When we moved into our apartment my roommate and I knew what we were getting into. We had seen the floor plan layout and purchased a bunkbed, but nothing can quite prepare you for what it’s like to live in a 9 1/2′ x 8′ room with one tiny window and another girl you just met that day. For reference, our room is a little smaller than a dorm room. You couldn’t fit two twin beds in there so we had to get bunk beds and the rest of the room is filled by our desks… and that’s it! Don’t get me wrong, I know that this living condition is not at all difficult or a struggle compared to what so many others go through. I realize that this post might make me sound a bit spoiled and bratty and that isn’t how I would typically describe myself, but as someone who really values personal space, this really was a challenge.
I honestly think in terms of personal space, I am a bit spoiled. I never had to share a room growing up and I always had a place to escape to and a bed that I could sit up in without hitting my head. I no longer have either of those things and I’m simply learning to adjust. We figured out different storage techniques to utilize the little space we had, bought lights to make up for the absolute lack of light that comes in through the world’s tiniest window to make the place feel less dungeon-esque and discussed the importance of alone time. With all of this in mind, we have really made it work quite well, but not without a few challenges here and there.
First things first: utilizing the space. Number one priority is finding any extra space and figuring out how to use it as storage. Get creative with storage as well. Before I moved in I researched different clothing storage ideas and found hangers that can hang multiple skirts or shorts at once without taking up any space at all. On top of the clothing aspect, under the bed bins for clothes, back of the door hooks for hanging things and hanging shelves for personal storage have all helped my roommate and I keep the room pretty clutter free. The thing is, with a super small room, you really can’t be messy or else there is just nowhere to sit and it all falls apart.
The next priority for us was getting some light and making the place a little more personal. We got some lights to hang up and each put up some personal photos to remind us of home. These things make all the difference for me. The place really goes from a dungeon to a semi comfy tiny room pretty quickly with a little bit of love. This will be different for any individual person of course, as we all have different tastes. Put something up on the walls that is important to you. Whether it’s a poster or photos from home or even something ridiculous that would only make sense to you, just put something up that makes you happy.
The last thing that was essential for me was a conversation about personal space. I am someone who really needs time to myself in order to maintain a healthy mental state. In a room that small, “alone time” kinda goes out the window, but if you talk about it there is still a way to make it work. I mostly just turn towards the wall on my bed and read or watch tv when I need some time in the room on my own or I’ll go outside and take a walk. Once again, what works for you will be different depending on who you are, but find something that makes you happy and make it a priority.