I’ve always been someone who has relished in living in a large space and always had more than enough stuff to fill it with. I’m like an antique/vintage junky; if I see something that even remotely resembles furniture on the side of the road, you better believe that I am pulling my car over and checking it out. So to myself, and the people around me, it’s really no surprise that over the past five years of living in the same city I had accumulated a TON of stuff. And because I always had room for it, I never really thought much about it. At this point, you’re probably picturing Lane Kim’s house from Gilmore Girls, and while not totally off base, I am pleased to tell you that it never got that bad.
So six months ago when my boyfriend and I were ready to move out of our old apartment, I was ready to move into another large, beautiful apartment with enough room for said furniture. But that’s not exactly how it all went down; we ended up finding the perfect place in the perfect neighbourhood with the perfect finishings (very important!) that happened to be half the size of our last place.
I honestly wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about living in a small space, and whether or not it would take a toll on mine and Pat’s relationship (introvert problems heh), but six months down the road I can confidently say it’s probably one of the best things we ever did! We have easily mastered this whole small-space living and by now, we don’t even think twice about it. So, without further ado, here are things we did to help ease the transition.
No, I’m not talking about one of those cupboards that converts into a bed, that convert into a desk and eventually whisks you away to Narnia (although real talk, I love watching videos of people operating converting furniture). While those pieces are great for a millionaire—who somehow can’t afford a normal size apartment—I’m talking about a piece of furniture that serves many purposes. For example, in our living room, the largest room in the apartment, we have our two biggest pieces of furniture. One is the dresser that used to be in our bedroom at the old apartment, and the other is this beautiful antique desk that we had in our office. The dresser is now our tv stand where we keep extra bedding and blankets, where we store electronics and, wait for it, also our underwear drawer. A little bit unexpected, but because we use our closet in the bedroom for storing other things (ie. all of Pat’s instruments), it actually works! Mind you, our living room and bedroom share a wall, so it’s not a far walk to get a pair of socks or skivvies. As for the desk I mentioned before, it’s got a whole whack of purposes: junk drawer, art supply storage, Pat’s podcast equipment storage, and where all of his guitar and music recording equipment goes. Gotta love dating a musician, but man does he have a lot of crap!
Take Advantage of Surfaces
We were sort of hit with a double whammy when we signed our lease and our landlord told us we weren’t allowed to hang anything from the walls. Yep, that’s right; no nails, no tape, no sticky hooks, no screws, no nothin’. There went my dreams for beautiful floating shelves and a whole whack of multi-purpose hooks. Our one saving grace is the picture rail going around the whole of our living room, which, if you aren’t familiar, is basically just a piece of molding that you hang photos off of using wire. But again, the prospect of shelving was out. The creative solution to this problem was using every surface in the apartment for stuff. It sounds, well, cluttered, but it’s really not! We’ve had to strike a balance between purposeful clutter to get the most out of the space possible. It’s not ideal, but again, you gotta do what you gotta do when you have a small space, and taking advantage of all the surfaces is key!
Prioritize Your Stuff
When it really came down to it, Pat and I had to decide which stuff we kept out, and which stuff we had to put into storage or into the deep depths of our bedroom closet. We had to prioritize the stuff we would reach for, the stuff we wanted to surround ourselves with, and what was going to make the apartment feel like home! You’re not going to find a spot for everything you brought with you from your old apartment, and that’s the downside to downsizing. You just have to think about it as a productive and necessary excuse to take a look at all your possessions. Marie Kondo’s KonMari method is popping right now, so dive in and dig around!
And there ya have it! Even if you don’t live in a small apartment, I hope you found this somewhat helpful. If you have any small space tips of your own, I would love to hear them!