Not everyone can afford 4,000 square feet. Not everyone who can afford 4,000 square feet wants to maintain it. Indianapolis is a fairly unique city, in that with our system of highways and interstates you can travel from one side of the city to the other in less than an hour. Let's compare it to Chicago. At times, it can take upwards of 2 hours to travel from the city center to nearby suburbs. That's about the same amount of time it takes to drive from Indianapolis to Louisville. Here's my point, because most of the city is accessible via car in less than an hour, we are able to develop cheap land into large subdivisions that value size over perceived convenience. Outside of a select group of neighborhoods, most Indianapolis homes can easily accommodate the possessions of the average Indianapolitan (yeah, that's what we are called.) However, for the rest of us, we make due with slightly less space.
The average home in Broad Ripple has 947 square feet above grade. With homes in surrounding suburbs typically 2-3 times larger, I am often asked how we make due with the limited space. First, we find that we have more than enough livable area for 2 adults, 1 toddler, and a giant dog. We have sleeping spaces, a place to hang out, a place to eat. I am not sure that there is much more that we could ask for. I certainly understand the question, as storage comes at a premium. A few general rules for storing your things in a tight space:
1. Rotate: You will not use everything that you own, every day. It simply won't happen. Though not completely predictable, you can assume that the weather will behave in pretty general terms throughout certain seasons. I don't need a parka in July or shorts in January. That means that my tiny closets don't need to hold absolutely all of my clothes at all times. Some time around March and September I switch my clothes out for the next season. Though we occasionally get an 80 degree day in October, I can always dig out a pair of shorts for a week. This can work for quite a bit more than clothes (i.e. media, children's toys, etc...)
2. No Dead Space: Pretty simply idea. Have you ever been to an art gallery and overheard the pretentious guy next to you discuss "negative space" with his disinterested date? He's talking about the white on the canvas. You have negative space in your home as well. How can you re-purpose that negative space as storage. The simplest areas include: ottomans, underneath the stairs, and bench seating. Google it. Other people are creative, steal their ideas.
3. Reduce: Absolutely the simplest. Get rid of your stuff. It's junk. It absolutely is. If you don't believe me, go hold a yard sale. Let complete strangers tell you exactly what they think you're prized positions are worth. That couch you won't give up? 20 bucks, tops. That fantastic dress? 75 cents. It'll bring you back to Earth quickly. When tossing your junk, think about donating it. Great tax writeoff, and you are supporting a good cause. You would be surprised how easy it is to get by on less.
If you have any creative ideas let me know!