The art of living in a small space: How to build your own tiny coziness as a couple
Have you ever wondered how people can live comfortably in a small space? Here is what one couple learned after traveling in a world of small space living, and how they learned to embrace tiny coziness.
I’m kind of happy that Marie Kondo turned out to be such a hit with her obsessive decluttering. While her attitude is a little bit over the top for us, she sends an important message across: A lot of us have slowly become shameless hoarders.
Yes, hoarders! We have grown accustomed to surrounding ourselves with endless possessions that oftentimes do not impact our quality of life whatsoever.
I didn’t realize to what extent Kate and I had also fallen victim to this worship of materialism. Our travels across the world helped us explore a new, more minimalistic side of life.
During our journey across continents, we’d often stay in tiny one-room apartments for weeks. Why? Well, in some countries like Japan or South Korea you don’t really have much choice. 330 square feet (or around 32 square meters) can be considered luxury for many!
Tips for living in a small space
Here are a few tips we learned from the process of identifying the tiny spaces that ‘clicked’ with us and learning how to adapt to their limitations…as a couple. As we mention on our blog Cozystream, coziness is the most important thing for us. In some cases, reaching an acceptable level of coziness was pretty challenging!
Organized, bigger furniture is better than dispersed pieces
It feels intuitive: you have a small space, so it’d be better to ‘break it’ into smaller pieces of furniture. This line of thinking might not always be true, though.
Contrary to our perceptions about Japanese homes being ‘minimalistic’, we found out they were crazily fragmented. There were dozens upon dozens of pieces of small furniture. You might call this flexible, but in truth it was just overwhelming to our senses.
Bigger, more organized pieces of furniture will always be better since it decreases your visual clutter. After a not-so-pleasant stay in a ‘fragmented’ small space, we opted for massive furniture layouts after that.
As long as it is positioned properly, a functional piece of big furniture will be easier on your eyes and perceptions than endless smaller ones.
Keeping everything neat and tidy is even more important
A chaotic corner in a 1500 square foot place is one thing; however, cluttered areas in a small one-room apartment are hell.
We were surprised to see how much the atmosphere of the room changed even just by neatly making our bed. It was a completely different story!
Don’t be fooled by the deceptive tiny appearance of such rooms. This means that you can never be lenient about keeping things orderly! As always, play by the rules and make sure you split the chores and housework with your significant other to avoid frustrations.
Go for the ‘Zone’ strategy
We read that a lot of people referred to the zone strategy, and we felt the need for creating zones really, really badly!
You can’t afford the luxury of separate rooms and clear visual demarcations when you live in a small space. It is up to you to set more delicate boundaries, and it might seem like a futile task on the surface.
Two weeks in, and Kate and I fully realized that we have to establish clear zones in our tiny place in South Korea. In our case, we had a ‘digital zone’ – for the laptop, tablets and smartphones; a ‘purifying/distraction-free zone’ for meditation and similar small chunks of space.
It really helped us in the sense of conceptualizing our limited environment in a way that would not make us feel pressured and stressed. It was like a LEGO of sorts – the zones are different pieces with their distinctive area/forms – and they click together to form the whole.
Remember to give each other space
You have to give each other space no matter where you’re living or in what environment. Having your own personal space and being able to return to it in your daily life is a must. Don’t deny your partner their personal space. That never ends well.
Tiny can be pretty tough. Anxiety and feeling ‘suffocated’ by your partner’s presence pop up ridiculously easy in limited spaces.
Sure, going out is a way to take a breather, but everyone wants their own small spot at home. In this sense, think of the ‘zones’ I spoke about, and make sure that both you and your partner have a zone for yourself – and respect it!
What about you?
Have you lived in a small space with your significant other? Or maybe alone? In both cases there are probably some things that made it easier for you to adapt to your environment.
If you have any additional tips, please share them with us in the comments below!