Raising a family in the city is never easy, especially in Hong Kong. With small apartments and tiny bedrooms, it’s a constant struggle to try and make the most out of the space that you have. With this in mind, we talk to family and lifestyle blogger, A Life Shift, to get some top tips on how to make it work for families living in small spaces.
1. Lifestyle Enrolment
First and foremost, it’s important to understand what downsizing means and to sort your priorities. Instead of opting to find a bigger apartment, think about what matters the most. Is it a short commute? Your love for a certain neighbourhood? Or an affordable budget? Whatever it is, think about how everything works out in the long term, perhaps then, committing to a small space won’t seem so intimidating.
2. Planning Strategy
Create a detailed floor plan. Incorporate all of your existing furniture, figure out what fits (and what doesn’t), and what you need to buy and get rid of. And, if you are expecting or have a toddler on your hands, do some research and find practical solutions for your little ones’ space. Once you have everything laid out in front of you, it will become clear as to what your next steps are.
3. Practical Solutions
Speaking of practical solutions, living in a small apartment often means that we don’t have the luxury of dedicated spaces that are only used for specific tasks. What to do? Get Creative! Footstools can be a storage cube, TV consoles can hold your paperwork, and a kitchen island can triple up and act as a dining table, kitchen countertop, or your work space.
4. Flexible Furiture
When it comes to furniture, flexibility is key. If you are on the lookout for new furniture, try to find items that are in a reasonably neutral palette (grey, white, timber), and in a style that is clean and simple. That way, if you decide to do some rearranging around the home, you will have something that can easily accommodate to the style and needs of every room.
5. Scaled Storage
When living in a small space, storage is by far the most important factor. Whether it’s chunky winter clothes, golf clubs, your kids’ toys, book, or extra supplies of toiletries, there are some things that we just can’t get rid of. For bigger items, try storing them underneath the bed, mid-sized items can go on upper shelves in the wardrobe, and small scale items can be neatly put away in a drawer.
6. Organisational Commitment
With storage comes organisation. When you have about eight things lying around in your small apartment, each on a different surface, the entire room quickly becomes cluttered. So make a habit of being organised and learn to put things away – especially if you have to look after your little monkeys and simply don’t have time to search around the flat to find things. Being organised means that you can save time, keep your space tidy, and feel a whole lot happier and calm.
7. Plan B
At the end of the day, things don’t always go to plan and small spaces don’t always serve us perfectly, so it’s important to have a contingency plan ready. For example, if you are ever working from home, a small apartment means it’s harder to get away from distractions. When that’s the case, an easy alternative could be to opt for working somewhere else like a nearby coffee shop, library, or even a co-working space. Having a Plan B means you won’t have to end up resenting the small space that you have. It also means you can easily separate home from work.
8. Stuff You love
One might think that small space family living often means you have to make hard decisions to let go of personal possessions and belongings – but it doesn’t have to be this way! Practically speaking, getting rid of some personal junk could save you tons of space, but this also means that your home might end up not feeling like home. So ask yourself, what do you really need, and keep things that matter the most to you. You should love your home, and downsizing shouldn’t change that.
Now, this is the real challenge. Editing means knowing what you should and should not hold on to. Practice re-purposing and up-cycling, and if you hang on to something, it better be multi-purpose or something that’s small enough to save, and anything else should go out the door. You can do this by donating items to charity, passing them on, or recycling things that no longer serve a purpose. Plus, it feels great if you can pass something on to someone else who will put it to good use.
10. Go Digital
This is an obvious one, and you don’t even have to be totally tech savvy. Love making to-do lists and writing notes on pieces of paper? Download a note-keeping app. Need to know everyone’s schedule? Make an online calendar. And, if you love taking photos of your happy family memories, just send them to the cloud! By going digital, you can easily access everything with just a few clicks on your laptop.