I live in a 400sq ft apartment. So space is limited. After a couple years of contently living here, I began to feel claustrophobic and frustrated by the restrictions of my space. It escalated to where I hated coming home. After ample complaining to friends and thorough discouragement from Craigslist, I gave up and decided to make the space to work for me. If I can’t move, then what can I change to create a better home for myself?
The below tips are the result of thorough feng shui research and conclusions I came to on my own.
1) Consider whether your space is being best utilized to meet your needs
- What are the most important needs you want your apartment to serve? Is it meeting those needs? If not, figure out what things you need to make space for.
- What are the things in your apartment you don’t use enough to justify them being there? These are the things you get rid of.
For example, I had a futon that was taking up a large chunk of wall space. I didn’t sit in it because it was too small and uncomfortable, but it folded out into a decent mattress for visitors. Given that its main job was accumulating clothes & books, I got rid of it. The extra space allowed me room to bring out my comfy sitting chair (that had been hiding in the closet). Visitors could find a hotel.
2) Commanding corner
- One of the main principles of feng shui is proper use of the “commanding corner”, which is basically the corner that is farthest from the door. This is a great place to put your main sitting furniture, or where you spend most of your time, i.e. desk, couch.
- If this corner is not up against windows like mine is, then you can consider putting your bed here as well. I chose to put my desk here.
3) Bed hygiene
Here are basic feng shui principles for the bed that are easy to implement in any apartment.
- Have a solid headboard. This is great for grounding.
- Have space around all other sides (even if just 6 inches from wall). This allows free flow of energy. Do not put up flush against a corner wall (like I did initially!)
- Keep space empty under the bed. This means no platform bed frames or the like that go down to the ground. You want at least a several inches between your bed frame and floor in order to keep energy flowing freely under your bed. This required me to get rid of lots of stuff that was stored under there for years.
4) Keep corners clean
- Be sure corners are cleaned regularly, free of clutter and dust. Again, it’s all about the energy flow.
- Energy accumulates in the corners. Especially in 90 degree corners, as this is an “unnatural” corner that is not prevalent in nature, and therefore energy does not flow through it easily. (Would reference a sacred geometry article here but not finding a good one at the moment.)
5) Get rid of clutter
If you haven’t used or looked at it in over a year, do you really need it?
6) Have system for keeping things tidy
- Have a designated area of everything. If something doesn’t have a “right” place, do you need it?
- Make an effort to put things away after you are done using them.
7) Clear the dishes from the sink
A full sink makes your kitchen feel smaller than it is, which adds to the feeling of restriction. Make an effort to clean the dishes every night before bed.
8) Make your bed every day
Your bed is likely the largest piece of furniture you have. Making it look neat is an easy way to make your place feel in order. Otherwise, it can have the opposite effect.
9) Only keep things visible that are inspiring to you
- Have a painting on the wall that was a gift but you’re not in love with it? Take it down! Why look at it?
- Is your desk a boring color? Liven it up with some colorful paint. Or new fun knobs.
- Keep utilitarian, not-so-pretty items in a closet.
10) Keep fresh & clean
- Small places get dirty quickly. Schedule a weekly cleaning time to avoid build up and annoying “big cleaning” days. It will make the days in between more enjoyable.
- Open windows to let in fresh air during the day.
- Consider using essential oils to purify the air.
Small spaces means getting creative with space – let the space restriction expand your imagination for how to meet your needs!
I found that this process was as fun as it was necessary. It felt great to move out stagnant energy and bring in the new with the rearrangement of furniture and discarding of old things. In the end, after getting rid of my futon, replacing my falling-apart desk with a wooden blue one, making room for my soft yellow chair and altar, and cleansing the energy of my bed, it felt like a new home. I was able to breathe comfortably in my comfy yellow chair while feeling content in my tiny little apartment.