The Question You Should Always Ask Yourself Before Renting a Micro Apartment

published Aug 3, 2023
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Micro apartments are having a moment, thanks to their clever, space-saving designs and (usually) more affordable price points. But ogling them on Instagram from the comfort of your spacious abode and actually living in one are two very different stories.

There’s no cut-and-dry definition for what constitutes a micro apartment, but the generally accepted cutoff point is 400 square feet (although some are much, much smaller). That’s not a lot of room to spread out — especially if you work from home or have a partner or roommate. But lots of people love living in tiny spaces, and find that the smaller footprint — and smaller ding to their bank account every month — is a good fit for their lifestyle.

If you’re contemplating a move to a micro unit, you should ask yourself a few tough questions first. The first one is: How much stuff do I have?

“If you are a minimalist, then a micro apartment is a perfect home for you,” says real estate agent Rashi Malhotra. Of course, if you are decidedly not a minimalist, all hope is not lost. If you’re really committed to downsizing, you can always do a big purge of your belongings before you move. “Hold on to your most cherished items and stow away the rest in storage,” she says. “Once you have moved and settled into your apartment, revisit the storage to sell or give away the items.”

Along those lines, she also recommends contemplating your overall living style. Is your existing home messy and disheveled, or neat and tidy? The latter will serve you best if you opt to move into a small apartment.

If you naturally tend toward clutter, you may end up feeling overwhelmed in a tiny space. The small footprint can magnify even a small amount of untidiness. “Organizational skills are a mindset,” she says. “If you possess them, you can smartly arrange many of your belongings in a small living space in an orderly and efficient manner.”

Belongings and organization style aside, you’ll also want to strongly consider your lifestyle. Are you a homebody, or an always-out-on-the-town kind of person? Although there’s no one-size-fits-all rule, you’ll probably enjoy living in a micro apartment more if you spend a decent amount of time out and about.

“A small space is great if you work in an office and go out multiple nights a week,” says real estate agent Michael Weiner. “If you plan to be home a lot, you might need to create separate spaces or hide things, for example, having a Murphy bed, a screen, or a large bookshelf to divide the home up.” And if you get claustrophobic easily, then obviously a micro unit is probably off the table for you, Weiner adds.

Finally, consider how much you like to have people over for social gatherings. If you plan to host your friend group’s Thanksgiving every year, then a micro unit probably won’t cut it. But if you mostly go out to see your friends, then it could be a good fit. “A micro apartment is like living in a college dormitory,” says real estate agent Michael Arkin. “Entertaining company in such a space is very difficult at best.”