You have moved to the big city, found the perfect apartment, carried 3 suitcases full of your most worldly possessions up 5 flights of stairs (oh…really only me?) and now comes the time to start unpacking.
Shit, New York apartments really are small!
For a big city, everything is very compact and tiny apartments are the norm in New York City. If you are lucky you will see a couple of savvy space saving ideas while apartment hunting, but a more likely scenario is ‘charming cupboards’ filled to the brim with clutter and mess.
These are a few strategies I have implemented to avoid feeling like Alice in Wonderland stuck in a house.
Clear the clutter
The less you have, the easier it is to keep the whole apartment clean in the long run. Whenever I move, I always unpack straight away. Suitcases sprawled out on the floor can not only cause a lot of physical pain, but mental pain as it sits there taunting you like it knows how much you hate unpacking it. While unpacking, I try and put away the most important items first so they have prime position. This way if you run out of space you can put the less important items away (or to Goodwill). Everything should have its own place that is easily accessible and cleared from other objects.
Slim line hangers
Unlike Carrie Bradshaw, I like to cook at home so storing sweaters in my oven is an unrealistic approach.
These hangers are both functional and aesthetically appealing. The non-slip material means no more piles of clothes at the bottom of the wardrobe while the slim line shape increases closet space.
And hey, they look pretty fancy too for a small fortune at Bed, Bath and Beyond.
Plastic bag play
I know it sounds bizarre to fold plastic, but I hate throwing bags away when I know I could reuse them. And yes, many of you may think I am a little OCD, but if and when you do it you will see how amazing it is not to have plastic bags busting out of cupboards all the time. It takes all of 30 seconds.
Kitchen is an ambiguous term in New York City; it often means a wall with a sink, stove and fridge within the main room. Our first sublet was a 1-bedroom apartment with an all-in-one kitchen, dining and lounge room. I’ve started to wonder if the previous tenant actually ate at home because there isn’t any space to put the food, utensils or bench space for that matter.
A kitchen cart like this one from Walmart is a perfect way to not only store cooking equipment and have extra bench space, but it is also portable.
Ottoman, Empire Storage
It’s all about multifunctional furniture here in New York City. Ottomans are the kings of multifunction. Not only are they seats for guests, they can be used to store linen, blankets, books, anything really. My favorite thing to do is place an acrylic tray on top and it becomes a coffee table without being too cumbersome.
Compact Bedside Tables
If you are lucky enough to get a bedroom, chances are it wont be very big. Usually it’s the bed and only the bed that gets squished into the room. Clever innovation and improvising will go a long way if you are looking for the perfect bedside table. The best way is to put the bed under a window. You have a built in table in a windowsill. Alternatively, I think floating bedside tables are a great idea. While you may not to be able to drill in a leased apartment there are also a bunch of other ways to utilize the space.
Thou shalt not buy a futon, ever.
You may as well sleep on concrete than sleep on a futon. They are bulky, heavy and beyond uncomfortable. For a couple more pennies, you can buy a fantastic sofa bed that provides storage and a double bed like this Ikea Manstad Corner Sofa Bed