Creating space and warmth is key when it comes to moving seniors from a large home (like 1,000 to 5,000 square feet) to a much smaller space.
This lesson was highlighted when I recently helped move one of my sons out of a 900 square foot elevator building apartment on the upper west side of New York City. He chose to move into a 100 year-old walk-up building on the lower east side - that's right - one with no elevator or air conditioning either!
The new apartment has no closets or shelving, and a bathroom where the door only closes if you put just one leg in at a time. Yes, the entire place is really small!
The bedroom is 5 x 12 square feet, with barely enough room for a full size bed smacked up against the wall and, like I mentioned, no closets. So where was my son to put his suits, shirts, winter coats, and everything else?
The room did have an armoire, but with the bed in the room, you couldn’t open the doors. That meant the armoire had to go.
As a senior move manager who provides floor planning for all spaces, my only solution was to hang the clothes from the ceiling.
I purchased some white decorative chains and asked the building maintenance team to attach those to the beams in the ceiling, then hung the clothes from 6 inch wooden, round rods.
This produced a pleasant-looking, trapeze sort of effect that I made sure was at least 12 inches from the wall so the hangers and clothes won't rub against it. I also left 42 inches between each rod so the longer suit jackets don't touch each other.
The hanging clothing begins at the foot of the bed - with only 12 inches to spare - and are "double hung." This allows seasonal clothes to hang at the top where they can be reached with a step stool, while clothing for the current season is accessible directly from the floor.
There is also space designed on the far right for longer, winter dress coats and raincoats. These do not touch the floor and there's enough room left over to place a shoe rack. An added bonus is that the hanging clothes camouflage the suitcases and the small, four- drawer shelving that we built on the bedroom wall.
The trick here was to make sure the shelving was high enough that my son won't hit his head when rolling over in bed.
The shelves serve as open storage for t-shirts, towels, sheets, blankets, paper towels, toilet paper, and more. The biggest challenge will be keeping the clothes folded neatly since it is all exposed.
No matter what our age, our “stuff” and our “space” are important to us: after all, it's our home and reflects who we are.
As an Indianapolis senior move manager, my goal always is to make sure that a client's home reflects a safe, comfortable space where they can go to collect their thoughts, rejuvenate, rest, and relax.
When our “nest” is properly situated, we can have peace and harmony at any age!