New Yorkers Love Their Small Spaces

by SAMANTHA QUEEN · March 11, 2008

small apartment [Max and Sarah Kate make the most of their W. Village Apt. Photo via Apartment Therapy]

Many (dare I say, most?) young city dwellers move once per year, packing up their lives, often putting it in storage for a short time before moving into another less-than-ideal space. With consumerism running rampant in this city, it is amazing that some of us believe that we’re above the clutter. But we do believe it. And then, like quarter-lifers living a lie, our respective self-images are shattered when we have to pack up once again, faced with the brutal truth that we have far more shit than we could ever possibly need. Why does this happen? I have a theory. Our spaces are so small, that we use the utmost innovation to conceal our clutter. Ostensibly for the purpose of fooling visitors into thinking that we live in spaces worthy of a centerfold in Elle Decor, we use our intelligence to arrange our possessions in such a way that would make our apartments worthy of such an honor. Sadly, however, we are also fooling ourselves. It is only upon packing that we realize the inevitable truth so eloquently mocked by George Carlin in his stand-up routine on “stuff.” We buy “stuff” and make it our life process to move into ever larger spaces to accommodate it. Or … we just throw it out upon leaving one small space for another, equally small space. Either way, sounds less than ideal. And shouldn’t we always strive for ideal?

Eh, probably not. But it’s still kind of fun to think about. A wise woman once said, “Packing is the adult version of trying to put the square block into the square hole.” Only after an afternoon of playing that game can you really, honestly ask yourself, “How frivolous am I?” I would venture a guess that the answer will surprise you. I leave you with that pearl of wisdom, along with an excellent example of how some New Yorkers are ingenious at the game of space saving. Check out Max and Sara Kate’s 265 sq. ft. space in the West Village.