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Moving Organization

Small Space Living: How to Adjust to City Living

When you’re moving out of a sprawling suburban home into a city apartment that feels about as big as a shoebox, you’ll have some adjustments to make. You might have sacrificed your large kitchen and full basement in exchange for a central location in the heart of a thriving metropolis. Living in small apartments isn’t as tough as it might seem at first. Here are some tips to help you thrive in a compact living space.

Create the Illusion of More Space

tips on how to adjust to small space livingImage via Bigstock

You can’t knock down a wall and invade your neighbor’s space if you’re feeling claustrophobic, but you can trick yourself into thinking that you have more room to spread out that you do. Here are some ideas on how to create the illusion that a room is bigger than it actually is:

  • Choose light colors for the walls and floor. If you’re renting and can’t change the floor in your place, buy a large light-colored area rug.
  • Don’t push your furniture against the wall. Even if there is just an inch or two between your sofa and the wall behind it, the room will feel more spacious.
  • Draw eyes upward. A fun wallpaper on the ceiling or a bookshelf above eye level will make the room seem taller and therefore bigger.
  • Instead of crowding several small pieces of furniture into a room, choose one or two big pieces that fill the space.
  • Strategically place mirrors. These reflect light and can trick your mind into thinking that a space is bigger.

Stay Organized

Keeping your apartment organized is a key component of living in a small space. You don’t need to alphabetize and color code each knickknack and bauble, but you should have a place for everything.

Take advantage of clever storage solutions in your home. Buy an ottoman that is comfy and provides an extra place to keep blankets or books. Install some stylish floating shelves where you can keep various odds and ends. Buy short containers that you can slide underneath a bed or another piece of furniture. Hang your shoe rock on the closet door.

Depending on the makeup of your apartment, there are countless possibilities for getting the most out of the space you have.

Rent a Storage Unit

No matter how much stuff you sell at that garage sale or give away to friends, you still might own more than you can cram into your apartment. Rent a storage unit to make your small space living a little easier. Find a unit that is close to your apartment so you can make a quick run to pick up any items when you need them.

A self storage unit is the ideal place to store seasonal items, like your bulky winter wardrobe or sporting equipment. It will also come in handy when you want a place to tuck away sentimental items; that pile of old family photo albums or the adorable little rocking chair that you used as a kid will be safe in a climate-controlled unit.

Be Careful When You're Shopping

One of the most exciting things about city living is that you have easy access to great restaurants, amazing entertainment, and top-notch shopping. The temptation to bring new stuff home is constant. However, pausing to think before you buy anything new will be good for both your living space and your wallet.

Prior to committing to any new items, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I need this or do I just want it?
  • Will this solve any problems?
  • Will this cost a lot of money to maintain?
  • Do I already own something that could fulfill the same purpose as this item?

After you ask yourself these questions, you might still not be sure about whether you want to purchase something. Think on it for a few days — or even a few hours. A little extra time to contemplate the consequences of your shopping will help you make wise choices.

Maintain Peace with Your Cohabiters

If you are going to move to the city with your spouse or a roommate, you might get on each other’s nerves as you adjust to a smaller space. Try to keep your sense of humor and be sure to communicate. Establish ground rules that will keep your apartment clean and organized and be respectful when the other person needs quiet time.

Moments might come around when the two of you think you can’t stand it anymore. Have an escape plan. Your apartment complex might have a community room you can take refuge in or maybe you can hang out at the coffee shop down the street for a few hours until you regain your cool.

Living in the city comes with plenty of its own rewards, but a large living space isn’t one of them. When you use the above tips, the transition to living in a smaller space will be as smooth as possible.

About the author

The Storage Queens

We know a thing or two about moving. Together, we share the best tips in organizing, storage, navigating your city, and more!

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