Cozy Places

Let's face it, for the vast majority of people living in New York City, home is a small apartment with limited closet and storage space. This 'cozy' lifestyle can leave you feeling suffocated when all your 'stuff' seems to be closing in around you. As hard as it can be, sometimes this means chucking the things that you don't use or need, and finding a (sensible) place for the ones you simply can't part with. For Type A-ers like myself, this is the fun part. I love scouring the junk drawer for, well, junk that can be thrown away; or devising a better way to stack the Tupperware so that it takes up less space in the cabinets. To you this sounds pathetic and sad; but to me, it is FUN. Tomato, To-mah-to. Anyway, here are a few tips for getting by in a space that's cozy.


Wrangling your wardrobe is a difficult undertaking. Given the size of my bedroom closet, I definitely find it necessary to rotate clothes between seasons. During the summer months, storing heavier items like jackets, sweaters, and jeans can free up lots of precious space. Space Bags are a great solution. Bulky items can be streamlined to fit under your bed, or possibly stacked on a higher shelf that's out of reach if you can spare the space. I find it best to keep sweaters, sweatshirts, and jeans folded and shelved to leave hanging room for lighter items like shirts, skirts, and dresses. This also helps save room to hang outerwear since some of us lack hall closets in our adorable, cozy, NYC apartments.
Finding space for shoes in a small closet can be tough. I used to love chucking those ugly shoe-boxes and displaying my lovely heels in nice rows on the floor of my closet, but it just isn't the most efficient use of the space. I recently discovered these great clear shoe-boxes. Perfect for stacking, and you can SEE every pair.


Bills. Junk mail. Take-out menus. More bills. Coupons. Magazines. Receipts. Did I mention bills?  One of my biggest pet peeves is piles and piles of useless paper! One of my favorite organizational purchases for my apartment has been a modest filing system to keep those piles of paper at bay. My personal file box has folders for incoming mail, receipts, health-related paperwork, financial documents, and one labeled 'keep' (for ticket stubs, cards, thank-yous, race bibs, and other loose sentimental items). My roommate and I also share an 'apartment' file box with folders for our lease/rent stubs, utility bills, and instruction manuals (for the TV, vacuum, triple high-speed blender that we never use, etc.). One day I'll have space for a real live filing cabinet like this one:

Sigh. Until that day comes, our file box system keeps limited tabletop and counter space free of paper-clutter!

Creative storage

Sometimes you just have to get creative. There are sneaky ways to maximize limited space by installing hooks and shelves in useful ways. Over the door hooks and towel racks are key for rooms without closets. I use over the door hooks for scarves, bags, and jackets that won't fit in the closet, and a row of hooks intended for keys to hang jewelry. A shelf in your bathroom can be useful and decorative for holding extra towels, soaps, and room freshener:

A bench in your entryway or bedroom can double as a storage space (this one from West Elm has storage inside).

One at a Time

One of the organization rules I really try to stick to is to only purchase and keep what I need. In a small space, this is especially important. Staying organized helps you to keep track of what you have, what you need, and what you don't. When you've worn something out, replace it; don't hang on to things you don't use (okay, maybe bend this rule for  some sentimental stuff...); and don't buy duplicate items!

Stick to these basics and you'll be on your way to conquering the clutter in your teeny, tiny, adorably cozy apartment.

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