Living in a Small Space

I moved to a new apartment last weekend, and so far I really like it. It’s a two-bedroom unit in an older brick building, and it’s located within a short walking distance to a variety of shops, restaurants, and a stop on the DC metro.

The apartment isn’t small, but it doesn’t have an immense amount of storage, either. The living room is large, which is nice. The kitchen is long and narrow, but it also has a lot of cabinet space, so I think we’ll be okay there. But there’s only one bathroom, a small linen closet in the hallway — and then my bedroom, which is the smaller of the two, with only one small closet (I volunteered to take this room since my roommate has more furniture and knickknacks than I do). The closet is far from walk-in size.

I knew it would be this way before I moved in. We could have found a newer place in another part of town, but we both wanted to be in Old Town Alexandria. There’s a lot of stuff to do in the area, and it’s a great location, just a few miles from DC (we’re close, but not too close).

But when you move in with someone else — especially when you’ve both previously lived on your own — it’s inevitable that you’ll have to deal with the issue of not having enough space. I was unpacking some boxes last week (towels and sheets in the linen closet; toiletries and cleaning supplies in the bathroom), and everything fit. But it’s only my stuff in there right now (I’m living by myself for a few more weeks until my new roommate joins me).

When two females live together in separate bedrooms, it’s a different kind of space-situation than if I were moving in with — well, for instance, a boyfriend. In that situation a two-bedroom apartment might seem a bit bigger since you’d both be sleeping in one room, the extra room could be used as an office or guest bedroom, and you probably won’t have as many “doubles” of things.

As it stands right now, my roommate and I each have our own vacuum cleaner, cordless phone, pots and pans, dishes, silverware, blankets, lamps, etc. It seems kind of silly to store all this duplicate stuff in one place during the time we live together — but what can you do? It’s not like one of us can get rid of what we have — when we no longer live together, there’s a good possibility we’ll need it again.

Many people live in small spaces. In fact, just from watching shows like HGTV’s Small Space, Big Style, I know there are a lot of people who live in far less square footage than I do. I don’t care about having two vacuum cleaners stored in the hall closet, or shelves stuffed to the brim with our combined collection of towels, sheets, and blankets. You just have to put more thought into what you’ll allow into your personal space. When you have less space, I think you tend to be more discerning about what you allow in (especially during the holiday season, when the gift-giving tradition means you’re likely to gain even more possessions).

We’ve all heard the saying that when you make more money, you tend to spend more money. I think the same thing can be said for space: if you have more of it, you’ll find something to fill it up. There’s nothing wrong with living in a small space, or downsizing your possessions to fit into that space. Every time I’ve weeded through my possessions — even when I’ve had trouble deciding whether I should really give something away — I’ve never regretted getting rid of it after the fact. Out of sight, out of mind.

[Read the rest of this post at BlogHer]

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