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maybe because spring is here and i’m in total clean and purge mode, maybe because i love a good creative challenge, or maybe because i resonate slightly with these other small-home dwellers, but i can’t stop going through the pictures from the Small Cool Contest, hosted by Apartment Therapy.  These entries are from last year – it looks like this year’s contest is still about month or so away.  But honestly, how can people make living in a 300 square foot apartment look so easy??  and stylish?

For example, this picture is pretty much of the entire apartment.  There’s a kitchen along the right back corner that isn’t really visible.

And here’s the floorplan for that apartment.  It’s 210 square feet.  210!!!

Here’s another apartment that I just love.  It’s 512 square feet and the kitchen probably competes with mine for the amount of storage space.

The floorplan for another studio apartment.  Aside from having to get used to your bedroom and the living room being almost one in the same, this is a cute little place.

This home was the Grand Prize winner for the whole contest.  I’ll show all the pictures from this entry, plus the floorplan at the end.  Would you ever guess this place was only 478 square feet?!  I love that this place didn’t really sacrifice on personality or style in order to get everything in – there’s artwork displayed, books out, comfortable seating, stylish lighting – so cute!

Our house is small, not by New York City apartment standards, of course, but by suburban America standards:  about 1300 square feet.  To be honest though, we passed up on a lot of much bigger houses in order to buy this one.  The main reason was probably charm.  And the second was probably the HUGE backyard – another element not necessarily available to the tiny apartment dweller.  While furnishing it (read: getting everything to fit inside it)  can be a challenge, and storing things in it an even larger challenge, it’s  definitely a fun challenge.  So I love the idea of creatively storing and using everyday items in a way that doesn’t require 3,000 sq feet to do it.  Even with a passle of kids (who knows, maybe i’ll have a passle) I don’t think I’ll ever want a “big” house.  And spaces like these remind me that I don’t have to.  A smaller house is a smaller footprint environmentally, faster to clean, more efficient to heat/cool, encourages more family together time (b/c bedrooms will be where space is sacrificed to give common areas more room), and just plain costs less to build.

my spurt of spring cleaning just last weekend produced a PILE of giveaway items, some fabulously reorganized spaces, and a much, much happier jen.  seeing other small homeowners living happily in spaces half the size of mine gives me more motivation to tackle even more of the house, keeping only things that are important, editing down the things i do have, and creatively storing things in a way that’s accessible yet attractive.  even at 1300 sq feet, it’s amazing how much we’ve crammed in here.