Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

Tossing X Is Easy If You Know Why

It’s hard to imagine 90 square feet reaching across the globe, but that’s what happened after I moved into that now infamous tiny Manhattan apartment. Prior to deciding whether to move into what some have called “one of the smallest apartments in the world,” I went through my list of living priorities:

  • Is the apartment located in the Upper West Side?
  • Is the rent reasonable?
  • Is it near places I frequent?
  • Will living there allow me to quit my demanding job and finish writing a book?
  • Will it satisfy my itch of wanting to experience living in NYC?

When the answers to all of the above came back a resounding “Yes!” the decision to move into that place was a no brainer. But then came the hard part: culling my possessions. These were items I’d lugged around for years never able to part with. However, now that I had found my “why”–to experience life more, write a book and not work my tail off to pay rent –I could get rid of “X” without a second glance. This included clothes, books and all my kitchen supplies except for a hot pot and toaster oven since the studio was kitchen-free.

I set my sights on living in New York City for just a year. After that I planned to move into a normal-sized apartment in the burbs.

Yet something happened inside those 90 square feet. My life got better. And bigger. And fuller. Did I really want to give that up for more closet space? With my overhead lower (no pun intended), I now had more time to write, ride my bicycle, read books, see theater, visit friends and travel. I was still working hard, but on my own schedule, and the stress was less. I also finished my book, something that had been on my To Do list for over a decade. I might have been living with less, but I had gained so much more. All because I had figured out my “why.”

After the video went viral and the landlord discovered I was subletting illegally, I was handed my walking papers. At first I was frightened. Apartments in my neighborhood, while larger, were more expensive. Would I have to get another 9-5 or move out of Manhattan? Granted it wasn’t the end of the world, but I had created a lifestyle I wasn’t so ready to give up.


My grandfather suggested I buy an apartment. Having been saving for years, I looked around. And I found. The one-bedroom was just two avenues away from the tiny residence, was in my price range, and happened to be five times larger (my kitchen pictured above). Not that I was looking for more space. People joke and ask what I do with all the extra space and the answer is simple. I fill it with family and friends.

It’s been almost three years since I moved out of that apartment, but I often think back on those years and smile. For such a minuscule space, it left an enormous impression.

Today’s post was written by Felice Cohen, a professional organizer, author, public speaker and blogger who currently lives in more than 90 square feet in New York City. Follow on Facebook and @FeliceCohen