Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Living Small

Upon moving out of the apartment with the bed bug issue where I lived with my best friend, my next move was in with my boyfriend. He had been living in a smallish one bedroom, but we thought it was just a little too small for the two of us, so we spent all of March and April hunting for a bigger apartment, to no avail. Because his current rent would be so cheap split two ways and we knew we could make it work, we didn't want to move unless we found something worthwhile, which we didn't. So we decided not to be pressured by the rental market and to stay put until we felt like looking again.

What we learned was that his apartment was not too small, like he had feared. We actually fit together just fine in 400 feet. I'm a minimalist, so I didn't add much more to his space, and I enjoy puzzling out small living spaces. Evan has plenty of stuff like a normal person, including a bazillion musical instruments and cables, but he knows how to hide things away under his bed or shoved in the closet. If we had stayed there longer, we could have invested in more vertical storage like tall, narrow bookshelves or dressers or floating shelves, to use the space even more efficiently.

There are certain elements that make a tiny home more usable, and that apartment boasted many of them: An open kitching/living plan, which made cooking social rather than isolating and made entertaining possible. No narrow hallways to eat up space. Multiple closets to fit all our stuff, with enough vertical room for two shelves above the hangers. More kitchen cabinets and counter space than most NYC apartments I've lived in. To that end, they were deep kitchen cabinets with room for storage above them. Window boxes and ample windowsills for growing herbs and cheery flowers and sleeping cats.

We did rent a storage unit, which I always considered excessively yuppie, but now I realize it's worth paying another $85 a month to hide winter clothes or boxes of your boyfriend's random stuff, rather than paying many more hundreds in rent. (And we held onto some extra furniture in case we moved.)

Now that we're in a bigger apartment, I still miss that one sometimes. I miss lounging on the couch and chatting with Evan five feet away at the kitchen counter. I miss laying in bed and hearing him play guitar right next to me. Mostly, it felt cozy and homey and lived in. I'm glad we had that experience -- it's good to know that we know we could downsize and fit in small space again if need be. I would have been happy to stay there a while longer, but instead, we ended up moving only a few months later into an apartment almost twice the size.


  1. Living small really does require some mapping out and strategy. I consider myself pretty minimal, too. I have never liked huge houses. Never wanted one. But a little extra elbow room and a place for everything does a whole lot for my mental health. When do we get to see the new place?

  2. Love this - just a testament to the fact that we don't need as much space as our culture tells us we do!