life in a tiny apartment.

January 15, 2014

Tip #88: Put a lid on it.

Especially if it’s your laundry hamper.

Can you tell I’m still not ready to talk about the impending new apartment search? Before I regale you all with weepy stories of our move-out date, and how the apartment we had our eye on upstairs didn’t end up working out, and how, alas, alack, we’re on the hunt for a different tiny apartment that’s all on one level, and doesn’t require a treacherous climb up a ships ladder, let’s just breathe a bit and talk about laundry.

No doubt we’ll be gearing up for there to be a whole lot more of it, and soon. Like many New York City dwellers, we live in an apartment without laundry in the building. Not in our apartment, or our basement, or down the hall. Weekly, we schlep a bagful of laundry to the laundromat, where I admit, more often than not, we leave it to be washed and folded and picked up later. It’s a pretty seamless system, even if my own parents’ origami-style laundry folding techniques are so deeply engrained in me from childhood that I find myself refolding my socks and underwear to be just so. (Looking forward to imparting similar OCD-tendencies to our bébé.)

Aside from the question of where to wash one’s laundry is the question of where to store one’s laundry before the trip to the local Suds ‘n Bubbles. For years, we used a floppy kind of open hamper that we stuffed into whatever closet or chifferobe made most sense in our various apartments. And at first, we were happy with the same system in this place. But eventually the overflowing pile and floppy canvas basket began to grate on my nerves, and we chose a lidded option instead. It’ll come as no surprise to you that the lid changed everything for this neatnik. No more lopsided pigsty to contend with, and a tiny holding area for those things that need to be put away upstairs…eventually.

This is the hamper that we chose. It’s not especially beautiful, but it is made from renewable bamboo and plastic water bottles and it fits perfectly (read: just barely) between the basket where we keep our toilet paper and the fourth chair we wedge into the closet. Best of all, it’s low enough that we can still hang our clothes above it.

If money and space were not a consideration I’d be after this one or this one, or maybe even this one (even if it does break the lid rule). A girl can dream.

Tiny apartment survival tips #1 – 87 right here.

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  • Reply Suzan January 15, 2014 at 3:40 pm

    Everyone is going to tell you this: the amount of laundry one tiny person will generate is astounding! It increases exponentially, more than you & James combined can produce in a sweaty week. No line. Nothing will prepare you. But be prepared!

  • Reply Francesca Kelley January 15, 2014 at 4:29 pm

    Lids are a good thing. We have our laundry hamper in the basement, no lid. I am constantly checking to make sure no inappropriates are on top when we have company. Because somehow someone ends up in the basement. Don't ask me why.

  • Reply Broomcakes January 15, 2014 at 4:58 pm

    I have two hampers in my bedroom, one for me, one for the husband. Both have lids. They are lovely, baskety looking things that I got from Ikea. Alas, where my hamper is always neatly closed, my husband, on the other hand, finds that a closed lid means "toss dirty clothes on top of hamper in effort to create pyramid of dirty things." Thus, his is ALWAYS open. Sigh. At least the clothes (mostly) make it in this way.

  • Reply pretty little things January 15, 2014 at 7:28 pm

    I store my laundry in a pretty basket in my closet, so when people see it, it doens't scream laundry as much as it does, "oh thats a cute basket!" — that;s my tip for living in my small apartment : )

  • Reply Debs January 15, 2014 at 8:00 pm

    You chose the right basket. It's the nicest of all the choices.

    We have two ugly white large laundry baskets (one for colors, one for whites) in the small roman tub (never used). If I had closed baskets, clothing would end up everywhere but inside the baskets. My husband is inevitably "shooting" baskets with his clothing.

  • Reply issy504 January 15, 2014 at 8:47 pm

    You read my mind on this post! We also live in a small space, though not as small as yours, and are expecting our first baby at the end of March. Our laundry is in a separate building down the walking path a bit. For seven years, my husband has done almost all of our laundry, but I fear that he's about to be overwhelmed with the amount of dirty clothes that need schlepping and washing each week. I love the hamper you chose–beautiful and practical. Now to figure out our own system…

  • Reply stev January 15, 2014 at 9:07 pm

    Before I regale you all with weepy stories of our move-out date!!!!!!!thanks!

  • Reply Janelle @ Two Cups Of Happy January 15, 2014 at 10:01 pm

    I've been looking for a lidded hamper for months! I can't even imagine what a difference it'll make in our spare room/dining room/craft room/office. Thanks for the inspiration links 🙂

  • Reply Aja Lake January 15, 2014 at 10:17 pm

    I'm not sure I've ever said, "I like your hamper," but so it is:) My family and I just bought a 100-year-old farmhouse. We have two babies under three and, although the house is of average size, we are looking long and hard at simplifying. So happy to have found your tiny survival tips.

  • Reply Julie January 15, 2014 at 11:59 pm

    Gosh I didn't realise how much I took for granted my own separate laundry room in my house, and a clothes line outside. However I am still on the search for the perfect hamper to leave in the bathroom for my family's dirty washing.

  • Reply Vivian Morelli January 16, 2014 at 4:56 am

    Erin, I love all your tips so much! Especially as I live in a tiny, tiny Tokyo apartment, actually very similar to yours with a loft space so I've been getting wonderful ideas.

  • Reply Lauren E. January 16, 2014 at 6:32 pm

    This blog is utter perfection! I've been sharing a one bedroom apartment with my boyfriend for 2 1/2 years now and it's like a puzzle, the way we've managed to find a tiny space for everything. You've given me so much inspiration!

    Re: the apartment hunt, I have to suggest (as I always do to anyone who asks) that you look at Astoria. Unless you work in Brooklyn, it is the absolute perfect neighborhood for young couples and families. How does a massive 2 bedroom for $1600 a month sound? The neighborhood is safe, ridiculously accessible from Manhattan, and new and amazing restaurants and shops are opening all the time. Just give it a quick Craig's List glance. You'll be glad you did.

    Best of luck!

  • Reply tinajo January 16, 2014 at 7:34 pm

    Yep, I´m all for lids as well. 🙂

  • Reply thecoolestcatblog January 16, 2014 at 8:40 pm

    I´ve just found this beautifull blog through " A cup of Jo ", and I must to say that I love it!!!!

  • Reply Rebecca January 16, 2014 at 10:14 pm

    Erin! It's been a while…but getting back into the swing of things (including reading/catching up with my favorite blogs). Just found out you're pregnant…how exciting! When are you due? Our little girl is the most wonderful gift we've ever been given…can't wait to follow your journey into motherhood :))) Hope you're feeling well!

  • Reply Design Scouting January 17, 2014 at 1:51 am

    just popping in to say that covering the hamper is one of the best things I EVER did.

  • Reply Anonymous January 26, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    I live in a tiny apartment and I could not muster going to the laundry and can't afford for all my clothes to be laundered. I did some research and I found the panda on amazon for washing. It has a dryer (extra spin cycle to get the most moisture out of clothes) and something like this might come in handy when you have clothes soaked with vomit or stool that your nose can't muster with allowing to sit a day waiting to be laundered. It does take up space and is the size of a large cooler but fits in a corner in the closet.
    Here is a youtube vidoe of it:

  • Reply Somerset wedding gal March 26, 2014 at 5:49 pm

    I've never given that much thought to hampers myself, but yours really is lovely!

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