Our Tiny House in the Sky


This is a direct continuation of the previous post.

At the core of conserverism, as with minimalism, is intent. Everything has a purpose; stuff gets used instead of sitting in a drawer ‘just in case’. The same can be said for the tiny house movement, only on a larger scale. Rather than slotting a life into a pre-built situation, you design the heck out of a space so that it perfectly suits your stuff and needs.

So now that we’ve moved into our apartment – a small studio on the 14th floor – we’re faced with the challenge of applying conserver/minimalist ideas to end up with something like a tiny house. A tiny house in the sky, if you will.

Consider our entryway. It is a short, barren corridor with a doorway on each side – one to the bath and one to the living space – and one at each end (kitchen and entry). The entry door opens inward, overlapping the bathroom door. On that hinge-side wall, between the bathroom door and the kitchen doorway, is a section of blank wall. There is also blank wall from the living room doorway back to the entry door. The floorplan looks like this:

Front Hall layout

Our problems are as follows:

  1. There is no place to put coats.
  2. There is no place to put shoes.
  3. There is no place to put people.

There’s not much we can do about the third problem, so let’s look at the other two. A consumer would just go ahead and buy a set of coat hooks and a shoe rack and be done with it. Not only do we want to avoid buying things altogether, we want anything we do buy to be fit for purpose. In a small space, that often means items and spaces that serve more than one purpose. That’s not to say we won’t end up with a set of coat hooks and a shoe rack, just that we want to make certain that’s the best use of our dollars and space before we commit.

Okay, first we’ll see if these problems are temporary. If we wait, will they just go away? Well, kind of. I mean, we’ll always have shoes for going outside, but coats go away for awhile in summer. Then again, the coats come back. Plus, there are other necessaries that could be hung from hooks, like the dog’s leash. So, no, these problems cannot be waited out.

Next, what are the options? We could have hooks on the wall, or a free-standing rack. Only a rack will probably take up too much space. As for shoes, there are some narrow folding storage units from places like Ikea that could work. They’re only about 8″ deep, and the top surface can be used as the world’s narrowest hall table for things like keys. Getting something with legs means that current shoes (or wet shoes) can be tucked underneath – good for guests, too.

Alright, so the next step would be to try and acquire what’s needed through salvage, repurpose or thrifting. This is where aesthetics come in, if they come in at all. If you don’t care what things look like so long as they function, great. Find what’ll do the job and go for it. For the rest of us, it might take some time. The important thing is not to panic. In a situation like ours, there’s no urgency – no one will die if we don’t get coat hooks – so we can truly hunt for the thing that will work perfectly.

If all else fails, we can buy some coat hooks and a shoe rack. It won’t be the end of the world. But it’s helpful to go through the exercise of questioning the problem, as well as potential solutions, instead of mindlessly forking out money.