The biggest small story this week has been the news of New York City Mayor Bloomberg's competition to developers to create "micro-apartments" to be built in what's currently a parking lot in Kips Bay. The mind reels over the thought of these 275- to 300-square-foot glorified dorm rooms, in which grown adults are expected to live, and not only live, but for the right to do so, also pay $2,000 or so a month! Are we humans, or are we the human equivalent of tightly packed canned sardines, or perhaps hamsters in our tiny side-by-side huts?
Given the fact that the space in which the not-royal we live is something of a universally loved conversation topic for both schadenfreude and more basic real estate purposes, the news of Bloomberg's plan was followed by other stories, like Doree Lewak's article in the New York Post on a couple (two of 'em, full grown and all) who are sharing a 240-square-foot apartment in Brooklyn Heights. Or Jesse McKinley's recent effort in The New York Times, in which he considers the decor needs of such small-space-bound individuals and provides an array of justifications for why living small is so great.
A caveat, though: Given the recent article in the paper on how to tell if you're "overpropped" (i.e., have way too much overstylized crap), we're getting the feeling that someone at the Times might be attempting to intervene in our cluttered and excessive lifestyles. It's almost like they want us to move into these tiny apartments with just a mini-futon and all the clothes we can wear on our backs. It's almost like they want us to downsize so that ... well, maybe they can take over our current lease?
Here are McKinley's reasons it's so great to live in a small space:
- It is good for you, spiritually. "While you may be living in an area smaller than your average motel room, some experts say outfitting such tiny surroundings can actually be good for your soul." Your soul, you see, is quite tiny. No bigger than a tin of cat food! And it doesn't have any issues with claustrophobia. It's your body that's the problem here. Always causing trouble, bodies.
- It is good for you, mentally. "After all, who needs the pressure of having a closet?" Seriously, I wake up everyday worried about my closet. How did you sleep last night? Are you feeling OK? Why are you so angry? Closet, remember when you used to love me? Remember when we used to have fun? Then you end up going to closet-couples therapy, and that's a whole other can of wardrobe worms.
- You can have people over but it's not like you're going to have to feed them a whole sit-down meal. (And they're probably not going to linger when you force them to eat hors d'oeuvres off your toilet seat.)
- According to "Seth Herzog, a downtown comedian who long lived in a 115-square-foot room": “Everything you need is within arm’s reach." Handy!
- Maybe people won't come over at all and you can finally get a wink of sleep or some much-needed private time, alone and closetless, particularly if, like Herzog, you admit "to sometimes using [the] sink as a urinal."
Convinced? Here's how the Times recommends you decorate:
- Buy one of those "nifty" three-in-one toaster/sandwich-maker/grills that you can also fit in your purse!
- Get a microwave with a handle on it so you can carry it around!
- Get a mini-kitchen by Boffi ($35,000)! Too expensive? Buy nesting spoons!
- Buy a tiny toothbrush that doesn't even need water or toothpaste!
- Get a shower caddy!
- Get a Bonsai tree!
- Get a puppy, a teeny-tiny puppy, who will actually find your minuscule apartment quite huge. So long as you train it to use your sink as a urinal all will be well!
And so on (a grill for your fire escape!). We're starting to feel overpropped. Perhaps the one truly practical bit of advice given in this piece is that you should probably go to Ikea when furnishing your new New York City apartment. Of course, that's true whatever size your post-graduate grownup-life pad happens to be. After all, you're not a real adult until you've owned a POÄNG chair.
Image via Shutterstock by Serg Zastavkin.