life in a tiny apartment.

July 18, 2012

Tip #22: Hold on to what you love, part with what you don’t.

when we first moved into this tiny space, we were nervous about which of our biggest pieces of furniture we’d have to leave behind. five years of living together meant that we’d already managed to build a pretty solid collection. we’d scoured yard sales and craigslist listings and driven down questionable driveways to find just what we wanted. we’d scrubbed and painted and when we found something we liked even better, we’d listed our own pieces and invited strangers down our driveway to relieve us of our castaways.

even though moving meant we had to part with some of our furniture, we also resolved that we wouldn’t just give everything up willy nilly and start over. some things were easy to part with (goodbye terrible futon). other things were more difficult (we know you’re in a good home,  sweet chifferobe). mostly, we kept what we had. this decision doesn’t mean that each piece of furniture is the best option for our particular space, but it does mean we’re surrounded by things that are special to us. we chose love over efficiency and yes, i’ve always been a sucker for inanimate objects.

the advice is this: don’t think that just because you live in a tiny space you can’t surround yourself with things you love. sure, some things in here could work better. the space above this dresser, for instance, is a huge open wall. a savvier apartment dweller might choose to fill the space with a vertical wall unit, to build up, and maximize storage space. the romantic apartment dweller loves the old dresser that she bought for $35.00 in north carolina and painted herself. bottom line, go for the romance. if you love something, you’ll make it work, whether it was built with maximum efficiency in mind, or not. 

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  • Reply July 18, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    That is a lovely dresser, and the fact that it was such a bargain and you put your own hard work into making it beautiful means even more.
    Did you buy and replace the drawer pulls or are those original?

    • Reply Erin July 19, 2012 at 12:18 am

      i did replace the pulls. they'd been replaced with awful brass pulls. kind of wish i could replace them again, but that'll have to wait!

  • Reply Rebecca D. Martin July 18, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    I love this post and the spirit behind it. And the image of driving down questionable driveways. And that dresser!

    • Reply Erin July 19, 2012 at 12:19 am

      thanks, rebecca!

  • Reply Elise Martinez July 18, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    Very good advice. Beautiful photo of the dresser!

  • Reply Samantha July 18, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    So happy I found your blog!!

  • Reply Bree July 18, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    I love all the survival tips, but especially this one! I too am very attached inanimate objects. You guys are very inspiring!

    • Reply Erin July 19, 2012 at 12:18 am

      thanks, bree! so glad to have you reading!

  • Reply Sam | ashore July 18, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    Erin, I agree with this with my whole heart. My sister and I share a studio apartment – and probably the best furniture solution would be to have no furniture at all. But that doesn't feel like home to me.

  • Reply Kari July 18, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    Hi. Just recently discovered your blog and have been going through all the old posts. This apartment survival guide has been my favourite series. We have a house rather than an apartment. But it's four people in a house a tiny fraction of the usual size. And I agree completely with this post. Go for the romance. There are other ways of being efficient in the space.

    • Reply Erin July 19, 2012 at 12:16 am

      kari, so glad to have you reading!

  • Reply rebecca July 18, 2012 at 7:12 pm

    I secretly throw things out when Ed's not around. not once has he asked where these things are so I assume I'm doing a good job.

    • Reply Erin July 19, 2012 at 12:15 am

      expert job, if you ask me!

  • Reply Claire Rudkins July 18, 2012 at 8:17 pm

    I did see something once that said something like 'at least two thirds of the walls should be clear as well as floor space etc' I know that's very vague but it stuck in my head as I know I have waaay too much stuff on my walls. So if you follow that principle then you're quite 'right' not to build up abv your adorable dresser!!!

    • Reply Erin July 19, 2012 at 12:14 am

      perfect, then! thanks, claire!

  • Reply ambika anand July 18, 2012 at 10:46 pm

    just stumbled on your blog from the one girl cookies' twitter–LOVE! this is such a beautifully written post, and i definitely agree. living in my first apartment post-college, i'm definitely going "for the romance" and picking out pieces very carefully 🙂 can't wait to start following your posts!

    • Reply Erin July 19, 2012 at 12:14 am

      so glad you did! thanks for reading!

  • Reply alexandria July 19, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    Beautifully worded. I love this post.

  • Reply Joan July 19, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    Agree. I will never give up my dresser from when I was very young living with my parents. It may not be too stylish but it fits me. It is a bit scruffed up. One of these days I need to put some elbow grease into it.

  • Reply Hena Tayeb July 19, 2012 at 10:32 pm

    That is a gorgeous dresser.. I agree, surround yourself with the things you love and it gives you a reason to smile everyday

  • Reply Charlotte August 2, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    This feature is absolutely adorable, I plan on reading all of your tips to make home life a little sweeter.. so thanks in advance for your help! x

  • Reply Anonymous March 21, 2013 at 8:42 pm

    i have the exact dresser! i dug it out of my parents garage (it was being used as a tool bench – gasp!) and took it with me when i moved out many years ago…it's very shabby looking these days but seeing how lovely it looks painted i am now inspired to sand mine down and give it a coat of paint to freshen it up…

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