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Big Things Come in Small Spaces

May 2, 2012

by Emily

With the generous help of my parents, I spent the better part of the weekend cleaning out, packing up, and selling most of the contents of my Houston maison. While I basically delayed the inevitable “second move” by a few months, I was able to really edit down my belongings with very few question marks.

via Design Sponge

While my parents drove away with several things to store for the long run, it was freeing to not be weighed down by excess “stuff” in the end. I will happily return to my little studio with a working knowledge that living in small spaces is not only “doable” but really pleasant.

via Pinterest

I certainly don’t think New York is for everyone – although I’ve had an excellent experience – and I would most definitely trade in my studio for a larger space, but here are some great reasons and examples how urban living and small spaces can create for very healthy living.

1. Thoughtful Design, Long-Term Planning

Via Lonny Mag

There is only so much room in New York City – Manhattan specifically – and it really forces everyone to be more aware of their surroundings. There is an emphasis and value on design that doesn’t seem to exist in suburban cities. Whether you are an individual determining how to design your life in your studio or an architect negotiating air rights in a public plaza or a real estate broker selling lease space, people are highly aware of themselves and the impact they do or do not have on their environment, whether they are cognizant of it or not. Refreshing, right?

2. Personal Purging

Designed by Nick Olsen

Hopefully you learned this lesson long before I did (ie this past weekend), but stuff is just stuff. There will always be cool stuff around and available and while there are certain things that hold meaning, a lot of things are just things. Really deep thoughts. I am thankful for living in a small space because if I find something new that I really and truly must have that means I edit out something else. Editing, purging, and freeing up space for new treasures turns into a fun revolving door of design.

3. Availability of Fresh Foods

via Farm to Baby NYC and Eagle Street Rooftop Farm

Whether you want to buy organic, homemade baby food or cook exclusively with local produce, it is unbelievably easy to do that in New York. From rooftop gardens to farmers markets to subscription homemade baby food services, it is difficult not to eat well regardless of age or budget.

5. Access to Art and Culture

via The Met

The Met is one of the more obvious examples of access to the arts, but with architecture, music, and great design in abundance, art and culture are around every turn. You may live in a small space, but there are big things just outside your doorstep.

6. Personal Interaction

via Flickr

People often think that urban life is really impersonal. I beg to differ. People are out and about and interacting on very intimate levels. It is nice not being isolated in your car and instead constantly motivated to explore public spaces since personal space is at a minimum.

7. A Different Kinda Commute

Andy Warhol print

Not having to get in a car and drive to work is such a benefit of urban living. While it isn’t always the perfect scenario of grabbing a seat and reading a book or newspaper, the stress of driving and traffic is no longer a worry which I think creates a much healthier lifestyle. I will not try to glorify public transportation much more, but let’s just say I am a big fan.

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