Good Living in the Urban Jungle
With the Greater Vancouver real estate market being what it is, many families, my own included, has had to make the tough choice between urban living in smaller quarters, versus moving further out to get a better bang for the buck. While my wife grew up in a house and with where we currently live, often bemoans the loss of that lifestyle (Gone are long driveways for easy parking, plenty of storage space and stretches of lawn), we have found that having a family in tighter quarters can still be both functional and beautiful by following a few simple guidelines:
1) Keep only what you use: With less space to stash things, a small place will keep you honest about what you need and what you don’t. If you haven’t used an item in the past year (all four seasons) and it isn’t some irreplaceable, highly valued piece or family heirloom, then you probably do not need it. Do yourself and someone else a favour by passing the item(s) on. You really do not need to continue saving all those books that you will never re-read or clothes that no longer fit “just in case”.
Not convinced that you can let that collection of shopping bags or the college textbooks go? Take a look at what the Queen of Home Organization, Martha Stewart, has to say about this here.
2) Purchase only what is beautiful: If the item is on sale but you wouldn’t consider it otherwise, walk away. Your life shouldn’t be cluttered with things that don’t make you actually want to have or need to use it. Period.
We recently came across a great example on Design Sponge of a family of four effectively making use of their small place in Seattle here.
3) Get organized: This is probably the hardest one to follow for all of us out there who juggle the chaos of a busy life, but with a few good organizers and investing in effective storage space, you would be surprised at how much you can actually hide away in a small space. More importantly, you will be able to easily find items again.
Great DIY for making use of that space around a couch (Image Credit 2)
Using corners wisely (Image Credit 3)
Custom wall to wall, floor to ceiling shelving- and even hidden desk- for maximum storage (Image Credit 4)
On a budget? Above is a great Ikea hack for cost effective shelving (Image Credit 5)
And above all else, just get over the idea that bigger is better. Yup, just throw the idea out. You do not need a “McMansion” to be happy. Sure, wouldn’t we all love a sprawling property that rivals something out of MTV cribs and still has “location, location, location”, but comfortable and good living in the urban jungle can be achieved with simple but fulfilling and functional living.