In 2020, Alex Verhaeg moved into a 95 sq ft apartment in Manhattan’s East Village. He pays $1,000 a month.
“People might call this place just a room or a closet, but to me it’s home,” Verhaeg told CNBC Make It.
The 23-year-old hairdresser, bike messenger and content creator found the apartment on Zillow and just had to look outer space in pictures before he moved in.
“It was a bit of a shock when I saw how small it was, but I really wanted to try and live in this area,”[ads1]; he said. “Any space can be turned into a home, no matter how big or small. You just have to put a little love into it.”
Verhaeg’s mother signed his lease, and the upfront costs for his move were $2,000: $1,000 for the first month’s rent and $1,000 for the security deposit.
His rent has since increased to $1,100 a month.
Verhaegs Small apartment does not come with a bathroom. Instead, the five-storey building has a resident share the three bathrooms and two showers that are located on each floor.
“Living here can kind of feel like you’re in the dorms at college because of the shared facilities,” he said. “Sometimes you’ll see your neighbors in a towel or a bathrobe. You kind of just get used to it.”
In addition to not having a bathroom, the apartment also lacks a traditional kitchen. Verhaeg has an electric hob who lives at the top of a chest of drawers that he uses for food storage.
The apartment has a sink in the corner with a medicine cabinet, which Verhaeg refers to as his bathroom area.
It also has a cupboard and a small loft where he keeps his clothes and hairdressing tool kit.
“The biggest advantage of living in such a small space is that it makes you appreciate your things and be a minimalist,” he said. “You really can’t just go out and buy random things because you don’t have the space to store them.”