I think the question I get asked the most about our apartment is, “how in the H E * * do we make 600 sq. ft work with two humans and a dog”? I laugh every time I have this conversation with people because it’s not as bad as it seems. ALTHOUGH, if you would have asked me 4 years ago when I was living in almost 800 sq. ft if I could live in 600 sq. ft, I’m sure I would have replied, “over my dead body”….life is funny isn’t it?!’
Now, when I say living in 600 sq. ft isn’t that bad, it really isn’t but it takes A LOT OF WORK, I’ll get into that in a minute. There are definitely days (usually when mother nature is making her rounds for the month) when I am in complete meltdown mode and over “living in a shoebox”. Right before the Chrismas decor comes down is really when this place feels like it might actually be a shoebox.
So, how do we make it work?! We became minimalists, DUH! Ha, anyone of my friends that are reading this knows that could not be farther from the truth. While I admire minimalists, I am the farthest thing from it. I love clothes, shoes, and home decor way too much.
How We Make 600 Sq. Ft Work
One: It’s a Constant Game of Purging
If you live in a small space, then you also know that you constantly have to purge and then purge again. I go through all of our closets, cabinets, drawers, and any piece of furniture that can hold crap every 3 months. It’s the only way I can keep things from accumulating to the point that it really feels like we live in too small of a space. If it hasn’t been used in the last 6-months and isn’t something that is absolutely loved, it goes buh-bye (with the exception of those few things you only actually need to use once or twice a year).
Two: The Layout of The Apartment Makes It Feel Larger
When we first looked at this apartment I would have thought it was closer to 700sqft because the layout of it is so good. It also gets an incredible amount of sunlight that makes it feel larger than it is. We have a bedroom where we can comfortably fit a king size bed, full-size dresser, plus nightstands and some ottomans. We have an actual space to have a dining table and chairs with a kitchen that is a pretty decent size for such a small apartment. Our living room is large enough to fit a sofa, loveseat, and all the things that a living room would have. The layout is super functional and just works which I think gives the illusion that the apartment is a little larger than it is.
Three: We Have “Off-Site Storage”
Okay, okay….this one is kind of cheating but hear me out. When we first moved in, we had a storage closet behind our parking spot. It was perfect for things like storing Christmas decor and stuff we didn’t need all the time. After a few months, we were able to move to a new parking spot, where we could have two parking spaces instead of one, but there was no storage closet. If you knew the parking situation in our neighborhood, then you’d do the same, trust me!
So now we use an “off-site storage” aka our parents’ garage to store the items that we are no longer able to store in our parking space closet. I’m not joking, all our Christmas decor, plus a few boxes of other stuff is stored in my father-in-law’s garage, plus all my handbags are in my childhood room at my parents. If you saw how many handbags I had, you’d understand (I worked at Coach with a KILLER discount for five years so my handbag collection is on point). I refuse to get rid of any of them but don’t have space in this apartment. They sit pretty on all the shelves that my dad built in my closet at their house just for the bags. Although he does jokingly threaten to have a yard sale featuring said bags every now and then, my mom would never let him.
Four: I Organize The Crap Out of Everything
I’m not kidding, every single thing that comes into this apartment gets a home. If you ask me where anything is, I can tell you exactly where it is and it will be there. Just don’t ask Ryan though, he is that husband meme about having to ask the wife 10x where the same thing is, ha! If there is no home for a new item that’s brought into the apartment then something has to go so that it can have a home. Although, I really try to leave extra space in the closets every time I purge so that they don’t feel as though they are overflowing.
Five: I Decorate with Furniture That Doubles as Storage
This is one of my favorite tips, pick furniture that can double as storage. Most people like having a coffee table in their living room, make it functional where it can store things. We bought this West Elm Industrial Storage Coffee Table when we first moved into this apartment. I love it because it has a decent amount of storage. It holds all of Ryan’s video games, random DVDs we have, plus other random electronic type things. Our TV stand doubles as an extension of our “office” by housing the printer and a few other things. It also holds Ryan’s video game consoles and my ridiculous amount of candles that I basically hoard. These pieces of furniture hold items that we don’t have a ton of space for in the closets. Our nightstands have drawers where we can both store random things in them and also have enough room underneath them to put baskets for more storage. What I love about doubling furniture as storage pieces is that they look nice and really help to keep the apartment from feeling cluttered.
Six: Vertical Closet Space Is My Bestie
I actually feel like we have a somewhat decent amount of closet space, but it takes work to make it functional. We can only keep in-season clothes in our bedroom closet and put the out of season clothes under the bed and swap out when needed. I’ve also made use of the vertical space by adding an additional shelf for us to be able to store clothes on. I also love using these clear shoe drawers to maximize what vertical space I can. I keep a step stool in the closet so that it’s easy for me to get items down on a daily basis.
In the hall closets, there is one that has 5 shelves already built in so I used the height in there by adding different size containers that stack on top of each other. Containers in a small closet really allow you to fit more and keep it organized at the same time.
Seven: Don’t Forget About Behind The Door Space
I just saw this idea in a Real Simple magazine and couldn’t believe I had never thought of doing this myself. I put a clear shoe hanger on the inside of the door in one of the hall closets. GAME CHANGER!! This nifty contraption saved at least half if not a full shelf. I store all kinds of random things in it like my Swifter clothes, Swifter dusters, all of Lily’s doggy things (like soap, doggie bags, etc), garbage bags, cleaning cloths….you get the idea, it holds a ton.
In our other hall closet, I recently purchased this piece from Target and it also saved a good amount of shelf space. It holds two Hershel backpacks, two Lands End Large Canvas Totes, a bag full of extra hangers, plus most of our reusable bags.
Eight: I Add Shelves Where Need Be
This one is really only for the bathroom. There is basically no storage in there except for one small cabinet under the sink. To be honest, I just realized while writing this post that I could maximize that under the counter space more if I add some type of stackable shelves. What I did do when we first moved in was add these cute little corner shelves. These things are amazing because they fit perfectly in the corners of the bathroom and hold just the right amount of things we need it to. Two shelves hold a basket for my hair products and the other for Ryans fancy shaving things and the other two have other daily necessary items that I made look pretty by using decorative canisters.
Nine: We Are Constantly Putting Things Away
The thing about a small apartment is that it can go from clean to messy feeling in .3 seconds. Not putting a few things away doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, but in a small space, it is. We just started the “one-touch rule” where you only touch something once. This means when you walk in the door you’re putting away what you came in with. It helps keep the apartment from feeling cluttered. It’s the moment when I get home from work and running errands that I drop everything on the floor and leave it for hours where it really makes this place feel like it’s only 600 sq. ft.
There you have it, that’s how we make a small space work for us. Do you live in a small space? If so, comment below to share how you make it work, I’d love to know!