Size Doesn't Matter
Size doesn’t matter.
Apartment size that is. We live in a world where it’s increasingly “cool” to downsize and live free from a large mortgage. But many people still can’t get past the idea of needing large spaces. The truth is you don’t need that much space, you just have to get rid of stuff. Thanks to organization consultant, Marie Kondo, and shows like “Tiny House Hunters” and “Tiny House Nation”, America is finally waking up to the overwhelmingly unnecessary need for space and things. Even once you finally accept that 700 square feet is actually a good size, you’re still left with, “but where does all my stuff go?”
There’s a way to live small, yet comfortable. Like many others things you hear about, it’s a lifestyle change. But it’s completely doable if you’re in the right headspace. All it takes is a little time and planning, and dedication, to execute it.
Step 1: Purge. That. Stuff.
Those sweat pants you only wear once a winter when you’re reminiscing about college? Gone. That ceramic frog you painted in 6th grade that holds paperclips? It’s time. Heed Marie Kondo’s advice and really dig deep on the things that matter to you, and letting go of the things you’re holding on to for, really, no reason at all.
Start with clothes. Select the basics you need every day. Keep only 6-7 of each item (six or seven yoga pants, six or seven work shirts, six or seven pairs of socks, etc.) because you are more than capable of doing laundry once a week.
Once you’ve purged your wardrobe, move on to accessories like hats, scarves, belts, jewelry, and—this one’s hard for some people—shoes. One pair of sneakers. One pair of dress shoes, one pair of sandals, etc. Use your discretion on the other accessories, but remember to be particular and let go of the things you don’t absolutely need.
The same goes for kitchen appliances/gadgets, books, office supplies, knick-knacks, and toiletries.
Sell the things that might bring in a buck or two, like expensive jewelry. You’re likely aware of sites like LetGo, Ebay, and Facebook Marketplace. To get rid of a lot of stuff at once, ask a family member if you can get in on their annual yard sale.
A good rule of thumb: If you haven’t worn or used it in the last year, it’s time to let it go.
Step 2: Map it out
Measure and draw the dimensions of your new apartment on graph paper with a pen. Then take a pencil and draw in your furniture pieces. See how you can arrange them in the apartment. If not all of your furniture fits, consider getting rid of certain furniture items you no longer need (now that you’ve purged all the stuff inside it). Also consider different, more versatile furniture pieces from IKEA, or modular furniture that have dual functions (like this desk that turns into a dining room table). Selling your old furniture will give you the money to buy these new modern pieces. Another biggie is your bed. If you’re anything like me, you love your sleep. But if you live alone, ask yourself if you really need that king size bed (or even a full size bed).
Step 3: Don’t stress about decor
In smaller spaces, less is (obviously) more. The items you truly cherish will fill the space accordingly, and if you organize it well, your everyday items will double as décor; like this mini wall herb garden. And that’s another thing, try to think of ways to make function meet fashion. See below for inspiration, or simply Google small space living to find a wealth of information.
Step 4: Learn how to be organized and tidy
This is tricky for some folks. They will openly admit they are not tidy or organized, but it is a lifestyle change after all, isn’t it? Put things away right after you use them, from taking off your shoes to putting the hairspray back in the cabinet, make it a habit to put everything in its place or your apartment will quickly become a cluttered mess.
Step 5: Stick with it!
If you like to shop, by all means, shop. Just remember the limited space you have back at your place. And when you’re out and about (or worse, shopping online), ask yourself, honestly, if you absolutely need that item. If so, immediately rifle through your current things for the item you’ll be replacing it with. It doesn’t have to be an item of the same type (for instance, a shirt replaces a shirt) but get rid of however many items you brought into the apartment to avoid clutter. If you brought home a new kitchen gadget, get rid of a different kitchen gadget you never really used before.
Step 6: enjoy the adventures!
It’s no wonder people adopt this new lifestyle, when you don’t have a crippling mortgage you can go out and make memories instead of making your friends jealous of your giant house. Tiny living is revolutionary and we’re excited to get you started on your journey!