Who doesn’t remember moving into their dorm room and being immediately hit with the thought that this is the size of a closet? A large closet I’ll grant you, but a closet nonetheless. If that doesn’t ring true, what about the first apartment or house after graduation? The one where those 625 square-feet needed to be shared between you and a couple of roommates, and you never quite got the feeling that they weren’t eating your pudding when you weren’t there. Rest assured, they were. While you may have moved on to bigger things, there is still an artistry to know how to make a life in a smaller space. If not for yourself, then for your friends and family about to set out on a brand-new phase of life.
Start with A Good Old-Fashioned Purge
Odds are that in your new down-sized space you’ll realize one very important thing immediately. You have a lot of stuff. Most of that stuff you do not need. Stuff like more than eight pairs of shoes, or thirty T-shirts, or every game console released since the Atari. Admittedly, the last one might just be me, but still. These things take up space, and space is now at an extreme premium. Make room for the things that matter, to do this you have two real options: toss the things that don’t get used; find a self-storage unit to keep the lesser used items safe until their time comes.
Utilize All the Space
I know you think you’ve done this already if you’re living in a smaller space, but believe me when I tell you there is unutilized space. Like the wall. Oh yes, the wall, mighty and majestic. Put some floating shelves on it. A couple will go a long way and give you a whole lot more room without having to sacrifice all that much in terms of stuff. You might even be able to get some that are strong enough to support a few pairs of shoes, maybe even a sizable book collection. The trick is to make sure that you use all the space to the greatest possible extent.
When I lived in St. Louis, I lived in this dingy little 500 square foot apartment, and I swore never again. During that time, I did learn a few things about how to properly manage a small space. The most important being multipurpose furniture. What I mean by that is not being married to the idea of having a defined dining room. Odds are, you don’t have room for it, instead take advantage of some collapsible furniture so that way when you have a date over you can put on some more impressive airs. Or you can do what I did where you don’t have a dining room table and ate off a coffee table like a broke grad student. I’m not here to judge, only to lay out a few options.
The biggest problem with small spaces is how it takes exactly no time for them to get messy. Like you can walk in, kick off your shoes and it already looks like a pigsty. The most important thing to do in small spaces is maintain it. Take the trash out regularly, don’t let clutter pile up, use your clothes hamper – honestly you should do that anyway. Take proactive measures to keep your space looking clean and fresh by preventing the clutter from piling up to begin with.
Living in a smaller space isn’t witchcraft, it isn’t some impossible feat that will require you to sacrifice everything that you love. Just some of the stuff that you love. Truth be known, if you are smart about how you layout the space, properly utilize storage solutions, there is no reason for you to sacrifice that much. Remember to enjoy the next step on your adventure, I’m sure you’ll do great!