The Final Frontier

Apartments usually come with some amenities included. Like a stove. Or a microwave. Maybe a closet. But when you move in, you usually bring with you other items that take up valuable space, like a couch, night stands, or your collection of the entire series, to date, of The Simpsons dvds. And, unless you’re buying an $88 million apartment, space is usually at a premium.

"Hey girl. Don't worry about the lack of space. I like jumping from one piece of furniture to another and pretending the floor is lava, too." The finest moment in my career: Photoshopping Ryan Gosling.

Of course, there are always ways to make everything fit. If years of playing Tetris on our graphing calculators during AP Calculus or playing Dr. Mario for hours without dinner or bathroom breaks have taught us anything, it’s that items can always be turned and flipped until they fit. A desk can be shoehorned in between the couch and bookcase. A TV can be stacked, Yertle the Turtle-style, on top of the cable box, which is on top of the dresser, and only block a little bit of the mirror. Closets can be left permanently open, their doors pinned to the wall behind night stands.

But then renters have that awful knot in the pit of their stomachs when the doorbell rings: Company. What do you do when you plan a dinner party, or the in-laws drops by, or when Ryan Gosling knocks on your door after saving some woman from being hit by a cab and wants to know if you’d like to share the bottle of champagne he happens to have with him? It’s not like you can just push your stuff into a closet (and if cartoons have taught me anything, your guest will unwittingly open that closet when he’s trying to find the bathroom and be buried under an avalanche of your knickknacks).

Sure, most people say they won’t judge you (they’ll at least wait until they leave before they talk about you). But we also certainly judge ourselves, especially after being bombarded by perfect apartment images in interior design magazines and on Pinterest. We don’t want to feel like slobs or hoarders.

What’s a renter to do? Would you rather edit down your furniture and material goods and have an aesthetically pleasing apartment? Or would you rather live somewhere that might not look as nice, but fits every piece of furniture and all the decorations you’ve had since college and beyond?

Personally, in theory I’d love to have a beautiful, clean apartment, the type that real estate agents would use as a model home. In practice, well, I don’t want to get rid of my bookcases that hold books I don’t even read anymore because of my Nook. And the two or three sets of dishes were all wedding presents, so I can’t get rid of those, even though they’re all stacked on top of my cabinets because there’s no room in them. And just because I don’t use that rowing machine right now doesn’t mean I won’t one day join a sculling team and need to practice. As long as there’s a path to walk through my apartment, it’s fine, right?

What are some of your best space-saving tips for apartments? And is your apartment magazine photo shoot-ready, or are you a pack rat?

-Jessica Fiur, News Editor