Adjusting to Tiny Spaces: Downsizing and Upscaling

Let’s just call it —- moving stinks. There is no “fun” hack to this one. I mean, most of the time we do it for a better end, right? We do it to be closer to family, to move up in the world, for a real-estate investment, for a better job. But, loading and unloading boxes is never an enjoying weekend/week/month/year.

When Noah and I decided to leave our four bedroom, four bathroom, large kitchen with an even larger living area in California, we had to be ruthless with our choices of “precious items” to keep. We spent months selling, donating, and tossing. Marie Kondo was taunting us in our minds the whole time. We learned that we may have been steps away from being hoarders — but we had a big enough house to hide it.

We would soon be moving to a one bedroom, two bath, medium sized kitchen and average sized living room apartment on the east side of Manhattan. Tiny island…tons of people…tiny spaces. What did we really “need”? And, what could we improve to make the best use of the space?

We decided that saving money on rent would be worth the upfront investment. We’ve spent quite a bit of money on our space-saving ideas. But, we will make the money back in rent/real estate saving within two years!

All items mentioned below are items we actually chose and purchased. We are not endorsed or affiliated with any of these brands.

One Bedroom – Three Living Spaces

With one bedroom (and my absolute demand of a king-sized bed), we figured we wouldn’t have room for much else. It’s amazing to think about how much space we sacrifice just for a bed to sit in the middle of a room.

Could we better utilize the space? Could we only have the bed there when we needed it? We decided to look into wallbeds (Murphy beds). The options have come so far! After looking into Resource Furniture and Milano Smart Living, we knew that we certainly wanted this style of bed. We even considered Ori Living – a complete studio all-in-one…it didn’t work with our layout, but it’s so cool! We knew we wanted to choose our own mattress, have the option of a king, and we were hoping to find something less expensive. We discovered Breda Beds and Bear Mattress. We couldn’t be happier with this combo. It’s perfect, and a great way to create a workout room/yoga studio/office in our tiny space!

Next…I wanted to make sure I had a place to workout and continue my yoga practice. So, in comes a gorilla mat and Bowflex space-saving weights. We also have a tiny closet, so let’s bring in a custom wardrobe – and hey – to multitask – let’s make the doors mirrored to double as a workout mirror!

Because of COVID, we are both working from home ALL THE TIME. We needed the best scenario for an office space. We STILL have room in the bedroom for a 60″ standing desk for Noah’s four computers and all of my files/stationary/printers. We are waiting on the desk to arrive, but we are excited about it!

Lastly, we wanted somewhere to entertain family and friends. We needed a table, but how? Enter the expanding console table and seating cube. You can see the table in the photos below currently holding Noah’s computers, it’s a nice little side-console. However, when it’s fully extended it becomes nine feet long! Our seating cube looks like a standard ottoman, but it is secretly nesting five stools. So, five stools + two folding chairs + two bar stools + couch + nine foot table = party of 7-10, please!

We have essentially turned one bedroom into FOUR living spaces:

  1. Bedroom — Naturally….
  2. Gym
  3. Office
  4. Dining Room
  5. BONUS: Check out all of the cat play areas!!!

Kitchen – Tiny Living

When going through the boxes that the movers had packed, we were shocked by how much stuff neither of us knew existed. Has that happened to you? We would buy or receive something as a gift, put it away in a drawer or cabinet, and then never see it again. In downsizing, there is a wonderful thing that happens…You know where everything is and what you have! Do I need the garlic press I’ve never used? Nope… Do I need 16 of the same glasses for two people? Nada… We kept what we needed, we’ve kept it neat, and we’ve maximized the space we currently have. It’s actually fun to be in the kitchen again! We don’t feel like all of our “stuff” is closing in on us. We love to cook, so we have quite a few pots/pans/gadgets still, but we bought a pantry for our hallway, so it all works perfectly! Who really needs five-six weeks worth of food at one time anyway? Buy what you need, use it before it goes bad, and then restock. No excess, no waste.

Living Room = Three Spaces

Our living area is my domain. We custom built our sectional to double as a queen bed for when we have company. We also maximized the entertainment center by making sure our library would be included, as well as Noah’s three gaming consoles and games, and my cozy reading nook with a fireplace. This is also where we show off our most valued knick-knacks and memories.

So, with our living room, we are enjoying:

  1. Living/Entertainment room
  2. Library
  3. Game Room

Storage

I won’t lie…We didn’t get rid of enough not to need a storage facility. Being a business owner, I have files coming out of every crevice that the IRS won’t let me get rid of. Since we needed a storage area anyway, we decided to keep the art that we love and rotate it seasonally. That way, we always have something new and fun to hang on our walls that will bring joy continually throughout the year. We are also able to keep our seasonal items to have something to look forward to around the holidays. We are lucky to have full-service or valet storage in New York. The facility comes to us, itemizes our boxes, and takes them to storage. Then, with the click of an app, I can have them bring a few boxes of my choosing back to me at any time. Maximizing space all the way around!

Tiny Living and Marie Kondo – Not Such Bad Ideas!

I never thought the “Tiny Home” idea would work for us. Wouldn’t it just bring new, albeit different, problems? But, honestly, the freedom of knowing where things are, the simplicity gained by limiting our options, and the space saving “upscaling” that we’ve done for ourselves, has made this possibly our most comfortable home yet!

We know it’s not for everyone, but for us, for now, we’re loving it. I’ll keep you posted as we continue to settle-in and discover what we’re missing. 😉

And, when we’re not working on the apartment, we’re enjoying the city! This past weekend was Domino Park and Smorgasburg! 😋

Here’s to you and yours – We’ll see you out there!

Cheers,

Noah and Majhon

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