You see, a lot of people imagine dogs as these big, messy animals who need lots of space, will always run around, and will ruin every couch they can get their paws on. Sure, some of them are like that, but a lot of other breeds are actually quite peaceful and love nothing more than to lounge on a couch indoors with their owner.
If you live in a small apartment, don’t lose hope yet. You, too, can be the pet parent of a beautiful dog; you just need to find the right breed (and maybe a little extra room. MakeSpace can help!).
Find out which dog breeds are the best for small apartments. Maybe you will find one that suits you and fall utterly in love with it!
1. The Bulldog
It doesn’t matter if it’s a French or English Bulldog, this breed of dogs is perfect for people who live in small apartments. Since they are low in energy and don’t mind just hanging out all day on the couch with you, Bulldogs are a great breed from those who not only own small flats but are also quite introverted. Loving and kind, this breed is one of the easiest to take care of: all they need is a good bed to sleep on, a healthy meal, and your company.
Of course, like every other dog, they need exercise. While they don’t have as much energy as, say, a Golden Retriever, a couple of walks during the day or a game of fetch in the backyard does their wrinkly body good. Just be careful during hot days, as they can overheat pretty quickly!
2. The Chiweenie
Even this dog’s name tells you he’d be a great small apartment dog. A mix between a Chihuahua and a Dachshund, the Chiweenie is able to fit everywhere thanks to his small body, which makes him perfect for people who live in small spaces. Just keep in mind that the Chiweenie is quite hard to train, as he is a very stubborn fella, and might even suffer from the “small dog syndrome” if he’s not trained well.
Playful and low maintenance, the Chiweenie is the perfect breed for people who don’t have enough time or space to take care of a bigger dog. Note, however, that he might have some difficultly with kids, so if you have children, consider a different breed.
3. The Bassett Hound
The Bassett Hound is a “medium” dog that fits well in small apartments. Usually very quiet and calm, they are great if you are living in a building with really thin walls. After all, no one wants to stay awake at night because of one dog barking incessantly. All a Bassett Hound needs to be happy is daily exercise (nothing too excessive though: a 30-minute walk around the neighborhood or a stroll to the dog park is enough) and a loving dose of attention.
The Basset Hound is definitely not a small dog (compared to the Chiweenie at least), but he has nothing against hanging out in a small spot in your apartment the whole afternoon or just cuddling with you when you [both] need it.
4. The Pug
Of course, we can’t write about small apartment dog breeds without mentioning the Pug. This famous small dog is a ball of happiness, and you’ll be more than delighted to have one around at all times. Small and low in energy (just like Bulldogs), they are easy to take care of, even though they can suffer from many health issues due to inbreeding.
So, if you don’t mind caring for a dog who could sleep for hours after chasing his tail around (bonus points if you take a funny video), we’d say the Pug is perfect for you.
Morkies do require some extra training—especially if you have human kids running around along with your fur baby—to take the time to ensure he’ll show love to every member of the family.
This is guest post by Houda from DiamondPup. She is a full-time writer, traveler, and self-proclaimed dog person. She also makes lame jokes, writes poetry, and loves eating weird food in faraway countries. Did she mention that she was a dog person? Yeah, give her all the puppies, please.
The trouble is, you’ve never really had to host anyone in such a small space. Who knew living in the greatest city in the world meant squeezing into the smallest pad imaginable?
Not to worry. The folks from Postable, an online service that sends cards in the mail for you, have outlined these seven handy tips for hosting in a small space. Stock up on ice, make sure no plates were shattered during your move, and get ready to throw a major housewarming in some minor square footage.
1. Don’t rush the date
You may be super excited to show off your new place as soon as possible. But after the stress of moving, you’re going to want time to settle into the rhythm of your new home.
No worries if you still have several half-full boxes scattered around the place. As PopSugar points out, seeing boxes will get your friends excited about the final outcome of your home.
Focus more on unpacking in the areas you’ll be hosting, so there’s room to mingle without the risk of guests tripping over a crate of fancy china.
This may mean waiting a few weeks (or even months). The good news is, you can use this time to charm your neighbors — and maybe even invite them to the shindig.
2. Keep your guest list light
Think about how many people you can fit without basically being on top of one another. Jot down the names of everyone you’d like to see, and consider skipping the plus ones.
Jaclyn from Wife Aquatic — a lifestyle blog about the author’s experience living aboard a 46-foot boat in the bay — suggests rotating your celebrations:
“Consider throwing multiple parties with different groups of friends.
If you have a large social circle, think about throwing a separate party for each friend group. This way, your guest list will be totally manageable and you’ll ensure that everyone at each event gets along.
Sure, it’ll be a little more work for you, but each party will be way more fun (and way less crowded).”
3. Send your invites out in time
Once you’ve found the perfect date and finalized the guest list, it’s time to send out your invites.
You finally made that big move you’ve been dreaming about, so why not step up your sophistication game and send real paper invites?
Don’t forget to include an RSVP date, so you have enough time to prep accordingly. The ideal timeframe is three weeks in advance.
If you decided on a more last-minute affair, a good old Facebook event page will do the trick. Just remember to keep the event private, so as not to offend anyone that didn’t make your guest list. And toggle off the guests’ ability to invite new people.
As much as you’d like to host the entire neighborhood, your small space likely isn’t cut out for it.
4. Keep the menu light and fun
Cooking not your forte?
Then attempting to make an elaborate new dish in your tiny kitchen probably isn’t the best idea.
Instead, opt for finger foods, which will eliminate the need for space-hogging utensils. These bite-sized caprese skewers are a fun, easy spin on the classic salad. Or cater to every New Yorker’s love of brunch with some mini Belgian waffles.
Layering snacks on tiered platters follows the golden rule of small-space design: Make good use of vertical space.
Just make sure whatever you decide to cook up doesn’t take you forever — you don’t want to be stuck in the kitchen for your big affair.
5. Embrace the small space
Think of it this way: The smaller the space, the greater the opportunity for creativity.
Turn your coffee table into the centerpiece of the party by stocking it with the food essentials and utensils. Try to keep the edges clear for people to set their drinks.
Use stools and giant pillows for alternative seating. Emily from the lifestyle blog House Method suggests investing in a pouf or two:
“When you’re not hosting, they’re great accent pieces. When you’re hosting, they’re double the seating.”
And as much as you’d love to display your most treasured decorative pieces, think twice before leaving anything precious out.
Your new home is about to get even less spacious with all the invited bodies roaming around — accidentally smashing a priceless family treasure will bring the party to a literal crashing halt.
If you’re not completely unpacked, just use pretty sheets or drapery to cover some sturdier boxes. Voila: backup seating.
It’s the act of being grateful that will put you over the top as a, well… a gracious host.
This is a guest post from Postable, a website that makes sending seriously stylish snail mail as easy as sending an email. Postable prints, stuffs, stamps, addresses, and mails all of your cards directly to everyone for you.
All artwork — whether it’s a curated piece for a gallery wall, or a portrait of a pug from the flea market — deserves a good home.
But that can be tough when your home is small. And it’s even tougher when the only decent wall space you have was recently taken over by your DIY clothes rack.
Before you shove your art beneath your bed or host an impromptu sale for your collection, though, let us help you out.
You can still store and display art in your small space — you just have to get a little creative. Here are eight ingenious ways to display your art when you’re pressed for room, plus five tips for storing it.
8 stylish ways to display your art:
1. Display small artwork on bookshelves
Your bookcase isn’t just good for housing your collection of pine-scented candles and Jack Kerouac novels — it makes an awesome art display, too.
Small pieces of artwork fit perfectly on bookshelves, and serve as a unique way to break up your rows of New York Times Best Sellers.
2. Use large artwork as your room’s statement piece
Maybe you don’t have enough space in your tiny apartment for the chic sectional you wanted or the red velvet chairs you envisioned yourself using for afternoon tea parties (here’s a roundup of stylish space-saving sofas and coffee tables perfect for a tiny home).
But that’s okay. Instead of statement furniture, embrace the idea of statement art. Hang your biggest and boldest piece somewhere visible and prominent. Since it’s just on the wall, it’ll add style to your home without cluttering or overwhelming it.
3. Consider the style of your art when figuring out where to display it
Graphic artwork with bright, vibrant patterns is easy to see from a distance, whereas art with intricate scenes or small details is better observed up close.
Hosting overnight guests always requires some work, but it’s extra challenging when you live in a small apartment.
If your mind is spinning with visions of beauty products cluttering the bathroom counter and suitcases splayed open across the living room floor, don’t worry.
Accommodating guests in a space-challenged apartment doesn’t have to be a nightmare, or even a lesson in patience. With some extra effort and a positive attitude, you can make the experience comfortable and enjoyable for everyone.
Read on for 11 clever tips to host overnight guests in a small apartment with ease:
1. Clear your space to make more room for guests
The first thing you should do to prepare for overnight guests is give your space a thorough cleaning. Pick up scattered clothes and shoes, toss the pile of junk mail on your entryway table, wipe down all surfaces, and vacuum the floor. (Need more genius cleaning tips? Click right this way.)
Next, walk through your apartment and find areas where you can make room for your guests’ belongings. Leave a few hangers open in the coat closet, or invest in a garment rack to make unpacking easier. You can even rearrange your coffee table or sofa to make a spot for luggage.
Clear space in the bathroom, too — whether it’s an entire cabinet drawer or just a shelf riser.
If you don’t have a futon, pull-out sofa, or guest bedroom complete with an actual bed, your best bet is to invest in a high-quality air mattress.
Wirecutter rounded up the best air mattresses currently on the market. Here are some key takeaways: Look for extra cushions, a velvet-like top so the sheets don’t slide around, and a pump that plugs into the wall.
3. Gather your coziest blankets and sheets
You may not be able to provide your guests with a five-star mattress that’s somehow equally soft and firm, but you can give them the next best thing: comfortable sheets and cozy blankets.
You already know to use cotton or linen during warmer months, and flannel sheets during colder ones. On extra chilly nights, The Washington Post advises laying a blanket between the mattress and bedding to provide additional warmth.
Don’t forget the pillows! Liz Marie recommends keeping a variety of pillows out, so guests can choose to their liking. Also keep out a few extra blankets… just in case.
If your guests are sleeping in your living room or another common area, do what you can to make it a comfortable experience.
First and foremost: Position your guests’ air mattress strategically.
The best spot is near a lamp or light switch, so they don’t have to fumble around in the dark. Also, make sure you have curtains or blinds that block out streaming sunlight and the glow from street lamps. If not, opt for a snug, high-quality eye mask.
If possible, Reader’s Digest recommends positioning the mattress at the foot of your sofa so your guest has a makeshift headboard.
Other thoughtful additions, like a white noise machine, fan, power strip for charging devices, and effective earplugs, can make all the difference between a restful snooze and a night of tossing and turning.
5. Stock up on bathroom necessities
Your guests may not have their own room, but they can still have a taste of hotel life with little pampering embellishments.
Think mini toiletries (especially convenient if you grabbed some the last time you stayed at a hotel), color-coordinated towels, and even a bathrobe or slippers.
7. Fold up your guest’s bed and sheets during the day
If you have a tiny living space, consider putting away your guests’ bed during the day so you have more room to hang out. Yes, it’s a hassle to unmake and remake the bed. But the extra breathing room will be well worth the 10 minutes of effort.
Store your sheets, pillows, and deflated air mattress in a nearby coat closet or stack them in a basket to slide into the living room corner.
Another option? If you’re tight on space, stash them in an empty suitcase under your bed.
Buy tasty snacks, fill the fruit bowl, and load the fridge with a variety of drink options. Leave a pitcher of water and glasses out and readily accessible to all.
And, unless you’re the type who loves to whip up individual omelets or veggie quiches, opt for pre-made or quick breakfasts. Think cinnamon rolls, bagels and cream cheese, pancakes, or yogurt and granola.
10. When in doubt, go out
Even with careful planning, a small home built for one can feel cramped with two or more inside.
If you feel cabin fever coming on, go out for a drink nearby, or go for a walk around the neighborhood.
Renting an apartment in New York City poses its own unique set of challenges.
For starters, your upstairs neighbors seem to go bowling at 4 AM every single night.
Then there’s the ambulance plowing down your avenue right when you’re nodding off.
And should you investigate that weird smell coming from the building entryway?
We can’t help you with the smells or noises. But we can help make your home a welcoming respite from all that outside chaos.
Here to show you how is Jamie Hord of Horderly, a professional organization company that serves the greater New York City area. Jamie shares her expert tips on organizing, decorating, and personalizing the types of apartments you’re likely to find in New York City.
The best part:
None of these genius solutions will break the bank. (Trust, we know NYC is ridiculously expensive enough.)
Read on for Jamie’s 20 NYC apartment decorating tips and ideas for turning your place into a home for crashing in the city that never sleeps.
You might instantly cringe at the thought of a studio apartment, but some of my all-time favorite apartments are studios.
If you set your studio up right, it can be the perfect little living space. Here are some tips on how to decorate your small NYC studio:
1. Use curtains to make the room look taller
Instead of hanging your curtains at the top of your window, hang them as far up as they can go — think ceiling to floor. Making use of vertical space like this creates an illusion of height, and will make your room feel taller.
2. Use rugs to divide the room
I always recommend to clients to use trays to categorize items on tables. You can use this technique basically the same way when it comes to your studio apartment. Simply use rugs as your “trays” to designate distinct areas: dining, living, bedroom, etc.
Railroad apartments can be tricky because of their awkward, narrow shape. But they can also be a gorgeous and very uniquely New York home.
Here are some tips for organizing and decorating a railroad apartment:
6. Keep the space visually clear
Because of the fact that you can look across your apartment and literally see every room, keep the tone minimal. Reduce as much clutter as possible, which will calm the space and leave it feeling less cramped.
7. Set up the space according to any natural light
If you’re tasked with balancing and designating the apartment rooms, take note of the lighting. The living room tends to feel best at the end of the apartment, because it gets the most sunlight.
However, this means you’ll have to accept the fact that your bedroom is in the middle of the apartment.
8. Take down any unnecessary doors
Remove doors to open up and brighten your long apartment. This will also help with ventilation.
9. Keep the color palette consistent
Paint the apartment either one color or in neutral shades for continuity.
10. Think outside the closet
Closets in railroad apartments tend to be limited. Try transforming one room into your “closet” by putting a wardrobe, dresser, and mirror in it. This will also clear tons of space in your bedroom.
MakeSpace will pick up the stuff you don’t need in your home right now (like your summer and spring clothes) and store it in their secure storage facility. When you need something back from storage, they’ll deliver it to you.
Mirrored and acrylic furniture is also brilliant when it comes to decorating small NYC apartments. I recently used this mirrored dresser and this acrylic desk for a few clients, and we were obsessed with the the overall look it gave their apartment.
Mirrored furniture can make the floor space look bigger. However, you don’t want to use mirror furniture if you already have a lot of patterns going on in the room.
As for the acrylic desk, it’s almost like it isn’t even there.
13. Position the bed foot-first
The bed always looks best head-on when you enter a room, even if that means placing it in front of a window.
14. Maximize any and all vertical space
Take advantage of all vertical space. Use shelves and over-the-door hooks wherever possible.
15. Keep backup tables without wasting room
Nesting tables are a great way to store additional side tables for guests.
Living with roommates is hard, but I think almost everyone in NYC has to experience it at least once in their crazy Big Apple journey. Here are some ways to manage sharing a space:
What’s best about a gallery wall is it can pretty much be as random as can be and still look good. Try putting together your and your roommate’s favorite pieces and see how much you both love it.
17. Try a touch of DIY
If you’re both bringing in furniture and decor that you each already have, you may have to pull it together by adding a little DIY. Try covering pillows with different pillowcases, painting furniture, and changing dresser and door knobs.
18. Add some (green) life
Increase your happiness and productivity by adding fresh flowers to your apartment. Placing plants by the window will improve the overall aesthetic, too.
There are many unique ways to create a room divider:
It could be a simple 4-part screen, a bookshelf/open bookcase, slider doors, or a curtain. Or simply ask your landlord to build out a wall (yes, sometimes they will do this).
20. Be 100% yourself in your own space
When sharing a small apartment, you may have to sacrifice a few of your favorite decor ideas. So be sure to embrace your bedroom, and make it totally your own!
This article was written by Jamie Hord of Horderly. Horderly is a professional home organization company serving the greater New York City area. Specializing in decluttering, organizing, and unpacking, they help clients feel a new sense of clarity with their belongings, along with maintaining a steady, functional lifestyle.
So you’ve decided to kiss office life goodbye and work full-time from home. Or maybe you set up a home office to pursue your new side hustle. Good for you!
Working from home gives you complete control of your schedule. And if you play your cards right, you can skip out early anytime.
But you can’t just flop onto your couch with your laptop and expect to be productive. It’s important to establish an office or workspace within your home. Without it, you’re bound to get distracted, fall behind, and pretty soon, your home won’t feel so comfortable anymore.
The good news is setting up and organizing a home office is easy. Simply follow the tips below and you’ll have an efficient, organized home office setup in no time.
And avoid your bedroom if you can. Harvard sleep medicine experts say that working in your bedroom weakens “the mental association between your bedroom and sleep.” So unless you want mild bouts of insomnia, keep your laptop off the bed.
How To Set Up A Home Office
1. Pick a paint color that makes you feel calm and focused
You’re about to spend a lot of time in your new home office, so it should be a place that you like walking into every day.
Christa O’Leary, founder of Home in Harmony Lifestyle, suggests adding an accent of red if you’re a salesperson or negotiator since that color stimulates appetite and increases heart rate. A splash of yellow amidst a sea of blue can also increase your ability to focus.
It’s tempting to just use your kitchen stool or couch, but we recommend investing in a dedicated ergonomic desk chair. You’re going to be sitting in it most of the day. The last thing you want is to develop back pain or poor posture from your home office.
Don’t want to spring for a brand-new chair?
Copy Amanda Thomas and upgrade a chair you already own with paint, fabric, and extra cushioning.
If you’re worried about chaining yourself to a desk chair all day, or if you want to save a little space, look into standing desks. Lifehacker and Wirecutter have several recommendations from Fully, UpDesk, Varidesk, and others.
4. Don’t forget an office lamp
When it comes to home offices, task lighting is king.
Task lighting refers to illuminating a specific area in a way that makes it easier for you to accomplish tasks. In this case, it means lighting that best suits your workload.
Ideally, you have some natural light already streaming through your window(s). Regardless, set up additional lamps or overhead lights near your desk so you aren’t straining your eyes.
Just don’t situate the lamps too close. You don’t want a glare bouncing off your computer screen, either.
5. Position your computer properly
There is a right way and a wrong way to stare at your computer screen for eight hours.
As Fast Company notes, the top of your computer screen should be set at eye level or a bit below that. That way, as you scan down text, your eyelids will naturally close a little and moisten. This prevents your eyes from tiring, which keeps you at a good work pace.
Here are a few other important tips you’ll want to follow:
Keep your feet resting on the floor, or another surface, as you work. And place your keyboard so your forearms are parallel to the floor.
6. Figure out your other hardware needs
Every home office needs a computer. But depending on your line of work, you might need a lot more hardware than a simple laptop.
Sit down and take stock. Do you need a separate mouse or monitor? How about a printer? Maybe one that also scans and faxes? Or use Scanbot to scan and fax documents from your phone. Think hard about what tools you need to accomplish daily tasks.
Once you’ve narrowed it down to the essentials, go to an electronics store or shop online for your office equipment.
7. Then figure out your software needs
You may have found the perfect computer, printer, and keyboard, but you’re not done yet.
There are certain programs you’ll probably need to purchase and load onto your shiny new hardware.
If you do a lot of spreadsheet work and writing, you might need Microsoft Office. Or you could opt for the cloud-based G Suite.
If you’re a graphic designer, Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator could be key. Make sure to look into any applicable discounts before you buy. Your company may even cover the cost.
Your home office should be a sanctuary, so it’s important to set some ground rules for the rest of the household.
If pets are going to be too much of a distraction, keep them out of the office. Spouses or roommates shouldn’t be allowed to drop in any time of day, and neither should friends who live down the block (unless it’s absolutely necessary, of course).
You may not have a boss behind you breathing down your neck, but you still have to work.
With that in mind, if you managed to block off a whole room for your office, shut the door when you leave at the end of a workday. This will further associate the space with a place you work, and it will help keep you focused while you’re in it.
How To Organize A Home Office
1. Categorize your work supplies
Clutter happens when you don’t have a clear organizational scheme. The simplest plan is to group similar items together.
HGTV lists some common categories and examples of items in each one:
Stickies — Post-it packs, tabs, and stickers
Tools — Stapler, hole puncher, and straight cutter
Budget — Checkbook, calculator, and billing calendar
Writing tools — Pens, markers, and highlighters
Mail — Envelopes and stamps
Labeling — Labeler and label tape
Bundle the groups, and store them in separate drawers or boxes so they’re easy to locate.
2. Manage your files
There’s a good chance you don’t need a filing cabinet full of color-coded folders. Many jobs are virtually paperless at this point. But that doesn’t mean you can let your digital files get disorganized.
Create appropriate folders on your desktop. Archive old or unnecessary stuff. And be sure to back up everything regularly on a hard drive and/or in the cloud.
Offices accumulate piles of memos, mail, bills, and more on a daily basis. To stop those piles from turning into mountains, make a point at the end of each week to sort through them.
Throw out or shred anything you obviously don’t need. File stuff you need to keep. If anything requires immediate, or close to immediate action, set it aside and handle the task now.
4. Declutter your desk
Papers probably aren’t the only thing clogging your desk. Take a glance and clear off anything that doesn’t belong: the books that go in your bedroom, the dog toy that somehow wound up next to your phone, the remnants of your lunch.
It only takes a few minutes, and it removes so many distractions.
5. Label your wires
Even a basic workstation attracts its fair share of wires: chargers, printer cables, modems, and more.
To keep the tangled web straight, Martha Stewart recommends attaching tiny labels to the ends of each cord. It’ll save you the agony of following each wire back to its source. And, as Stewart’s example proves, it doesn’t have to look ugly.
6. Stay stocked on office supplies
You don’t have an office manager to restock your supplies anymore. The last thing you want is to run out of paper mid print job.
Do a quick scan of your cabinets and drawers at least once a week. How are you looking on pens? What about ink cartridges? Notepads?
Once something is running low, make a note and buy replacements over the weekend.
7. Let MakeSpace pick up and store your extra stuff
Have some old files you’re hesitant to toss, or extra computer accessories that are crowding your new home office?
Let MakeSpace pick up and store everything for you.
All you need to do is schedule a pickup (your first pickup is free!), pack your stuff, and leave the rest to us.
We’ll pick up your stuff and transport it to our secure, temperature-controlled storage facility. We’ll also create an online photo catalog of your stuff (only if you want us to), so you always remember what you have in storage.
Need something back for your client meeting?
Simply log into your MakeSpace account, select the item’s photo, and we’ll deliver it to you. That’s one less reason for you to leave home. And one less headache to handle in the middle of your busy work week.
There was probably a point in your childhood when you proudly declared to anyone who would listen, “I’m going to be an astronaut when I grow up.” But unless you earned an advanced engineering degree, passed all the rigorous training tests, happen to have superhuman eyesight, and managed to make it through the flight simulator without puking, that didn’t actually happen.
Although you may not be a spaceman or spacewoman today, you can channel some of that NASA spirit by learning from astronauts’ insanely unconventional, small space lifestyle. The secrets of the International Space Station (ISS) — where crew members from all over the world live for several months at a time — can teach us a lot about how to live in small spaces.
Here are eight of the best small space living ideas derived from articles and videos about ISS, and how you can apply them to your gravity-bound apartment.
1. Streamline your sleeping arrangements.
If you think your bedroom is tiny, get ready for a culture shock. Astronauts do not have real rooms where they can doze in peace. They also don’t have any mattresses, memory foam, or plush pillows to their name. Instead, each one is issued a small sleeping pod with a sleeping bag, which is tied to the wall so it doesn’t float away.
This might seem like cruel and unusual punishment, but it actually makes sense in space. Since you’re in zero gravity, sleeping standing up in a bag doesn’t feel any different from lying down horizontally on a surface. As Internet-famous astronaut Chris Hadfield explains in the video above, you can relax every muscle in your body until you zonk yourself out. Provided you’ve already changed into your PJs, of course.
Now, you can’t pull off this scheme on Earth without some serious back pain. But you can apply this minimalist approach to your own situation:
Skip the bulky headboards and go for a no-frills frame. Or find a space-saving bed that comes with built-in storage, so you maximize the space.
Mount shelves above your bed or next to it on the adjacent walls.
Going to the bathroom is crazy complicated in outer space. As you can see in the above video tour, ISS has a specialty toilet and plenty of different papers and wipes to help astronauts do their business.
But the “bathroom” is cramped to say the least, and doesn’t include a sink or shower — let alone a medicine cabinet. So instead, the astronauts are reduced to a small toiletries kit containing a toothbrush, toothpaste, combs, brushes, deodorant, and razors. Plus the specially-made-for-space shampoos that require no rinsing and very little water at all.
They can use those products in the “hygiene corner,” seen in the video below. Be grateful you don’t have to clip your fingernails over a grate, like European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti:
We’re not suggesting you ditch your shower, but you can learn a thing or two from this basic setup.
First things first, clean up your medicine cabinet. Go through it and throw out any empty toothpaste tubes, snapped hair ties, or expired mascara. Then get smart about how you’re using your space.
Astronauts are not allowed to be lazy. Exercise is a required part of their daily routine, and for good reason. When you’re constantly floating around rather than walking between rooms, you’re not really engaging your muscles. That kind of inactivity makes them weaken, and can lead to muscle and bone loss.
To stay fit, crew members work out on a very special treadmill called the Colbert treadmill. It’s named after Stephen Colbert because, if you’ll recall, he encouraged Colbert Report viewers to flood NASA’s naming poll in 2009.
This piece of equipment does not have any sort of handle or frame for astronauts to grip. In order to run in the weightless environment, they must strap themselves into a harness before firing up the machine. You can watch astronaut Karen Nyberg run on it in the video above.
But that’s not all. The ISS has two other pieces of exercise equipment: the Advanced Resistive Exercise Device (ARED) and Cycle Ergometer with Vibration Isolation and Stabilization System (CEVIS).
In less scientific terms, the ARED is a weight-lifting machine and the CEVIS is an exercise bike. Watch the ARED in action:
If astronauts managed to sneak three fitness machines onboard a cramped space station, you can store some exercise gear at home, too.
If even the skinniest machine is too large for your apartment, invest in a set of kettlebells for your weight-training needs and a simple exercise mat so you can follow aerobic routines on your TV. Then slide them under your bed or into a closet when they’re not in use.
If you’re big on yoga, Etsy is a goldmine for mat holders and racks. You can also invest in a rolling exercise equipment cart. Or build a custom cabinet to suit your needs.
4. Get smart about grocery shopping.
Probably the most fascinating part of life on the ISS is … space food. You know all about astronaut ice cream and Tang, but that stuff is just the beginning.
In order to keep the crew fed for long periods of time and keep liquids under control, NASA and its international counterparts have to seriously manipulate their meals. In some cases, that means removing all water from the food to conserve weight and make the food rehydratable.
In other cases, that means applying ionizing radiation to the food to keep it from spoiling. The food also has to be slim and lightweight so the crew can stockpile. That’s why most of the containers you see Chris Hadfield handling in the video above look like Capri Sun pouches.
So what lessons can we glean from the ISS kitchen?
Well for one, you probably shouldn’t be buying in bulk. If you have a large family, it’s a necessity. And if you actually have a garage, go for it. But that 30-pack of paper towels is a major space suck that’s hard to justify. Try to stick to the stuff you need in the immediate future, and leave hoarding to these people on A&E.
Well, they have plenty of movies to watch to keep themselves entertained. They can catch up with loved ones by calling home through the software on their laptops. They can also turn to the locker filled with paperback books on the ISS to stimulate their minds.
One locker for all their books? That’s a pretty tidy book storage system. You could probably use help organizing your own collection of novels, but you don’t need to acquire a locker to pull this off.
First, consider what books belong in the library donation bin. Know all the recipes in your cookbooks by heart? Have useless old college textbooks collecting dust on your floor? These are prime candidates for the pile. Here are a few more things to consider when deciding what books to keep.
After you’ve downsized your collection, consider where you’re storing your favorite books. You don’t have to buy a bulky freestanding case for them. Instead, get creative with headboards, hallways, and high-perimeter shelving.
If all else fails, you can always go digital with an e-reader.
6. Purge your closet.
There is no place for fashion divas/divos in astronomy. Crew members on the ISS are allowed only a few basic clothes for their stay.
As NASA explains, astronauts typically get about one pair of shorts and one T-shirt for every three days of exercising. Work shirts and pants (or shorts) have to last longer; those are changed every 10 days. Underwear and socks are swapped every other day. There’s also a two-sweater allotment, and Polartec socks for chilly nights.
Astronauts repeat their outfits for as long as they can. But eventually, clothes get dirty and there’s no way to wash them onboard. So when they hit the point of no return, dirty clothes are shot into space with the rest of the ISS garbage.
Either way, you could certainly stand to clear out some clothing. Go with Marie Kondo’s trendy KonMari method of organizing. Consider each item individually, and ask yourself if it sparks joy. If it does, it can stay. If it doesn’t, mark it for donation or a garage sale.
7. Ditch the alarm clock.
Alarm clocks are nowhere to be found aboard the ISS. So how do astronauts wake up? Thanks to an assist from the crew back home.
Every morning, the NASA staff on Earth pipes music into the PA system. The track is dedicated to a different astronaut each day, and it’s chosen by a family member or colleague. For instance, one astronaut’s wife selected “Macho Man” for him the morning after a difficult spacewalk.
You can also clear some space on your dresser or bedside table by eliminating alarm clocks from your life. The simplest alternative is to set an alarm on your phone. But if you’d rather not be roused by one of your iPhone’s token tones, you have other options.
If you have Sonos, you can set up an alarm through that wireless system. Just go to Menu, then Alarms, then New Alarm. There you can choose a time, track, volume, and frequency. Just don’t forget to set it for your bedroom, rather than the kitchen or patio. Here’s a guide from Sonos in case you get lost.
Prefer not to rely on any hardware?
You can train yourself to wake up naturally. No really, it’s possible!
You’ll need to track your sleep patterns and then gently wean yourself off an alarm by setting a softer tone and forgoing the snooze button. Here’s how. With practice, you can do it.
8. Or leave the space stuff to the astronauts, and store your stuff in MakeSpace.
There’s a reason only an elite few go to space. Living above Earth is hard work. So don’t beat yourself up if you can’t get your kitchen to the streamlined standards of ISS. Instead, effortlesly store your spare stuff in MakeSpace.
Simply schedule a pickup and we’ll pick up your appliances, furniture, and paperback novels so you have more space in your home to do whatever you want with.
After we’ve collected your things, we’ll transport them to our secure temperature-controlled storage facility. We’ll also create an online photo catalog of your stuff so you always know what you have in storage.
The best part: When you want something back from storage, simply log into your MakeSpace account, select the item’s photo, and we’ll deliver it to you.
“There are two distinct types of people who would want to live in tiny homes at the moment,” says Sally Augustin, an environmental psychologist and founder of Design with Science. “People who have the resources to live in other places, but the tiny homes appeal to them. And then there are people who don’t, who would otherwise be sharing with other people.”
While the draw of micro-apartments should be obvious for those in the second camp — housing is expensive, and less space means less rent money — Augustin explains that folks who aren’t under a financial strain still have plenty of reasons for staying small.
“Some people have a real need for uniqueness and for the time being, it’s an unusual way to live,” she says. “Some people really like puzzles and living in a tiny home can be quite a puzzle to figure out how to cook real meals and have a shower you can comfortably step into. Some people are really concerned about environmental responsibility. And sometimes, but not always, these tiny homes are more responsible.”
Mary Helen Rowell definitely understands the puzzle appeal. When she moved into her 90-square-foot West Village apartment, she loved the neighborhood and low rent, but was also excited to turn the cramped spot into a real home.
“After I signed the lease, I would go there every day after work and sit in the room and try to figure out what to do,” says Rowell. “I just felt I could make it work. The worst that could happen would be that I’d be uncomfortable for a year.”
The brainstorm led her to creative tricks like hanging her seasonal clothes “shoulder-in” (the rest of them are stored in MakeSpace) and mounting foldable chairs on the wall.
Graham Hill is another micro-dwelling disciple, and not just because he likes a good puzzle. Hill has lived in all sorts of small-scale homes, but he’s probably most famous for the 420-square-foot “convertible” apartment he once owned on Sullivan Street.
Working off a design from two Romanian architecture students, Hill remodeled two tiny adjacent apartments into one single pad with moving walls and space for a 12-person dinner party.
It was all meant to demonstrate his company LifeEdited’s mission — “design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy” — and Hill is still working on getting people to see the unexpected perks of giving up some square footage.
“Sure, bigger houses can be nice, but they also have a lot of hidden costs,” says Hill. “More space to clean, heat. Big homes also tend to be further from city centers, meaning more driving, which ups your carbon footprint and takes a bite out of your wallet. What small houses might lack in features, they make up for in freedom to not be a slave to your space and your stuff, to live a life that is both financially and environmentally responsible.”
For certain personality types, it can just be a mental minefield. “If someone has a hobby that’s really important to them, like say someone is a painter who paints larger canvases — for those people, moving into a tiny home can be really difficult,” says Augustin. “Because that’s an important part of their identity. I think there are also people who are more attached to things than others. You have to think what their options are and what’s important to them.”
Rowell remembers struggling with this material problem when she started living in her micro-dwelling — giving up on the dream of a couch “or even a cozy armchair” was an early battle. But she thinks ultimately, it does come down to your core personality.
“You get to know yourself so much better in a challenging living situation like that,” says Rowell. “Everything you bring into your life becomes a question. Is it a necessity or not? You learn how adaptative you are.”
That might sound daunting, but making a micro-space work is getting easier each year. As Augustin points out, technology is digitizing more and more of our belongings (think ebooks and all those photos on your phone), so people are bringing less literal baggage to these diminutive apartments. And in the end, having any sort of apartment does great things for your mood.
“People have really strong psychological reasons for wanting a place of their own,” says Augustin. “It signals you’ve reached a certain life stage, it gives you an opportunity to express who you are, and it gives you an opportunity for privacy. That’s important for obvious reasons, but it also allows you to mull over past life events. We need respite every now and then to make sense of what’s happening to us.”
They wanted to maximize every square inch of their 500-square-foot San Francisco condo, so they hired architects to design a Domino Loft system that would transform their one empty corner into five functional living spaces.
The result, created by Peter Suen from FIFTH ARCH and Charles Irby at ICOSA Design, is stunning. So stunning that we just had to find the Domino Loft’s owners and creators to learn more about the loft’s birth, features, materials, and of course, the answer to the million dollar question:
How do we get our hands on this spectacular space-saving loft?!
Keep reading to find out, and try not to ogle too hard.
The birth of the Domino Loft system
When the couple first reached out to Peter and Charles, Donnie told us they had a clear idea of what they wanted:
“Five functional spaces depending on the time of day or occasion: bedroom, office, dining room, guest room, and walk-in closet.”
Working collaboratively, the designers started from scratch and went through months of content exploration before settling on the ultimate solution. Peter said he and Charles “spent more time than typical on the initial schematic and conceptual phases,” testing at least eight ideas, but the planning paid off.
“We focused,” Peter told us, “on how a static spatial configuration can still produce dynamic, multifunctional spaces.”
Fabricated piece-by-piece in Charles’ Oakland shop, the loft system fits seamlessly in the Wangs’ home where it was assembled on site.
The Domino Loft system as a workspace
In addition to eating, sleeping, and watching movies in their loft, Donnie and Nicki run treadfast — a business that designs and sells premium tall socks with grips — from home.
As a result, the couple needed a designated workstation and more storage space for their inventory. The Domino Loft provides both.
With a built-in standing desk in the interior, a full-wall whiteboard, and storage shelves and drawers just about everywhere else, the Domino Loft system gives the Wangs the workspace they need while saving them from having to stack unsightly boxes in a corner.
Donnie told us they store “thousands of socks in, on, and around the loft, though you could never tell just by looking.” He’s right. We can’t.
Living in Downtown San Francisco often means you attract friends and family from all over the country. Which is great if you have a spare bedroom, but it’s tougher when you’re already two people living in a 500-square-foot condo.
So does that mean the Wangs have their guests sleep on an air mattress that deflates throughout the night?
Nope. The Domino Loft’s whiteboard folds down into a Murphy bed that sleeps two.
What’s the Domino Loft system made of?
The Domino Loft is primarily made of concrete, steel, and a gorgeous maple plywood with a white lye and natural soap finish. This follows the industrial, urban aesthetic Donnie and Nicki wanted to create in their home.
“The loft platform,” Peter told us, “is formed from a series of solid wood joists that allow lighting to tuck into the member spacing.
The loft’s concrete and steel live up to their sturdy reputations, and because of its sleek and multifunctional design, it doesn’t create a heavy or bulky presence. Details like the sliding library ladder contribute to the energy of this system. It shifts and adapts while standing perfectly still.
Want a Domino Loft system of your own?
We do too. But we’ll have to wait for an indefinite amount of time.
“We would like to develop a kit-based system based on this concept that owners could potentially configure on their own,” Peter told us. He also couldn’t say what the Domino Loft’s price range might be, since the cost of the loft built in the costs of construction and demolition of the Wangs’ condo.
All hope isn’t lost, though. ICOSA Design specializes in computational architecture, meaning they’re experts at turning concepts and data into physical structures.
The Domino Loft is the first living space project that ICOSA Design has built, and it hopefully won’t be their last.
This article was written by David Michael McFarlane, a writer from Texas and Oregon who lives in New York and loves smart design and organization.
Who doesn’t want to trade the skyscrapers and crowded trains for the quiet, serene, and spacious country some days?
It’s a common impulse of urban living, whether you’re in Chicago, New York, London, or Tokyo. It’s why people still move off the grid and live in cabins. And it’s also the philosophy behind MUJI Hut, the latest prefab homes out of the Land of the Rising Sun.
You could call MUJI Japan’s response to IKEA. Both companies design and distribute simple, low-cost, and good-quality products.
MUJI diverges from that comparison, however, with its scope. Not content with furniture and ligonberry jam, the Japanese company has created everything from CD players to the MUJI Car 1000, a 2001 collaboration with Nissan.
Now, MUJI is building tiny prefab homes, having enlisted three international designers to create affordable, quality retreat houses. Like most of MUJI’s products, their huts are stunning, modern, and (we hope) affordable.
Check them out below!
The Philosophy of the MUJI Hut
MUJI Hut’s website beckons you to sit in stillness and contemplation. As the page loads, you see and hear a video of quiet, subdued nature scenes with no buildings or people in sight.
Music begins, and calm rhythms play over bird songs, waterfalls, and crickets. You wait, expecting something to appear. Until you realize that waiting and listening is the point. It’s mesmerizing. It’s the kind of experience MUJI hopes to create with their prefab houses.
“Slip away,” the copy reads when you discover you can scroll down, “from the hustle and bustle of the city to a place where you can feel instantly at home and at ease.”
Suddenly, you want that home where you can sit and listen to the rain and watch the day fade into night. That home where you can sit around a fire in a private space talking to your friends.
You can have it, the copy infers, if you live in a MUJI Hut. Three unique MUJI Hut designs were unveiled at last year’s Tokyo Design Week, each with its own amenities and distinct personality.
MUJI Cork Hut
British designer Jasper Morrison created the Cork Hut, so named for its cork walls and, inside, cork doorknobs. Its 100% natural material is carbon negative and recyclable, all the while insulating the tiny house from cold and noise. This selection of materials aligns with the overall aim of MUJI Hut to live at peace with your surroundings.
The interior of the Cork Hut is spare but offers traditional tatami floors, a wood burning stove, kitchenette, dining nook, and bathroom. In essence, it has everything you need to survive, which was the aim of Morrison. He wanted to create a “house as a product rather than a one-off” for everyone who wants to live on a piece of land but can’t build a new house from scratch.
MUJI Aluminum Hut
Simpler, smaller, and more portable than the Cork Hut is the Aluminum Hut from German designer Konstantin Grcic. With a footprint around 100 square feet, Grcic built this prefab house within the parameters of projects that require no construction permit. Which means if you live in or move to Japan, you can place this tiny home just about anywhere without legal challenges.
Three sides of the Aluminum Hut’s exterior are made with, you guessed it, lightweight aluminum. You’d think this would block sunlight from entering inside, but that’s not the case. The front of the Aluminum Hut has traditional Japanese sliding front doors that admit plenty of natural light.
Inside, there’s a loft and ladder. But nothing else. The minimalism is intentional. Grcic wanted to create “a free space, which can be personalized and accommodated for a number of different uses.”
The Aluminum Hut is a basic, beautiful shelter that’s also private, portable, and self-supportive.
MUJI Wooden Hut
Japanese designer Naoto Fukasawa considered the associations with the word “hut” before he drew the floor plan for his Wooden Hut: “Not quite a holiday house, yet not as simple as going camping.”
With a stove and kitchenette like the Cork Hut, plus a full Japanese tub and wall of windows, Fukasawa created this house with more pleasures in mind.
The expanse of windows was designed for the kind of vistas you see on MUJI Hut’s website, and the Wooden Hut’s interior similarly melds with natural surroundings.
The floor and wall are made of timber and offer a shelf for storage along the back. As the small cot in that photo indicates, floor space is limited, but the pitched roof and generous use of glass brighten and expand the single room.
As for the Wooden Hut’s bathroom, it’s stunning, and pictured below.
MUJI Hut Price and Availability
So, how much are these gorgeous MUJI Huts? And how soon can you move into one?
We’re not sure.
The bottom of MUJI’s website reads “We are not ready to announce any details yet, but to keep up with the latest news, join our mailing list or follow us.” And when we asked MUJI’s head office in Tokyo for more information, they told us that’s all they can say for now.
Other media outlets, however, cite prices ranging from $25,000 to $40,000 along with a 2017 release date. Given that MUJI’s gorgeous three-story Vertical House sells for just $180,000, that price range for their tiny homes may just be accurate.
Unfortunately, and maybe tellingly, MUJI only sells their prefab Vertical House in Japan. Keep your fingers crossed though until more news develops. And be consoled: There’s still the Ecocapsule.
This article was written by David Michael McFarlane, a writer from Texas and Oregon who lives in New York and loves smart design and organization.
Living in small spaces is no 20th century phenomenon. Humans have made do with less room since we first climbed down from trees and built primitive shelters. We’re an economical species, adept at efficiency and thrifty living in big cities, and the open water.
Sailors and everyone living in offshore homes have pioneered many advancements in small-space living. Bobbing beside a dock or anchored in a marina, sailboats, houseboats, and small yachts use clever design to make the most of a few square feet.
If you live in a small apartment or tiny home and crave some space, consider these space-saving, furnishing, and storage tips developed by sea-dwellers.
Mount plates, cups, paper towel, and spices to the wall.
Like a lot of tiny apartments, few ship galleys have the space for cabinets. Ceramic dishes wouldn’t last too long sliding around in a sailboat buffeted by waves anyway. Enter SeaTeak, a company devoted to beautiful, practical storage products that can be mounted to the wall of any home, land or sea.
The dish/cup/spice/towel rack seen above is one of many home storage solutions they make that free up counter space and keep your belongings secure. From knife blocks to book racks, their marine-inspired designs will enhance any home by looking beautiful while saving space.
Think cozy, not cramped.
Sure, most of us would love to sleep under a 12-foot ceiling with a huge window overhead or, better yet, a skylight, but that’s not feasible in most small apartments. For centuries sailors have slept in cramped beds with low ceilings, and many modern marine dwellers do too, except they make the spaces cozier.
If you have a loft bed or an apartment with less headroom than you’d prefer, use lights, colors, and textures to make it warmer, and more pleasant. While the headboard in the houseboat pictured above nearly touches the ceiling, its cushion material adds comfort to the small space. The lights pointed upward and outward, and the basket hanging from the ceiling also create more dimensions, making it less of a cave and more like a cozy den.
Hide your counter.
A New York City architect looked at sailboats for inspiration when designing a Prospect Heights apartment, pictured above. He built the foldable prep station with a table bracket used in many boats and yachts. It locks firmly and holds up to 330 pounds, then drops out of sight whenever you don’t need the extra counter space.
Already a common sight in the trunks of most cars, cargo nets can be found in nooks and corners on boats of every size. You can adapt them to apartment storage as well. Their elasticity makes them ideal for compressing bulky items like spare duvets and pillows. When you’re done storing your stuff in them, they hug the wall, ceiling, or base of your bed, taking up little to no space.
Just like on boats, cargo netting comes in every shape and size for your small home, so you have a lot of options to maximize storage space with these stretchy tools.
Collapsible canvas baskets are your space-saving superheroes.
We’re fans of our durable plastic storage bins, but when it comes to storing things in your studio apartment, canvas baskets are the way to go.
Seafarers rely on them to store everything from food and toiletries to jackets and linens for two good reasons:
They’re soft and moldable, which lets you compress them when they’re empty to save space.
You can also store your possessions in canvas laundry hampers or canvas wastebaskets, and then tuck them into nooks and corners where rigid storage containers like a box or trunk might not fit.
Abandon ship clutter.
Every time sailors take to the sea, they bring only the most basic tools, provisions, and cherished belongings with them. The reason is simple: If there’s no room for stuff, there’s no reason to take it. It’s a nice, simple philosophy for anyone who lives in a tiny house or tiny apartment to keep in mind.
Whether you live in an apartment, are about to move into a smaller home, or are planning to tidy up á la Marie Kondo, know that the space-saving solutions above can only go so far.
Think about everything you own and decide whether or not you really need certain objects taking up space in your home. Some items you might want to keep, others you might want to donate, gift, sell, or toss.
Either way, you don’t have to make every decision permanent, or regret parting with an item forever. Simply store the stuff you love, but don’t necessarily need in your home right now, in MakeSpace. And when you need something back, we’ll deliver it to your house, apartment, office, or port.
This article was written by David Michael McFarlane, a writer from Texas and Oregon who lives in New York and loves smart design and organization.
Picture coming home to a newly-made bed, fresh linens, and clean clothes that are folded and put away in your drawers and closet. You don’t have to worry about what to eat for dinner. Your fridge and pantry is already stocked with your favorite food. And you don’t have to worry about cleaning your apartment. It’s already sparkling.
Did someone break into your apartment while you were at work and do all your chores?
Lol. No. That’d make him/her the sweetest criminal ever.
In this case, all you actually have to worry about is deciding whether you’re going to:
Relax on your incredibly comfortable Italian sofa from Resource Furniture that transforms into a bed, or on a chair at your desk that pulls out into a table for 12
Stare out your floor-to-ceiling window at a breath-taking skyline
Work out in your downstairs gym
Chill on your Juliet balcony or sky terrace
Unwind in your lounge, game room, or courtyard
Or have the time of your life mingling with influential people at private events held at your city’s hottest spots
Are you a multi-millionaire and/or Bruce Wayne?
Maybe. But you don’t need to be either to live here. In fact, 22 of the building’s 55 apartments are for low and middle-income people. The rest are market rate.
Ok, so what’s going on in this hypothetical dream?
It’s not a dream. This place exists.
The address: 335 East 27th Street in Kips Bay, Manhattan.
The name: Carmel Place.
Formerly known as My Micro NY, Carmel Place is NYC’s first micro-apartment building. Its micro-apartments range in price from $2,650/month for an unfurnished 265-square-foot unit to $3,150 for a furnished 355-square-foot unit. As for the “affordable” units, they cost $950/month. All of which are absolutely gorgeous and spacious, and include plenty of storage space.
See for yourself, and try not to drool too much:
Who’s responsible for bringing these beautifully designed and furnished micro-apartments that come with pretty much everything you could want in a home?
A word play on “all inclusive,” Ollie is Stage 3 Properties’ micro and co-living experience. Part of which includes Hello Alfred doing your chores and running your errands. You also get a Magnises membership, which gives you VIP access to top-secret events, private concerts, luxurious getaways, exclusive restaurants and clubs, and a slew of other perks that you’d expect a fancy black metal card to bring you.
“It’s a strong example of one of our basic premises—that we can elevate quality of life for tenants by eliminating less-valued square footage and reinvesting those savings in areas that make a material difference in their everyday lives,” said Chris Bledsoe, a founding partner of Stage 3 Properties and Ollie.
The best part: You don’t have to pay any extra money. Ollie is included in the rent at Carmel Place and will be included in the rent at future complexes, one of which will be opening in Los Angeles.
But that’s not all. Chris also told us about two upcoming Ollie services that will be available as add-ons:
1. Ollie Box
Ollie Box is a package of the accent items, such as “the floor rug, pillows, quilt on the end of the bed, and vase in the corner that you see,” that Ollie curates for you based on your tastes and then delivers to your door.
Bedvetter is a platform that Chris says “aims to streamline the household formation process” by “making it a lot easier for roommates to come together based on compatibility because part of Bedvetter is a roommate-matching algorithm similar to say, eHarmony.”
So basically, you’ll never have to deal with another roommate from hell ever again.
Sounds good to us.
Want to live in one of Carmel Place’s exquisite micro-apartments?
Apply here. Right now. Because there are only eight micro-units left. And more than eight million people in NYC who’d probably love to live in a beautiful fully-furnished home that basically cleans, restocks, and furnishes itself. Kind of like Bruce Wayne’s mansion that’s serviced by Alfred.