With the population continuing to migrate to Los Angeles, and rental increase hiking up every few months, it’s easy to feel like you’re missing out on a lot of space. But how can we feel like we’re living in a spacious paradise instead of cramped quarters? Opting for a small apartment can be much more fun and reasonable than you might think at first glance!
Take it from me: when I quit my full-time live in nanny job a few years ago, I was freaking out. I mean I was in a PANIC! I had no idea where I was going to live. It wasn’t until two of my nearest and dearest girlfriends offered for me to come crash in their little one-bedder in central Hollywood. Now, we had previously spent a month or two with four of us shoved into a small Silverlake studio, so we were definitely familiar and comfortable with each other! Besides, we were in our early 20’s, so, you know -- who gives a shit about space when you’re that age? I moved a whole lotta stuff into the storage unit I had rented, and somehow hoisted the rest of my “necessities” (I really could have downsized, here) into the back of my Jeep. Keep in mind, the two girls I was moving in with were both super creative, innovative, and inventive - so the apartment they had recently moved into was filled with projects and inspiring DIY’s everywhere. We realized that the walk-in closet (as far as apartments go, this one is a unicorn for the amount of closet space spared) was empty enough for me to move into.
Yeah. I know what you’re thinking - I heard those thoughts: A closet?! Yes! A freaking closet. I had to make do, so I decided (before I arrived) that it was going to be an adventure, and I felt gracious and lucky enough to be able to move in, so any of that picky judgy shit didn’t have any room to even breathe or manifest --- I was EXCITED. Seriously. I was pumped. I couldn’t wait to basically have 24/7 slumber parties with two of my best friends. And that closet I mentioned essentially became the “Harry Potter Nook”, equipped with fairy lights, airy white curtains bolstered around the ceiling, walls filled with my treasure-trove of beloved clothing, and my mattress squeezed right through the door and had the perfect amount of breathing room to fit. I’m not kidding.
As soon as we decked it out and my Cat nestled in, they were both like, “OMG! I want to sleep in here!” And it was the best nights sleep of my life, every night - because it was pitch black and ultra-quiet, which are two things you can pretty much eliminate in 90% of LA apartments. Several nights a week we would all snuggle in and watch old movies like Butch Cassidy or Sabrina, feeling lucky to be surrounded by love and support and creativity and living our own dreams collectively in Hollywoodland. It was amazing. After we set up “The Nook”, we continued with more projects - like painting the bathroom fixtures, decorating the kitchen, hunting for flea-market gems, and we even found a set of antique white wooden doors that we hinged to the living room floor to create a separate “bedroom space” for Katherine. It was seriously the greatest time of my life. I have so many happy, fun memories of when I lived in that little nook - one of which includes the time I fell in love. Yes, I fell in love in a closet. And now that it’s just me and my man living in this “big old apartment”, each time I go into the walk-in, I take a moment to look around and fill myself with gratitude for it. That closet changed my life. (Need I say that it was also the mentality and energy I chose to focus on, too?) Besides - now that I am where I am, I know that later in life as I opt for and can afford larger spaces, I’ll look back and reminisce, and appreciate what I have so much more. It’s all about perspective.
So besides my own personal experience, here are a few reasons I’ve sourced up for why living in small quarters ain’t so bad:
For starters, it’s cozy. Which means you don’t need to spend as much money paying for furniture and stuff to shove inside of it so that you can get that “cozy homey” feel in a much larger square footage. *Bonus to coziness is when fall and winter roll around - throwing in some extra blankets and pillows really make you feel AT HOME! Bonus to the Bonus: you can buy one candle and it’ll fill the entire space.
Secondly, it’s easy to clean. Sure, you may have purchased more bookshelves and wall shelves to put your assorted books, plants and crystal collections on, but overall - when you have to “speed clean” because you’re taking a date home, or your parents sprung a surprise trip on you, it literally is a speed clean.
Third, you’ll take better care of what you have. Anything that’s out of place or starting to wear-down, you’ll notice much faster and feel a sense of home-pride to take care of and tend to. Not only furniture, but washing dishes, putting clothes away (yes, we all know that chair that gets toppled over each week when you throw your pants off after work), watering the plants, the list goes on. Otherwise your place will be a disaster, so it forces you to be more responsible, caring, and conscious of your surroundings.
Next, you will love entertaining people just as much as you would with a mansion. OK - yeah, the mansion would be ideal. But what’s the rush? The amount of times we’ve invited friends over to hang on the roof (yep, cheap rent and small space also sometimes comes with a killer rooftop view of the entire city) and drink some wine, play board games, watch movies, and it feels more intimate and casual than putting in so much money and time and effort that I’ve seen friends and family members run around doing before they have “company”. Regardless if you have seating for a couple people or you load up on floor cushions (they sell these at Urban Outfitters or World Market), it’s easier for your friends to feel at home and it’s a more lively environment.
Finally, and again, it’ll save you money. Of course you’ll be spending less for rent and utilities, but it forces you to recognize spending habits by wondering “Do I actually have space for that?” which makes you question if you really love, want, and need it. I’ve noticed I am much more mindful in the planning of what a room or space will look like, what artwork I invest in, what furniture pieces make sense, and how to lay out the Feng Shui so that there isn’t any stagnant energy in the apartment. So this *should* result in you having less things than you ordinarily would, and then the value you place on those things goes up. WIN-WIN!