As urban areas become more crowded and expensive, studio apartments are an increasingly popular choice for young professionals, singles, and people who just like to live a streamlined life.
But if you’re used to more space, for example living in a 3-bedroom apartment in Milwaukee, Wisconsin rather than a tiny condo in Toronto or Vancouver, it can be hard to fit all your belongings into a space only slightly larger than your college dorm room. That’s why we’ve put together this handy list of four downsizing tips to make your studio move as painless and efficient as possible.
Get Rid of Clothes
You don’t have to go fully minimalist just because you’re moving into a studio. But small spaces mean less closet storage, and there’s no better time to evaluate all of your belongings than when you’re already digging them out to pack them up. If you haven’t worn that pair of shoes in more than a year, or if you’ve never actually used that extra set of sheets, don’t go through the hassle of packing and moving them in hopes that “maybe this year!” you’ll get around to it. Instead, donate or sell things you don’t use. By paring down your unused or excessive possessions, you’ll have fewer boxes to buy and to move, plus you can get a boost for the donation on your next tax returns.
A few good resources for donations: Goodwill, Soles 4 Souls, and Dress for Success.
One thing your studio space REALLY doesn’t need, unless you’re an aspiring film-maker or archivist, is a big stack of DVDs. And if you’ve embraced the streaming revolution, the same thing goes for boxes of CDs, tapes, or any other outdated data storage facility. [We’ll let the vinyl resurgence off the hook.] Instead, why not donate those old seasons of The West Wing, and those (hopefully unscratched) copies of Tha Carter III, to a local shelter or Goodwill? Other, more specialized programs — like DVDs for Vets and Books 4 Cause — also accept entertainment and media.
Multi-Purpose Furniture is Key
In a large apartment, you can divide rooms by purpose: The dining room is for dining, the bedroom is for sleeping, the living room is for lounging on the couch in your pajamas eating mac-and-cheese while watching old episodes of Scandalon Netflix. But in a studio, nearly every room is multi-purpose — your living room and kitchen might be enclosed by the same four walls. Your furniture should reflect that multi-purpose ethos. Consider a couch that can also convert into a bed, or a small table with leaves that allow it to work as a desk or expand to accommodate a dinner party. Bookshelves are a great way to add more surface area while also using vertical space — use them to hold not only your favourite novels, but also stereo equipment and small decorations.
Consider a Storage Unit
How often do you re-read Middlemarch? Even if you can’t bear to part with your eight-track collection, how often do you listen to the tapes? Renting a storage unit will allow you to keep your clutter without crowding your living space. In a studio, a single object can really change a room. So simply switching objects — small furniture, decor, even books — from your storage unit to your apartment can totally re-make your space.