By JOYELL NEVINS | Downtown News
Sometimes 75 square feet is all you need. Walk into Claire Sims’s Downtown apartment, and you’ll notice she has a bookshelf, bed, desk, dresser, kitchen, and sink — all in a space that measures 6 feet wide by 12.5 feet long by 10 feet high.
“I only wanted to keep stuff that [I] love, use, and need,” Sims said.
When you’re able to weld your own furniture to fit just right, that space fills even better. When Sims originally moved into the room, she slept on the floor, and rolled up her accoutrements like a sleeping bag each morning.
But then, Sims studied welding fabrication at the Center for Employment Training. Sims used her training to build her own metal loft bed, complete with a wooden mattress base and ladder. She built and measured the bed specifically to fit in the rectangular room. Sims gives credit to her neighbor, too, who helped her cut the wood and set up the project.
The possibility of a “tiny house” first blossomed when Sims’ sister passed away. As Sims was cleaning out her sister’s office of materials collected and lots of ‘stuff,’ it got her thinking about her own possessions. How much of it were items that she really didn’t need?
Then when Sims lost a lucrative job during the recession, the timing worked to downsize and change locations. She officially moved into the Downtown hostel-style complex in 2013, and to her current tiny space in 2016.
“I always thought ‘can I do it?’” Sims said of living in an extremely small space. “The answer turned out to be ‘yes, I can!’”
In the space, Sims still has a bookshelf, kitchen counter, her grandma’s dresser, and sewing section. What she doesn’t have is a giant couch, television (Sims hasn’t owned one of those for 30 years), or entertainment console.
Instead, on her downtime, she takes a couple of pillows, props them into a little nook for herself, and either listens to the radio or gets out her writing pad. Sims notes that she’s a bookworm, too — as evidenced by the wide collection of books she has fit into the small space.
Decorative clutter has also been weaned down. To still give color to her room, Sims goes for items she will use, like measuring cups hung like a rainbow in a patterned backdrop. Her few pictures are of loved friends and family, or inspirational Scripture.
For anyone considering downsizing or going tiny themselves, Sims notes the only measurement that matters is your own.
“Keep the things that you really love,” she suggested. “Figure out what’s important to you.”
Does Sims plan to grow into a bigger space in the future? Although that possibility is not off the table, Sims isn’t actively working toward that. She said she is content right where she is.
“When God says it’s time to go, the situation will change,” she declared.
If you have questions about developing your own tiny apartment or room, contact Sims via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.