Managing Stress in a Tiny Apartment

Make it your own

If you live alone or with understanding roommates, the first step is to make the apartment feel like home. Make it your own. Add colour to walls if you’re allowed. If not – look into removable wall vinyls, or draperies and decals.

Hang curtains, put up pictures (with no nail hooks if you’re not allowed nails or tacks). Put covers on lighting, hang string lights. Purchase or find free furniture that you enjoy. Something comfortable that feels like home.

Ask roommates to work with you in shared spaces. Work together to make a space you can all enjoy.

Claim some space

If you don’t live alone or don’t have access to more space, claim the space you have. Ask roommates for a small corner of the living room or kitchen for yourself. Otherwise, work with and make your bedroom your own perfect space. It’s not the size that matters but what you do with it!

Similar to making larger spaces your own, you can do the same in your room. Use removable decorations. Add a slash of colour. Invest in good bedding and pillows! In a comfortable arm chair or shelf of books. Don’t live in a “dorm room” or an impersonal office type space.

Make a Self Care Space

Make self care easier for those tough days, make a space – a drawer, box, shelf in your room or bathroom or shared living space. Include self help books like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Dummies. Have a journal for positive thoughts and to work through the negative ones. Include a candle in your favourite scent, warm socks and hand cream.

Include your favourite book, a puzzle or game. Make self care easy, giving yourself easy access to the tools you need. If you have more room, make a comfy chair or corner beside your box/drawer. Giving yourself a comfortable stress free space to work in.

Lighting

Lighting can change a lot in our lives. From bright flourencent lights at work and blue light keeping us up. To calm warm glows to bring a sense of comfort.

Change the lights up in your apartment for optimal mood. Hang string lights, use a salt lamp, put coloured covers over your lights. Use the lights for what you need. A warm salt lamp glow for relaxation. String lights for a relaxing dinner, for cooking or reading. Limit overhead normal lights for work spaces. For anywhere like living spaces that you use to be awake and more productive.

Clean and Organized

One of the biggest things you can do, and sometimes the hardest. Keep your space clean and clutter free. Use dollar store bins and organizers. Clean out and declutter every spring (or any season you feel needs it).

Create a clean drawer. Some where in the bathroom, kitchen or closet with all your cleaning supplies at your finger tips. Keep it organized and well stocked. It’s easier to get in the mood to clean if you’re not already stressed finding all the cleaners, digging vacuums out of clutter and using the only kitchen sponge.

I know it’s not always the easiest thing to keep tiny apartments clutter free. Trust me I know (three people in a tiny two bedroom with three animals). I know clutter on a personal level.

If clutter is impossible to escape. Find a clutter friendly space. Try to keep 90% of your space clean and clutter free. However. Pick a space – a closet, a room, a drawer, or box. Whatever size you need, and make it the cluttered space. Dump your things in there, the ones you don’t use but can’t get rid of. *As you use things, keep them out and find new spaces for them. The things left over, over the years, can be donated, thrown out or given away.

Comforting Smells

On top of staying clean and organized. You don’t your space to smell like a hospital, but also not like a dump.

Find your comforting smells. Ask your roommates, see if you agree on a certain smell. Add candles in the bathroom and kitchen. Grow herbs in the windows. Try crock pot festive smell recipes.

If roommates are sensitive to smells instead of candles or incense, try diluting essential oils in water and spray around your room. You can always sit with a candle unlit, most are strong enough to give a pleasant smell without it spreading around the whole apartment. There are also unscented beeswax candles (which I use) with a subtle non irritating smell when lit – even for most who are sensitive to scents. Just be sure to run it past them first to be sure!

Cook more!

Now is the perfect time to get into new healthy habits. Learn to cook or bake, try new recipes, incorporate veggies into your favourite dishes. It’s hard to hate your apartment when it smells like amazing cookies, brownies, like mums lasagna or hot coco.

You’re not alone, and it’s never easy

Know that you are not alone in your tiny apartment. It seems a common reality this day and age for more people to be living together, or alone in tiny apartments. It’s not easy, but we can do everything we can to make it better. Always remembering that it is temporary – even if it doesn’t feel like it.

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