My Minimalist Studio Apartment

Here is a peek inside my 511 square foot apartment that I refer to as “attempting” minimalist. Or rather, I refer to myself as an attempting minimalist. I’ve been very interested in minimalism for the past few years and try to only own items that add value to my life (or “spark joy” as Marie Kondo would say).

In my opinion, there’s no such thing as a “perfect” minimalist. We are all trying to live simply with purpose and intention, which looks different for everyone. I am definitely not immune to consumerism, but minimalism has caused me to think much more intently about each item I bring into my life. Conversely, it also helps me question when something isn’t providing value anymore and is time to let go.

I work in retail, which is both tempting and ironic. As The Minimalists say, everything you do is steeped in irony when you start calling yourself a minimalist. Buy a bag of lemons at the grocery store? That’s not a very minimal amount of lemons…

As for the apartment, I live in a studio in Minneapolis, which I really enjoy. It is the perfect amount of space for just me. It is very functional as well, which enables me to entertain friends and have guests sleep over.

That being said, everyone’s recipe for minimalism is different! I may own something that doesn’t provide value to someone else, and they may own something that doesn’t provide value to me. What makes you a minimalist is questioning why you own what you own.

This is my living room. The coffee table (a hand-me-down from my aunt that’s actually a bench) holds a TV remote, the current book I am reading, coasters, a fake plant, and a few photo albums from my travels. The side table holds my live Christmas Cactus (who loves the sun), a candle, and coasters. The couch is fairly long so it seats four comfortably and pulls out into a bed for when I have guests sleep over. I opted for a flat-woven rug because they are easy to clean and don’t collect dirt like plush rugs do. The lamp (also a hand-me-down) acts as a nice focal point because I don’t have art on the wall and also provides a cozy alternative to overhead lighting – I’m all about that hygge. (Also, that door is not a closet – the HVAC is in there.)

 A common misconception about minimalism is that everything needs to be black and white, stark, with little pattern or color. I love mid-century modern style, which I tried to incorporate into my apartment. I went for warm woods, warm neutral tones, and pops of color from the rug and plants. The only thing I am thinking about adding is some wall art above the bed. However, I am waiting until I find something that I really enjoy and fits into my budget.

I kept my “bedroom” simple. Linen bedding, a small reading lamp, and a nightstand are all I need (well, I don’t really need linen but I like the casual wrinkled look.) The nightstand holds a candle, succulent, photograph my friend gifted me, and an essential oil diffuser.
My only window is the screen door to the balcony. It faces west, so I enjoy watching the evening sunset out here. I have a small patio set, an outdoor rug, a basil plant, and string lights for evening ambiance.

As a side note, I do live in a nice apartment complex. While it may seem frivolous to some, it allows me to practice minimalism in other areas of my life. I can walk to work, the grocery store, farmers market, and the Mississipi river. The building has a gym, so I do not pay for a gym membership. I don’t have a car or even a monthly bus pass. The money I save without paying for those expenses actually saves me money if I were to live in an older building farther from work and need a car.

The kitchen separates the living room with an island that tucks away two small barstools.
I like to keep my counters clear so I have room to cook. The island always holds a bowl with fruit or vegetables (that don’t need to be refrigerated). I use my kettle daily so it is always on the stove and I use the small iHome right of the stove to listen to the radio in the morning and as an alarm clock. The sink is quite large, so I bought an over the sink drying rack that I always keep there. Several cabinets are actually empty (or half empty) because I can’t reach the top shelves, nor do I have enough stuff to fill them all.
My favorite part of the day is often drinking coffee from my french press.

Keeping my space simple and un-cluttered helps me feel calm and is also much quicker to clean! Fact: the less stuff you own, the easier it is to clean. One of my tips for keeping a simple space is to give each item a home. When you are done using something, put it back in it’s home right away.

The TV on the wall swivels towards the living room or kitchen, depending on where I want to watch TV (well, Netflix or Hulu. I don’t have cable.) I also use it to listen to Spotify. And the plant distracts from the cords hanging down the wall.

Not pictured is the hallway with closets, laundry (hidden in a closet), and the bathroom. I keep the bathroom very simple so there’s not much to see. The laundry closet contains cleaning supplies, guest bedding, a few miscellaneous items, and one shoe box for sentimental items. The other two closets have my shoes, clothing, and bags. I don’t really need both but since the unit has two I spread the items out.

As a reminder, this is just my recipe for minimalism, which could look completely different from yours! If you find a few of my ingredients helpful, use them to create your own recipe.

I’m a firm believer that our external environments mirror our internal lives. Is your environment clutter free and your mind clear? Or is your space messy and mind cloudy? Try simplifying your external environment and see what it does for your internal life.

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