Finding your tiny apartment

May your home always be too small to hold all of your friends.
~Author Unknown

By far the easiest way to live tiny is to just rent an apartment. But the challenge posed by picking an apartment out can be daunting…especially in a college town where the apartments are thick.

1) Be prepared to search. The best apartment’s not always the first one you look at. I found my current place after hours of searching by car and on the internet. I checked out dozens of places.

2) Don’t be fooled by the cost per square foot. It’s a good indicator, yes, but your goal is tiny, not best value per square foot. I’ve had apartment complexes try to sell me on bigger apartments with this argument. And they were better deals, but what am I going to do with 1200 sq. ft. when 600 is too big? Going by sheer square footage isn’t a good idea, either. Instead, decide if the apartment as a whole, both in size and in layout, is right for you.

3) Decide what you have to have and what you can live without. I have to have ceiling fans and windows I can leave open all the time. I don’t need a dishwasher or my own washer and dryer. This may be a trial-and-error thing. There’s a good chance you may need something you didn’t even think about or that you can live without something you thought you needed. This is doubly true for tiny spaces, which can exacerbate seemingly minor details.

4) Location, location, location. Do you want to be close to work? Close to a park? Far away from train tracks? Know what needs to be close, what can be far away, and how much you’re willing to sacrifice to have these things at hand (or far far away). Is location a dealbreaker or do you care if the dream apartment is a half-hour drive from everything?

5) Know the prices. Tiny apartments should be relatively cheap. Most people these days want big apartments with lots of closets. My current place is one of the cheapest in town. In order to fill the units, they have to keep the prices low to entice people to live in small apartments.


7) Look for older apartments. They’re not as nice, but as houses got bigger, so did apartments. Older apartments tend to be smaller than newer apartments.

8) Avoid taking something that’s “okay.” If you’re meaning this to be a permanent or semi-permanent residence, you don’t want to live somewhere you aren’t in love with. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t make a trade-off or two, but you should be able to say with confidence, “This is it!”


2 Responses to “Finding your tiny apartment”

  1. Dargon Says:

    With regards to older apartments, I have lived in two older apartments in my time. Go in the interwebs, read reviews. One of the older apartments I lived in had a major roach problem and was in relatively poor condition. The other, it rivals newer apartments in terms of condition because management keeps it up so well.

    As for size, sometimes tiny just isn’t possible. When I lived in Dallas, when location was the big thing for me (as it usually is), the smallest units within 10 miles of work that weren’t falling apart started around 800 square feet. Where I am now, 600 is about the smallest you’ll find (and it’s what I’m in) It’s a nudge too big, but for the price and location and condition and all sorts of other things, it is pretty excelent.

  2. shimmerhawk Says:

    I actually prefer older apartments and won’t live in anything that isn’t 75+ years old. I hate the shit they build these days; it’s sterile, boring, and never has enough natural light. There are more maintenance issues in older places, but I consider that part of their charm. The buildings have more character, were built better out of solid, high quality materials, have interesting histories, and are usually much more beautiful.

    I have a tiny studio apartment. I like it and I liked streamlining my life to fit in it. It’s a little cramped in here with two cats though. Every time I turn around there’s a cat on me or in my face. Apartment living right in a city is best too, I totally agree with that. I can walk three blocks to work, four blocks to Lake Superior, etc. I don’t know how people can stand to live in sprawling houses isolated in suburbia where they’re forced to be dependent on cars.

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