Tip #101: Embrace messy projects.
Here’s something that I think might not get talked about enough:
Tiny apartments aren’t always picture perfect.
I started this tiny apartment series on my blog just 8 days after moving in. I didn’t share photos of the entire space until—wait for it—11 months later.
In blogland we see a lot of beautiful (and professionally styled) finished spaces. We also see a fair amount of before and afters—but many of those have that dubious quality of the Dr. Zizmor ads on the subway. You can’t quite bring yourself to believe there wasn’t some amount of makeup applied for the after shots and some amount of deliberately shoddy lighting used in the before shots.
I’m not suggesting that people need to show the messy stuff. There’s a lot of personal sharing demanded of bloggers and allowing for a degree of privacy is welcomed, even necessary. But in case you find yourself discouraged in the midst of getting your own place to feel just right, I think it’s helpful to remember that it all takes time. Especially when there are full-time jobs and growing babies, and, you know, breathing to attend to.
When you live in a tiny place—especially a tiny place in the midst of a crowded city—even something as simple as repainting a dresser can present a particular set of challenges. Instead of being able to haul a piece of furniture out to a garage or the backyard, there are often multiple flights of stairs between you and solid ground. And there aren’t always neighbors who are enthusiastic about you making the sidewalk your personal workshop.
Last weekend we embarked on a little bébé-inspired project that’s still only half finished mid-week. And it likely won’t be finished this weekend either. Here, a few concrete tips for working on an apartment project when space is limited.
1. Carve out dedicated time to work on the project. And be reasonable about how many of these sessions the project is actually going to take. Tiny apartments weren’t built in a day, etc.
2. Tackle one project at a time. Do the pipes in your bathroom need fresh paint? Focus on those first so that you don’t need to have your bathroom out of commission at the same time that your bed is in pieces and your kitchen cabinets emptied of their contents. Slow and steady, etc.
3. Make ample use of drop cloths. They’re good not only for protecting nearby furniture, but they can be folded up neatly to corral offending paint cans, brushes, measuring tapes, and other things that you might not want to stare at in the precious moments between working.
PS. We went to Green Depot this week to pick up a few supplies, and they’re having an awesome Earth Day sale on their zero-VOC yolo paint which ends April 28. I’m reasonable enough to know our project won’t be finished before then, so I thought I’d share it now. YOLO, friends.
For tiny apartment survival tips #1 – 100, head here.