The ups and downs of living in a 10×10 room

When I first moved into my 10×10 flat, I was “not happy, Bob, not happy.” Over time, though, I’ve come to appreciate it, even enjoy it and prefer it.

  • Easier to clean: The room itself gets dirty faster than a larger place. Really, of course, it’s not getting dirty any faster – it’s just that the mess shows faster in confined quarters. The benefit, though, is that cleaning up isn’t that big a deal, no matter how much I trash the place. The small space forces me to clean as I go instead of letting it go and go and go.
  • Easier to quit collecting junk: This follows from the previous point. The less space I have, the less space I have to collect not just dirt but junk in general. If I want to buy even a TV, I better think hard about what I’m willing to sacrifice to house that beast.
  • Easier to heat and cool: If I turned on the A/C in the summer, the place would chill down in a matter of minutes. But I didn’t run the A/C. Instead, I’d fan air out my window until the room felt comfortable. Then I’d close the window. In the winter, I can boil a pot of water for tea and simultaneous heat the room. The insulation is good enough to keep the temperature stable once I seal the place up.

With all the benefits of a tight, cozy space, it still has its downsides.

  • Harder to entertain: This is the biggest and most obvious problem with living in a small place. A little bigger, say 14×14 or 10×18 (both of which are almost twice the size), and I could get a circle of chairs going around a table. At 10×10, though, the place is really limited to just a bed and a space for one desk and chair. Instead, we just go out to eat.
  • Harder to host couch surfers: Again, this one springs from the previous one. If the place were just a tad bigger, I’d try to welcome couch surfers. At 10×10, though, I barely have enough space to stretch out on the floor. (That said, I have hosted friends a total of three times in seven months. It can be done.)

As far as prestige goes, I’m cool with 10×10. I’m cool with everyone knowing I live in a small place. I don’t have anything to hide there. Also, I’m not much of a decorator, so the lack of space for art or Christmas lights doesn’t bother me either.

Overall, I’m a big fan of 10×10, and I can see myself continuing the lifestyle even after Korea, maybe even building a house this size. Maybe.

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