The key to living in a small space is to stop thinking you have to give anything up to live comfortably. All you need is a plan, some creativity, and hooks! Here are a few tips I use to help my clients (and myself) live happily in our tiny NYC apartments.
STEP 1. PARE DOWN WITH A PLAN
Write down all the functions you would like your place to support. The usual suspects: sleeping area, dining area, office/computer area, place to watch tv/movies and read. Maybe you want to have dinner parties or exercise at home. Plan your space around all these needs. When going through your things ask yourself “will keeping this allow space for the things I really love and use?”.
STEP 2. A LOGICAL PLACE FOR EVERYTHING
And everything in its place. Take the time to designate a place for all your things based on what it is and how/where you use it. Doing so saves you from having to make the decision every time you tidy up. Plus, if you know where everything is, it’s easier to use and enjoy it.
STEP 3. CREATIVE CHIC STORAGE
Since all is on view in a small space, choose nice looking storage. A small chest of drawers in the kitchen, vintage luggage as a side table that stores off-season clothing, or a marble or wood slab over an exposed radiator for an easy shelf. Be sure to have a mix of open and closed storage to show off the nicer things and hide the rest.
STEP 4. WORK WITH YOUR HABITS NOT AGAINST
It doesn’t take willpower to be neat, just identify your habits. Install hooks by the front door so you don’t have to put your coat right away, keep the hamper where you normally undress, have trays and baskets in areas where temporary clutter creeps about. Bins and boxes are a great way to cheat being neat and hooks, hooks everywhere…
STEP 5. CLEAN AS YOU GO
It’s easier and takes less time to clean when you break up the chores and do them on a regular basis. Clean the dishes every evening before going to sleep, wipe down the counters after you cook, vacuum twice a week, use small garbage cans so you’re forced to take it out often.