I’ve moved over 13 times since I was 16. There were advantages and disadvantages to moving so much over the years. One of the advantages is that it is kind of difficult to horde when you have to move so much. Every time I move I see it as a chance to purge all of those silly things you buy and never use or hold onto and don’t really need. That of course didn’t exactly stop me from storing up tons of unnecessary junk while I was living somewhere. Over the last 2 years I have begun looking into minimalistic living. It is a refreshing mindset that has changed a lot about how I live and what I hold onto. I have also been doing Project 333 for the last year. It has flipped my world upside down in such a good way when it comes to clothing and wardrobe. I’d have to say, living in an 8×10 room is so different than what it was 5 years ago. Surprisingly enough, I’m more content. I don’t feel crowded or locked in. I’m not saying I want to live THIS small forever, but I have learned a lot about “stuff” and “space” that has helped me be more content with less. It isn’t all about how much or money. It is about SO much more. I’ve also learned a few things along the way that have helped me make the most of 650 sq ft to an 8×10 room. Today I’m going to share a few of those thing with you.
Places that I’ve lived that are TINY:
In College I once lived in a two room living area that held 8 people.
When me and my husband first moved to Texas we lived on a Ranch in a 3 bedroom house with 3 teenage girls, 4 adults, 4 dogs, 8 puppies, 3 kittens, and 3 cats.
Next we moved into a 2 bedroom apartment. There were a total of 4 adults, a baby, and 3 dogs.
We now live in an small bedroom that is also my MIL crafting room with our dog. We are currently preparing things to add the baby in here too.
It doesn’t matter how big your house is or how small the room the you live in is, clutter is a big killer of space and joy. I’ve seen huge open houses full of clutter and I’ve seen tiny living spaces with none. It is all how you deal with it and view “things”. I know in the area I grew up people hold onto EVERYTHING! That coffee cup you’ve never used but your friend you can’t remember their name in high school bought it for you and it has your name spelled wrong. The chair that needs to be fixed that your husband picked up at a yard sale three summers ago. Those bills that need to be organized and maybe kept or filed from the last 5 years… the list goes on.
The biggest thing I’ve learned about clutter is how it steals from the simplicity of a living space. It can make you feel anxious or crowded. I have a friend who’s apartment is covered in nick-knacks from her childhood. They don’t go together, they serve no purpose, they make the room feel dirty and crowded. Why? What is their purpose? Sometimes it is a matter of rearranging items to give the room a better feel. Sometimes it is just time to let go. If you have less around the house, it will be easier to clean, simpler on the eyes, and better for the flow of the room.
In our last apartment many things had multipurpose. Our entertainment center was a computer desk as well. If you wanted to use the computer you rolled the computer chair over and used the screen for that. When it was time to watch a movie, you rolled the chair to the dinning room table and used the screen for a movie. (the chair also served as a second chair at the table during dinner time) Our kitchen table was also my sewing station (I could easily push it all to one side during meals).
Giving different spaces and items several purposes reduced clutter, allows you to do more with a small space, and give PURPOSE to items other than to look pretty of fulfill our need for “stuff”.
Best Use of Space
We see it all too often. A corner is used for a single decor piece, or to store junk. Using your space wisely will help make the most of it and require less space for everyday simple living. Behind our door here is a full length mirror. I put up a shelf with hooks and made it my vanity/get ready station. It takes up virtually no space at all, but it perfect for those days when one of the other 3 people who live here are in the bathroom. In our last apartment we had a porch. Since it was Texas an warm most of the year, I put a comfy chair and table out there. On a nice day it was like having an entirely separate room to go read or think. I also had planned to use my dresser (which was long and waist height) to double as a changing table for the baby.
I used to think of floor space when I was planning out a room or setting up my belongings. Now I’ve realized the wonder of all that other space in a room. UP! Walls! Vertical storage had become my friend. Shelving on the walls. Storage hangers on door or in closets. Even my new vanity station is an example of vertical space being utilized.
Get Rid of IT
That was a hard one for me to grasp. Just get rid of it. I has clothes from college that were torn, too young, and didn’t fit well I was holding onto. “keep-sakes” that I couldn’t actually tie to a memory. Dishes I never use (those cute tea cups and mini plates, I didn’t need 20 of them). Scraps that I could maybe one day find a craft project to use this with. Finally I let go. What a release. What a freedom. To not feel like I had to hold onto every little thing and find a spot for it. Sometimes it can be down right therapeutic. You might not realize (or you might and want to hold onto it because of that reason) that something holds memories or significance to something in your past that it is time to let go of. Let it go! Be free!
STORE it Away
I do it with my clothes. Once I did an initial purge of my closet, I began doing Project 333. Any item not part of my current 33 goes into storage. Out of sight, out of mind, out of the tiny closet that needs to hold other things. Right now anything the baby does not need the first 3 months, is in the attic. No need to trip over boxes until then (he has enough, trust me). I’m also utilizing under the bed storage bags for current items that we (or baby) may need soon, but do not use everyday. His 3-in-one pack n play also has some room to store items under the place where the mattress is when it is in infant mood. Great place to put his stuffed animals. You can see them, but they aren’t in the way or near him while he sleeps.
Clean as You Go
When living in a small space it can become overwhelming to try and keep it clean ALL THE TIME. Everything NEEDS to have its place, but it may not always find its way back there immediately. Take a little time everyday to clean up small things. Also clean as you go. When you are done sewing for the day, put things you are done with away, clean up trash, finish projects before starting another one. After you shower, put the bathroom back together, hang up towels, wipe down the counter. Before you go to bed pick up the clothes off the floor, fold laundry, set out the next days clothes, put away jewelry you wore that day. Every little thing helps. The more you do it, the easier it will become.
You Don’t NEED 3 Canopeners
Minimize. This is also part of multipurpose. Find household items that do more than one thing. Honesty 3 potholders are more than enough. In our apartment we had cutting boards that were vinyl. They fit easily under the silverware try in the drawer. We owned one GOOD set of knives, instead of 20 random ones. Lots of companies make measuring cups that one measures all. Keep it simple.
Below are some pictures of our current living space:
I don’t know if you can see the gorgeous blue the walls are painted, but it goes so well with the mirror I HAD to bring with us. I got this mirror for FREE, and I love it! GOOD DECOR is another secret to living in little spaces. It can make the world of difference in how that space makes you feel. Mirrors are great because they help open up the space.
This was hanging in our old living room. It also goes great with the blue. The little reminder as you walk out the door in the morning helps keep a positive attitude.
This is our entertainment center/dresser/stuff you store on your dresser spot. Neat, appealing to the eye, livable, everyday items we use.
Beside it on the dresser is two baskets. A “Drop-All” for keys, wallets, etc. And the bill basket for current bills and paperwork.
This is a poor picture of my husband’s desk. It is tucked away in the corner with a scensty burner on it. Not too cluttered and perfect for what he needs.
I didn’t add pictures of the closet, bed, or baby corner. We are still working on those. (see update soon)
I hope you liked the sneak peak into my world and learned something new about living in Tiny Spaces, living minimalistic, and being content with less.
Check out some of my favorite sites and ideas for living in Tiny Spaces:
Click on the picture to see the link