How living in a 52 square foot room improved this guy's life

How living in a 52 square foot room improved this guy's life

How living in a 52 square foot room improved this guy's life

And I thought my wife and I were living small in our 200 square foot Airstream. Not when you compare us to this guy, who calls a room no bigger than 52 square feet his real home. Meet GuyOnFire. Now, check out this dude's super creative living situation.

How living in a 52 square foot room improved this guy's life

    I live in a 52 square foot room and it has improved my life in some wickedly bizarre ways. Some may not consider it a room and many even refer to it as a "Harry Potter cupboard'.

    Normally, my writings on house hacking and being a landlord focus on the financial benefits.

    However, today I am going to take a step back and look at the comical side of living in such a small space. Plenty of things that have become commonplace in my life are actually bizarre or comical to others.

    My Tiny Room

    First, 52 square feet is an insanely small space. The room is 9'6" by 5'6". How the hell do I even live in such a small space? Glad you asked.

    Let's start with the bed. You know... the place where all the magic happens.

    After deciding to move into such a small space, I needed to make the most of my space. So, I bought a used loft-bed from Pottery Barn - Teen that I found on Craigslist.

    The loft bed includes a desk beneath the bed which serves as my home office. You could even say it doubled the amount of space in my room.

    Now you may be asking, where did I get such a great idea? As fate would have it, my then 12-year-old sister had the same bed. I totally stole the idea from her. Oh, and she also has a bigger room than me.

    Whatevs. This is normal for a guy in his mid to late twenties, right?

    Oh, and here's a fun little fact morsel: the bed barely fits in my room. There are only a few inches between the wall and the frame.

    Given the limited room, I also decided to double up on dresser/storage space. I have a dresser for some of my clothes but this was not enough. I bought a storage thing to organize the rest of my crap

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    My Home Office

    Due to the tight fit, I cannot access the desk area as it was designed. So... how the hell do I get in there? I hop/slide over the desk and land in my chair.

    I feel like an Olympic gymnast or world-class hurdler every time I hop into my office. Now, where is my Wheaties endorsement?

    You may also be wondering how I get up to my bed. Clearly, there is no room for the ladder like the model picture (Hint, I am not a high jumper).

    Well, the comedy that is my bedroom continues. I use a six-foot ladder to get in and out my bed while avoiding the ceiling fan of death.

    There are a few feet of clearance between the bed frame and the fan. The first few times getting in and out of bed was awkward. Now its seamless and secondhand nature.

    Fun fact, I have never been hit by the fan.

    Avoiding Useless Crap

    If we all take a moment to review all of our material possessions, most of us would quickly realize we have a lot of free crap ("stuff"). Oh, and other things that we paid for but don't really need or use.

    My day job requires me to attend many seminars and networking events. These events are full of vendors passing out free swag. You know, the useless things that are cool for about 30 seconds, then you never use it again.

    In a previous life, I would take 2-3 of everything only to have the items sit and accumulate dust for months. Given the space I have to work with, I now turn down all the handouts to avoid clutter. I must avoid clutter.

    In the spirit of full disclosure, I did a big purge of my material possessions as I was moving into the space. I donated a few bags of clothes to a local charity and threw away a bunch of other crap.

    What made me do this?

    Well, I could have lived in any of the rooms since I own the house and fixed up the property. But, something interesting struck me.

    As I was finishing the renovation to the house, I watched "Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things" documentary on that stupid streaming service that I shall not name. This is like he-who-shall-not-be-named .... but worse.

    I also had (and possibly still have?) a mild obsession with tiny houses. Oh, and people in New York City always talk about how little space they live in. I figured, what the hell, I want to see what all the fuss is about.

    At best - I would love it, save a ton of money, and live an ultra-minimalist lifestyle.

    At worst- I would hate it, have some good stories, and move into one of the bigger rooms once one of my roommates/tenants moved out.

    The First Night

    The first night was interesting. Waking up in the middle of the night to pee has never been more annoying. But alas, I avoided the ceiling fan of death, managed to not kill myself going down the ladder and made it to the restroom unscathed.

    Nothing like having a built-in obstacle course in your home.

    The next morning presented a completely different set of challenges. In order to open my bedroom door or change, I must put the ladder away. A bit annoying but in reality, it only adds a few seconds to either task.

    After a month

    About a month into this little experiment, I was not in love with the space. However, I did not hate the arrangement either. My housing situation was more than tolerable and very lucrative. The small room kept life simple but none of my family or friends understand it.

    Other things I now find normal

    My laundry basket sits next to my desk chair. I have to lug the bag up and over the desk in order to take my dirty laundry to the washer/dryer.

    My closet is outside my room and in the hallway. I doubled up the storage space by hanging rods.

    The closet outside of the room is not the end of the world. In fact, it's not been an issue at all. Oh, except for that one time I walked out of my room in my boxers to grab some clothes.... and my roommate had a girl over.... and yeah.... well that was awkward. But otherwise, life is good.

    Changing the sheets on a loft bed is a pain in the ass. But... ;)

    What do people think?

    Roommate #1 - shit, you don't have a room; you live in a closet.

    Grandmother - he did all that work fixing up that house and he lives in that room?!? He must be crazy. Our whole family is crazy but this one is REALLY crazy - batshit style. What do you mean he is living in THAT room?

    Father - he must be saving a ton of money.

    Longtime friend - that's pretty intense dude (while he is trying to fight back a shit eating grin and not laugh).

    What alternative (read crazy) living situations have you lived in? Did you get a good story or two out of it? Were you hating life or loving every minute of your living situation? Were there awesome financial benefits from your alternative living arrangement?

    Frequently Asked Questions:

    What motivated you to choose living in a 52 square foot room?

    The primary motivation was an interest in minimalism and the challenge of living with less. Inspired by documentaries and a fascination with tiny house living, I decided to see firsthand what it was like to drastically reduce my living space and simplify my life.

    How do you manage everyday activities in such a cramped space?

    Everyday activities require careful planning and organization. I utilize multi-functional furniture like a loft bed with a desk underneath to maximize space. Essentials are kept within reach, and anything non-essential is eliminated to avoid clutter.

    What are the biggest challenges of living in a "Harry Potter cupboard"?

    The biggest challenges include limited storage for personal items, managing daily routines in a confined space, and maintaining privacy. Adjustments like external closets and strategic placement of furniture are necessary to address these challenges.

    Have you noticed any benefits from living in such a small room?

    Yes, there are notable financial benefits from lower living costs, and the lifestyle encourages a minimalistic approach to possessions. It also fosters creativity in utilizing space efficiently and simplifies cleaning and maintenance.

    Would you recommend this lifestyle to others, and under what circumstances?

    I would recommend this lifestyle to those interested in minimalism, saving money, or challenging traditional living arrangements. It's particularly suited for single individuals or those without large possessions or pets. However, it’s important to consider personal space needs and lifestyle preferences before making such a significant change.


    Steve Adcock

    774 posts

    Steves a 38-year-old early retiree who writes about the intersection of happiness and financial independence.