Mark Roemer image of a small apartment with optimized space

Things You Live Without in A Small Apartment

Living in a small apartment produces a commodity for space. If you have ever moved into a small apartment from a larger house, you will quickly discover that there is not enough space for some things. It is an urgent concern to liquidate, consolidate, and rethink impractical, space-hogging belongings, obvious stuff like a big sofa that will not fit through the door, or fitness equipment for which you do not have a location. When you have dealt with the obvious, it is customary to pass on and forget the multitude of other things that will help streamline and de-clutter your life if omitted or replaced with a smaller version. Look at the following list that I, Mark Romer, am providing for you and determine if it needs to go any further.

A Tall Trash Can

I am not quite sure why, but somehow, it is a tradition that everybody has to have a big indoor trashcan at some stage in their lives. Small apartments seldom have the space for a full-sized trash can. The reason being, there is no good place to hide it unless you have a pantry. Even then, it can still get in the way. If you understand that this is a socially reinforced ‘norm’ that may not be the best choice for your room and circumstance, you may feel the freedom of being a little rebellious by getting rid of this ugly, space-hogging piece.

For anyone’s needs, particularly if you recycle or compost, a small, under-the-sink or cupboard-mounted trash bin should be more than adequate. Install a simple pull-out rack that should only set you back around $40 for ease of access. Buy a trash cabinet that has a tilt-out drawer, and have another counter surface, if you want anything fancier.

A smaller trash bin would enable more frequent emptying, resulting in less funky smells, in addition to saving space. To save money while you are at it, you can also use those extra plastic shopping bags instead of garbage bags.

A Full-Sized Dining Table

This is another societal standard under which we slip into. If you live alone or do not have children, it does not make sense to have a large table for your lifestyle because it takes up space. Unless they have guests, few people eat at their kitchen table these days, anyway. Adding a few barstools can create an instant dining area for daily living if you already have a kitchen island or outdoor counter. For fun, choose from different types of smaller fold-down tables that you can use for other purposes and extend when you have dinner guests.

A Coffee Table and Large Couch

A friend of mine recently moved into my last apartment with a single-door entrance in a narrow corridor, which is smaller than my new one. Although she had ordered another sofa to match her new living room’s size, it would still not fit through the door. Couches are bulky in any condition, but they demand a central position in a small space and will not bend, tuck, or fold into a smaller area. If you are determined to have a couch but cannot accommodate a whole one, buy only part of a sectional or armless couch more readily placed anywhere in the room (an increasingly available option). For that matter, with greater flexibility, a few comfy chairs get the job done. In getting rid of bulky couches entirely, more and more small-space dwellers are seeking liberation.

The companion aspect of a couch, the coffee table, is also not your only choice. Without hogging floor space, small side tables, lamps with built-in shelves, ottomans, and sofa/chair arm trays will provide a surface for drinks and magazines (and discourage banging up your shins in the night).

A Dresser

As we moved across the country, I had to get rid of both of my beautiful dressers, but I expected that I would replace them when we purchased new furniture. I have a dresser again, but it is smaller than the traditional one I had before. My new dresser fits nicely under my clothing rod in the closet. I found that there were several other innovative choices for clothing storage in my current space, including canvas baskets, nightstands, and drawer units of plastic that fit nicely under shelves.

Review your layout if you are tired of your bulky dresser and explore other choices that will encourage you to get rid of it. I promise you that it is worth the extra room.

A Large Television and Entertainment Center

You will also be able to get rid of your TV and bulky entertainment center. That is unless you host movie nights or have an addiction to satellite TV. It is possible to watch most shows and movies online and view them on a laptop or tablet in just as high quality as your television. For this big piece, not having to accommodate a central location and all its accessories can free up your floor plan (or wall space, if mounted).

Rethinking the Need

Just because you have always had a specific thing at home, or everyone else seems to have, does not mean it’s a necessity. Start thinking outside of the box, and you will be free to build the perfect layout for your small space lifestyle by re-evaluating the intent of what you have and whether it fits your needs best.


Depending on where you are in your life, you may find a small apartment necessary for your specific situation. Whether it is that you are living on your own, or you need to save money for something. In any case, small apartments are a good thing to have around in an emergency. I, Mark Roemer, required one when I was waiting for a few months for a renovation on my home. Just remember, when you are dealing with a small apartment, you might not have room for things you once had. Look around and see what things you can live without and what you cannot. It may be a permanent thing, but it can be temporary, as I must wait on my home to finish being built.