News Home & Design Minimalist Couple's 88-Square-Foot Micro-Studio Apartment Saves Time and Money They pay $300 per month for their tiny home. By Kimberley Mok Kimberley Mok Twitter Writer McGill University Cornell University Kimberley Mok is a former architect who has been covering architecture and the arts for Treehugger since 2007. Learn about our editorial process Published May 30, 2022 02:00PM EDT Fact checked by Haley Mast Fact checked by Haley Mast LinkedIn Harvard University Extension School Haley Mast is a freelance writer, fact-checker, and small organic farmer in the Columbia River Gorge. She enjoys gardening, reporting on environmental topics, and spending her time outside snowboarding or foraging. Topics of expertise and interest include agriculture, conservation, ecology, and climate science. Learn about our fact checking process Share Twitter Pinterest Email Exploring Alternatives News Environment Business & Policy Science Animals Home & Design Current Events Treehugger Voices News Archive Here on Treehugger, we've covered small spaces of all kinds over the years, as well as some of the reasons why people might choose—or be compelled—to live in smaller homes. For some, it may be a way to cope with the housing affordability crisis that is happening in major cities all over the world. Others might be temporarily living in small living spaces in order to save up money to buy a home later on, while for some other people, it's a deliberate and conscious choice to live more simply and with a smaller footprint—both physically and environmentally. For many, it's a mix of all these factors. For Jacinia and Dimitri, a young couple living in a 88-square-foot (8-square-meter) micro-studio apartment in New Jersey, living in such a tiny space aligns with their minimalist lifestyle, as well as helping them to save up for a down payment for a larger home later on. In total, they pay about $300 per month, which includes utilities, Internet access, laundry, a parking space, access to a communal backyard and bathrooms. We get a thought-provoking tour of their one-room residence via Exploring Alternatives: As the couple explains, they have been living the minimalist lifestyle for almost a decade now. At first, they say that minimalism was a way to survive when they became young adults, and moved out of their childhood homes. But gradually, they got accustomed to the simplicity and frugality that it's now a part of their everyday lives and thinking. As Dimitri, who is a marketing and communications director, author, poet, and content creator, explains, it's also a creative outlet of sorts: "I think as we've grown up, our definition of minimalism has changed. When we first moved out, minimalism was survival for us. And I think it was about last year when we started to say that there is a necessity for fun." The couple's living space is one basement room out of six other rentals in the same building. It measures about 8 feet by 11 feet (2.4 meters by 3.3 meters) and includes some built-in furnishings along one wall that the couple made from wood and some recycled materials. This is the main piece of furniture in the couple's home, and it serves as a place to work, cook, play games, and store their books, kitchen appliances, and dried goods. Exploring Alternatives The top shelf here is where the couple stores their collection of books. The shelf below is where the dried goods and spices are neatly displayed and within easy reach. The bottom part of the built-in unit is split into two parts. On the right, we have the couple's kitchenette, which has a place for their small appliances like an Instant Pot, water filter, and one-burner electric stovetop. Jacinia, who is a cookbook author and runs her own YouTube channel about minimalism and veganism, says they often cook one-pot meals to make preparation and clean-up much easier, as they don't have a sink in their room. (They wash their dishes in the bathroom, which is located close by in the hallway.) Exploring Alternatives Underneath the kitchen counter, there is a designated space for their toaster oven, pans, and rolling pin. There is also a mini-refrigerator here too, which allows them to store about a week's worth of food. The other side is occupied by their desk, which is carefully organized to save space. Even the two velvet green chairs here have been carefully chosen, as both of them are small enough to be tucked underneath the desk, in addition to two storage ottomans. Exploring Alternatives The couple's cat has its own platform, which allows it to get exercise and move up and around the home. Exploring Alternatives To sleep, the couple uses a Japanese-style futon, which can be rolled up during the day to help them to save space. It can also be folded to create a couch on the ground. Exploring Alternatives The other wall of their home features a large mirror and some removable wallpaper, which helps to brighten up the tiny space. Exploring Alternatives The room also has a closet, where the couple stores their bedding and other pantry goods and lesser-used equipment. Exploring Alternatives The couple also has extra closet storage for their clothes and shoes out in the communal hall. Exploring Alternatives This isn't the couple's first small apartment, as over the years, they've consciously chosen smaller living spaces to both save money and allow them to live more pared-down lifestyles. While the couple says there are definite advantages to living so minimalistically, they are openly honest about some of the challenges they face, including the teeny-tiny bathroom and shower, and the lack of privacy, since they share walls, ceilings, and bathroom with the other tenants. But they are nevertheless optimistic about the present and future, saying that living tiny has been great for their relationship. It's also about saving money and peace of mind, as Jacinia elaborates further: "This [apartment] hands down is the most affordable place we've ever lived in. It's incredible -- we've been able to save up a lot of money so that we can compete in this housing market, which is highly competitive. I was able to forego working to focus on my mental health, [because] I had homebound agoraphobia, so [previously] I never left the house. I had a lot of anxiety. [Now], I'm not homebound anymore." At first glance, Jacinia and Dimitri's living quarters may seem small to the extreme. Living in such a tiny space isn't for the faint of heart, and such stories may prompt some to wonder about the livability of such minuscule spaces, or perhaps ask about what kinds of long-term solutions might actually address the root causes behind the phenomenon of unaffordable housing. But the couple's positivity and creativity are inspiring, and we can't help but hope that the couple will someday find their perfect, right-sized minimalist home. To see more, visit Dimitri's website, YouTube and Instagram; or Jacinia's YouTube and Instagram.