The difference is even bigger than it looks. The truth is, I like living in small spaces. I always have; my dream home growing up was an RV. Our first apartment was tiny, by most people’s standards. So when my propensity for living small and my vast pile of Stuff clashed, I knew one had to go.
That was when I started simplifying. I didn’t want to move to a bigger place just so all my stuff would fit. When we finally did move into a bigger apartment (the first picture) after I simplified, there was a lot of blank space. It was a two-bedroom and about 1000 square feet. And, while everyone thought I was crazy, I felt like we had too much room. There was an entire bedroom that we weren’t even using. Our walk-in closet was the same size as the bedroom of our first apartment.
I didn’t feel comfortable there. So when we moved here in August, we downgraded quite a bit. Adjusting back to living in a small space took some time. For one thing, our couch didn’t fit. Rule 1 for living small: bring a tape measure. It takes patience and creativity to make sure that everything you need to live comfortably fits into your home, especially if it is small.
Rule 2: get rid of the excess. I’ve written so many posts on how to do this, but when it comes down to it, you are the one who knows your stuff and what you need. If you don’t love it or use it, get rid of it: toss it, give it away, sell it—anything to get it out of your home.
If you do love something, but it isn’t the most functional, (Rule 3:) find a way to display it. So many beautiful things sit in storage because our walls and tables are filled with art and knickknacks that are meaningless. When you make room to display things that are important to you, you will feel more at home and, if your guests ask about it, you will have more of a story than, “It was on sale.”
Small spaces force you to be picky about what you buy and what you keep. So Rule 4: make sure everything has a home. Even before you buy something, have a specific place for it picked out in your mind. If something isn’t important enough to find a permanent home for, you probably don’t need it.
And finally, Rule 5: enjoy what you have. You probably decided to live more simply so you could spend less time with your stuff, and more time doing important things, like spending time with your family or writing that book you’ve always wanted to. Your stuff should accommodate you, not the other way around. Be careful with what you bring into your home, but once it is there, let it make your life easier.