Whether you decided because it made sense financially or it seemed like a fun option in the beginning, sharing a small apartment with your significant other can be a lot of different things. Living together in a studio or a small one-bedroom poses many problems, like how to not be all up in each other's business 24/7. But despite the difficulties, it seems young people living in small spaces is becoming the norm.
Millennials are not following in their Baby Boomer parents' footsteps when it comes to living situations. When Baby Boomers were in their 20s, they often owned huge houses with a yard and a white picket fence. Millennials, on the other hand, seem to be finding themselves crammed into super tiny apartments with nothing more than a potted plant as their "yard." We're doing this to save money, and because many of us simply don't desire the extra space so valued by generations before us.
In fact, according to the Daily Mail, young people in San Francisco are taking it to the extreme by moving into shipping container apartments, which are about as small as it gets when it comes to living quarters. These apartments are a minuscule 160-square-feet, but come with a tempting price tag of only $600. It can make a lot of sense to downsize on space in an effort to save some dough, especially since a lot of them are really cute.
Whatever your reason for doing so, moving into a small space with your SO can make a ton of sense. But we all know that sharing a space with another person can be tough, whether you're in a mansion or a tent in the woods. Here are some ways to live harmoniously with your SO when sharing a small apartment.
1. Respect Each Other's Schedules
In a perfect world, you and your SO would be on identical schedules, falling asleep at the same time, and both popping awake to the same alarm clock. But that's rarely how the world works. One of you probably has a night shift, or likes to watch movies until 3 a.m., while the other turns into a pumpkin well before midnight. Different schedules can be tricky in a small apartment, especially if you are sharing a studio with no walls, doors, or bedrooms. So if you need to go to bed early, put in some ear plugs, don a sleeping mask, and try not to be too sensitive to every little noise your partner makes. Likewise, if you want to stay up late binging Netflix, then make sure you do so with headphones. A little politeness (and tolerance) goes a long way in making a small space work.
2. Be Cool About Giving Each Other Privacy
There's no such thing as a private phone call or a secluded spot to study when sharing four walls. Because of the lack of privacy, it's important to respect each other's needs. If your partner puts on their headphones and sits down to write a paper, resist the urge to walk over and start telling them about your day. It can be difficult when sharing a small space to not get on each other's nerves, so be sure to keep an eye out for your partner's hints that they need a little privacy.
3. Be OK With Being Gross
If you are both still pretending you don't poop, now's the time to get over it. Not only for the sake of being normal (everyone poops, people), but because there will be no more secrets now that you live in such close quarters. You are both sharing a bathroom, sharing a bed, and sharing the air of a very confined space. If your loved one gets sick, you get to sit right next to them in all their boogery glory. And if you're in the bathroom with some... digestive troubles, then guess who gets to hear all that from a mere two feet away? Learn to get over it, and fast.
4. Have Some Alone Time
While it's really nice to have your SO nearby, it's still a good idea to spend time apart doing your own thing. Hopefully your daily schedules allow you both some time to be home alone. If so, use these moments to do the things you might not do while your partner is home, like hog the bathroom or watch your favorite cheesy TV show. But if it turns out you're always going to be home at the same time, then be sure to have your own lives away from each other. One great way to do this is to turn your town into your extended living room. Head over to a coffee shop or the library if you need a little space.
5. Don't Let Messes Get Out Of Hand
When you live somewhere large and roomy (like a spacious, two-bedroom palace) it's OK to leave your socks on the ground, a dish on the table, or a towel on the bathroom floor. But when that table is your only flat surface, and you have only a few feet of open floor space, suddenly even the smallest messes can feel overwhelming. Both of you should be on the top of your cleaning games, and always put things back the second you are done with them. Your space will feel much bigger, and less chaotic, if it remains organized, and it'll be one less thing to irritate you both when you're cooped up inside.
6. Make Sure You Communicate
There is no room for passive aggressiveness or silent stewing in a tiny apartment. Not only will your SO notice immediately, but there's nowhere to run if you get into a huge fight. That's why it's important to air your grievances and be completely open with each other no matter what. Don't let him get away with constantly leaving dishes out if it drives you insane, or let her hit snooze 50 times while you lay there staring angrily at the ceiling. Living in a small space means people's quirks, eccentricities, and foibles are under a magnifying glass. So while it's important to let some things slide, understand that co-existing in a small space can be incredibly difficult, and you may have to talk things out more than usual in order to keep the peace.
7. Share In The Design Of Your Space
Moving into a tiny place means making some serious editing decisions when it comes to your furniture. Since both your couches won't fit, you're going to have to decide which pieces will work best for the space. While that decision making process if up to you, keep in mind a 50/50 split of your design tastes, and avoid overstuffing your room. It can be tempting to keep every piece of clothing and every lamp you've ever owned, but a smaller space calls for minimalism. Embrace this as a time to figure out what you really need in life, and give the rest to charity. But whatever you end up with, make sure that you are both happy with the result.
Sharing a small space can be tough, but if you are respectful of each other and communicate often, you and your partner can have an enjoyable time in your mini home.
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