Author Topic: Tips for living small(er)  (Read 11489 times)

purplepear

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Tips for living small(er)
« on: November 12, 2014, 12:09:10 PM »
My boyfriend and I are moving in together in a few months and downsizing to a 630sq ft apartment downtown. Right now I live in a 1200sq ft apartment, with a roommate, but still I will need to do a bit of downsizing.

I love the idea of living in a smaller space, saving even more money, living simply, and reducing the amount of stuff I've accumulated (by the ripe old age of 24).

Anyways, I wondered if anyone had some tips for living in a smaller space. I know 630sq ft isn't tiny... but I'd like to have my apartment be as efficient as possible. Are there any products that you've used to organize a smaller space? Any furniture suggestions? General life tips for sharing 600 sq ft with another person (and a cat)?

Thanks!

begood

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Re: Tips for living small(er)
« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2014, 12:27:35 PM »
Use your vertical space - tall, narrow bookshelves like the Billy system at Ikea.

Set your mattress on a platform and use the space underneath for storage.

Depending on the height of your ceiling, consider building a loft bed. You can put your mattress on top and a couch underneath to create a combination sleeping/living space.

Go on Pinterest and type in "small space living" - you'll find thousands of ideas!

Eric

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Re: Tips for living small(er)
« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2014, 12:52:07 PM »
I think just the process of moving into a smaller space will force you to get rid of stuff.

Are you moving yourself or hiring movers?  The last time I moved When we moved 2 times ago, my wife's company paid for movers so we had little stickers on everything we owned.  Everytime I used an item, I removed the sticker.  Anything that still had a sticker on it after 1 year, I got rid of.  I then duplicated that effort on our last self-move.

We've lived in 550 sq ft for 6 years now and it's plenty for us.  The biggest thing for me is to make sure the place has enough closets, cabinets, and shelving.  But we still have a stack of those plastic tote bins in the corner of our bedroom.  It's a work in progress.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2014, 01:04:40 PM by Eric »

Spruit

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Re: Tips for living small(er)
« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2014, 12:57:49 PM »
Going through your stuff while asking yourself "do I really need this?" helps you get rid of unnecessary stuff.
For room saving, consider a sofabed. That saves the space a regular sofa would occupy.
Also, store items in unusual rooms. My bathroom contains my washing machine, dryer, freezer, towels etc.
Use a chest as coffee table, you can use it for storing books or games etc.
Vertical drawers help you use awkward spaces (e.g. as pantry) that would otherwise be unused.

NCGal

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Re: Tips for living small(er)
« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2014, 01:58:35 PM »
In our last condo we installed kitchen cabinets along a long living room wall, from one end to the other. We used upper cabinets (not as deep as lower) but installed them as lower. We added a counter top across the entire length which gave us a ledge for decorative items. Done right it didn't look or feel like kitchen furniture at all and it created a lot of additional storage space, behind closed doors. 

galliver

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Re: Tips for living small(er)
« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2014, 02:01:58 PM »
My bf and I moved in 3 months ago while also moving 2000 miles. It's an exciting time! (Not so much the x-country move. Would not recommend.) We were both coming from roommate situations so we ended up with an odd hodge-podge of household stuff. Fortunately there wasn't much overlap, but there were things we were missing...not sure if that's how it will work for you.

If you do feel like you're missing things, I would advise to wait until you see how what you have works in the space before buying things to fill in the gaps (meaning mostly functional). E.g if you don't have a couch, wait to see how the things you have fit in the LR before getting one. Goes double for storage. Generally to save space you'll want tall bookshelves, or maybe a cupboard with doors for hidden storage if there aren't enough closets. But you won't really know where this will all go unless you're already living there thinking "I wish I had storage here" or "I wish I had a surface to set things on, here."

Generally speaking, you want storage *everywhere*. Put things under the bed in totes, bags, boxes, etc. Coffee table with drawers. Storage ottomans. I loved my former roommate but she had a penchant for antiques and we had an old radio, a sewing-table turned side-table, an old card catalog on tall legs, a surfboard coffee table...there was literally no storage in the living room, even though there was furniture everywhere. I would have liked a place for movies, books, and games. She thought it would look cluttered. I didn't use the LR much if I wasn't having company, so I didn't push it.

Honestly, I think 630SF shouldn't be too bad for 2 people. We have 744 and it feels HUGE...

purplepear

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Re: Tips for living small(er)
« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2014, 03:42:25 PM »
Thanks for the advice everyone!

My general plan is to get rid of anything that I don't "need" or haven't used in a while, move into the apartment, and then probably get rid of some more stuff and start filling in the gaps. I'm going to have to figure out how to sneak storage every where I can, but most of this will happen after we already move in and get a feel for the space.

A more specific question, I'd really like to be able to accommodate a few guests, and specifically I like to play board games. Even in my current (and relatively large) apartment, we play board games on the floor because we don't have an adequate seating & table combo for more than 2 people. Any suggestions for small space seating and table solutions (for >= 4 people)?

Currently, we'll have 1 couch, but no table or coffee table yet. And no other seating. Most of the time, it will just be me + boyfriend + cat and one couch is perfectly acceptable. But I'd like to have a way to have guests over without sitting on the floor or, alternatively, having a bunch of furniture take up space in our apartment that doesn't get used most of the time.

galliver

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Re: Tips for living small(er)
« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2014, 04:05:20 PM »
Thanks for the advice everyone!

My general plan is to get rid of anything that I don't "need" or haven't used in a while, move into the apartment, and then probably get rid of some more stuff and start filling in the gaps. I'm going to have to figure out how to sneak storage every where I can, but most of this will happen after we already move in and get a feel for the space.

A more specific question, I'd really like to be able to accommodate a few guests, and specifically I like to play board games. Even in my current (and relatively large) apartment, we play board games on the floor because we don't have an adequate seating & table combo for more than 2 people. Any suggestions for small space seating and table solutions (for >= 4 people)?

Currently, we'll have 1 couch, but no table or coffee table yet. And no other seating. Most of the time, it will just be me + boyfriend + cat and one couch is perfectly acceptable. But I'd like to have a way to have guests over without sitting on the floor or, alternatively, having a bunch of furniture take up space in our apartment that doesn't get used most of the time.

How about folding furniture? Camp chairs are quite comfy and about level with our couch, making them great for coffee-table based play. You'd need a large coffee table though.  Folding chairs and card tables should be fairly inexpensive and easy to store flat against a wall, under the bed, in a closet, etc. We actually got nice folding chairs from costco as our main chairs. They're pseudo-wood with padded/upholstered seats and you have to pull up on the back of the seat to fold, so they're sturdy enough to stand on if necessary. (To naysayers: we looked at thrift shops and CL for like a month with no luck.) If you're seeking a new dining table, find one with several leaves that expands significantly. I've also sometimes contemplated getting a few wooden boards or a 4'x8' sheet of plywood to create a makeshift table, but no one has ever backed me on that...

lpep

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Re: Tips for living small(er)
« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2014, 05:17:36 PM »
I completely agree with the people who say to get rid of stuff now. I moved here with two suitcases, mostly clothes. I have a furnished apartment, but still much, much less stuff than I did at home - and I LOVE having less stuff! It's freeing, and having a pile of stuff in every room is the exact opposite (I also know that from experience...).

Jacana

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Re: Tips for living small(er)
« Reply #9 on: November 12, 2014, 05:43:54 PM »
You may not want a coffee table. You may find a small ottoman or side tables less cluttering. If you google drop leaf or leaf tables in eBay or amazon you might find some cool solutions to the game night challenge, or yeah just get a card table. There are some really cool side cabinets that hide a full-size expandable dining table but I can't remember where I saw the one I wanted or how much it was. Probably costs a fortune. All the cool transformer furniture seems to.

pbkmaine

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Re: Tips for living small(er)
« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2014, 05:48:02 PM »
 There are tables with variable heights that change from coffee to dining. They are meant for small spaces.

eliza

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Re: Tips for living small(er)
« Reply #11 on: November 12, 2014, 06:04:25 PM »
I think just the process of moving into a smaller space will force you to get rid of stuff.

Are you moving yourself or hiring movers?  The last time I moved When we moved 2 times ago, my wife's company paid for movers so we had little stickers on everything we owned.  Everytime I used an item, I removed the sticker.  Anything that still had a sticker on it after 1 year, I got rid of.  I then duplicated that effort on our last self-move.

That is brilliant.  I'm thinking that might be a nice process to force myself to go through once every year or two.

Pinch of salt

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Re: Tips for living small(er)
« Reply #12 on: November 13, 2014, 11:57:23 AM »
What about small folding chairs (those without the back) which you can use as bedside/sofa tables and then when guests come over, they can also be used as seating.

GordonCopestake

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Re: Tips for living small(er)
« Reply #13 on: November 13, 2014, 12:56:02 PM »
Anything you've not touched for 30-60 days either sell if it's worth something or take to good will. You'll be surprised at how much stuff you don't actually use. I've even considered taping notes to every item i own with "give this away" written on it, then only removing the note when I actually use the item. After a month anything left with a note gets gone.

galliver

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Re: Tips for living small(er)
« Reply #14 on: November 13, 2014, 03:38:50 PM »
While I disagree with the previous post (sorry, I think there are e.g. seasonal or sentimental things worth keeping you don't use within 60 days), I just remembered an interesting strategy for getting rid of things.

Before moving I hosted a stuff giveaway on Facebook. I invited all my local friends and listed all sorts of things. Clothes that didn't fit or I didn't like or weren't ideal for the new climate, household goods, even my collection of jars. It was very free-form, so I didn't feel weird posting stuff I didn't think anyone would want (and at times surprised by what people did want...like my travel-sized toothpastes). I also felt it was balanced out by really nice stuff (suit jacket and an old dress that didn't fit anymore). One funny aspect of doing this was that even things that didn't get claimed were easier to donate to Goodwill after (or trash/recycle), because I had already let go of them. And it was easier to let go initially thinking it would go to a friend.

scottydog

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Re: Tips for living small(er)
« Reply #15 on: November 13, 2014, 04:02:27 PM »
You may not want a coffee table. You may find a small ottoman or side tables less cluttering. If you google drop leaf or leaf tables in eBay or amazon you might find some cool solutions to the game night challenge, or yeah just get a card table. There are some really cool side cabinets that hide a full-size expandable dining table but I can't remember where I saw the one I wanted or how much it was. Probably costs a fortune. All the cool transformer furniture seems to.

My wife covets a goliath table: http://resourcefurniture.com/product/goliath/.  It's been years since we actually inquired about the price, but I think it was either $3000 or $8000!  That's way more than an order of magnitude greater than I'm willing to "invest!"  It could be a fun DIY project once I bump up my woodworking skills so the finished product doesn't look so homemade.

In our former place, our roommate had a drop-leaf table that could accommodate 6 easily and 8 reasonably well, and it was less than 12" wide when the leaves were down.  It was a wee bit wobbly when fully set up, but to be honest it worked fabulously.  Looking at those goliath pictures again, her drop-leaf table was less than half the size when it was closed up.

In terms of getting rid of things, I have better luck dumping a bunch of stuff in a "to go" pile and then rescuing only what I want to keep.  It amounts to the same thing, but the psychological flip helps me recognize the important things.  Having it "gone" by default means I'm only making mental effort for those things I want to keep.

Good luck, and have fun!  It sounds like an exciting project in many ways.

Zette

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Re: Tips for living small(er)
« Reply #16 on: November 13, 2014, 06:19:57 PM »
If you google "Japanese traditional dining room" you'll see some tables and chairs without legs that I think would be really cool for playing board games, and could also double as a coffee table.

Beric01

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Re: Tips for living small(er)
« Reply #17 on: November 13, 2014, 06:30:17 PM »
Yup, the short answer is to get rid of stuff.

I live in 250 sq. feet and am looking at possibly going down to 100 (renting a room). I have a LOT of junk I need to get rid of!

In my current 250 square foot studio, I have:
  • A full bed (not a twin mind you - the bed is too large for me)
  • A kitchen (small, but serviceable, with a lot of cabinet space)
  • A large bathroom - I wish it were smaller, actually. Full tub and shower. Handicap accessible is why it's so large, I think.
  • Two desks, once very large which I put my desktop computer beside - I build my computers myself.
  • Decent-size closet
  • Small round kitchen table to eat at (I use folding chairs for guests, but often leave them up)
  • plenty of walking space around the apartment

It's all really a matter of perspective.

The Borgs

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Re: Tips for living small(er)
« Reply #18 on: November 13, 2014, 06:45:07 PM »
We live very small here. My best advice is to digitise. We got a small flatbed scanner, scanned every document we didn't need a physical copy of and shredded it. Scanned every manual we had for household things, every greetings card we wanted a copy of, every old photo. Needless to say, we backup well.

We also got a kobo and a kindle, switched to digital books (apart from the odd library book). Books we do want to keep, we're getting the digital version as and when it's cheap or we're given free credit. Then I pass on the actual book to someone else who'll appreciate it.

As for CDs and DVDs, the ones we already own we have thrown out the cases and purchased a wallet to put them in (neat and alphabetical too!). 4 large boxes were condensed to 2 large wallets.

We reduced bedding by natural attrition to 2 sets, one on, one in the cupboard. Same with towels.

It's also very important to us that our friends and relatives know not to purchase us clutter! It's taken years, but they're now on board with how we live and realise that it's the only way to be in a unit this size. As for our own purchases we have a "one in one out" rule. If we purchase something, generally something else has to leave. I find it works better than a set time limit to things staying in the house (that would make a few handy DIY items hard to hang on to!).

DollarBill

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Re: Tips for living small(er)
« Reply #19 on: November 13, 2014, 06:55:13 PM »
Why would anyone move in together with a boyfriend/girlfriend?

Beric01

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Re: Tips for living small(er)
« Reply #20 on: November 13, 2014, 06:58:21 PM »
Why would anyone move in together with a boyfriend/girlfriend?

To save money?

galliver

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Re: Tips for living small(er)
« Reply #21 on: November 13, 2014, 08:07:13 PM »
Why would anyone move in together with a boyfriend/girlfriend?

Because the relationship is going well and they feel they are ready to test their ability to tackle the challenges of living together...before being locked into it by a legal contract that is difficult, time-consuming, and expensive to dissolve?

Because they don't believe in marriage but do enjoy being together with their partner, and thus this is the next logical step?

Because they are adults and they want to, and no other reason is necessary?

DollarBill

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Re: Tips for living small(er)
« Reply #22 on: November 13, 2014, 08:59:48 PM »
Why would anyone move in together with a boyfriend/girlfriend?

Because the relationship is going well and they feel they are ready to test their ability to tackle the challenges of living together...before being locked into it by a legal contract that is difficult, time-consuming, and expensive to dissolve?

Because they don't believe in marriage but do enjoy being together with their partner, and thus this is the next logical step?

Because they are adults and they want to, and no other reason is necessary?
Not a good reason.

galliver

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Re: Tips for living small(er)
« Reply #23 on: November 13, 2014, 09:09:03 PM »
Why would anyone move in together with a boyfriend/girlfriend?

Because the relationship is going well and they feel they are ready to test their ability to tackle the challenges of living together...before being locked into it by a legal contract that is difficult, time-consuming, and expensive to dissolve?

Because they don't believe in marriage but do enjoy being together with their partner, and thus this is the next logical step?

Because they are adults and they want to, and no other reason is necessary?
Not a good reason.

Being self-sufficient adults isn't good reason to make a decision about their living arrangements?

Just wondering, how do you feel about roommates?

Jacana

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Re: Tips for living small(er)
« Reply #24 on: November 13, 2014, 09:45:18 PM »
You may not want a coffee table. You may find a small ottoman or side tables less cluttering. If you google drop leaf or leaf tables in eBay or amazon you might find some cool solutions to the game night challenge, or yeah just get a card table. There are some really cool side cabinets that hide a full-size expandable dining table but I can't remember where I saw the one I wanted or how much it was. Probably costs a fortune. All the cool transformer furniture seems to.

My wife covets a goliath table: http://resourcefurniture.com/product/goliath/.  It's been years since we actually inquired about the price, but I think it was either $3000 or $8000!  That's way more than an order of magnitude greater than I'm willing to "invest!"  It could be a fun DIY project once I bump up my woodworking skills so the finished product doesn't look so homemade.

In our former place, our roommate had a drop-leaf table that could accommodate 6 easily and 8 reasonably well, and it was less than 12" wide when the leaves were down.  It was a wee bit wobbly when fully set up, but to be honest it worked fabulously.  Looking at those goliath pictures again, her drop-leaf table was less than half the size when it was closed up.

That is one dangerous website and I love it! Been drooling over their stuff for years. Luckily I would never even dream I could buy it. If they don't list the price openly, I can't afford it. Good ideas for a talented woodworker or carpenter though to DIY.

Anyway I'm back because
1. I remembered where I saw that cabinet that turns into a table:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B0038VADKA/ref=mlt_base_B0038VADKA
The same company on Amazon sells other styles and colors.

2. My favorite piece of transforming furniture is the pool table hidden under a regular dining room table. My husband actually humbly requested one when we win the lottery we never play.

3. In our small kitchen, we took a blank wall nearby and used 1x2 pieces to make an open frame 2' x 4', and then attached peg board and painted it. We hang all our pots there including a bunch of heavy cast iron, as well as some other stuff like spices and spoons. Harder to do in an apartment, but maybe you could make a movable frame or patch the holes?

4. This was my birthday/mothers day present this year: a folding kitchen counter. It just about triples the flat surfaces I have to cook/serve on, and then goes away. The best part is that when furniture gets folded and stored, it is not possible for it to acquire permanent excess clutter it was not meant to hold.  http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B0017URZL4/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?qid=1415939764&sr=8-1&pi=AC_SY200_QL40

galliver

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Re: Tips for living small(er)
« Reply #25 on: November 13, 2014, 10:45:43 PM »
2. My favorite piece of transforming furniture is the pool table hidden under a regular dining room table. My husband actually humbly requested one when we win the lottery we never play.

When I was about...10? I'm not sure. Around there. My parents got me a kid-sized pool table for my birthday. I am not entirely sure why... Anyhow, they kept the box it was in to protect it (eventually put a piece of particleboard underneath for sturdiness...) and it became a dining-sized table. We've never used it as such (the particular one is not very sturdy), it's more of a putting-things-on table, but I bet one totally could... Here's a similar one so you know what I'm talking about, haha: http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=20844326&cagpspn=plat_15745930&camp=PLAPPCG-_-PID15745930:TRUS&eESource=CAPLA_DF:20844326:TRUS

GordonCopestake

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Re: Tips for living small(er)
« Reply #26 on: November 14, 2014, 03:19:42 AM »
While I disagree with the previous post (sorry, I think there are e.g. seasonal or sentimental things worth keeping you don't use within 60 days), I just remembered an interesting strategy for getting rid of things.

galliver, no need to apologise, if we were all the same it would be a boring world! To be fair you are right about seasonal items, we have a set of Christmas decorations that only comes out once a year, and sentimental items also, but they come under my "use" criteria as even if I just look at a photo on the wall of my kids in my mind thats "using" it.

Melody

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Re: Tips for living small(er)
« Reply #27 on: November 14, 2014, 03:25:58 AM »
I live in 390sq ft (alone). I have a dining table, couch, coffee table and queen bed. So it can totally work.
I had to buy a round dining table due to my space constraints (two people are tucked into "corners" of the very small room for it to work. With a square table there would not have been enough space to pull the chairs out.)In a space this size your furniture needs to fit the space. If there are no built in wardrobes buy the largest free standing one you can as it's easier to find space for one super large item, rather than a bunch of small items (e.g. robe & dresser).
The back of the door is your friend (I have a mirror on the back of my bathroom door and also various over the door hooks which hold stuff like my hairdryer as my bathroom is tiny and lacks cupboard space.)
Buy good looking storage - my kitchen has nowhere to store food (as my vaccum cleaner takes up most of the cupboard space) so I bought a cute retro kitchenette and put it i my lounge where it doubles as liquor cabinet/buffet).
As others have said - Digitise and declutter. Especially look for duplicates (a duplicate isn't necessarily exactly the same just something which performs the same function.)
Also in a small space you don't need as much stuff (e.g. I only need one set of speakers as I can hear the music in the lounge perfectly well from the bedroom which wasn't the case when I lived in a house.)
As my lounge is very small the TV lives in my bedroom ontop of my book case, this leaves the lounge roomy enough to entertain in. if you wanted to be very hardcore you could say adios to the TV all together as if you're anything like me you probally watch stuff on your tablet or laptop most of the time anyway :-)

Melody

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Re: Tips for living small(er)
« Reply #28 on: November 14, 2014, 03:30:31 AM »
Also, small L-shaped couch... mine is about 2.2metres long at the longest part making it a great "guest bed" and will fit four on it comfortably (the chaise is about 1.2metres long). That, with the four kitchen chairs around the coffee table would allow 8 to game in comfort :-) Having the guest bed option is great if one of you is sick (i.e. no matter how much you love your partner, you don't want to share their bed with them when they have gastro! Or even if they are just sick and being super restless) even if you don't think you want your friends to sleep over.

eae550

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Re: Tips for living small(er)
« Reply #29 on: November 14, 2014, 08:41:40 AM »
My (somewhat of a hoarder) husband and I lived in 550 square feet, and it's all about having maximized closet space and making sure you are using all the usable storage space vertically and within furniture (i.e. use a dresser as an entry table, a coffee table with storage, etc...). Out of season clothing went in suitcases under the bed, and his golf clubs were stored in the truck of his car. Our kitchen table (round, tilt top) was tight for 4 but comfortable for 2 and the condo building had large folding tables for condo board meetings we would borrow when we needed a larger table.

frugaliknowit

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Re: Tips for living small(er)
« Reply #30 on: November 14, 2014, 10:02:15 AM »
Get rid of paper and digitize everything you possibly can.  Scan everything and save in 2 places. 

I have a table that shrinks.  I use open shelving for additional storage.  I know elfa is expensive, but it looks great (not for a rental):  http://www.containerstore.com/shop/elfa/components.

Caution on bed with drawers underneath:  If you ever become infested with bedbugs, you're much better off without this.  A bed with drawers makes it easier for bedbugs to nest, easier to reach you, and harder to get rid of (not that it can't be done).

MBot

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Re: Tips for living small(er)
« Reply #31 on: November 14, 2014, 04:14:34 PM »
I moved from an apartment up a house that has a smaller main floor (living dining and kitchen) than the apartment.

Some things I personally found useful with that move:
- Board games stored in the awkward cabinet above the fridge
- dollar-store hooks on the inside of the medicine cabinet or closet are a great way to store big necklaces without having a jewelry box
- pots and pans on a pegboard on a kitchen wall. AMAZING! I love this in our space. frees up tons of space
- Got rid of the file cabinet, keep files on hanging file racks in a trunk, all craft supplies in another trunk. They're both used under the TV for holding the PS3
- took the opportunity to get rid of almost all DVDs and CDs
- used a tray on top of the coffee table and a wire basket on the dining table to hold all the little stuff. So remotes and candles and salt and pepper don't look cluttered/scattered.

The one thing I was glad to keep was many light sources. If each room has lots of options for light it helps.

Edit - I have always thought this table would be great for a small space! If it can be got secondhand even better. http://m.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/art/10290221/
« Last Edit: November 14, 2014, 04:20:48 PM by MBot »

Melody

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Re: Tips for living small(er)
« Reply #32 on: November 14, 2014, 08:25:44 PM »
Also check out http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/categories/small_cool
Loads of ideas for small spaces.
I've found tall furniture helps and don't forget about the storage space on top of your small furniture, but YMMV depending on your height. For me my sound system lives on top of my microwave which lives on top of my fridge, which isn't a problem as I can still reach all the controls. It wouldn't work for an average sized lady ;-) Also regarding said Fridge, given I can see the side of it which I sit on my couch I used a tapestry to cover the side of it. If you can't hide something (and this also goes for cleaning tools like Brooms etc) you'll want to make it pretty.
Also not a practical tip but a visual one - a smart use of rugs and wall art can define/divide different spaces without taking up and room making your space feel larger.

karaishere

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Re: Tips for living small(er)
« Reply #33 on: November 14, 2014, 09:27:53 PM »
 “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” ― William Morris

That's kind of my motto these days as I'm going through childhood toys and keepsakes from my parent's cross-country retirement move. I plan to keep what is important/sentimental and get rid of the rest. We don't live in a super small space, but I do have tips! :)

- purge your stuff before you move
- purge again as you unpack
- or if you want to be really hardcore, only unpack stuff as you need it; you'll be left with seasonal items, sentimental items, and stuff you don't use (which you can get rid of)
- make do with what you have before buying new furniture/things; you might not need it
- folding tables are awesome for board game nights (which we do too!); as are camping chairs
- a trunk works as coffee table while also providing storage
- tall bookcases use your vertical space better than short ones
- ditto to storing things in weird places... our second apartment bathroom is 1/2 storage because who needs 2 sinks and 2 showers?
- every few years go through sentimental things; sometimes that thing you "just had to keep" isn't important anymore

(And to be clear, I'm not saying get rid of all of your stuff. Just run a critical eye over everything. :)

Zikoris

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Re: Tips for living small(er)
« Reply #34 on: November 14, 2014, 11:16:06 PM »
Why would anyone move in together with a boyfriend/girlfriend?

My reason has always been that I enjoy living with the person I'm dating. It's nice having meals together, sleeping together, hanging out together, etc. I'm not interested in marriage at all, so this is the equivalent for me.

OP, here's what our 400 square foot bachelor suite looks like for some ideas: http://imgur.com/a/jyu0B We are two people and one cat.

goodlife

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Re: Tips for living small(er)
« Reply #35 on: November 14, 2014, 11:28:37 PM »
Whenever I have moved, while packing, I asked of every single thing (except seasonal items like winter jackets): "Have I worn/touched/used/seen/derived pleasure from this thing in the last 6 months"....if the answer was no, then it went to Goodwill. I have never moved with more than 10 boxes and a suitcase, ha!

purplepear

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Re: Tips for living small(er)
« Reply #36 on: November 15, 2014, 09:16:12 AM »
You may not want a coffee table. You may find a small ottoman or side tables less cluttering. If you google drop leaf or leaf tables in eBay or amazon you might find some cool solutions to the game night challenge, or yeah just get a card table. There are some really cool side cabinets that hide a full-size expandable dining table but I can't remember where I saw the one I wanted or how much it was. Probably costs a fortune. All the cool transformer furniture seems to.

My wife covets a goliath table: http://resourcefurniture.com/product/goliath/.  It's been years since we actually inquired about the price, but I think it was either $3000 or $8000!  That's way more than an order of magnitude greater than I'm willing to "invest!"  It could be a fun DIY project once I bump up my woodworking skills so the finished product doesn't look so homemade.

In our former place, our roommate had a drop-leaf table that could accommodate 6 easily and 8 reasonably well, and it was less than 12" wide when the leaves were down.  It was a wee bit wobbly when fully set up, but to be honest it worked fabulously.  Looking at those goliath pictures again, her drop-leaf table was less than half the size when it was closed up.

That is one dangerous website and I love it! Been drooling over their stuff for years. Luckily I would never even dream I could buy it. If they don't list the price openly, I can't afford it. Good ideas for a talented woodworker or carpenter though to DIY.

Anyway I'm back because
1. I remembered where I saw that cabinet that turns into a table:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B0038VADKA/ref=mlt_base_B0038VADKA
The same company on Amazon sells other styles and colors.

2. My favorite piece of transforming furniture is the pool table hidden under a regular dining room table. My husband actually humbly requested one when we win the lottery we never play.

3. In our small kitchen, we took a blank wall nearby and used 1x2 pieces to make an open frame 2' x 4', and then attached peg board and painted it. We hang all our pots there including a bunch of heavy cast iron, as well as some other stuff like spices and spoons. Harder to do in an apartment, but maybe you could make a movable frame or patch the holes?

4. This was my birthday/mothers day present this year: a folding kitchen counter. It just about triples the flat surfaces I have to cook/serve on, and then goes away. The best part is that when furniture gets folded and stored, it is not possible for it to acquire permanent excess clutter it was not meant to hold.  http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B0017URZL4/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?qid=1415939764&sr=8-1&pi=AC_SY200_QL40

Jacana- that cabinet/table transformer is amazing!

Thanks for all the tips, mustachians! I'm looking forward to starting the "purge of stuff", probably when I get some time off during the holidays. I'll have to look into more folding chairs/tables after we move into the space. Also I love the idea of storing pots/pans on a pegboard. As it is, it's always a struggle to store/get out my pots and pans, and my cabinets end up disorganized and chaotic.

If only I had discovered MMM before I moved into this current apartment. There's way too much space for 2 people. Seriously... we have 3 couches. And  half of my giant bedroom is completely unused. Really looking forward to having a small, efficient space. :)