As we said back in 2015 when we originally published this article (and it still holds true), small apartments are a pain, but they are also a common necessity for life in a big city. With rents skyrocketing faster than wages, sometimes we have to settle for smaller accomodations. Of course, this doesn’t mean we can’t continue to enjoy ourselves as we would in a regular, large apartment. We’ve put together a couple of tips to make living in a smaller, compact apartment a breeze, even if you have a mentality that is larger than life 🙂
Counter Top Dishwashers
I swear, I didn’t even know these things existed 2 years ago, when I first saw it at my Aunt’s apartment. After spending nearly 8 years in a dish-washer free apartment, I forget dishwashers for even a thing. I was so used to doing my own dishes that I was resigned to the fact that an appliance couldn’t help me. When I saw the mini-dishwasher I was amazed. What the hell? This thing is so clutch, it fits right on the counter top and can fit a decent set of plates and glasses (the manual says it serves a set of 4).
The downside is that it can’t really do big pots and pans, those will have to be done by hand. That’s ok though, as long as you get some use out of the thing, and save yourself the time of washing dishes manually. It’s a steal at around $250. I would highly recommend it.
I’ve only had mine for 2 years, but my Aunt has had hers for nearly 5 years and she says it still works like a charm.
PROTIP: Get commercial grade dish detergent if you can (with phosphates). I found mine at www.restockit.com. I got a package of 6 and it’s going to last me until I get old.
Stackable Washer Dryer Sets
This is another key innovation that I didn’t even realize was a thing. Of course, of washer/dryers you need a water hookup and a gas hookup, and some apartments don’t have that, but if you can finagle it (or if you rent out the first floor of a house) you can hook up one of these bad boys in a closet or tuck it away in a corner. I did some research about this a few months back and came across a good source of information, Stackable Washer & Dryer is a blog devoted specifically (see link below) to stacked washer and dryer units, and has over 20 write-ups of various models. If you can get one with free shipping, I’d recommend it, as the shipping on these things can cost you over $100.
Obviously, as with most things in a compact space, you are going to have less capacity for clothes in both the washer and the dryer. I would recommend taking it easy and doing more loads with fewer clothes, rather then jamming it with a ton of heavy clothes at once. You don’t want to have to get it repaired. I never listened to my grandmother when she asked me to do the same, but now that it’s me paying the repair bills, I tend to have a different mind set.
The conversation around small apartment living wouldn’t be complete without a mention of Ikea. It’s likely the king of fitting things into small spaces. Coming from countries where (unlike America) land isn’t as plentiful, the culture is usually to fit a ton of stuff into a smaller space. Places like college dorms, Japanese apartments and broke-hipsterville Brooklyn studios will make for perfect places to put some Ikea stuff.
Also, if you’ve never traveled to Ikea and tried shopping there on a sunday afternoon, you don’t know what hell is. Go on a tuesday night to avoid the massive crowd of parent and their gross children.