The Space Efficiency Project

-Written by Steph

We’ve now been in our studio for five months, and have finally finished a project that started the day we moved in – make the place as functional, comfortable, and space-efficient as we could. Fortunately, photos were taken all along the way, which I’m here to share today! Follow along for the whole process, in pictures, of the two of us downsizing from a 600 square foot 1 bedroom apartment to a 400 square foot studio suite.

Round 0 – What we’re working with

I managed to find a floor plan for our suite. Sweet! This gives you an idea of the layout, size, windows, closets, etc.


Basically we’ve got one large room with two closets, a Murphy bed with built in shelves, and a balcony coming off the kitchen. Outlets all over the place, so no need to plan anything around that. So moving right along…

Round 1 – WAY too much stuff

Round1.0 Round1.1 ROund1.2 Round1.3

As you can see, we originally carved out a little video game station complete with couch, TV stand and TV. Cel had the bigger computer desk, while I used my sewing table for my own. We had a whole lot of stuff jammed into the Murphy bed shelves and on top of it. I had a kitchen cart taking up a lot of space in the kitchen with my microwave, and we overall had a lot of stuff out in the open, and found ourselves tripping a lot. Change was coming!

Round 2 – Bye bye couch

Round2.0 Round2.1 ROund2.2 Round2.3

We ditched the couch and TV stand, moving the TV onto another set of shelves. I started donating clothes and various things to clean up a bit. The tripping problem was solved! But it still felt cluttery, and vacuuming was still more of a PITA than I would have liked. Moving along…

Round 3 – Toss and hide everything

Round3.0 Round3.1 Round3.2 Round3.3

We basically threw out and donated a massive amount of stuff. I donated six garbage bags of clothes, to begin with, which allowed us to move to a shared closet and use the other closet purely for storage. My sewing table went into the storage closet for the time being, along with tons of other stuff that could now be safely hidden away. I found that the middle shelf on my big bookshelf was a good height for a standing computer desk, so set up my laptop there. I also moved my flower painting to the bathroom to replace the jumbo toilet paper case that was there before, and got my mirror hung up rather than leaning against the wall. We did a huge cleanup of the Murphy bed. Progress was happening.

Round 4 – Bye bye desk, bye bye big TV

Round4.0 Round4.1 

We downsized our gigantic 32 inch TV to a much nicer, new 24 inch. The bookshelf the old TV was on went out to the balcony to hold my gardening tools. We also got rid of Cel’s desk and got a long table with the goal of it eventually becoming a double desk, but having it temporarily hold the TV until we could get it mounted up on the wall. Our filing cabinet became a nightstand as well.

Round 5 – Getting everything up on the walls, and the project is done!

Round5.1 Round5.2 Round5.3 Roung5.0

Finally, as of last week the project was finished! The sewing machine came back out to sit behind my laptop at the big table/double desk. I moved a lot of books from the bookshelf by the closet to the Murphy shelves, and may eventually get rid of that bookshelf altogether now that there’s hardly anything on it.

We mounted the TV on the wall by the main entrance over the shoe rack, which looks and sounds a little odd until you notice that it works out to be right by the foot of the bed when it’s folded down. This is a really good feature when you don’t have a couch, and we can now play video games in bed!

Final thoughts

The project was a huge success. I could practically vacuum blindfolded now that there’s so little furniture and stuff on the floor.

The only thing Cel trips over now is the bed, but there’s not much we can do about that. I don’t trip over anything anymore.

My sewing machine is out full time, so I can’t make excuses not to mend things. That’s both a good and a bad thing.

Anthony’s happy since his tower and food are near where I spend a lot of time (the kitchen), and also right above a heater and next to a window. As an added bonus, having his stuff in the kitchen means he’s a lot more likely to puke on linoleum than carpet. Yay!

And that’s it for our project. It’s great to finally be finished.



  1. Hi, were planning on moving to Van in the fall. Just me and my teen. Want to do it on the cheap. She is an actor. We are looking for a cheap place to live with a small dog. Not too far out. Do u have any areas to recommend and should we bring no furniture? I thought to bring beds and thats much it. Love how you two live and love your blog!

    • Hi, sorry for the delay in replying.

      I’m assuming you intend to rent. East Vancouver and South Vancouver will most likely have the cheapest places. We have found all of our places – including the co-op where we live now – on Craigslist. That will most likely be your best option if you don’t actually live in Vancouver to look at places. We do have a chapter in our ebook about the pros and cons of various neighbourhoods in Vancouver – not sure if you have read it already.

      Furniture is not that expensive, I’d say that beds would be the majority of the expense. If I were you, I’d buy most of the furniture when you arrived.

      Hope that helps – thanks for reading our blog!

  2. Pingback: The Incoming Assets Retirement Strategy | Incoming Assets

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