Downsizing from a 1-Bedroom Apartment to a Friend’s Closet

Space is a hot commodity in apartments these days. Some say that location is everything, but if you’re looking at a space with unusually large or abundant closets, the landlord/broker will inevitably point out and brag about how much storage there is. I have certainly fallen prey to this temptation. Your mind begins to wander when you see that extra deep closet…think of all the THINGS I could put in there. Do I even HAVE enough things to put in there? If not, I can acquire more things! And I can put them in THERE!

But then one day you move out and Oh. My. God. Where did all these things come from?! If you’re moving to a smaller space, it can seem impossible to deal with. But do not fear! I’m here to help. Learn from my pain! You, too, can move from a large space to a small space – you will survive.

The Furniture

Naomi downsize 2Take a good, hard look at your furniture. Do you love it or does it simply serve a purpose? Is it unique and irreplaceable or did it come from Ikea? Did you get it for free or spend your hard-earned money on it? Only you can decide if you think it’s worth it to find storage space for this stuff, but odds are it won’t fit in your new closet-home, so these decisions must be made. Once you decide what you’re keeping, reach out to friends and family to see if anyone is willing to babysit any pieces for you. Then, if you still have stuff that needs storage, it’s time to get a storage unit.

As for the stuff you’re willing to part with, clean it up, take pictures, and start posting it on Craigslist. Make a “Moving Sale” post with everything you’re selling (convenient for people starting from scratch), and also make individual posts with each piece (for those who are doing more limited searches for specific items).  Post repeatedly and regularly.  Another great resource for furniture selling is Virtual Garage Sales. There’s, and there are virtual garage sale communities on Facebook in many cities.

The Clothes

Parting with my clothes was one of the most traumatic parts of this process and I truly had to break it down into steps. Here’s how I recommend you do it:

1: Identify the items that you don’t currently wear and that you know you won’t wear in the future. Be honest. These things are weighing you down and they no longer serve you. Buh-bye.

2: Set aside the items that you do currently wear. Have you worn them within the past two months? You get to keep them! Yay!

3: Look at what’s left. These are things you haven’t worn in the past two months, but which you think you might wear again. Can you separate them into things you MIGHT wear again and things you will PROBABLY wear again? Do that. Give away the things you might wear again. You’re downsizing. They’ve gotta go. Bye.

4: Give yourself permission to keep a select number of items that you haven’t worn in a while and think you may never wear again. Maybe it’s 5, maybe it’s 10. Now make two piles of what’s left – one pile is the clothes that you will bring with you to your new closet home. Be very selective, but be sure you have what you need. The rest of the clothes go in a box and need a babysitter or a home. Well done!!

5: You might be able to sell some of the stuff you’re getting rid of at second-hand stores or at a virtual (or real) garage sale. Everything else can go to friends or good will.


Q: What is the difference between hoarders and packrats?

A: Nothing.

Q: What is the difference between hoarders/packrats and people who have a lot of crap?

A: Nothing.

GET RID OF THE CRAP. If you must keep those batteries, travel size toothpastes, screws, rubber bands, pens, postcards, etc, get some little organizational boxes, fill them up, and call it a day. The rest of it goes. You can buy a new five dollar ankle brace if you ever hurt your ankle again. The next time you do an art project, you will want new crayons anyway. This stuff is emotionally and physically draining to lug around and you don’t have room for it. GOOD BYE.

One person’s trash…

Naomi downsize…is another’s treasure. It is so true! I turned my dining room into a Bazaar full of all the things I had that weren’t gross but that I didn’t want to keep. I advertised on Craigslist and made deals with people. I invited my neighbors to come check out the goods. I had friends over to drink my liquor and take my things. It was kinda cool to see people look at my old stuff like it was new and shiny and get excited about how they would use it. It’s hard work, but it is cleansing and liberating too. Good luck! I believe in you.

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Author My First Apartment

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Naomi Finkelstein is an educator and an artist of many sorts who has lived in Madrid, New York, Chicago, and now the Bay Area. She's had as many as four roomies and as few as none. A yoga and vegetable enthusiast in a totally non-annoying way, she loves people, places, things and ideas.

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Comments (4)

  1. Avatar Monica

    Downsizing is a horrible thing! I am dealing with moving a house into a small apartment and it is really hard. I don’t like decluttering but it is the only way. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Avatar Anka Wilson

    It is very big step to take to go from a big apartment or a house to a very small place. I had this last year and it took a lot of time to get rid of the stuff and to start living small. But I feel very good now! Thumbs up for the post! Greets!

  3. Avatar Johnson Williams

    This post is really awesome… 1-Bedroom Apartment means here all are needed to be adjusted and helpful for How to make my room totally awesome without spending loads of cash!!! Already seen all information of your post, it’s really good and got an idea about CRAP. Recently I bought an apartment in Colombo. I love my apartment so much.