• Ernest Valencia

Challenged with Small Space

Updated: Apr 21

Small is a relative word. But how small is small?

If your TV is lying next to your microwave oven while you simultaneously watch “Prison Break” and re-heat your leftover pizza from a dinner 2 weeks ago, that is small. Or perhaps if you are in your bedroom and you can literally grab your toothbrush from where you are, that is undoubtedly small too. If your friend consistently comments that your apartment is as big as her cabinet, not only do you have an insensitive friend but also a place that is hell challenging!

Admittedly, having that extra space nowadays means paying more (I guess the best things in life are not always free). However you don’t have to fall bait for this if you know how to “work it”.

Need VS Want

List down the things you need and plan where you will place them. The pieces you need inside your house should be something you truly need. I am referring to a place to sleep, relax, eat and store things. Everyone’s needs are different to a certain extent. But remember, what you want does not equally translate to what you need – this statement is universal. Now if you argue that having a treadmill over a dining table is more important, it’s your place and it’s your call. You just have to make sure it works for you - in a practical way.

To further elaborate on tip 1, here is the difference:

“I want to buy a new refrigerator”, my friend, Liza complained. “I realized it doesn’t match the theme of my condo.”


“I can see the spring of my double-sitter couch coming out! It’s really painful to sit on it. I need a new one.” This is my cousin, Dave, speaking to me.

Can it be more obvious? You be the judge.

Look for Versatile Items

Avoid buying items that are enticing simply because they are nice to look at (we see these lot of times and they glitter). The pieces you are looking for should be functionally efficient and multi-functional.

Choosing a chest box coffee table over the usual glass centre table is a wiser option – a chest box-type is a table and storage at the same time. Other items you may want to consider are storage ottomans, ladder-type tables (it consumes little space but built with layers), stackable plastic drawers or bed frame with ready drawers on the side.

Don’t be Junkie

A “junkie” is somebody who just cannot dispose items they have collected over time. This reminds me of a dear friend who kept a teddy bear for over 25 years. In fact it is too old you no longer can distinguish if it’s a rodent or a stuff toy. The bear already lost an ear, 2 eyes, both its arms and probably houses God knows how many unknown living organisms in it. I mean, how much can a teddy bear suffer in its lifetime? My friend calls her, Blanca; I call it Ratatouille.

If you have any of the items listed below, you are a junkie.

Empty cell batteries (hoping divine intervention will recharge them)

Bolts and Nuts (you don’t even know where they came from)

Barbie Dolls (already headless, faceless and what have you)

Overly Used Utensils (the fork tips are pointing north, east, west and south)

3-legged Monoblock Chair (legs used to be 4, you know. Now it sways, it rocks and it could kill your visitors)

A wall clock from Grandma (no hands, incomplete numbers and stuck on your wall for good)

A 20-year old sofa (what’s inside the upholstery is your pet dog taking a nap)

We must realize that everything has a shelf life. Learn to dispose items that became worthless over time and are considered to be a trash by general opinion. Throw it away, give it away or just make sure you dispose them. It takes courage, I know, but imagine the space you will save. It is sure worth the pain and memories once you overcome the habit.

I am sharing some photos of my pad – from the time it was empty until I slowly figured out how to use the space available to me. Like most urban dwellers, space is my challenge. But I try to “work it” based on my lifestyle, preference and level of comfort. There is no need to rush your decisions for as long as the basic requirements are met.

Case in point, I don’t even have a center table as I write this literary.

0 views0 comments