A big house with a wrap-around porch and a white picket fence may have been the American dream home at some point, but recently, the ideal (and realistic) living space has shifted drastically. In 2018, the average size of a newly-built apartment was 941 square feet - roughly 5 percent smaller than just 10 years ago. Studio dwellers have even more challenges; their small spaces have shrunk by ten percent in the same time frame.
Millennials are increasingly living small, but with a bit of creativity, you can use that limited space more effectively. We’re sharing a complete guide below to small apartments, compact living and minimalism, giving you the power to make more room to do the things you love.
Get sticky with Sugru
Sugru is a handy little substance. It’s pliable - a bit like PlayDough - but it’s also a strong adhesive that can attach to a surface without any additional chemicals. And most importantly, once in place, it stays put. If you’re looking for more efficient use of your limited space, Sugru is your friend — even if you don’t know it yet.
One handy hack is to stick a few blobs to the underside of one of your kitchen cabinets, and before it sets, insert a few hooks. This makes a handy DIY key holder. You can also use Sugru to make an improvised cable tidy, stealthily stashing unsightly cables out of reach.
You can also increase your storage space by using both sides of a shelf. Install jars with lids under any shelves you have in your living room, bedroom, kitchen or bathroom by simply attaching the lids to the bottom of the shelf using Sugru. Fill the jars with anything you need to store, then twist the jar back into place – an easy way to make use of space that otherwise would have been wasted!
Declutter with Decluttr
Millennials have been blamed for killing every industry from groceries to diamonds, but what’s become clear is that they want less stuff. But it’s only human to get caught in the cycle of buying new things we don’t need, and we’re loath to get rid of it even when it’s actively consuming our meager living environment. Those DVDs you bought in 2009? You haven’t watched them in years. Those dusty encyclopedias weighing down your bookcase? You’ve got a Kindle. That iPhone 6 stashed in a drawer? You’re probably never going to use it again. Enter Decluttr.
Decluttr lets you sell your old tech, books, games, DVDs, CDs and Lego (really) from the comfort of your home. You just simply scan or type the barcode for each item, and Decluttr will send you a shipping label. Once they receive the item, Decluttr will send you a check or electronically transfer the funds to your PayPal or checking account. You won’t make millions for your old junk, but think of it as a bonus, with the real goal being to make more space.
Embrace Facebook Marketplace
Remember that ice cream maker you bought last Black Friday? And how you haven’t opened it since you discovered it takes the best part of a day to make ice cream from scratch? Or when you went to France and fell in love with the local crepes, only to buy a crepe machine upon your return which similarly has gathered dust since?
All of those items clog up your limited space, but ditching them is easy. Head to Facebook Marketplace and list them for sale among your local community. You can make some easy money, and at the same time, get rid of some junk. If you decide to embark upon this well-trodden route, make sure you take some sensible safety precautions. If meeting up with a potential buyer, make sure someone knows where you are, and you’re in a public space.
Incorporate storage into furniture
This is a longer-term project, but if you’re trying to optimize your storage, consider thinking about how you can incorporate it into your everyday household items. For example, if you’re looking to get a new bed, consider investing in a divan bed, which includes space underneath for things like towels and clean bedsheets. Similarly, you can find coffee tables, sofas and bedside tables with storage built right in.
While this isn’t necessarily cheap, and it takes some thought and investment, think of it as a long-term aspirational goal.
Tackle those documents
Paper dominates our lives, and oftentimes, our entire identity and history is reduced to random scraps piled haphazardly in a drawer somewhere. But do you actually need it all?
Sure, your birth certificate and social security cards are really important and you should hang onto those in a safe spot. But do you need your 9th grade progress report? Do you need all your pay slips? Is it really worth hanging onto that invoice from 2015?
The good news is that you can easily digitize these documents, allowing you to destroy the paper originals with a clear conscience. The sleek and easy Fujitsu ScanSnap iX100 makes this process ridiculous easy, allowing users to wirelessly scan receipts, worksheets, cards - you name it - directly to a laptop, smartphone or tablet. The device is compact and will take up limited real estate in your space.
Living in a small place can force you to be creative with space saving tips and tricks. What was your favorite idea on this list? Let us know which ones you plan to try out!