Whether you are single, married and have kids, living in a small apartment is no doubt challenging. I have lived in all three aforementioned stages at some point in my 16 years here in Hong Kong. Never have I lived in a place more than 510 sq ft. I’m going to be honest with you, it took me some time to fully figure out how to enjoy living in a Hong Kong apartment. We get a lot of bad media regarding our ridiculous housing situation. But there are many many good stories that no one sees. As a teacher, I’ve seen a family of 5 live in public housing and exude gratefulness for living here – their children studying hard at school. On TV, you see stories of a daughter refurbishing a 265 sq-ft apartment as a gift to her mom. How can you not be inspired by that? So what does it take to enjoy your apartment – your home. Here is my take on how you can live comfortably in a Hong Kong apartment.
Don’t compare how you live now to how you used to live.
“In the States I had a full wardrobe, trees, this and that…” I told myself to STOP saying this. Yes the cost of living in Hong Kong is high relative to the little spaces we live in. But on average monthly, I only spend $300-400(appx 45-50 USD) a month for transport. So don’t compare apples to…watermelons. Hong Kong is Hong Kong. So when here, appreciate your little apple. I am a firm believer to always turn something negative into a positive through your actions. Sure, space here is small, but why can’t you think of it as ‘cozy’?
Your measuring tape is your best friend.
Anytime you need to purchase something for your flat, you have to measure, measure and yes – measure. There is not a millimeter to spare. I remember waiting for my hydraulic lift bed to arrive and I was very nervous. Even though I measured the area needed for it, I could never be 100% sure it’d fit. Thank goodness it did. So remember, if you plan on buying anything that takes up footprint, measure it!
Have storage for everything.
So you probably already know about drawers under your bed or a wardrobe. When we first move here, clothes and personal toilettries is all that we store. But a couple weeks or a month later, you’ll realize that you need storage for other miscellaneous things. You will need a place to store personal paperwork or mail. You’ll need a place to store boxed tissue, stationary, cleaning supplies and even paper bags after groceries! So, don’t overlook the day to day things when it comes to storage.
Organize and tidy like a grade school classroom.
Revisit the time when you were in 2nd grade and try to remember how neat and organized your teacher had maintained it. If you’re a parent or teacher, chances are you know what I’m talking about. Drawers and desks are neatly labeled. There are dedicated places to store art supplies and books. The classroom environment is always maintained in a very good manner so it enhances and enriches students’ learning environment. So, why can’t we do this for our apartments? Yes we can.
Make room for a plant or two.
We don’t have a lot of green space in Hong Kong. Many apartments face other apartments. So that’s why having a few indoor houseplants is important. Many studies have already proven that having plants can help us breath better and keep us calmer. I really do feel the benefits of having plants in my apartment.
Small apartment living does take an adjustment and you will have to make some lifestyle changes. But once you understand what it means to live small, you’ll enjoy your stay a lot more. My guide will teach you from beginning to end on how to find, maintain and live small comfortably in your Hong Kong apartment.