They say that their people in New York live like no one else; this is certainly the case for two residents who have taken up the task of living in apartments the size of a walk in closet. I had the great fortune to get to sit down with two women, Felice and Genevieve, who live in a 90 square feet and 105 square feet.
When it comes to living in a tiny space Genevieve told me you need “a place for everything and everything in its place” to make it work. Organization was something that she felt was really important for living in such a confined space. In the 4 years she has spent living in her 105 square foot apartment she has become quite masterful at maximizing space. Tiny House folks often talk about the “100 thing challenge” a method where-by we reduce our belongings to just 100 things.
There are, however, those things we simply can’t part from, for Genevieve it was shoes….62 of them to be exact! With no closet she uses a bookshelf and baskets to store all her clothes and shoes. From looking at all the clothes, it’s obvious that everything is kept “in it’s place”.
Felice put it well when she said “if something doesn’t have a place, do you really need it?” I couldn’t agree more and from talking to these two it was obvious that they were very conscious about what was in the space. Every item was intentional, thought out and agonized over out of sheer necessity. As a professional home organization expert, Felice spends allot of time in other spaces with people who have allot of stuff. She often starts out with clients by asking not what do you want to keep, but “What are the things you really want?” To select these items as if your house was burning down, which would you try to save first? By this method Felice is able to reduce her items to the things she loves most; In the case of her closet, when she opens it, she loves every piece of clothing there, if she doesn’t absolutely love it, it gets donated.
After talking to lots of people about living in their Tiny Houses, I have noticed that people stress the need to go vertical, in the case of Felice and Genevieve, this was the case as well. Even in apartments with 9 foot ceilings, they stacked to the ceiling, in the case of their beds, they were lofted.
Sleeping in such a small place seems to be across the board be approached by the use of lofting the sleeping area. With only 23” of space between mattress and ceiling, Felice felt closed in when she first moved in, leaving her wondering if she had made the right move. Nowadays, she loves the coziness of the bed.
That feeling of coziness is something that translates to the whole apartment. “It feels cozy, I have a friend who lives in a big one bed room 2 blocks away, and we hang out at my place.” It is similar to living in a dorm room, where you have to fit all your worldly processions in a tiny space, but still make it livable, if not loveable.
Many of you know that I love to cook, so I had to ask about cooking in these places. Both apartments don’t have real kitchens. They instead have a cooking section where they can throw together food, I was impressed to hear that Genevieve is able to pull of eggplant parmesan in here “kitchen”. Living in New York does mean that they have access to great restaurants and stores, but when it comes to cooking at home, meal planning ahead of time is key. Genevieve is really big on meal planning and planning ahead. She makes meals that serves easily and can be eaten for several meals. “Planning helps keep costs and makes cooking easier.”
Doing dishes is an interesting affair, without a sink in the “kitchen” they end up in the bathroom, even having to wash dishes in the bathtub and air drying them on a wire corner rack (check out the photo, you can see dish soap in the tub lol).
In such a small space I have always wondered how much you can really get done, but talking with these two it seems that you can pull quite a bit off. From making fancy meals, to having 3 guests spend the night, or in the case of Genevieve, running a blog about beer (check it out at thehopshoney.wordpress.com) . Felice did talk about how sometimes she felt that getting out of the space to do work was necessary to focus, but at the same time she does cherish free time at home. With being in such a great location, she has her pick of great places to go to. From parks, restaurants, cafes they are all right outside her door.
To read more about these two check out my two blog posts about Tiny NYC Apartments:
Small Apartments in NYC
Cozy Couple in NYC
Many thanks to Felice and Genevieve for such great info