Tiny apartments aren’t just for New Yorkers anymore. Demand for affordable, convenient housing in desirable neighborhoods has given rise to micro-apartments across the country.
Sean O’Leary lives in a 190-square-foot apartment in Seattle’s picturesque Wallingford neighborhood. His is one of 40 units in this building managed by Footprint Properties. “Living in a situation like this, you constantly have to be prioritizing your possessions and being mindful of not accumulating too much stuff,” he says.
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Each unit comes furnished, but instead of having their own kitchens, residents share one. Plus, all utilities are included. “The location was really key in my decision to live here,” says O’Leary. “The bus that I ride to work on has a stop right across the street from me. There’s tons of great restaurants and bars that I like to go to.”
O’Leary, who moved to Seattle to pursue a music career, pays $825 per month and estimates he saves up to $400 a month by living small. His room has a full bed, a bathroom, a bookshelf, cupboards and a sink. “I don’t really feel claustrophobic in here, but I can see how some people would.”
Upstairs on the fifth floor, cross-country transplants Ian Gloditch and Sarah Mendonca share a 250-square-foot loft space for $950 a month. They say their apartment is changing their lifestyles for the better.
“It makes us active. We have to go out and go see the town. So, we’re not homebodies,” says Mendonca.
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Their bed is up the ladder, in a loft space only large enough for kneeling. Downstairs, they have a bookcase, a desk, folding chairs and a wardrobe, and the kitchen area has a sink, microwave and mini fridge. Without a TV or a couch for lounging, they’ve traded flipping channels for hiking trips and walks to the farmer’s market.
“She likes to say we’ve become unintentional vegetarians because we only have the mini fridge,” says Gloditch. “It’s just only green stuff in there, so it’s definitely changed the way we’ve eaten.”
While they’ve embraced their living situation, friends and family don’t quite understand. “His family actually came into town and saw the apartment, and they were like, ‘When are you moving out?’ We realize that this space is very good for us right now in this time in our lives,” says Mendonca.
Saving on rent also allows the young couple to put their money toward things they enjoy. “I’m able to get that really high-quality stuff that a person at my income level would normally never be able to get. Right now I’m saving up for a really nice knife set so that I can start cooking really wonderful stuff,” she says.
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With space being quite tight, they have to get creative with storage, but a small place has its benefits. “On the plus side, with a place this small, you’re never gonna [be] like, ‘Where’d I put this?’” says Gloditch. “I’ll glance a little bit to the left, I’ll see the rest of the apartment and find it.”
Would you ever live in a tiny apartment? Connect with me on Twitter @Farnoosh and use the hashtag #finfit.