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Rightsizing Your Home

How to reshape your house for the way you live now — and take control of your future.

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— Photos courtesy of Gale Steves

As if experiences gained through reaching midlife weren’t enough, the pop of the housing bubble and the uncertain drumbeat of economic news reinforce a resounding truth: things change.

Maybe you’re working from home more often these days, or maybe you’re not sure where you’ll be working after the next quarter. Perhaps you’ve recently divorced, or your postcollege kids have moved out of the house, although a lot of their stuff hasn’t.

Many people in such circumstances consider downsizing — moving to a smaller, easier-to-manage home. But if Sonny doesn’t get a job within the next few months, he may be back. And it might not be too long until Mom will be unable to continue living on her own. Downsizing might not be the right thing right now.

But rightsizing may be. As things change, homes can change, too.

Rightsizing is the concept of working with what you have by making better use of existing space. It is a process in which you analyze the spaces in your home, how you currently use them and the practical possibilities to adapt them to better serve your needs and lifestyle. The promise is that you can live more fully in your longtime family home if you rightsize — and avoid the wrenching process of moving. Whether you’re driven by immediate or future needs, now may be the time to look at your home in a new way.

Rightsizing questions

The rightsizing process starts with an analysis of the existing spaces within your house and how they’re being used. Since home designs and individual lifestyles are diverse, it’s not possible to formulate a definitive list of questions, but typical issues include:

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