Just because you have to live in a small place does not mean you can not enjoy being there. By adhering to a few simple rules you can avoid feeling cramped and still have all the things you need and not have to make a project out of getting to them.
Having too many things to look at can really make a space feel cluttered and cramped and even depressing. Make a habit of putting things away. By large attractive containers to conceal things with, use storage ottomans, or a chest for a coffee table.
If you start a have stacks of boxes, get a room divider or an attractive panel and put the boxes behind it. Locate your room the way a designer would and try to minimize the number of objects the eye has to take in. It will make your space seem more restful and more spacious.
Many small spaces tend to be dark, and this can really have adverse effects on how you view your apartment. It is very subtle, but if you have to look around your room and kind of squint because the light just is not quite bright enough, it gives you an unpleasant feeling, and makes you not want to be at home. The solution is not just to get more lighting, but better quality lighting. There are reading lamps made specifically for people who have seasonal affective disorder, and these are bright enough and in the right spectrum to help much more than the standard fluorescent bulb. If you don’t have the surface area for another lamp or the floor space for a floor lamp, look to the walls. Architects lamps and wall sconces provide light without using up any more space. Try to keep the number of lights small. It is better to have two really bright lights than eight less powerful ones.
It can be hard to let go of things, but those of us who live in small spaces just can not have as much stuff as other people do. While you can get storage space at a remote facility, that really just postpones the inevitable and doesn’t solve the problem. The classic rule of clutter clearing is that if you have not used it in six months, you don’t love it, or it has no meaning for you, then it’s time to give it, sell it, or throw it away. Use the 80/20 rule as you’re getting rid of things you don’t need. The principle of the 80/20 rule is that we get 80% of results out of 20% of our efforts, and in clutter-clearing it means that we get 80% of use out of just 20% of our things. You may have ten different turtleneck sweaters but it’s likely that you wear only two of them with any regularity. Keep in mind, though, that the 80/20 principle is not exact. For some things it’s more that 10% / 90% rule, or the 30% / 70% rule. So if you happen to have three sweaters that you wear all the time and the other seven almost never, keep the three sweaters and let go of the seven others. If you can not bear to let go of the seven, then take at least the bottom third of things that you just are not using and get rid of those items on your first round of de-cluttering. After you’ve done it once and felt the benefits of not being so congested with stuff, you will be much more willing to let go of unused things and much less scared about losing something that you think you might need later.