The New York Post just ran a story about a Manhattan couple who are living in a 175 square foot “microstudio” (a.k.a. converted maid’s quarters) condominium and are apparently happy as clams. What makes this situation unique is not that they’re living in a small space, so much as how they’ve adapted their life to make this work.
The small house movement has been gaining steam, with help from Susanne Susanka’s Not So Big House books and those darling tiny house trailers that fit all of life’s necessities into intelligently designed little spaces. Setting your sites on smallness is nothing new. Henry David Thoreau did it, and there’s even a Small House Society, whose slogan is “Better living through simplicity.”
But this small apartment is different. This couple is not trying to fit all of life’s necessities into a small space. They choose instead to live much of their life outside of their home. Their work clothes are “strategically stashed at various dry cleaners.” and the couple proudly states that “we don’t cook.” (Although they do have a mini-fridge and a hot plate.)
So . . . minimal clothing storage and no cooking equals no storage of the paraphernalia that comes with cooking and attire. No pots and pans, no dishes and just a few casual outfits.
I know that every person makes different choices about how they live their lives, and that’s good, that’s important. But I look at the gallery of photos that accompany this article, and I want to install a wall mounted reading light, switch their bed out to one with storage and buy them an old fashioned broom. (They use a Roomba to keep up with cat hair.)
The husband is quoted as saying that “Every bit of space is utilized,” but that’s just not true. There are no wall mounted shelves or even a speck of dust under their bed.
But let’s look at this from another angle.
Is this couple happy? Apparently so. Are they harming anyone? Well . . . with the exception of the garbage that must come with eating tremendous amounts of take out, I’ll have to say no. Is this couple living within their means, (This apartment set them back a mere $150,000 plus $700 per month in maintenance fees) so they can realize other hopes and dreams? Yes.
I spend hours every day cooking, cleaning, doing laundry and generally failing to keep up with the tasks of owning a large house. Yes, I’m a parent, which makes this a situation of comparing apples to oranges, but the idea of a one minute house cleanup like heaven-on-a-stick. I lived in New York for a couple of years, so I get the whole it’s worth it because I live in the greatest city ever thing.
It’s certainly interesting, as it makes me actively comb through through my reactions to this article, and to see my own roomy house with a fresh eye. Could I live in a space this small without going bug-freaking-crazy?
Do you lust after those tiny wooden trailer houses and a simpler life like I do? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Thank you to Naomi Selden over at Simpler Living, whose column on small living spaces linked to this article.
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”