Quaint living spaces can make a positive impact on our lives in many ways. A smaller footprint prompts us to live intentionally and cherish our surroundings. There’s less maintenance, freeing up more time to pursue old hobbies, explore new ones, travel and spend time with loved ones. Small spaces allow us to live large with less square footage — a truly liberating feeling.
A feeling Joan Nicholl knows quite well.
For more than 30 years Joan Nicholl enjoyed living in Cleveland’s historic Little Italy neighborhood. Even after her family moved away from Greater Cleveland, Joan continued living there on her own. But when she reached her early 80s, her doctor urged her to proactively prepare for the future.
It didn’t take long for Joan to decide on Judson Park as her new home. The medical resources at the Park and the sheer number of amenities and daily programs offered made it a no-brainer for her.
But like anybody who has to downsize, Joan was faced with the issue of what to do with all her stuff.
She had no problem getting rid of some now-extraneous items (e.g. a lawn mower and snow shovel), and was able to organize her apartment for comfort, getting pretty creative with the rest of her belongings.
Proving that hospitality defies the supposed confines of smaller spaces, Joan can transform her desk into a dining table that seats six. Additional seating comes in the form of benches that she also uses as temporary shelving.
1.) Double the Function – When deciding on furniture, keep in mind how the piece can be repurposed and possibly used for storage. An ottoman with a cushion that lifts up or a coffee table with a drawer and bottom shelf are great ways to increase storage without needing more space.
2.) Think Tall – Floor space is just one aspect of the room you have to play with. Look up and realize the possibilities that wall space provides with shelves that go all the way to the ceiling.
3.) Give Your Bed a Lift – Platform beds often provide storage drawers underneath, but any bed can be raised to create a lower level of storage that’s ideal for seasonal clothing, memorabilia, or anything that doesn’t require quick and easy access.
4.) Go For Portable/Multipurpose Surfaces – Need extra kitchen counter space and a serving station in the living room? A wheeled kitchen cart will do the trick. Or take a trick from Joan’s book and repurpose a surface like a desk to serve as a dining table for when you have guests.
1.) Smaller Economical Footprint – Smaller space requires less energy to keep comfortable, reducing our carbon footprint, and there’s no need to maintain extra unused space. Ultimately, we can live more simply and reduce our impact on the environment in a small space.
2.) More Time – With less time spent cleaning and maintaining a smaller space, the pursuit of hobbies and passions becomes second nature. No gutters to clean, not hot water heater to replace, and half the square footage to vacuum, life suddenly seems much more . . . peaceful.
3.) Peace of Mind – With less stuff comes less worry. And with less space comes less maintenance. Small-space living offers an opportunity most of us haven’t had since we were children: A generally worry-free existence where we can focus on what truly matters in life.
Now, Joan reads and relaxes on her patio — a calm, private oasis of greenery — and relishes the ease of gardening just a few steps from her living room. Her dog, Enzo, enjoys sprawling out next to the flower boxes and plant hangers.
Her independent lifestyle continues in a new context of small space living, which provides the support that she needs as she looks forward to what life has in store.