Cozy and Compact: Maximizing Space for Young Tenants

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It’s an exciting time when a younger person or student gets their own space; they want to cram in all their ‘stuff’ into what might be a tiny one-person apartment or a room in a shared house, but anyone who has lived away from home for any length of time knows a lot can be done with a bit of imagination and plenty of storage.

Making Space 

When scouring apartment rental agency ads for rentals, there are a couple of things to remember: closet space. Does the accommodation have built-in closet space? Generally, properties for rent come with enough space to store your clothes, but do they have a desk? Or a table you can turn into a desk. If not, we have suggestions to help turn your living space into a practical work-life balance oasis.

If you dislike Ikea, run for the hills because the fall is a major student furniture solution period at Ikea, Home Goods, Target, and online Scandi-style furniture store Froy. All of these stores offer great solutions for cozy living. However, with a few tips, living in a small space is possible without splashing the cash.

De-Clutter Regularly

Before moving into new accommodation, go through your possessions and de-clutter items — be ruthless, and get rid of anything you have not used, worn, or looked at in the last year. You have gone through four seasons with that bright pink biker jacket and never wore it, so off to Goodwill or sell it on eBay.

The same goes for all those fashion magazines you bought in Europe on that expedition to London, Paris, and Milan Fashion Week. These days, the best magazines are online. The same is true for all those books you bought and never read. 

Go minimalist with pots and pans — you need a wok, omelet pan, deep saucepan, and an oven dish, and that’s it. Give the fish kettle away, throw out the waffle maker, dispense with the juicer, and resist the urge to buy a deep-fat fryer — the multi-purpose air fryer is your friend. Save space and your sanity while you can.

If you’re adding shelving, do it at a high level and store things you don’t always use in baskets. Because the items are above your eye line, your room or living space won’t appear cluttered, but the answer to all of this lies in de-cluttering in the first instance. Just ask Marie Kondo, a Japanese author and organizer convinced that organization is self-care.

Get Techy

Your tech gadgets are another area where most people go minimalist to maximize their space. You don’t need a TV, monitor, game console, WIFI box, and laptop. You can combine all your tech in one place. Connecting your laptop to a large TV monitor means you can work from home without straining your eyes or taking up too much valuable space. There are a few ways to do it, and the most basic form is through an HDMI cable or cable-free wireless; HDMI will do the same thing without the wires. However, wireless HDMI has too much lag and doesn’t support 4K, so gaming is out of the question — stick to wires if gaming is important to you.

With all that in mind, the answer has to be to do it all through your PS4 onto your TV screen. The PS4 will allow you to watch Blu-Ray DVDs or, even better, stream movies and TV shows through Netflix or Prime and, of course, gaming. While you can condense your tech, it’s also a great idea to contain your noise, so please remember your ear-pods or headphones, as your flatmates may not like Tom and Jerry or re-runs of The Office as much as you do.

Aim for Compact and Bijou

A bijou item is delicate or elegant but sturdy and does not easily yield to pressure. Compact bijou furniture is a growing trend, creating a cozy, quaint, economical, and efficient space. It’s these types of dual-use items you need in a small space.

For instance, a tray table with storage underneath. A laptop tray that doubles up as a table for breakfast in bed. Some other valuable items can simultaneously make a small space cozy but tidy:

  1. Storage baskets.
  2. Folding tables and chairs.
  3. Stackable boxes for additional storage. 
  4. A tall, thin, freestanding bookcase that goes up to the ceiling.
  5. A jumper or wide-space fabric storage hanger for the closet.
  6. A fabric shoe hanger and a plastic bathroom toiletries tidy.

So, back to Ikea, we go. Think, out of sight is out of mind, no matter what anyone else says — if you can’t see it, you won’t worry about it.

Must-Have Solutions for Small Spaces 

Use the back of every door. Often considered unusable space, the return of an entry (kitchen cabinet or entrance to your room) offers prime storage space while having the benefit of hiding what you’re storing. You can buy over-door hangers and storage solutions to attach to the back of your doors (with permission) at any Home Depo-style outlet. If you’re bringing your bed from your previous digs, make sure it has storage by way of a lift-up mattress with storage space in the base or an area under the frame where you can use pull-out drawers on castors.

A small space is a blessing because it means you can only have what you need; for those of us adverse to things that gather dust, it’s a revelation. Sometimes, the best things come in the smallest packages. 

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