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Saturday, May 15, 2010

How to Live in a Small Space

I live comfortably in 150 square feet. All my needs are met, the only reason I would want more space is to entertain and horde stuff. I realize that Vancouver as a city has space limitations for housing but just because the wealthy of the world wish to live here doesn't mean we can't make space for the average or disenfranchised citizens. There is no excuse for the amount of homelessness that exists here. They are spending millions everyday on the downtown east side and that is just to maintain it as it is. What if that money was spent building mini apartments with social services on the ground floor. What if people had their dignity, some privacy and safety in their lives? What if the cost of a roof over your head didn't cost you more than half of your wages? What kind of quaility of life would you/could you have then?

 Today I am going to take you on a personal and close-up tour of my living quarters to show you how one person can exist in comfort and style in a 15x10 foot space.

This picture pretty much sums up the main room. There is a single bed with a collapsable TV tray holding my laptop beside it. In front of that is the sink and counter that comprises my kitchen space. At the end of the bed I have an old kitchen cupboard that holds dishes,pots and pans and the TV on top. The exit is just to the right of the cupboard.

This is the view from the door looking into the room. The door beside the bed leads to a hallway which goes upstairs. I use the washroom upstairs but have included its dimensions in my 150 square foot space. I have a 5x5 foot closet beside the head of the bed. Ideally I would have the 5x5 foot bathroom just off the foot of the bed. That is enough room for a corner shower, toilet and sink. if I didn't have the doorway to get upstairs to deal with, I would have turned my bed sideways and made it a bunkbed with a couch underneath. This would have given me more floor space.

The chair beside the bed can be used to sit in front of the tv tray for meals or as a bedside table. I have it there as I have a bad neck and use a traction device over the doorway while sitting in the chair. I usually hang a plastic bag off the doorknob to use as a garbadge bag.
This is the wall to the left of the bed. It holds a small dresser with my favorite lamp and a large fountain. The curtain beside it is the door to my closet.

Here are some closeups of the kitchen setup. I have a 2 burner stovetop with a spice shelf in the windowsill

Beside that to the right is my water cooler which produces cold and hot water which saves me from storing water in the fridge and using the stove to boil water for tea.
Stuffed in the corner beside the water cooler is a number of things. My blender,a pot with cooking utensils, the silver container is a water alkalinizer, the pink container is my hot liquid take out cup. There is a small flask in case I want a nip of Grand Marnier, a glass water jug, and a red candle holder.
The cutting board and my porceline two dish server stay on top of the stove when it is not in use. This gives me a bit of counter space to play with.
I also have a microwave and a convection toaster oven. That oven has cooked roast dinners, cakes and cookies and all manner of appetizers.
The microwave doubles as a bread box

Under the countertop is my mini fridge with my shopping list

Beside the fridge is a set of wire shelves that hold my food. The bottom row has pasta,rice,potatoes,canned soup. The middle row is mostly canned goods, glass jars with hot cereal,raisens,pancake mix.oils.The top shelf is smaller jars of stuff, crackers,cookies.
Beside the shelves is my heater which keeps the room toasty on a very low setting. My cats food dishes also live down here along with the internet router.
The fridge and shelving. I keep a hot water bottle handy on top of the fridge and an ice pack in the freezer. These two items are an important part of my life as I use them frequently to control pain.
This is what's under my kitchen sink. The left side is extra paper towel, dish soap,candles and cleaning supplies.
The right side is extra kitchen appliances that don't get used everyday. My George Foreman grill, a microwave popcorn maker, my blender, a small rice cooker and usually a toaster which I removed for the picture.
A small mirror that sticks to the toaster oven with magnets allows me to give my appearance a quick check on my way out and gives me some elbow space if I want to fuss with straightning my hair
At the end of the counter I have a small stereo
The kitchen cupboard has two small drawers on top, one holds silver ware and small cooking utensils , the other is the "junk drawer" holding odds and sods, things like scotch tape,extra keys.
Below the cutlery drawer is a shelf for the dishes and tupperware
The middle shelves hold oven mitts,bags of chips, cups and glasses and a basket at the bottom to hold receipts.
The shelves under the junk drawer hold the pots and pans
At the bottom there is a long drawer which holds all the wax paper,tinfoil etc and more odds and ends
In front of the TV I have a few small sculptures which remind to stop and slow down and find the beauty in life
Behind the TV, I have used the windowsill as a bookshelf
A few personal decorations
Beside the dresser is a cat scratch stand, my umbrella and a bag with my gear for my scooter and bicycle
Now we move into the closet.
The small cabinet on top holds essential oils, the larger shelves hold all my beauty products, vitamins,first aid stuff
Just as you walk in on the right is a wire shelf with my wireless printer/scanner with shoes stored underneath. Beside that to the left is a plastic box I store the cat food in with a small garbadge can on top. A large mirror stands beside them.

On the opposite wall is a wicker shelf for clothing. At the present I have a freestanding clothes rack in the hallway but if I did not have that space, I would put a rod above the printer to hang clothes. There is enough space to put a stacking washer/dryer beside the wicker shelf if I had the hookups in place. Right now that space holds my dirty laundy bag which sits on top of a container full of craft supplies. I could have got a box that goes under the bed for them if I needed that space.
So there you have it. It's not a huge space but I can sleep, relax, work on my computer, charge up my cell phone, watch TV, cook healthy meals, get washed and dressed, read a book, have a pet and work on small crafts. Anything more is just excess baggage. In a perfect world, I would have a full size fridge, a small deep freeze and a workshop with all my tools and craft supplies at hand, but those are bonus items not impossible to live without. I'm lucky to have a beautiful garden just outside my door so I spend quite a bit of time outside weather permitting. I could entertain people out there quite comfortably if I so desired. It doesn't take me too long to do my housework, I can reach everything from my bed and best of all the rent is cheap. In a town where rents range from 1-5,000 thousand dollars a month, that is a huge thing. I would rather spend my money on a lifestyle than on rent. I hope someday to have my dream home, the perfect little cottage. Until then, I am quite comfortable in my small space.
This post is linked to Cindy's Show and Tell Friday

and A Silly Little Sparrows, Toot Your Horn Tuesday

I'm also visiting:

 Tip Junkies, Tip Me Tueday


  1. Hi Rhianna,
    Thanks for commenting on my tiered server, I did see where someone revamped one like I have. I actually had every intention of painting that server when I got it, but I have a backslash in my kitchen that looks like old ceiling tin and it looked really good with it, so I opted not to paint it. I did like the one on My Romantic Home though, it was nice. Your two tier is very pretty and great for spacesaving on the counter! :) Your little apartment if very quaint and looks comfortable. I have three kids and a hubby, so I don't think there's any way we could get away with a small space, but you've done great things with yours! :)
    Have a great weekend

  2. You have skills, lady! Here's to small space living! Brock teases me as I'm often remarking "I could live there" as we drive by little sheds, gardens, tiny outbuildings. I'm always thinking of how to optimize my spaces ~ you are a kindred spirit in that regard!

  3. Your right about needing space. We don't need space, we want it. You have certainly used every inch of your space!!!

  4. You have used your imagination and creativity to decorate your space beautifully! I am amazed at how ordered and neat everything is. You are amazing!

    Best wishes,

  5. What a wonderful post...We here in the US could certainly take a lesson from you. Your space is remarkable, I am impressed.

  6. Wow! I'm impressed! What a cute cottage! I'd love to see some photos of the gardens. I will be exploring more of your blog!

  7. This shows you what's possible in a tiny space. Great use of every little bit of space and it looks great. There's a life lesson in here some where. Thanks for giving us a peak into your home.

  8. The reality is that the bulk of our housing is being bought up by foreign interests as for them, Canada is a pretty stable and a relatively safe place to stash their investments. Of course there are many countries in the world that forbid foreign ownership, like the Cook Islands for example. But the reality is that won't happen as all the "Haves" would loose a substantial amount of their equity. God forbid those who already "have" get taken down a peg or two. Tis better to keep the rest of us as their indentured servants to the system. It's the new fascism of the world in which we now live.

  9. Being a 'lover' of 'small' spaces I so admire all you have accomplished ! What an inspiration to 'all' of us ! I totally agree with your opening comments on the 'homeless' and how we could improve their lifestyle with dignity and support. I've been with out a place of my own ... on and off these odd 67 yrs of life. I recently purchased ( for a whopping $600 :) a small RV fully furnished which I will remodel similiar to your little room. The selling point was the outside deck.. leading to an 'huge open wooded back yrd' I could not pass that up. I love living
    'outside' rather than in, so the challange will be to make MORE use of the 'outdoor' space than the little RV !
    May all YOUR DREAMS come true !

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