Steps to follow for an easy move to a smaller nest

If you are a widow, a widower, a retiree, or an empty-nest couple planning to make a move from a large, long-established home to one that is smaller and perhaps more economical, Elizabeth Matthews, the New York member of the American Society of Interior Designers who assisted Ellen Fiedler, makes the following suggestions:

* Get a floor plan (from the builder or rental or selling agent) of the new quarters to which you are moving. If none is available, measure off the rooms and make your own on graph paper, taking care to note sizes of all doors and windows. This will give room proportions and provide a clue as to which of your treasured goods and chattels might make the move with you.

* With your new space in mind, begin to review possessions judiciously, remembering that too much personal attachment can be a problem.If possible, do this job with the moral support of a friend, a family member or members, or a professional designer who will spur on the reasoning process and help you come to sensible conclusions.

* After deciding on the furniture that you feel you absolutely cannot live without, carefully measure the depth, width, and height of each piece and list such measurements on a sheet of paper, alongside a sketch or instant photograph of it. Then cut out small paper templates to the same scale as the floor plan, and arrange and rearrange the pieces on the floor plan until a suitable composition is found and the furniture is found to fit the new areas.

* If some pieces do not fit, then think again, compromise, substitute, or gird up your courage and say goodbye. Then sell the pieces, give them away, or store them, and begin to organize your new home around the assortment of belongings that have survived your sternest screening efforts.

* Use the occasion of the move as a time for refurbishing, restoring, and refinishing. If possible, have things being sent out for reconditioning picked up at the old address and delivered to the new address.

* If you love living with certain colors, apply them in your new setting; they will enable you to feel at home more quickly. But update and freshen such familiar color schemes with a few snappy color contrasts in toss pillows, new seat covers for dining room chairs, or a bright new color on a single chair.

* Bring like things together, gaining dramatic effect by clustering or assembling them in new "ambiances" or congenial compositions. A group of framed prints, for instance, that have been scattered around a big house can be brought together to provide focus on one wall of a smaller one. Memorabilia of any kind gain decorative strength when they are arranged together and are not spotted here and there around a home.

* If you decide to move your dining room furniture but it doesn't quite fit, use a few of the chairs in the living room, bedrooms, or hallway, bringing them to the table only when entertaining requires it. Or sell a couple of the chairs and invest in a few folding models that can be stored in the closet.

* When the final floor plan arrangement of furniture is determined, with pieces identified on it and notations made, have a photocopy made to hand to the mover when he arrives. This will mean he can place each piece in its exact new location, helping you, in the process, to feel instantly in order and at home.

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