If you’re a dental student, chances are you’re also a renter. Your space could range from quite big to very small, depending on where you go to school (NY dental schools, we know how it is!). But even if you’re renting a nice little house, you probably share it with others and keep your personal items mainly to the bedroom. Living in a tiny or shared space can be stressful, but it can also be a fun challenge. Recently, Mayor Bloomberg announced a building design challenge for a housing development in Manhattan. The building is to be made up of “micro-units” that are no more than 300 square feet a piece. This is to remedy what the NYC department of housing calls a misalignment between housing stock and changing demographics.
If New Yorkers can live [comfortably] in a 300 sq. foot space, you can make do with your apartment, right? The New York Times had some fun suggestions for living in a small space. Below are ways to make the most of what you’ve got–whether it’s micro or shared.
Do your research. There are tons of blogs out there for renters who want to get more out of their space. One of my favorites, Apartment Therapy, runs the SmallCool contest each year. Looking through these homes is inspiring and helpful when it comes to furnishing your own small space. The bloggers behind Apartment Therapy even turned this contest into a book. I own it and if you are a renter with the interior design bug, I highly recommend it!
Be selective when you make a purchase. When I lived in a small Chicago studio, I had one rule when it came to buying furniture: it must have storage. I slept in an Ikea daybed with drawers below for my clothes and a pull-out trundle for the times my sister visited from California. My coffee table usually doubled as a dinner table and was actually a child’s toy chest that stored extra blankets.
For those items that can’t really double as storage, make sure they take up as small a footprint as possible. Take Citizen Bike‘s folding bicycles. Sure, you probably shouldn’t use it in your next triathlon, but it’s a compact and inexpensive way to get around.
Even your garden can be space-saving if you hang it on a wall. Vertical gardens are all the rage right now and you can buy frames or wall pockets to help you plant without taking up precious floor space.
As frustrating as a lack of space can sometimes be, research shows that too much stuff stresses people out. Embrace a simple lifestyle and try to steer clear of buying too much “stuff”. After all, you’re a dental student and you have plenty else to worry about!
This post is linked via a QR code to the August issue of ASDA News. Look for your copy soon and be sure to read the article “Renting versus buying while in dental school” to get more tips on student living.
~Kim Schneider, communications editor