Organize & Clean

The Dirty Little Secret of Small Space Living

published May 26, 2015
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(Image credit: Kim Lucian)

Maybe you’ve wondered, as you flipped through tours of impossibly uncluttered, impossibly small spaces on sites like ours: where is all the stuff? Do these people really not own anything? And if not, where does it all go? Of course, there are all kinds of different answers: extreme minimalism. Clever storage solutions. A little bit of cheating (aka mini storage). But there’s another solution that a lot of small space dwellers probably won’t admit to, one so simple, in fact, that you may be using it yourself without even thinking about it.

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I was reminded of this when I posted my own small space manifesto earlier this year, about how happy and peaceful my little 260 square foot apartment made me feel. I got an indignant phone call from my mother, who wanted to know if I had admitted to the Apartment Therapy community that the reason my small space was so uncluttered and zen-y was that half of my stuff was still at my parents’ house.


So there you have it: my dirty secret, and, I suspect, a lot of other tiny apartment dwellers’ dirty secret as well — mom and dad’s place as storage facility. Since then, at my mother’s urging, I’ve gotten rid of a lot of the things taking up space at her house, but my childhood bedroom (nearly the size of the apartment I live in now!) is still full of sentimental things I don’t need close but can’t bear to part with, and other less sentimental things that I might need someday and can pick up (or have shipped) if I need to.

The takeaway? Sometimes perfect house tours don’t tell the whole story, and sometimes even the most extreme minimalists need a little help. Is this something that you do? If so, it might not hurt to go down for the weekend and do a little sorting — or just call mom and dad and give them a hearty thank you.

Re-edited from a post originally published 5.26.15-NT