Since my Freshman year in college, I’ve slowly been moving up in terms of living space. From a shoebox of a dorm, to a on-campus housing with a room the size of a small walk-in closet, to sharing a bedroom in a one bedroom apartment. I’ve dealt with it all. And, I’m finally moving into a house with enough rooms and closets to store everything without having to get too creative (I promise I’m not bragging. Ok. Only a little).
But there is still something endearing about a small space. My current roomie/best friend Danielle is moving into a studio apartment, and while she constantly reminds me it will be teeny tiny, I can’t help having a twinge of jealousy.
Studio apartments are so unique because you need to live and dwell and cook and work all in one room. So of course, there are struggles, like “hey, are my pillows going to smell like eggs,” and “I really have to make my bed anytime I have someone over.” But maybe it’s the creativity that I love so much. Making one space feel like three isn’t easy, but when done well, it’s quite beautiful.
I’m undeniably head over heels for this space in Rue Magazine. I really don’t know how Dru Ortega does it. I sent this to Danielle when she was feeling sad about living in 5 square feet of space, and I had this overwhelming feeling of, “hey! I could do this! This could be fun! Do you wanna trade??” But then I remembered I’m going to have an apple tree in my front yard and I just got excited about helping her decorate instead. I even put together my top 5 tips for living in a small space.
Top 5 Tips for Small Space Living
1:: Get Creative-which sounds so vague, so don’t punch me through the screen, but it’s the bottom line truth. When I lived in the dorm, I used a trashbag holder as a trash can because it was the only thing skinny enough to fit under my desk. Use crown molding to hold your shoes. Stick curtain rods and magazine holders under your sink. Pinterest will be your best friend here.
2:: Embrace the size-a tip from the above space in Rue. As most poor situations in life, embracing them and loving them as they are is 1000X easier than trying to tear down a wall and change them. When you learn to love that you can reach late night snacks without moving from your bed, you can stop getting frustrated that your kitchen is also your bedroom. I don’t think that was Ortega’s point. But the moral of the story is learn to love it.
3:: Purge your junk-if there is one skill I have learned living in small spaces is “how to donate all of your things to Goodwill.” I have to be strict. and I try super hard not to be sentimental. When I think, “I may wear this in a few months or next year,” I trick myself into thinking I’ll be so rich next year that I can just buy something better! Or if I’m feeling totally sappy about a college sweater or some ticket stubs, I just send a box to my parent’s house and promise I’ll sort through it over the holidays (I never do).
4:: Let there be light-Keep your curtains open. Natural light is everything, and unless you want your only space for everything to be a dark cave (only good for hangovers), sunlight is essential. Mirrors will help too and make everything look (slightly )larger and then you can see how cute you look heating up that frozen pizza.
5:: Hide the clutter-I can’t convince you not to have any clutter because I’m not a hypnotist, but the real trick is you just have to hide it. Keep your clothes in the closet always. Just close the door. Leave a drawer completely empty when you move in. I promise you’ll fill it with random papers and junk that you’ll need to sort through weekly (see #3), but it will be invisible to guests and you when you’re stressed and want to go to bed there will be no stack of papers is grinning sinisterly across the room at you. And I can’t help you with this one, but you have to do the dishes. I’m sorry. But otherwise, you’re gross.