How to move to a bigger place without spending money – declutter!

August 2, 2018

Isn’t it funny how that new apartment, condo, or house seems to get smaller with each passing year?

It’s not because the place is shrinking – it is usually because of all the stuff you have accumulated. So rather than packing up everything and moving to a bigger, more expensive place, Save with SPP sought out some expert tips on how to save big by decluttering the space you’re already in.

The Becoming Minimalist blog  offers some great tips on how to take on the overwhelming task of decluttering.

Decluttering is a financial thing rather than a neatness thing, the blog notes. “The idea of living a simplified, uncluttered life with less stuff sounds attractive to many,” the blog advises. Many have “considered the benefits of owning fewer possessions: less to clean, less debt, less to organize, less stress, more money and energy for their greatest passions,” the blog states. However, the blog continues, the big question is “where in the world do I begin?”

On their list of top approaches to decluttering are giving the job a solid five minutes per day, giving away one item every day, filling one trash bag every day, and “the four-box method.” In every room, the blog notes, place four boxes – one for trash, one for giveaway, one for relocation, and one for keeping.

The Home Storage Solutions blog  suggests getting rid of the easiest stuff first, namely garbage, things that are broken or don’t work, duplicates, and “items not used for a year.”

The Life Hack website says clear floors first, then countertops. Move onto furniture last. Again, the advice is “toss, donate, or keep.” To clean a closet, take EVERYTHING out and then go through those same three steps – get rid, give away, or hang on – before you put things back in.

If you find you’ve got a lot of things to give away, why not hold a garage sale? The proceeds from clearing your living space can be tucked away in a Saskatchewan Pension Plan account, invested, and then enjoyed thoroughly in the future when you’ve retired! For more details, visit

Written by Martin Biefer
Martin Biefer is Senior Pension Writer at Avery & Kerr Communications in Nepean, Ontario. After a 35-year career as a reporter, editor and pension communicator, Martin is enjoying life as a freelance writer. He’s a mediocre golfer, hopeful darts player and beginner line dancer who enjoys classic rock and sports, especially football. He and his wife Laura live with their Sheltie, Duncan, and their cat, Toobins. You can follow him on Twitter – his handle is @AveryKerr22

How make a smaller space more livable

July 28, 2016

By Sheryl Smolkin

Whether you live in an apartment or a house, chances are that as your family grows or you accumulate more stuff, you will start to get the itch to move to a bigger place. But moving costs money, particularly if you have to sell one house or condo and buy another to upsize. And then you are stuck with higher mortgage payments plus increases in taxes, utilities and insurance.

So before you make an irrevocable and costly decision, think about what you can do to make your current arrangement more user-friendly. After all, if you are a fan of the reality show Love It or List It you know that re-purposing space and clever renos can often work unexpected miracles.

Here are some suggestions:

  1. Declutter: Go through your stuff at least once a year and sell or get rid of what you are not using. If your garage is crammed full of baby carriages, tricycles and hockey nets you are keeping “just in case” you have more kids or your grandchildren will use them, think again. Remember, everyone else’s garage is full of stuff you can get for practically nothing if you ever really need items like these again
  1. Re-decorate: Think smaller and lighter. Get rid of heavy and non-functional furniture. Use light colors. Pull furniture away from the walls.
  1. Maximize vertical space: Take advantage of wall height by adding tall bookcases, cabinets or shelves, or by hanging hooks for jackets in the hallway.
  1. Storage: Capitalize on storage space in every possible way. Buy beds with storage drawers. Use closet organizers and double hang clothing. Build in drawers and shelves into closets. Turn little used alcoves under stairs into efficient cupboards.
  1. Multi-purpose: Make rooms multi-purpose. A spare bedroom can double as an office. A master bedroom with a Murphy bed can be used as a sitting room when the bed is put away. Buy multi-functional furniture, such as ottomans, which can be used as both a coffee table and extra seating. Furniture that can be folded, stacked, or wheeled away is your friend.
  1. Lighting: Don’t take up precious floor or table space with bulky lamps. Lamps can be hung from the ceiling or pot lights with dimmers can often be installed. Mirrored walls or closet doors will make rooms look bigger.
  1. Basement renovation: If you house is 1200 square feet on one floor and your basement is unfinished, you may be able to double your living space by renovating the basement. Add another bathroom, bedroom or spruce up your laundry area. Build a family room, a home office or a kid’s playroom.
  1. Build up or out: Depending on the zoning in your area and the size of your lot, add another story or build on to the back of the house. This kind of renovation is more costly and will require working with an architect and a contractor. You may also have to move out for several months. But the finished product will be like a brand new house.
  1. Open concept: Take down non-load bearing walls to open up the main floor. Go for a continuous living room/dining room, kitchen, den that will give you more room to work or play.
  1. Kitchen/bathroom reno: If you are unhappy with your current house, chances are the kitchen and/or the bathroom are bothering you the most. A vanity with double sinks can relieve morning and evening congestion. A new kitchen with an island breakfast bar can increase working space for family chefs and get rid of the need for a kitchen table and chairs. Kitchen and bathroom renos are routinely included in lists of projects that will increase the re-sale value of your house.

If you have considered all of the options above and still believe investing in a larger home with the features you need is the way to go, consider looking for a home with a separate entrance that can accommodate a rental unit. The additional income will help you better afford your new digs and pay off your mortgage faster.