Friday, May 18, 2007

Thoughts on a Small Space

This morning, as I woke up on my Murphy bed at 6:05 AM (then again at 6:15 AM), I pondered the wonder that it is that I can live in a 460 sqft condo. I immediately began my Friday morning routine of pulling out my work laptop, plunking it onto the couch, and plugging in the cord to the outlet as I turned on the machine, then plugging in the other end of the cord to the laptop. I folded up my bed as the laptop whirred to life, then briefly sat and entered my first of many work-related passwords so that the computer would give me access.

I then made the tiny trek across the Pergo-ish floor to the electric fireplace (?!) and carried the IKEA $15 coffee table to it's spot in front of the couch (which it can't occupy when the bed is down), and moved the computer to the table. Then I rounded the couch, getting my flannel pajama pant leg briefly caught on the side of the fuzzy couch fabric, and poured myself some iced tea.

Life Happening In Under 500 SqFt.

I often wonder what compels people to think they "neeeeeed" a 3000 sqft home. For them and their spouse, and maybe one kid. Not even a century ago, people were living in much smaller spaces. The argument will arise that today's Americans, perhaps because we are so affluent as a whole, own a lot of stuff.

I don't have a problem with owning a lot of stuff. I think I own too much stuff, myself. I am pretty sure I could get rid of half my books, all my plants, some of my kitchen gear, and my grandpa's dresser. But I'm talking about people who own stuff that they don't use.

This is one of my big beefs about people (in America, in particular). They own things that they don't use. Some people have closets full of clothes with price tags still on them from 5 years ago. Some people bought things with the good intention of using them - the most ironic are things designed to organize other things. Well, folks, they don't do a lick of good unless you use them. The Organizing Fairy isn't going to fly out of that wall-hanger for mail and fix up all your paperwork for you. You have to get off your lazy-obese-American-ass and do it yourself.

I have gone through several "clean-outs" in recent years. The first happened in 2004, when I graduated from college. The last year of college I lived alone in a 700 sqft 1br apartment. Ohh how I wish I could transport that apartment to Seattle in my current location. Anyway. I had sooo much random crap in there. I ended up selling almost all my possessions, except for some clothes, my instruments, and some other stuff like my spinning wheel. You know, I can't even remember what all I stuffed into that 5x5 storage locker when I moved out for Louisiana (a way-station before getting my first job)... I don't think I own any of it anymore. Anyway, so once I moved to Maryland, I came into some new furniture, etc. And then I got the job at Boeing, so I gave up some more stuff. But they actually moved me here to Seattle, so I didn't feel the need to clean out as much, although I knew that because I was planning to live downtown, I would need to downsize (my apartment in MD was 780 sqft, and 1 br. Almost twice the size of this place! The bedroom was truly monstrous). Then I lived in a 550 sqft apartment in downtown Seattle, which was awesome. But when I bought the condo, I figured out that some additional stuff wasn't going to fit, based on the architecture of the place. So I sold some more stuff. I feel confident now, though, that I would be able to live in a Manhattan apartment that was under 400 sqft, based on a few things:

- I can install a Murphy bed in the apartment to house my queen mattress
- I can install a closet organizer to use in the closet space


There are some improvements I want to make to my condo, though (there always are):

- buy a new couch that is shorter and possibly only has one arm (like a chaise lounge)
- get new pots for outside (pretty big ceramic pots)
- get a new coffee table that either can fold up or has extra storage in it
- get new side chairs (the wooden ones just aren't doing it for me)
- get a gas grill
- get a new bedside light (maybe one of those "clip-on" style lights so it can hang onto the edge of the shelf next to the bed

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