Good morning friends! It has now been almost 8 months since I moved from my lavish (ok, well lavish is saying a lot, but it was giant) 1000+ square foot apartment in Brooklyn to a crazy tiny 450 square foot apartment on the Upper East Side. But that’s ok! It’s taken me almost these 8 whole months, but I think I’ve finally managed to master the art of small living, and I wanted to share my little tricks!
We’ll go in order of relevancy here instead of chronological order of when I figured out all these tips and tricks, because the #1 thing I want to talk about is:
1. The KonMari Method
Unlike most Americans now obsessed with ‘Tidying Up’, I actually read Marie Kondo’s book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, many years ago, and it inspired me to slowly go through my first Dallas apartment and throw away all my non-joyful things. It’s been a while since that happened, and watching the show has inspired me to redo the whole process. Luckily in a tiny NYC apartment, this takes an afternoon and not the 30+ days it takes some people on the show. I walked three giant bags of donations to the Goodwill 3 blocks from my house over a series of 3 days, and threw away two giant bags of trash (recycling as much as possible!). I used to use bins under my bed to store shorts and shirts and I now don’t need those anymore! Now I can see everything in my drawers and it’s AMAZING. Folding laundry does take about 50% longer, but I’m one person so it’s ok.
2. Keep your spices where you can see them
I love these magnetic spice holders SO much. They solve so many issues. They free up space in cabinets, you don’t have to rifle through a million spices to find what you’re looking for, they all match and are sooo aesthetically pleasing, and you can easily see how much of a spice you have left since the labels are clear. I bought these spice holders on amazon, and these labels. Even if I live in a mansion one day (doubtful lol), I’ll still probably do this.
3. Over the Door/Cabinet Everything
Personally, I hate over the door storage and think it looks cheap. But your point of view quickly changes when you live somewhere so tiny. I have an over the door mirror, over the door shoe rack, and over the cabinet door pot lid holders and towel holders and little holder for our saran wraps and stuff. I don’t have any pictures of ours because this is the MOST boring category, but clicking the links will get you there 🙂
4. Floating shelves for shoes
I’ve always loved the idea of floating shelves for shoes, if you have to store them in your room and not in a closet, like I’ve always had to in NYC. I currently have three separate locations I store my shoes (flats and sandals in my over the door hanger, tennis shoes and boots under my clothes rack, and then heels on my floating shelf. I love my desk area, and the shelf above my desk is basically like another piece of wall decor. I only store heels up there, since they’re the prettiest 🙂
5. Go custom if you have a weird space you can utilize
When we first moved in, there was this awkward looking little ledge next to our kitchen counter. It would’ve been so useful if the counter would’ve extended over the ledge, but of course it didn’t. So, I custom ordered a piece of wood from a lumber store downtown, sanded if, stained it, and coated it, and ordered four legs from IKEA, and now we have three extra feet of countertop! Also, the ledge now acts as storage below the counter.
Above our little DIY counter, I ordered two pieces of wood as shelves, and treated them the same way I did the counter, so they’d look alike. I bought brackets from Home Depot, and heavy duty wall anchors. From before to after, there is soo much added storage, and that makes a world of difference.
6. Buy furniture that can double as storage
I did this with my bed frame that’s built to be a storage bed, our IKEA ottoman, my bedside table, and our coffee table. We do not have room for a bookshelf, and so storing our books in a pretty place where we can see them is the perfect solution.
7. Organize your kitchen drawers
We have ONE drawer, yes one. And, it’s so small, not a single Crate & Barrel, Bed Bath & Beyond, Target, etc. store had a drawer divider we could use. It was SO unorganized!
So! I created my own using cardboard from a box, fabric from a shirt I didn’t want anymore, and a hot glue gun.
I guess I stopped taking pictures of this project before finishing the dividers, but you’re an adult human, you get the picture. I love this little divider and it makes our stupid tiny cabinet so much more organized.
I know it’s not a lot, but just a few little fixes contribute to a WAY better experience living in a small space. Especially coming from a very spacious home in Texas, moving to Manhattan was a massive adjustment, but I think I MIGHT have it under control 🙂 Thank you for reading!