life in a tiny apartment.

May 21, 2014


Tip #103: Embrace your hobbies. Find a place to keep their requisite supplies.

Over the weekend James and I had a conversation with my sister and brother-in-law in which we ultimately decided that there are two basic camps of people when it comes to apartment décor. In one camp are the people who choose comfort over aesthetics and in the other are folks who choose aesthetics over comfort. Being a member of the latter camp doesn’t mean you go about being wildly uncomfortable, but it might mean—as is the case in my sister’s equally tiny apartment—that you opt out of having a couch. Or—as is the case in a recent furniture maneuver in our space—that you decide to move your only movie-watching device (the computer) away from the couch. As far as I’m concerned, whether your priorities are on comfort or aesthetics is a personal choice. And like everything else, there’s plenty of gray area between the two.

But for anyone who, like me, finds herself ready to haul all of her paper goods to a local thrift store because she’d rather not find a discreet place to stash them, here’s an entreaty: don’t get rid of everything that makes you happy.


Dealing with the stuff of hobbies in a tiny apartment can be a challenge. But lest we decide to pass our time at home only in staring at the picture-perfect rooms we’ve created, a certain degree of compromise is probably a wise thing to embrace.

Whenever our apartment has been featured in places outside of this blog, James and I have gotten more than a few incredulous comments about the fact that we keep an eight-foot surfboard in our apartment. I’m the first to admit it’s not always the easiest thing to work into the décor. We happily no longer keep the board in the shower, and both of us breathed a sigh of relief when we realized that the our new attic apartment has ceilings tall enough to accommodate the giant in an upright position.

Most of the time the surfboard blends into the proverbial woodwork, but on days when James comes back from the beach, there’s a drying hoodie and wetsuit and pair of booties to contend with along with the million and five particles of sand that he inevitably tracks back into the apartment and the wadded up beach towel, and the backpack full of surf wax and water bottles and half-eaten sandwiches. Having a place to stow these accoutrements once they’ve properly finished drying (or festering as the case might be) has been crucial. Turning a blind eye to his habit of hanging the wetsuit from our apartment window so that it can dry? Let’s just say I’ve evolved. And it’s been worth it.

Tiny apartment survival tips #1 – 102, right here.
Surfing this time last year.

You Might Also Like


  • Reply Christine May 21, 2014 at 2:09 pm

    Only you could make a drying wetsuit look like it is part of the decor!

    Living with men….sigh…it ain't easy! I dread the day my boys start hockey and their gross, giant equipment bags have to find a home. Hmmm- what sports require no equipment. Track and field? Perhaps I will push them towards that!

  • Reply Erika May 21, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    as someone who learned to surf while living in san diego, I have a soft spot for your surfboard. we are no longer in socal, or anywhere near a beach for that matter, but apparently still sentimentally attached. we have 3 of them (ugh!) and none of them are as pretty. I've tried to work one into our suburban decor, and I offered to hang ours vertically above the couch, but alas it was too big. embrace the surfboard I say! 🙂

  • Reply Traci May 21, 2014 at 2:42 pm

    We all evolve in certain ways when it comes to this sort of topic! Just think of the sand that gets tracked in as a free foot exfoliation, right in your own home! ;D

    I like the look of the surfboard, it adds character for sure.

  • Reply Mrs. White May 21, 2014 at 7:11 pm

    I think that's a lovely vignette. Love conquers all (sometimes), doesn't it? 🙂

  • Reply Daryl Lindsey Schmidt May 21, 2014 at 7:23 pm

    I think the surfboard actually looks marvelous there!

    This is encouraging for me, too, because although our 1 bedroom may not qualify as "tiny," I've started to take up a huge corner of it with all of my photography stuff. Reflectors, tripods, boxes of film, props, it's all sort of piled in a huge messy heap. I need to make storing and organizing it more of a goal.


    <3 Daryl
    Current Post: Foodie Travel – Let's Talk About Buffalo Wings.

  • Reply BostonGemmie May 21, 2014 at 7:35 pm

    On a side note who is that painting by? I swear I have just like it! Paintings of the ocean make me smile since I am deadlocked in the middle of the US with only a nasty dirty river to look at 🙁

    The surfboard looks kinda cool with the whole dresser setup!

    • Reply Erin May 22, 2014 at 1:37 pm

      Hey there: It's a Stow Wengenroth of Cape Cod sand dunes!

    • Reply BostonGemmie May 22, 2014 at 8:33 pm

      Its beautiful. Now I will have to go and find that painting. I packed up all my paintings would I moved and haven't unpacked a lot of them. 🙂 thanks for letting me know! Hope all is well with you and yours! 🙂

  • Reply Anonymous May 22, 2014 at 1:33 am

    Well, that's one way to ruin a wetsuit.

    • Reply James May 22, 2014 at 1:32 pm

      Hey there Anonymous!
      This is James checking in to say that no wetsuits were damaged in the making of this photograph! After using freshwater to rinse off the saltwater, the best way to let a wetsuit dry is to keep it out of direct sunlight (hooray for our north-facing windows) and to hang it up on a hanger. The wetsuit should be folded in half on the hanger rather than hanging like a shirt to avoid stretching out the neck or shoulders.

  • Reply Anonymous May 22, 2014 at 1:50 am

    Couldn't you just store it under the bed or couch?

    • Reply James May 22, 2014 at 1:32 pm

      Hey there Anonymous II,
      As Erin mentioned this is just a solution to allow the wetsuit to dry after a day at the beach. Rest assured that the wetsuit is tucked away carefully in our closet as soon as it's dry.

    • Reply Anonymous May 22, 2014 at 2:56 pm

      I meant the surfboard not the wetsuit. I thought it was about working the surfboard into the decor so maybe hiding it underneath the bed might work if having it setting out was bothersome to look at.

    • Reply Erin May 22, 2014 at 10:56 pm

      Ah! Good thought: the trouble with that solution is that at 8 feet tall, the surfboard is significantly longer than our bed (and even more so in the case of the couch). (And, alas, even with a smaller board, the fins on the bottom would make most surfboards difficult to fit under a bed or couch in terms of height clearance).

  • Reply Anonymous May 22, 2014 at 3:47 am

    I love your blog. Could you make your font larger? Hard to read, when it's so small.

    • Reply Erin May 22, 2014 at 1:39 pm

      Thanks so much! Sorry the font is on the small side! Hoping for a redesign eventually, but in the meantime, it might help to use "command +" to make the browser larger! Hope that's a good temporary fix!

  • Reply Lexie May 22, 2014 at 7:49 am

    I have been surfing since I was 2 so I understand how necessary it is to life. You are a great wife to appreciate his hobby and how important it is to him. Sand indoors is a blessing from t h e sea. I love this post.

  • Reply Sasame May 22, 2014 at 3:07 pm

    Yessssss…. I related to this post almost more than any other! Our 375 sq feet are host to my husband's waders precariously drying over our bikes hanging in the living room every weekend after he comes home from fly fishing (not to mention the boots and poles etc plus 2 surfboards, golf clubs, and a goof board strategically placed in all our little nooks). I just try to remind myself how happy I am that he has hobbies and how that was part of what first won me over we first started dating 😉

  • Reply Neurotic Workaholic May 23, 2014 at 3:45 am

    It looks like you get a lot of light in your apartment, which is good. I'd like to say that I go for comfort over decor, but my furniture is so old that it's no longer comfortable. I really like that chest of drawers (or whatever it's called); it's pretty. I wish I could have one, but there's no room in my place.

  • Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    Comments are moderated.