In 2007, when I moved into a studio the size of a Honda Accord, “living tiny” wasn’t a thing (even in New York, arguably the home of tiny apartments). Everyone just thought I was nuts. I moved for one reason: The low rent allowed me to quit my stressful job and finish writing my first book. I planned to stay one year.

I knew living tiny would take a big adjustment—the apartment didn’t have a kitchen, and the loft bed had only 60cm of space between the mattress and the ceiling—but I'd worked as a professional organiser for many years so I felt I was up to the challenge. Yet the very first night I had a panic attack. 

“What was I thinking?” I yelled as I climbed down the ladder. “I can’t live here!” Minutes later, lying on a yoga mat on the floor, I reminded myself why I moved there: to write my grandfather’s story. After that night I never had a problem again. In fact, something surprising happened.

My life got better.

I had more time to write, ride my bike and travel. My stress went down, as did my credit card bills. I wasn’t buying stuff because I had no place to put it. When the year came to an end, I agreed to another. And another. I was living life on my terms. I stayed five years, then bought a one bedroom appartment in town.

While my new place is almost five times larger (which isn’t saying much), I continue to live like I’m in 8m2, filling my life with experiences, not stuff. But stuff, no matter what size space you live in, has a way of slowly creeping in, and keeping it at bay is an ongoing battle. Below are 9 decluttering tips to keep winning the war.

Watch as the author takes you on a tour of her 8m2 home:

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