How To Make Your Small Apartment Feel Like Home
All over TikTok, I see videos of NYC studio apartments going for over $4,000 a month with no amenities and a rat infestation. But hey! They have a clipped view of Central Park!
And just when you think you’re getting a deal, you realize every discount comes with a price: your landlord doesn’t answer, the roof leaks when it rains, and you’re stuck in a six-floor walk-up with no washer-dryer or dishwasher.
Despite all common sense, I’m living it. I live in a small, semi-overpriced, barely working apartment, so I understand the epic highs and lows of living close to New York. It’s the price I pay to empathize with Carrie Bradshaw or my favorite struggling journalists in rom-coms. Just wait until I have a coffee shop meet-cute with an overworked finance guy who’s finally ready to settle down…
In the meantime, we can’t have it all. As I said, with these small apartments comes sacrifice. Your kitchen is pretty much just a sink, you have minimal closet space, and your bathroom is the size of a half-bath. You may feel like you’re overflowing with stuff and have nowhere to store it.
We’re living in a glorified Tiny Home trend, but there’s no escaping. So you have to optimize your small space and make hay while the sun shines. I’ve spent the past two years learning how to make the most of the least…here’s how I do it:
Get Rid Of Excess
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This may sound obvious, but you really need to be honest with yourself here. I am a clothing hoarder, making up every excuse to keep that tank top I may wear at some point in the unknown future. But having a small closet has taught me that I won’t wear that shirt, and it has no space here.
So every few months, take stock of your clothes and what you don’t wear. Move your closet around and see if that helps you wear the pieces more, and if you don’t — they go.
It’s a good way to achieve your resolution of donating more and it clears a lot of clutter. Do it with your makeup, skincare, linens, and other household items, too!
Multipurpose Machines are Miracle Makers
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My roommate loves to cook, and I’m a baker…the only catch? We have no counter space, which means we can’t cook more than one dish at a time and there’s nowhere to hold fun machines like ice cream makers or even a blender. Here’s where creativity comes in.
First, having a storage cabinet is a huge plus for your apartment. Hutches are the way you get to have your cake (literally) and eat it, too. A long cabinet has ample counter space, it’s where I store my microwave and mini standmixer, and helps me store other appliances.
Getting an appliance that has multiple functions can also help you have it all, without taking up all the space. Rice cookers that can also steam vegetables, bread makers that make dough, jams, and cakes, a mini stand mixer that can help combine most ingredients…the list goes on. Multi-purpose appliances changed my life. These are my faves:
Under Bed Storage
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The old college hack of raising your bed and storing bins underneath your bed filled with clothes may not be so irrelevant. The way to keep yourself feeling organized in a small space is by having your items packed nicely away in storage containers. You should have already completed your closet cleanout, so this will be the icing on the cake.
Build Up, Not Out
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If you don’t have space for all your pots, pans, and kitchen utensils, consider hanging them. Hanging a pot rail can be a cute, rustic way to display your pans without taking up any extra space in your kitchen.
Similarly, getting vertical drawers can help you free some extra square footage in your room. If you want a desk, try fitting a corner desk in your room or even the FlexiSpot Standing Desk, which is a versatile way to display your work monitors and stay active while working.
One In, One Out
To mitigate excess mess, I try to practice the “One In, One Out” method. As someone who loves to indulge in clothing and makeup, I am constantly trying new brands and products. This means my drawers get overwhelmed, fast.
So, every time I get something new, something else has to go. It could be old tubes of mascara, or that blush you’ll realistically never wear, or those jeans that have seen better days. Get comfortable with saying goodbye to what you don’t need.