28 September 2011

6 ways to share a small living space

Living in the UK and being part of a generation of renters sometimes means that you have to cope with living in a space that isn't big enough for your lifestyle, and even worse, often you have to share it.  This article is specifically aimed at living with your Significant Other as that is what I am coping with right now, but it can be applied to best-friend house mates, room mates in University, even siblings still under your parents roof.

(image via Tumblr; unknown source)

1. Look at what you have and what you need.
It's best to do this before starting to share your space, but it can be done at any time you feel overwhelmed with belongings. Look through the things you have and try to minimise what you have to live with.
There are plenty of different methods of sorting out what you need in your house and your life and if you're like me, you love every item you own. It's tough to donate things or chuck them, but there are a few questions that I ask myself when I look at things that I'm unsure about throwing them away that may help you;
  • Do I really LOVE it; does it have fond memories and/or sentimental value?
  • Do I need it and do I have a use for it in the future?
  • Is it going to be hard to replace if you do need it later in life?
  • Can I see myself using it in the future; does it fit the life I WANT to lead?
If you're still swimming in clutter after sorting through your belongings, maybe you can look at storage but it is very expensive and it's equivalent to just throwing money away if you don't store wisely. If you don't use the things after keeping them in store for over 6 months, maybe it's worth running them through the questions above.

2. Look at your in-house storage options
Closed bookshelves, inbuilt cuboards, wasted space in the kitchen; all of this can be used to your advantage.  Try to make the most of the space given to you.  Places such as Ikea have plenty of solutions for even the most awkward hidey-holes and soon, all of your things will be hidden away.

3. Try to do things together where possible
If you can, eat together.  Clean together.  Wash clothes together.  Not only will this create a unity in your home, but it means that you don't get in the way of each other doing clashing tasks.  If one of you cleans the kitchen while the other does the bathroom, you won't be getting dishsoap in the others baked goods or hoovering up half-painted wargaming miniatures!

4. If you can't respect personal space, respect personal time
As much as you may love being together, everyone needs their time.  Let the other person have an afternoon with the home to themselves and ask that they do the same for you.  Pamper yourself on your 'afternoon off'!  Light some candles, put on music they don't appreciate but you love, do some crafts that take up the whole living room for once.  It's your time; enjoy it and don't just do the dishes while they're out of your hair.

It may seem obvious, but it wasn't to me for a while.  Although it's probable that they majority of your incoming money is going on your home and if you're like me, you want to get your money's worth, sometimes it is best to ignore it and go out.  Go out every evening for a week and come the weekend, you'll cherish that tiny space and will have missed the person you share it with.

6. Love your home
It can seem like a cell, but make it YOUR cell.  Decorate with mutually acceptable designs, keep it clean, fill it with things you love and make it your own.  It's easy to love a small space when it is somewhere that you enjoy being.  Decorating a rented space can be a nightmare, but there are plenty (probably hundreds) of websites that have tutorials, hints and guides, such as (most from the beloved Apartment Therapy - have a browse!);
5 tips for decorating your rental
10 temporary, removable products for renters
Small, cool dorm rooms

I hope you can find something that can help you from these tips; they're certainly hard-learned!


1 comment:

  1. Cool tips!

    I'm currently sharing with 3 people from uni...the problem is, they all know each other already so I'm the odd one out, plus I'm REALLY shy. They're doing my head in as they made the place a dirty tip before I even moved in and have started using my milk and never clean up after themselves, but I'm too shy to bring it up as I doubt they'd listen to me anyway! I stay in my room all the time (and since they all moved in before me as no one told me we could move in until a month later I ended up with the box room which is TINY) as the living room is full of their rubbish, mostly bits of disassembled computer D=

    I'm beginning to wish I'd taken up my boyfriend's offer of living with him since he'd at least listen to me, but I'd have to give up my personal time instead...gah hehe.


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