How to: Downsizing Your Home

Downsizing Your Home

Is it time to consider downsizing your home? Retirement is just around the corner, your children have fledged the nest and your house is now starting to feel a little bit too big for just yourself. Although it can be a daunting process, with the right planning, it can be an exhilarating and liberating experience.

Because it may be difficult to know where to start, we’ve put together some useful tips to walk you through the whole journey:

1. Determine your lifestyle needs

Now that you don’t have to worry about whether you’re within walking distance to prestigious schools or the safety of your neighbourhood, its time to think about what you want. Consider what kind of lifestyle you would like to live moving forward— would you enjoy having the ocean at your doorstep; or would you prefer living in an apartment close to city amenities such as museums and lots of restaurants?

During this decision process, sites like Liveable are extremely useful to help prioritise your needs, as well s to offer suggestions about what suburbs may best suit your ideal lifestyle.

2. Assess your new home

Once you’ve decided on your new home, scrutinise the blueprints and find out exactly how big each room is. This is a vital step to decide which large pieces of furniture to bring with you.

If you simply can’t visualise how big a certain area is, a handy tip would be to compare the size of your new rooms with rooms of similar dimensions in your current house. For example, your living room-to-be may be approximately the same size as your current bedroom. By comparing the two, it may give you a clearer idea about exactly what furniture can fit where.

3. Be practical when decluttering

When looking at what to bring with you, be practical. For example, if you’re moving to an apartment, you won’t need appliances like your lawn mower or ladder anymore. In the same vein, if you’ve been hoarding clothes that no longer fit or don’t wear anymore, consider giving them away to charity instead of letting it clutter up your new home.

Of course, things get a little less clear cut when it comes to sentimental items. Although it may be difficult to throw out the badminton trophy your son won in the fourth grade, it is important to take a step back and think: will I really miss this item? Perhaps keep a couple of sentimental items that you hold close to your heart, and take a snapshot of the remaining memorabilia that do not make the cut.

4. Ensure furniture serves a multi-purpose function

Living in a smaller area means that you will no longer have the luxury of having very many pieces of furniture in your house. However, having less possessions does not mean that you will have to compromise on comfort.

When shopping for new furniture or when choosing what pieces to bring over to your new home, try to pick out multi-functional pieces. For example, opt for a dining table that you’d be comfortable to also use as a study desk. Sofas that can be converted into sleeper beds will also come in handy, especially if your new place does not have a spare guest room.

5. Colour code your boxes

Packing your life away into a couple of boxes can get messy. To help with the process, it will be useful to implement a colour-coded system to organise your belongings. Mark the boxes with kitchen appliances with a red marker, boxes with your bedroom belongings with a blue marker, and so on so forth. Although this takes a little extra effort during the packing phase, it will make unpacking in your new home much more efficient and fuss-free.

How to: Downsizing Your Home

London on a Student Budget – Survive and Thrive

London on a Student BudgetWith its vibrant, cosmopolitan way of life, coupled with its rich history and cultural diversity, London is, dare I say, one of the most lusted-after countries that students dream of studying abroad in. Furthermore, with more internationally-acclaimed universities than you can count on one hand, its no wonder that there are more international students flocking to London than any other city in the world.

However, whilst London is full of glitz and glamour, it may come to a nasty shock to some when they realise how quickly the cost of living can add up to if they are not careful. Hence, apart from checking out the Big Ben and other famous landmarks littered across the city, it is likely that students will also spend the first few weeks in London searching out ways to scrimp on cash.

Well, we’re here to make your life a little easier. Presenting, Liveable’s guide to surviving London on a student budget

Find the right accomodation IN LONDON

Looking for accomodation should be the first thing on your to-do list upon being accepted to a university in London. Seeing how leases generally require you to rent for six months to a year, it is vital that you have enough knowledge to make an informed decision.

This is where sites like Liveable come in handy. Liveable allows you to discover potential suburbs to live in based on what is important to you— whether it is by affordability, convenience or safety of the area.

A good tip for students on a budget would be to live outside central London. Not only will you be able to get accomodation at a cheaper price, but generally, your living space tends to be bigger too. With that said, for convenience sake, ensure that your accomodation is within walking distance to a tube station.

Get a Bicycle TO EXPLORE LONDON

If you’re keen on owning a set of wheels, consider getting a bicycle instead of a car. Not only will you avoid the pesky crowds during rush hour, but you will also avoid falling victim of the dreaded Freshman Fifteen by getting great exercise.

Cycling would also be a cheaper alternative to taking the tube, especially when travelling shorter distances. London’s bike sharing scheme— Santander Cycles is available 24/7 and can be hired from as little as £2. 

Plan for a night out

One of the most exciting aspects about living in London is undeniably its nightlife. As a student, the temptation to spend your week’s allowance on a night out, downing shots and sweating it out on the dance floor can be overwhelming.

However, you can save a substantial amount of money by starting your night having pre-drinks with some friends, before hitting the town. After all, what’s the difference with a pint of beer from a supermarket and a pub, aside from saving a good few pounds?

Eat Smart

Although you may be used to having Vegemite with your toast every morning, don’t get caught up with brands that you are familiar with. When it comes to grocery shopping, imported goods tends to be pricier than local products; and choosing Tesco’s digestive biscuits as a cheaper alternative can be just as satisfying as a packet of Poptarts.

When it comes to eating out, keep your eyes peeled for restaurants that have decent lunch specials and of course, happy hour. Also, investing in something like a Gourmet Society Membership will allow you to save heaps of money on participating restaurants that range from local family favourites to Michelin-starred restaurants.

Want to travel Out of London?

We all deserve to treat ourselves a little every now and then, and what better way than to explore the rest of Europe? Now, you may think that travelling seems counterintuitive, especially in a guide teaching you how to live affordably. However, there are multiple ways to get across the country for close to nothing.

Coaches are your best bet, with services such as Megabus offering bus tickets from one city to another for as little as £1. However, for those with a little less time and patience to spare, look out for sales and special offers for flights on sites like Ryanair and Easyjet.  A nifty trick is to always search for flights in incognito or private browsing mode in order to see the lowest prices.

London on a Student Budget – Survive and Thrive

Roommate Etiquette 101

o-COLLEGE-ROOMMATES-facebook.jpgWhether you’ve gotten closer to a friend throughout the years and decided to take the friendship up a notch, or are moving to a new country and can’t afford to live alone; at one point of time or another, many of us will be faced with the dilemma— do we want to live with a roommate?

Sure, there are multiple benefits about having a roommate– you will be able to share the cost of your living space, you will also have constant companionship so you never get too lonely, and in the event where you are gone for extended periods of time, your roommate would be able to help with mundane chores like watering the plants or picking up your mail.

However, like a game of Russian Roulette, finding the perfect roommate may be tricky. Even if you choose to move in with your best friend, this is not a sleepover; and overtime, you may realise that both your lifestyles clash head on. On the flip side, what starts of as living with a complete stranger out of convenience may blossom into a lovely friendship.

Either way, here are some helpful tips to keep the “mate” in “roommate“:

Pick a location that works for everyone

If you’ve decided to move in with friends, have a quick chat about what suburb works best for your various lifestyles. It is vital to consider the characteristics that are essential to each individual.

For example, the safety of the suburb might be of utmost importance to someone who often works late, whereas the affordability of the area might take precedence for a student living on a budget.

Sites like Liveable may come in useful at this stage, as it takes these factors into consideration and efficiently churns out a list of potential suburbs that would be able to satisfy your overarching criteria.

Establish Ground Rules

To ensure that miscommunication is kept to the minimum, lay out some ground rules within the first few days of moving in with each other. Are basic condiments and cleaning supplies going to be shared between roommates? Is smoking inside the apartment tolerated? Should the noise level be kept to a minimum after a certain time? Questions such as these help to ensure that everyone is on the same page from the get-go.

A cleaning schedule should also be agreed upon—perhaps one roommate absolutely detests vacuuming while another would rather that over dusting. Divide the chores up and determine how often they should be done. To enforce this schedule, perhaps note it down on a calendar and pin it on the fridge as a constant reminder, and to keep each other accountable.

Discuss how utilities should be split

Splitting up household expenses can be tricky, hence, it is essential to discuss how utilities, such as electricity, water and the internet bills should be split. An easy way to do this is to split the bills equally amongst roommates, but if not, think up a solution that everyone is satisfied with.

A shared money pot may also come in handy when it comes to buying shared household staples.

Respect Shared Spaces

‘Messy’ could be your middle name, but when it comes to living with roommates, it is important to remember that everyone has a different threshold when it comes to messiness. Limit your mess to your own bedroom, and ensure to always clean up after yourself in communal areas, such as the living room or the kitchen.

Actions as simple as refilling the toilet roll if you use the last of it will also definitely be appreciated by your roommates.

Be Mindful about each other

Mutual respect and consideration for each other is the cornerstone of every good roommate relationship. Don’t borrow their belongings before asking, if they have an early start to the day, don’t go blasting punk rock at 3am in the morning, and always extend basic courtesies to each other.

It may also be useful to find out how comfortable they are with people staying over. They may be cool with an odd couch-surfer every now and then, but if your significant other is staying over six times a week, it may be another story.

Communication is Key

When living in such close proximity with others, problems will definitely crop up at one point of time or another. If you have an issue with your roommate, TALK IT OUT.

Yes, this may seem daunting and the idea of leaving passive-aggressive notes for your roommate to find may sound tempting, but trust me, this won’t solve anything. Although confrontation is never comfortable, nipping a problem in the bud would stop resentment from breeding.

Roommate Etiquette 101