April 27, 2011

If you want to live alone in Manhattan, go super-small — if you can.

Here's how one woman lives in 90 square feet (and a block away from Central Park). It's an interesting space. I could see living (and, as she does, working) in that space, but I wouldn't choose to arrange it like that.

Have you ever seen this book: "Tokyo: A Certain Style"? It shows people living in even smaller spaces, with lots of good ideas about how to do it. It's fascinating to see how different people edit their possession to live in a tight space. Do you accept clutter or do you organize the hell out of it? Do you cut back on things to reclaim more empty space? What little luxuries and decorative items get in?

33 comments:

Scott M said...

What little luxuries and decorative items get in?

Even tougher...what memorabilia from your own life do you cling to and what do you junk? Things that you eject from your life in your 20's, for instance, you might regret getting rid of in your 40's and beyond.

galdosiana said...

Along these lines, I just saw this on Facebook yesterday: "The Narrowest Houses"

tim maguire said...

I go for minimalism, my wife goes for clutter--creates a bit of a problem from time to time.

When junking items I would keep if I could, I find that I rarely miss them once they're gone.

AllenS said...

I have 4 buildings, and have decided to put up another this year. A mans gotta have stuff.

MarkG said...

Saw a 60 Minutes rerun on the McMansion phenomenon last night. That's so over. Regardless of what I could afford, I prefer a very small house on a very large lot.

Lots of the old types of clutter, such as books, papers, and photos, can kept in digitized form now.

Dan from Madison said...

I am in the same boat as Tim Maguire. From time to time I go through the house and toss a bunch of junk that my wife and kids have "saved" - it is never missed.

lyssalovelyredhead said...

I never stop being amazed at real estate values in varying areas. Hubby and I paid $700/mo for our first apartment, in the mid-2000's- it had two bedrooms, two full baths, a nice living area, full kitchen w/ dishwasher, a pool, and a gym.

- Lyssa

Skyler said...

" Do you accept clutter or do you organize the hell out of it? Do you cut back on things to reclaim more empty space?"

No. You move to Texas and live like a human being instead of a rat.

Rick Lee said...

I could live like that if I wasn't married. I always said that living in a dorm room proves you can live anywhere. (back when dorm rooms were actually small and spartan) You just need plenty of other places to be... just go home to sleep and wash and/or sit quietly reading or doing whatever.

EDH said...

I could see it if it allowed you to have a weekend place outside the city, especially if you worked long hours or had a "4 day on/3 day off" work week.

Tibore said...

"Here's how one woman lives in 90 square feet (and a block away from Central Park)."

Ninety? Ninety??

Screw. That.

Scott M said...

Ninety? Ninety??

Screw. That.


We just put up a 10x10 (100sq/ft) tree house ahead of my daughter's 7th bday.

Even without the 2' diameter tree trunk running up through the middle, that's a cramped space. If you were alone, I suppose I could see it for a weekend sort of getaway, as was mentioned above, but day to day? No thanks.

caplight said...

My work takes me to the Federal Prison in Leavenworth, KS. That "apartment" is about the same size as a cell on C Block in the prison. Admittedly, they have two inmates to a cell but they don't have all the stuff that this lady needs. I still can't imagine living in a space that small. I'd be spending a lot of time hanging out elsewhere.

virgil xenophon said...

Echoing Rick Lee here--from a '66 college grad whose dorm room was an un-airconditioned pre-Civil-War former Barracks at LSU in B.R w. but bed, table w. one drawer and large bookshelf on top of desk. Period. Oh, we had a phone in the room. In short, to think the unthinkable for today's cocooning college students. But (real) life on (and off) campus was GREAT!

jimbino said...

I've lived for months in a VW Van of 80 sq ft, parking directly in front of restaurants in the center of European cities like Barcelona and Lisbon and South American cities like Buenos Aires and Santiago.

That way I had food and bathroom readily available. All over Argentina and southern Brazil a person can safely spend the night in a van at any roadside gas station, where they supply picnic tables, restaurant and bathrooms. Civilized.

Like the civilized Walmart parking lot experience you can have at some places in this country.

TWM said...

Sorry, I'll take my two story house and three acres in Tennessee over that any day.

TMink said...

I lived in a closet for one year while in college. (Insert joke here.) It had room for a love seat, two speakers, some shelving, a bong, and two fish tanks.

It was in my fraternity house, so it was just my little space carved out of a larger public space, but I quite enjoyed that year.

The bong probably made it easier.

Trey

george said...

Why don't these people just get arrested so they have more living space? No wonder crime is so much higher in the big cities.

If these people were animals PETA would be breaking the locks on their apartments and setting them free.

Phil 3:14 said...

"Do you accept clutter"
We had kids; clutter comes with the territory.

prairie wind said...

She's a professional organizer? I guess it was all organized, but so many boxes stacked to the ceiling made it look cluttered. Did she even try to make it look nice instead of like a storage room?

While I didn't like the way it looks, I can see why she would live there. The city makes it possible to live outside your apartment most of the time.

I have a four-bedroom, four bath house and my next house will be smaller...but not this small.

John Althouse Cohen said...

The bed seems very restrictive.

prairie wind said...

She does yoga, though. Maybe that compensates.

edutcher said...

Guys kept in tiger cages would feel right at home.

Living in Gotham ain't worth it.

PS There was a "Twilight Zone" episode or play on TV about parents who kept their kid in a crawlspace above the kitchen back in the 60s.

I was reminded of it instantly.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

If you forced your child to live in those circumstances you would be arrested for child abuse.

vbspurs said...

I cannot believe she doesn't have a pull-out bed or Aero Bed thingie, on the "ground floor". AND NO KINDLE. You can have thousands of books with a Kindle, but noooo, she needs to have the dead leaf Walden Pond version.

Robert Cook said...

"You move to Texas and live like a human being instead of a rat."

The down side is too big...you'd have to live in Texas.

Robert Cook said...

I live alone in Manhattan in a much bigger space than she, and I feel very fortunate this is so. (I moved here 30 years ago.) However, I can say that the accumulated stuff we acquire over time becomes imprisoning. One can't just pick up and go when one might want to. One has to consider the logistics of packing and moving all one's stuff. I arrived with one suitcase and enough cash to open a bank account. Now, I have furniture and shelving and books and cds and dvds and records and shelving and books and tables and chairs and books and shelving and computers and a tv and knick knacks and clothing and shelving and books. Oy!

Living in such compact space will certainly force one to focus on just what one needs. I love my books, but if if had to live in such a space, I would begin expanding my ebook library and selling off those books I could give up and storing those I couldn't. I always admired that William Burroughs for a time never owned anything more than what he could fit in one valise...a change of clothes and a typewriter. He was ready to go anywhere, anytime.

When my father died, and we threw out much of his accumulated stuff, I realized that our treasure is just trash that someone else--if not us--will one day have to deal with.

Don't Tread 2012 said...

My impression of the bed area is that it would be not much better than the space in an MRI machine and would definitely take some getting used to.

It would be dicey indeed to tie one on and proceed to bed.

wv - malst

Most of all

John Lynch said...

RC-
Totally, 100% correct. Stuff, money, trash.

William said...

Human beings are infinitely adaptable. That said, the wonder is not that she lives in such cramped space but that she has convinced herself that she likes living in such a space. The only upside is that if by some mischance she gets buried alive, waking up in the coffin will not be as traumatic for her as for most people.

jamboree said...

I had a single in Hollywood. when in my 20s. It had a loooong hall to the kitchen so no smell.

I got a kitten. After a while, I transferred the kitten to my mom's house in the suburbs with a large hill. Not because I tired of taking care of him, but because I thought it cruel to keep an animal in a space like that when he needed to roam where it was safe.

It didn't take too long after that before I realized if I consider this inhumane for a CAT, WTF am I doing here?

And I left.

Mel said...

We live simply, we eat simply, we are not materialistic pigs like 98%of the people we know. We are grateful to have a roof over our heads, food on the table and clothes on our back. (but I gotta have the internet!)

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