How To Make Space For Yourself When You Live In A Tiny Apartment

by David Adams

Your parents weren't kidding when they said it's expensive to be an adult.

According to a report by Harvard's Joint Center for Housing Studies, the median rent for students in the area rose 70 percent in 2015.

This means a typical renter would need to make $55,000 a year in order to afford the average $1,381 per month in rent. And this is just one city -- and it's not even in the most expensive in the United States.

For many Millennials taking low-paying, entry-level jobs, such elevated housing costs means bigger isn't always better.

According to CBS, more than 26 percent of working-class Americans spend more than 50 percent of their income on rent, which doesn't leave much room for food and other essentials.

Even worse, the recent trend in higher-income earners making the decision to rent has led to developers focusing on luxury apartments — leaving Millennials and lower-income householders to fight over the limited stock of affordable housing.

A joint survey conducted by and Princeton Survey Research Associates International found that 23 percent of people surveyed would cut spending in other areas to cover the costs.

Although cutting spending on restaurants and eating out was the most popular response, a new trend of living is showing promising savings for renters.

Renting microapartments is the latest trend sweeping the nation. In New York, where renters are faced with a range of $2,650 to $3,150 for studios to one bedrooms, tiny apartments are asking only $1,500.

Less space is easier to swallow when you're saving so much on rent!

Tiny homes and apartments range in all sorts of sizes, from as small as 100 square feet to as “large” as 400; creative thinking is a necessity in order to adopt limited storage and living spaces.

Even if you aren't stuffed into a small space, you can take away valuable lessons from tiny dwellers to overcome your own challenges with apartment living.

Learning how to store items effectively in a microapartment versus a luxury apartment is quite the game of Tetris. Gone are the big closets and ample storage space to which you might be accustomed.

Here's how to make the most of the big change to smaller living:

Budget with space in mind.

The why: Limited space means long-term storage on-site is out of the question. Several heavy winter coats gobble up plenty of precious real estate from more frequently worn clothes.

Learning to organize effectively not only saves space, but also teaches you to cut down on wasteful spending. The key to both is to prioritize utility over uselessness.

The how: Once you've sorted and stored everything properly, begin shopping with more intention.

Spending money on countless shoes or decorative mugs and glasses will eliminate space for the items that have value — like cereal, baking essentials and clothes you actually wear.

Keep calm, not claustrophobic.

The why: For the claustrophobic types, incorporating effective storage will give you more breathing room and peace of mind.

Of course, more space might beget more clutter, so focus on optimizing for breathing room. This will keep your apartment from feeling like a storage unit and more like a roomy dwelling place.

The how: Storage solutions aren't limited to clear plastic bins and tubs. IKEA has clever storage solutions designed to hide within existing furniture.

Neat freaks rejoice: Decluttering comes with the added benefit of style and taste. Go one step further, and think of your small appliances as decorative accessories. Storage and style can easily go hand in hand.

Raise the roof. Literally.

The why: Hosting a party? Clever folding tables and stacking chairs are a great choice for entertaining. They provide plenty of seating when needed without feeling like you're living in a storage closet six days a week.

Additionally, learning how to store foodstuffs and drink items means more friends — and fewer grocery trips.

The how: Just like Ender from “Ender's Game,” the key to any challenge is to change your frame of reference. Instead of trying to organize on a horizontal plane, change your frame of reference and “raise the roof” by organizing on a vertical plane.

Your walls are a goldmine of untapped potential; stacking vertically requires only a square foot or two on the ground but will add 6 to 12 square feet going up.

If you're budget-crunched, consider making the move to smaller pastures. Tiny homes and microapartments may not be for everyone, but the techniques associated with such simple living can save your paycheck from disappearing.

Maybe that way you won't need to live in your parents' basement after all.