How to Live In Less Than 500 Square Feet

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There are many benefits to living in a small space.  In my post a few months ago on How Much Space do You Really Need, I decided that I didn't want to spend so much money on a new place to live for bigger space.  Now, I know that most people would be shocked at living in a place so small, but there are numerous benefits to living in a small space.

Here are some of the benefits:

  • Better for the environment (less space, less consumption)
  • You're forced to be organized
  • You're forced to de-clutter your life
  • Less space to keep clean
  • Cheaper
  • Usually (for the most part) more central in the city
  • Therefore you can bike to places instead of using the gas guzzler car
  • Less to  maintain

I wanted to see how challenging it was to living in less than 500 square feet so I decided to take the plunge and got myself a little condo that is 450 square feet that I can rent out later if/once I find a partner.

As mentioned in the earlier post, there are lots of companies that make furniture that really maximizes the space you have.  For example, resource furniture makes bed/desk combos and bed/sofa combos that are super pricey (think $5000) but also super amazing.

As a lover or organizer and a hater of chaos (except my life is a bit chaotic right now), I like to know where things are kept and if I had things my way, I would have everything organized and colour coordinated.  Except that Murphy's Law dictates that things will just end up getting messy.  However, I think if I had really good organization (e.g. think Ikea organization) that this could be done.

So here are a few things that I considered when thinking about maximizing space.

Storage, Storage, Storage

Make sure that the place has ample storage.  Instead of spreading out, think of spreading up.  Think about wasted space and think about ways you can maximize space.  Everything should have some sort of dual purpose for storage.

Bed Storage

Think about a captains bed, make sure there are drawers underneath your bed (bonus: you won't have to vacuum underneath the bed because the bed touches the ground- haha yes I am that lazy).

My favourite is the ikea Oppdal bed with the headboard.  The headboard is awesome because it doesn't take up space on the sides and there's room for you to put your night time reading material and your alarm clock.  You can also hang a nighttime reading light on the sides of the headboard.  Also, there are four drawers for storage underneath.

Pic courtesy of Western Living

Bathroom Storage

I hate wasted space, especially in the bathroom.  I do my make up in the bathroom and I don't like to reach down to open up a cabinet every time I want something.  Also, I like to store extra towels in the bathroom as well.

So, I am a big big fan of using over the toilet wall cabinets or over the toilet space savers to add more storage space.  These can range anywhere from $30 to $150 but are great for hiding clutter or keeping things (like that candle you like or the extra rolls of toilet paper).

Again, Ikea saves the day again.  I am a fan of the Molger bathroom storage ideas because the wood is treated and it is meant for high humidity and high moisture areas.  The only thing is that because it is open storage, you have to make sure that what you're putting on there doesn't look too cluttered.

Ikea Molger over the toilet storage

Dual Purpose Furniture

I am a huge fan of dual purpose furniture.  Sofa beds are amazing because they allow you to have guests over from out of town (yay more friends the merrier!).  The one I got from Mobler turns into a chaise lounge with a few clicks and also turns into a flat bed with another click.

Also, consider a coffee table that can convert to a dining table.  The one I got from Mobler was very pricey but because its dual purpose it's basically two for one in terms of cost for less space.  You can find these also online on Amazon.com.  You just need to adjust the lever and the hydraulic system (oh amazing technology lol) lifts the coffee table to a dining table in one second flat.  Amazing!

 

How to Live In Less Than 500 Square Feet

Readers – Do you have any more suggestions?

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Young is a writer and former owner of Young and Thrifty and the main "twitter' behind Young and Thrifty's twitter account. She lives in Vancouver, BC and enjoys long walks on the beach, spending time with her anxious dog, and finding good deals. If you like what you read, consider signing up for email updates.

5 Comments

  1. KK @ Student Debt Survivor on June 4, 2013 at 9:41 pm

    My mom always says the more space you have the more you’ll fill it with stuff (and I think she’s right). We have about 800sq ft. The bed in our guest room is on risers so we can put underbed boxes under it to store stuff.



  2. Leigh on June 4, 2013 at 10:19 pm

    Enjoy your condo, Young! So much less work than a single family home, isn’t it?? 🙂



  3. Young on June 11, 2013 at 10:34 pm

    @Leigh- YES. It was so stressful with a single family home!



  4. Young on June 11, 2013 at 10:35 pm

    @KK- I am really enjoying the small space so far and I think it’s perfect for me and my dog right now 🙂



  5. Alexis Marlons on June 12, 2013 at 9:42 am

    The ikea products are really amazing. I love that dual sofa/bed and coffee/table they have. You don’t just save up space, it is very stylish as well.



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