We have two weeks left in our apartment. It’s bittersweet. Mostly sweet. But I will miss looking across and seeing the hospital where Isaac was born. And I am very grateful for all the memories we’ve made here. I can’t believe it’s been a year.
And actually, I’ve loved our smaller space. It’s just around 900 square feet with one bedroom and a nice sized bath. It’s been a challenge at times (really cranky neighbors and a Baby Boy who is a light sleeper), but not necessarily because of space. I love small spaces. They are cozy and easier to clean and force me to live simple.
I’m by no means an expert. And I’m sure there are about 20 things I could/should do differently. But I’ve learned a little better how to live in a small space. I would love to have an extra bedroom wherever we go next, but I really don’t want to go much bigger than that. I’m kind of attached to small.
6 Things I’ve Learned Living in a Small Space
1] Stuff is the enemy. Truly. How does it accumulate???? It’s like it happens while I’m sleeping or something. I am a constant purger and every.single.time. I find something to give away or throw away. But that’s the glorious thing about a small space – it forces me to stay small. It forces me to wage war against stuff. And I do constantly. I’m militant [should I continue the warfare adjectives or just stop? Stop? Okay.] about duplicates. Unless we’re talking about shoes or socks, one is enough. The best one. The nicest one. But just one. Everything else needs to leave. Now.
2] Organization is key. Can’t get around this one. It’s stretched me at times, in this small space. It helps to not have a ton of stuff to organize [see #1]. BUT I tried to get creative with baskets and bins, under the bed storage and hanging storage in the closet. We have a small laundry closet with a stacked washer/dryer unit and I use the 6 inch of space on either side to store cleaning equipment and the ironing board. I put my cleaning caddy on top of the washer. Collapsible shelving helps, too. A deep, cavernous cupboard can suddenly store twice as much. So can the freezer come to think of it.
3] Choose the furniture wisely. We brought our bedroom set into the mix, but we didn’t have a couch or a kitchen table when we moved in. We did a good job choosing pieces that fit the space – not too big or bulky, streamlined and simple. But in all honesty? If I had a do-over, I wouldn’t have worried about buying a couch. I would have started out with the studio set up we have now: the living room as our bedroom and the bedroom as Isaac’s room. It would have saved a lot of heartache on a lot of levels, but you live and learn. I am, however, very glad we purchased a kitchen table [for $88 no less!].
4] Mirrors are amazing. We hung our large mirror on the wall opposite the patio doors. What a difference it makes! Double the light which feels like double the space. Not much more to be said here. Except large mirrors don’t have to be expensive! Check the local thrift store. Even if the frame is ugly you can always spray paint it. Or even buy three smaller, less expensive mirrors and hang them as a series.
5] A little paint goes a long way. Painting an accent wall in the living room was Matt’s idea and he executed it. I just helped pick the paint color and then watched 😉 If it had just been me, there’s no way I would have painted anything. BUT I’m so glad we did. It was a relatively cheap project that went a long way in making the apartment feel like home. We’ll have to repaint the wall before we move, but it was totally worth it. I’ve even used the left over paint to touch up frames and lamps for our bedroom redo, as well as create a few new pieces of art for the living room. Like I said: not much money for a whole lot of impact.
6] The homier the better. I know some may disagree, but I found the more pictures/art on the walls the better. I love lots of live plants. I’m not a huge fan of knickknacks, but I do like to use special items to bring personality and warmth to a room. I love themes – whether it’s the beach or the color teal. And we always have a bunch of candles. There’s nothing better than turning the lights low and eating dinner by candle light. Simple curtains have been a way to add a little more color/texture to a room. And throw a warm rug down on the faux wood floor and you have instant cozy.
I know living in a small space isn’t for everyone, but I’ve come to really love it. There is a sense of freedom and peace in the simplicity of less.