What Living in a Tiny Apartment has Taught Me

The thing about living in a big West Coast city is that it can be veryyy expensive to live in its epicenter and affordable apartments are small. Being home is great and it’s mine – but it is an experience in living in such a small space. Although it may be 500 square feet, it is my little 500 square feet and I get to live right next to the ocean and such amazing and cool places! Find out what living in a tiny apartment has taught me.

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Get an apartment in the middle of the city they said. It will be fun they said. Well they are L I A R S. Just kidding, kind of…

What Living in a Tiny Apartment has Taught Me

Living in a tiny apartment has taught me a couple of things about utilizing and appreciating the room that I do have. I know a ton of Millennials and Gen Z kids who are just now in or out of college that are also figuring out that we can’t all afford the immaculate home all our mother’s kept up nor do we have the knowledge of getting creative when it comes to making space. In need of advice? I got you!

Staying Clean is Essential

One of the most important lessons living in a tiny apartment has taught me is that staying clean is essential in maintaining a stress-free environment. Having a small place means it is super easy to get messy, but it def is easy to get it cleaned up, too! If your little home is cluttered and things have been tossed around – you’re going to lose your freakin’ mind. It actually creates anxiety (which I have currently thinking about how I used to leave my place!) and makes home more of a stressful environment than calm. Keep things as tidy as you can and get rid of excess wherever you find it.

Live Sustainably

Growing up we lived very sustainably and I don’t think I even know that it was a thing! Now that I have my own place I am keen to make sure that I keep up these good habits that are core values for me. I try to be mindful of what I purchase because let’s face it, I don’t have room for crap I don’t need or that will break in a few weeks. Making good purchases and not getting things I don’t need helps me live in this small space. Not having a car keeps me from hauling home spur of the moment purchases that I will need to store somewhere. Even food is purchased with intent because I don’t have room for it! Living small has me living sustainably and I just LOVE it!

You might also like 9 Things my Dog has Taught Me, Why Gen Z and Millennials Value Experiences over Things, and Vitamins for Traveling – What I Pack.

Blogger Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella.com shares what you need for your first apartment with pick from Wayfair, Amazon and other favorite retailers.

Make a Place for Everything

You will find places like The Container Store and TJ Maxx to be your biggest allies in finding tools to help you condense your space. These places sell amazing and adorable containers and storage boxes to help you minimize the space your things may take up. And when in doubt, screw it onto your wall! (That is, if you have your landlord’s permission!) But, if you can, put up shelving or hanging racks up on the walls to give yourself a little more wiggle room. Make use of every storage space you have and if possible look for furniture that has built in “bonus” storage, too.

Make Every Inch Your Own

Although it is small, make every inch your own. Living and sleeping in a space that doesn’t feel like the essence of you makes for a super uncomfortable environment. Curate some art pieces and get throw pillows that are made of everything you love (cue the sparkles and life quotes.) Love cheesy decor and themed kitchen appliances? Go for it! Would you rather keep up a minimalist feel and color the place with black, white, and grey? Get your 50 shades of grey on, babe! Wait… Not like… Oh you get what I mean. Make your space everything that you have ever wanted and own it. It is yours after all, customize it so it feels like home to you.

Check out my post HERE about how I used Minted to help me create beautiful gallery walls.

Good Habits are a Good Thing

Becoming a minimalist is only going to help me out down the road when I have my own, big home. Learning what is going to spring joy into my life ( via Marie Kondo) and being active in knowing what I do or do not need can only improve my way of living (and my bank account!) later on when I’m a full-fledged adult with a backyard. These habits are only going to become stronger and assist in me being sustainable in any home I want to take on next.

Who knows, maybe my experience living in a small apartment will help me acclimate living in a New York City apartment one day! Just kidding! Maybe.. 😉

Appreciate the Small Things

I know I may sound crazy for continuing to live in such a small place for a ton of money each month, but it really is an adventure doing life here. And it is such a great experience for any young person. It helps us understand that we may not have all the material things we want, but we have a roof over our heads and a space to call our own. It forces us to appreciate the small things, even if the small thing is our small home! Living with less and experiencing more is making me very happy.

I will have more home tips and hacks posts coming soon and a home tour video. Thanks for following along! Is what living in a tiny apartment has taught me the same as it has taught you if you have a small place, too?

Bella Bucchiotti

Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella is a storyteller, food lover, dog mom and adventure seeker living on the Pacific coast. She shares her passion for recipes, dogs, sustainability, adventures, travel and philanthropy, in hopes of encouraging followers to run the extra mile, try new recipes, visit unfamiliar places and stand for a cause. Bella lives with Type 1 Diabetes and Celiac Disease.

Bella Bucchiotti is a freelance food, travel, and lifestyle writer for MSN and the Associated Press Wire.


Welcome to xoxoBella! You will find delicious recipes, travel inspiration and all the things that Bella loves.

Leave a Comment

  1. Amanda wrote:

    It might be small but it sure is a lovely space!

    Posted 8.23.19 Reply
  2. While I don’t live in a tiny apartment, I do have very little space to call my own in this house. My corner of my bedroom where I work could benefit from your ‘small apartment’ advice, especially having a place for everything.

    Posted 8.24.19 Reply
  3. Christa Del Giorno wrote:

    Your apartment is so pretty! I’m from NYC, so I understand the whole small-apartment thing. Organization is key.

    Posted 8.24.19 Reply
  4. Sarah Dudley wrote:

    Living in a small space can be challenging but your design is super cute! Totally agree about keeping things clean to reduce anxiety. I do this in my office too!

    Posted 8.24.19 Reply
  5. How cute are you!! I love the watercolor marks on the wall…..I don’t miss living in an apartment but I do appreciate what it taught me!

    Posted 8.24.19 Reply
  6. Small apartment can be very special! And I agree it’s important to stay clean. Also, I need those wall stickers for my room!

    Posted 8.25.19 Reply
  7. Chocoviv wrote:

    I love your apartment! So cute!

    Posted 8.29.19 Reply
  8. Your apartment is so adorable! I love all the art and colors.

    Posted 9.10.19 Reply
  9. destiny gomez wrote:

    you should definitely do an apartment tour, i would love to see how you styled your tiny place 🙂

    Posted 9.27.19 Reply
  10. sean wrote:

    I feel the struggle, I lived in a small 500 sq apartment and it was rough but I learned from it. Good blog post thanks for sharing

    Posted 9.19.22 Reply