downsizing with style

Posted by iscd@admin on November 6

On the blog this week Bettina Deda gives us her second instalment on Downsizing with Style. Bettina – an iscd graduate, writer of Downsize with Style and stylist – has made it her mission to help empty-nesters overcome the challenges of downsizing. Today we get her all important tips on making the change and doing it with style.




Bettina Deda, Stylist, Writer, and Author of Downsize with Style


From talking to hundreds of empty nesters over the past couple of years I know that some of their major downsizing challenges are:



  • De-cluttering and where to pass on things that won’t fit in a smaller space
  • Prioritising what to keep, and
  • Apartment storage



These major challenges can be overcome by working with a strategy, plan and checklists along the way.Downsize with Style will help homeowners to have less stress while downsizing, get rid of all their clutter and stuff, and create a stylish and happy home in a more compact space; a home where they surround themselves with the things they love.

Here are my five top tips to downsizing your home with style:



Tip 1: Define Your Desired Lifestyle


Before you start looking for a new place to live, sit down and define how you and your partner imagine your retirement lifestyle. Think about what is important to you and what you want to keep doing after downsizing. This is an important step to avoid frustration after moving.

Take some time out, go to an inspirational place and answer or discuss the following questions:


  • Do you want to stay in the same area?
  • Would you prefer to live in the city, the country, or near the ocean?
  • What do you need to be able to continue with hobbies and interests?
  • What is important to you in general?
  • What would you love to do once downsized?
  • What would be your dream retirement lifestyle?





Tip 2: Start De-cluttering Now



A lot of people are utterly overwhelmed by all the clutter they have accumulated over the years. They can’t get their head around how to start and get rid of all the excess stuff that anchors them in the past.


The earlier you start tidying up and sorting out your belongings the better.

Work through cupboards, wardrobes and drawers step by step. Assuming that this is not a favourite task for most of us, use a simple three-step process to get anything done: Commit to it, schedule it and do it! Make de-cluttering a regular habit and establish a routine to overcome obstacles and procrastination.


Once you let go of all the physical stuff that is anchoring you in the past, you will free up your mind as well. However, more important than the physical act of tidying up is the question why you are de-cluttering. This is a very individual question, but ultimately, it has to do with the benefits you will gain once you have gone through the process. See de-cluttering as a process to achieve your desired lifestyle. Letting go of physical stuff will confront you with questions like: Why did I give so much meaning to material possessions? What is important in my life? What would I like to change in the future? How can I make sure that I don’t start cluttering again?


Decide which pieces can move into the new space and which ones can be passed on to family, friends, schools, charities or sold online. Refer to my list of websites to sell, donate, or recycle in Downsize with Style. And remember: what is your trash could be someone else’s treasure!





Tip 3: Visualise Your Ideas with a Mood Board 


Mood Boards are fantastic tools for visual storytelling and will help you find out if your ideas will work. Here are five reasons why every empty nester should consider mood boards when downsizing:


  1. You will gain clarity about your project.
  2. Mood boards are a great tool for communication; use your mood board to show your project to your partner, family, or an interior decorator.
  3. Mood boards will help you take action and achieve the next step in your downsizing project.
  4. Mood boards will spark your creativity.
  5. Mood boards are great fun!


Once you have finished your mood board test it in situ and tweak it until you are happy with your outcome.







Step 4: Layout Your Space



Space planning is one of the most important steps along your downsizing journey, as it will not only help you avoid costly mistakes but also provide you with a better idea of the size and proportion of your apartment.


Start with assessing each room in your apartment. Think about what you would like this particular room to do for you. Visit the Downsize with Style website to download your free Room Assessment Sheet.


Then, measure and draw up your furniture and rooms. Draw all items to the same scale as your floor plan. The easiest and quickest way is to use a scale ruler and grid paper. Finally, cut out the shapes of your furniture pieces, rugs, and lamps and place them on your floor plan.  Take the opportunity to play with different layouts and furniture arrangements – now is the chance to try something new!







Step 5: Mix & Match


I believe that in our fast-paced digital age our home is the only place where we can relax and nurture our soul. Take the opportunity while downsizing to create a unique interior that reflects your personality and decorating style.


My recommendation is Mixing & Matching, a perfect strategy for downsizers, who have kept some of their favourite pieces and want to add some versatile and functional new pieces to make their apartment work hard.  Mix & match decorating styles, price points, eras, colours, and textures. Follow the rule that you only buy things that speak to you in some way, and your interior will work.


When furnishing and decorating your home start with focal points, such as architectural features, fireplaces, columns, or feature walls, and work around them. Consider one of your favourite artworks as starting point for your interior colour scheme.  Think about commissioning artwork as an interesting option if you want a unique and individual piece of art for your home. Download your free guide how to commission artwork.


Finally, take your time decorating your new home. Rome was not built in a day either.



What comes next?


If you would like to read more about how to downsize with style, visit to download a free chapter and more than 20 free toolbox resources to help you stay organised along the way.



For those of you, who are in Sydney, join me at iscd on Wednesday 18th November from 12pm to have a chat and get your signed copy of Downsize with Style.


Yours in style,



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