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5 Tips for Downsizing to an NYC Apartment: Less is More

Transitioning from the sprawling suburbs to a crowded city is difficult. There’s no way you can pack up your home to fit into a small apartment, so how do you know what to keep and what to toss? Here are five tips to help you maximize your new space without splurging or adding too much clutter.

list

Make Lists

Start your process mathematically, and on paper. Gather all the measurements of your new space, from ceiling heights to wall lengths and widths. Take note of window placement and tight corners. Then, measure the dimensions of the furniture you plan on moving in with you. Your king-sized bed probably won’t make the cut, nor will your grandma’s old, bulky dresser. Plan accordingly and look into buying or acquiring new furniture if necessary. Don’t forget to check out the stairwells—your couch may fit nicely inside the living room, but can it make it through the door?

day bed

Invest in Multi-Purpose Furniture

As the name suggests, multi-purpose furniture will serve you more than one purpose. When purchased intelligently, these items will not only save you space, but money as well. For instance, any TV stand will hold your TV, but a TV stand with built-in drawers or shelves can also store DVDs, game controllers and books.

When buying a staple piece of furniture, ask yourself if it can possibly double as anything else on your list. An ottoman is always a sure bet in this department. Many beds also come ready made with built-in storage space underneath as well, perfect for storing clothes or extra blankets. If you already have a bed frame, consider purchasing risers—these will lift the bed off the ground just high enough to make way for some sleek under-bed storage bins.

Shelves

Optimize Organization

Shelves, shelves, shelves! Shelves are relatively easy to install and can make any apartment feel homier. If your small apartment lacks counter space, a desk or a bookcase, shelves are the perfect place to display your family photos and show off your books. And while a shelf is a quintessential organization tool, it is far from the only one. A closet organizer can go a long way in a tight closet, as well as a shower caddy in a narrow bath.

Door

Think Outside the Box… Or Door!

Teeny tiny bedrooms can prove quite the challenge if you plan on moving a dresser and a desk into the space, or even just one or the other. Oftentimes, the sneaky and overlooked nuisance is the closet door. A door that swings outward can often get in the way of your bedroom furniture and even your personal trajectory path. Talk to your landlord. Maybe he or she can work on installing a sliding or a bi-fold door instead, or store the door if you want to take it off completely and put up a curtain instead.

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De-Clutter Your Life

This is always easier said than done, especially if you are the gal who saves every high school t-shirt or the guy who treasures every Little League trophy. Ask yourself when exactly the last time you wore those costume go-go boots was, and how much sentimental value your souvenir teddy bear from the local fair still has. If those answers are anything less emphatic than “last week!” and “a ton,” maybe it’s time to make a donation pile. If can you leave some items in your childhood room, take advantage of that. Maybe Teddy can stay after all.

A tiny New York apartment will only seem smaller without proper planning and de-cluttering. With these helpful tips, hopefully you will be able to find a space here or there to enjoy the city that never sleeps!

Katy Cornell, contributing writer for City Realty, is a Long Island native with a passion for writing about real estate in the big city. She recently graduated from the University of Virginia with a BA in English and is a frequent contributor to City Realty’s Market Insight and NYC real estate blog 6sqft.

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