Millennials — those born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s, approximately — are a mobile generation, according to a study released in March by the U.S. Census Bureau. Only about 24 per cent of the total population, they make up over 40 per cent of movers between 2007 and 2012.
They're moving for lots of reasons: a better apartment; a more convenient neighbourhood; a job; education; a new city with a more attractive lifestyle.
"Young adults are highly mobile," says Joe Cortright of City Observatory, a Portland, Oregon-based urban think-tank . "They're voting with their feet for the kinds of metropolitan areas and neighbourhoods they want to live in."
They're all about carrying a limited number of possessions, says Rebecca Ryan, economist and futurist at Next Generation Consulting in Madison, Wisconsin.
"They don't want to live in a big house; they want to have a big life. And part of that is living minimally, so they have as much flexibility as possible," she says.
Value is placed on furnishings that are stylish and versatile.
So for them — or anyone wanting to keep the moving truck fees to a minimum and still have a smart-looking home — what are some options?
Boston Interiors offers a number of versatile items at an easy price point. The Plantation storage trunk, crafted in warm Himalayan sheesham wood, offers capacious storage while serving as a handsome coffee table. The Emmett leaning desk has two fixed shelves and a writing platform. At only about 30 inches wide, it has a small footprint and transports easily. And the Hyannis flip-top table has a chunky, farmhouse vibe. You could use it as a desk, dining table or console. (www.bostoninteriors.com )
Ikea's Friheten sofa is a sofa, chaise and double bed in one, with a bonus: The chaise can be switched left or right, depending on the configuration of the room. It comes flat-packed in three boxes. (www.ikea.com )
Sauder has a new line conceived by furniture designer Shawn Sowers that includes coffee and side tables, a bookcase inspired by industrial scaffolding, and a media cabinet. A mix of textures and materials like brushed bronze, ebonized veneer, copper and glossy white metal make for a design-forward collection. Sowers says stylish furniture for millennials has to be easy to pack up and move to the next home. So everything's shipped in heavy-duty cartons, assembling and disassembling with a few simple tools. (www.sauderboutique.com )
Instead of a bulky, wood-frame box spring, consider a simple platform bed on which you can drop a futon or memory-foam mattress. Wayfair has options in various finishes that assemble and disassemble quickly. (www.wayfair.com )
If you're due for a new mattress anyway, consider one of the new memory-foam mattresses that ship rolled up like a big sleeping bag. Time the order to arrive on your move-in date. Safavieh has a high-quality option in all sizes. (www.target.com )
Pieces that serve for both work and dining suit the millennial lifestyle.
New at Ikea, Backaryd and Karpalund tables feature a slim, fiberboard slab top that can be put on powder-coated steel legs; everything unscrews quickly when it's time to move.
Target has some bent plywood stacking chairs with contemporary dash.
Tick-System has sets of universal-size table legs that look like giant paper clips. Attach them to any table top — marble, MDF (medium-density fiberboard), glass, wood; you can get creative with a found piece. (www.tick-system.com )
Open shelving in white, wenge or cherry finish are useful for books, display items, room division and other storage. At Dania, find several that can be used vertically or horizontally, and some come with casters. (www.daniafurniture.com )
Ikea has some bamboo storage modules that can be arranged lots of different ways, and are trimmed in powder-coated metal in red, green or white.
Wire-framed, canvas-covered portable wardrobes now come in lots of colours and styles, and dismantle easily.
BAN THE BULK
Flat-weave or lightweight textural rugs eat up less space than heavy wool rugs. Heatproof glass containers with lids can be used for food saving, cooking and dining, eliminating a lot of extra kitchen storage gear.
Consider rolling, drawered cabinets usually used for crafts, office supplies or tools as bedroom storage for accessories and small personal items that can get jumbled on a dresser top. When it's time to move, these are an easy roll to the truck.