to take everything out of that former guest room and store it temporarily in another room in your home. If space is tight consider using a public storage facility for a limited amount of time. Here’s a review of public storage places in Atlanta.

Then make a list of things that must come into that room.

Sort that list according to use of the room.

In other words, what are the things you must have in the room to support the office and what are the things you must have to support homeschooling? Will this also be a place for overnight guests?

Make Use of Vertical Space

So often we pile things horizontally on flat surfaces. Make use of the walls. You may want to install shelving. Have the top shelves hold things for the office and the bottom shelves dedicated to the homeschooling.

If you are rightsizing by selling your home and moving into an apartment, you may want to store some furnishings temporarily while you figure out what will or won’t fit in your smaller home.

No matter what your plan, the rightsize of your home is the size which supports how you intend to use your home.

Contact me for help in repurposing rooms in your home so they better support you and your interests.

Diane N. Quintana is a Certified Professional Organizer®, Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization®, Master Trainer and owner of DNQ Solutions, LLC based in Atlanta, Georgia. Diane teaches busy people how to become organized and provides them with strategies and solutions for maintaining order in their lives. She specializes in residential and home-office organizing and in working with people affected by ADD, Hoarding, and chronic disorganization.

21 Comments

  • This is a tricky subject for me right now. Much of the year it is just me, or me and my husband, and we need very little space. But then, periodically, the children come home, and I feel like we use every inch of our home. I wish I could push a button and “deflate” the unused parts of the home for most of the year and then pop them up when everyone comes home!

    • Diane Quintana says:

      I understand. If we lived where my children grew up I think they would come home to visit. They have never lived in Atlanta so there’s no reason to come here except to see us. We visit them – that solves that. My mother kept the family house. There were 5 of us children and we all visited from time to time. This is a tough topic, I know.

    • I’m laughing about Seana’s push-button self-deflating/inflating house! Someone needs to get right on that!

  • My husband and I renovated and enlarged our home four years ago and sometimes I think about what we’ll do with all the bedrooms in 15-20 years. I love your idea of repurposing! We don’t have a guest room now but turning one of the bedrooms into a guest room or a ‘multi-purpose’ room in the future would be wonderful. For now, our rightsizing plan is working for us. If a guest has to sleep over, we just play ‘musical beds’ for a night!

    • Diane Quintana says:

      I’m happy to hear your home is working well for you now, Stacy. Musical beds can be fun for a short time!

  • Melanie says:

    I love all these suggestions! I’ve never heard this phrase before and it makes so much sense. I’ve always been a homebody but making my spaces optimal has become so much more significant since I started working from home more. I appreciate your ideas for repurposing and I’m going to start strategizing for the fall!

  • The kids right now are home but taking college classes. However, they will be going away in August for a few months, where my husband and I will have the use of the entire house. But as soon as Thanksgiving hits, we will all be back together. My husband and I both work from home most of the time, so we need offices plus room for kids. The house is excellent for two people but four and two offices, it’s getting tight. I decided to make spaces to gather outside when we need privacy. It’s been helping.

    • Diane Quintana says:

      We all have to get a little creative as to how we use the spaces in our homes. I’m happy you have space to gather outside. Thank you for commenting, Sabrina.

  • Oh, Diane, this is spot-on. Rightsizing takes into account that not everyone has a bell-shaped need for space, with less in youth and advanced age and more in working and middle years. Being able to expand to turn a room formerly given over to a pint-sized human being and turn it into an office, meditation room, or gym means getting to explore whole areas of one’s life formerly squished into a too-small space. The “right” size isn’t always a “down” size, and I love that you not only recognize it, but celebrate it!

    • Diane Quintana says:

      Thank you so much, Julie. I’m so happy that I hit the nail on the head (so to speak) for you.

  • We live in small home and raised our daughters here. As small as it is, it had just enough space for us. And being that it’s one-story house, it’s also great for aging in place. Sometimes I wonder if we actually need the space we have. I fantasize about moving to a “tiny house.” My husband thinks that wouldn’t work for us- a bit too close quarters. I suspect he’s right, but I love the idea of living with less. So for now, we feel rightsized.

    • Diane Quintana says:

      Linda, I’m so happy for you that your home has worked through out the years and that it’s the rightsize!

  • I absolutely love this term, “right sizing”. It’s about what’s right for right now. I recall leaving the city 26 years ago with three children in tow as we were craving more space and camp backyard. Around 7 years ago, I decided I had it with house living. It was about the endless upkeep that made me want to make a right turn.
    We are now living in that building you mentioned above. The building with a fitness center, a playroom, pool, grills and lots of perks. For us, it’s a sense of freedom. Especially when all I have to do is call the building maintenance team to fix something.

    • Diane Quintana says:

      Ronni, I’m so happy for you! It’s about acknowledging your needs have change and then deciding what the right size is for that time of your life. Congratulations!

  • Lucy Kelly says:

    I love how you opened this up Diane and all the comments flowed! The conversation about our space is an ongoing one and you conveyed that beautifully. We’ve always had to move in a hurry, and we’ve moved a lot of times – I always wished for the time to carefully choose a space based on our current needs. COVID has definitely changed our plans for how we use the space we have right now, it’s a good reminder that this too shall pass!

  • This is such a great concept! I have never heard of the phrase but love it. Totally makes sense and is so very relevant right now with everyone being at home more. It’s also really important for people to consider when it comes to organization. Too big can lead to too much. Too small can lead to overwhelm in a different way. Thanks for this!