My fiance and I live in a 403 square foot studio apartment. We recently relocated to a new city for a job, and it was very important to us to be near my fiance’s work place. Unfortunately rent is pretty pricey downtown, so we skimped on size in favor of location, price, and amenities. We have been here for almost four months, and in that time we have learned a few things about dealing with a tiny living space. This is the smallest place we have ever lived in, and more than half as big as our previous apartment. We also just recently adopted a dog!
Here are some tips to make the transition into studio life a bit easier for everyone (human and canine)!
Throw it out!
If you know before you move out of your old place that you’ll be living in a studio next, don’t just pack everything up. Go through it all first! We had boxes and boxes of stuff we had forgotten about, years’ worth of old paperwork that we just needed to shred, and so many duplicates of multiple items. To help you feel less overwhelmed, try to go through things slowly. This is a great thing to do no matter if you plan to live in a studio or not. There will always be something you don't need to move with you.
After you move into your new tiny place, unpack everything box by box, don’t open them all at once. Put everything away from one box before opening another, or else you will have no space in your house to walk, sit, or do anything.
Storage is key in a small living space. You’ve got to get creative. To make matters worse, we cannot put nails into our walls, so we had to have everything on the floor. That sleek new tv stand may be tempting, but you will be much happier with something like this, with the versatility to either display things or buy cubes for storing.
We lifted our bed so there is room under for storage. I could not imagine what we would do without that extra space. Under the bed we store boxes of off-season clothes, tools, dirty laundry basket, empty tv box, suitcases, extra sheets, and even my extra shoes! I bought this one on amazon, and it did take about an hour to assemble, but it was so easy and totally worth it. You can definitely find fancier bedframes with storage at furniture stores or online, but if you’re trying to save space, something like the one we have is great. It takes up exactly the same amount of space as the mattress, and you don’t need a boxspring.
The good part about studio apartments is that they are small, so cleaning is a breeze. I hand vacuum our floors with a dust buster in about five minutes. With all the dog hair however, I really should vacuum every day, but it’s probably more like every other day.
You also have to make sure you clean up your apartment on a daily basis. Clutter is the worst thing about living in a small studio. I set my computer on the floor for a minute to get a drink of water, and suddenly it seems like the whole floor is messy. You throw a sweatshirt on the back of a chair and it feels like your whole life is in shambles. I know that sounds dramatic, but some days that is how it feels. Make sure that everything has a place to be put away So far, the only thing that we just can’t find a home for is the laptop, because one of us is always using it. It ends up perched on an empty chair, or on the floor in the corner, when it’s not in use.
We are fortunate enough to live near a few parks and there are grassy areas right outside our apartment to take our dog outside to potty. We could never live anywhere without nearby grass, both for potty time and also to take her out for walks and play time. There is not room in a small studio for ample doggy exercise.
And last but not least....
You better love being with your roommate/partner/spouse! I've lived with my fiance for over 3 years, so we knew we could deal with living in a small space together. There is no room (pun intended!) for secrets or personal space in a small studio.