The holiday season is getting an early start this year and everyone is off to the gift-giving races. One of the toughest things can be to find gifts for people living in small apartments and homes.
Over the years I have worked with many clients who have successfully downsized into far less space then they were used to. I’ve also placed many first-time buyers into smaller co-ops or condos than they originally had in mind. Space has become a precious commodity. The goal is to successfully live in less space while keeping all the conveniences of modern life. The trick is in cramming it all into less space without feeling cramped or claustrophobic.-
Finding a thoughtful gift for someone living in small quarters that doesn’t just add clutter can be a real challenge. Whatever you do, don’t be tempted to give a decorative trinket or tchotchke. When you live in a small space, you need to embrace minimalism. Even clothes can be dicey because closet space is usually in short supply. To find a thoughtful gift, you have to think a bit outside the box.
But DownsizingUp has you covered. Here are some ideas that could make a real difference in the home life of your space-challenged family and friends.
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Wireless Bluetooth speakers…
Thankfully, the days of the massive stereo component system are gone for good. Yes, I’m old enough to remember them! A high-quality system could easily eat up half of a studio apartment before you added a stick of furniture. Today, things are different. What could be nicer for someone living in a small space, then a great wireless sound system? Best of all, even at the high-end, they don’t take up much space.
Anker Soundcore Bluetooth Speaker…
This Anker Soundcore Bluetooth Speaker packs a lot of punch at a very reasonable price. Reviewers speak of how it can fill a room with very balanced sound. Another positive mentioned several times was the superior customer service. A couple of comments did indicate that the bass was a bit wanting. But for the most, part the reviews are glowing. For someone living in a small house or apartment, this would be a welcome but compact addition. Shown here in red, this speaker also comes in a bright blue and classic black.
Bose SoundLink Color Bluetooth Speaker II…
At a higher price-point is the Bose SoundLink Color Bluetooth Speaker. Comments abound about the rich sound and fine quality. For those who are very sensitive to sound quality, Bose holds the gold standard. Yours truly majored in music as an undergraduate and can attest that Bose delivers in spades on sound quality. r.
This model has the added benefit of being water resistant which is great if you are taking it outside or near the water. One downside is that this particular speaker holds an 8-hour charge. That’s considerably less than the 24 hours the Anker speakers offer.
The main complaint appears to be that after a while some users seem to have trouble charging the speaker. Bose has been responsive to this problem and has issued replacements. But in light of this issue, getting the extended warranty might be a good idea.
The speaker is shown in soft black. It also comes in polar white, aqua blue and coral red.
Kindle Paperwhite E-Reader…
One of the best possible gifts for people who live in small apartments or homes is an E-reader. Small living space aside, the Kindle Paperwhite E-reader is a terrific gift for any book lover in your life. Indeed, if books are a big part of your life, there is never going to be enough space for all the books you want unless you live in a mansion. But there is always room for an E-reader which can replace even the largest of personal libraries.
Being a bookworm from way back, I can attest to the advantages of devices over physical books. Although I love holding a book in my hands, space and cost are both issues with me. I have to admit that a Kindle Paperwhite E-reader has been on my own personal wishlist for a while. As much as I love my iPad for many things, the glare from it makes it a poor reader if you are outdoors on a sunny day. The weight is also another issue. If you protect your iPad with something like an Otterbox, it can easily do double duty as a lethal weapon. The device is protected, but the added thickness and weight make for an awkward reading experience.
Customers love the Kindle E-reader because it is easy to hold and easy to read, much like a small book. It’s very convenient when traveling or merely spending a day on the beach. Better still, you can store thousands of volumes and read to their heart’s content. And I mean that literally. Further, the charge on a Kindle is measured in weeks, not hours or days. In addition, this Kindle has a 300 dpi resolution, creating clear, high-resolution text. The adjustable backlighting creates a customized experience for each reader. All in all, it’s a terrific gift for just about anyone.
Desk set organizers…
Another challenge for people who live in smaller spaces is that private space often becomes public space when guests come over. For example, the home office is often located in a portion of the main living space. In a world where people are “on the job” almost 24/7, the home office area is generally an active area that is in constant use. Keeping these areas clean, tidy and looking organized and uncluttered is a big challenge.
One thing that can help is a nice desk organizer set. Having the typical hodge-podge of desk accessories that most people make do with only adds to a feeling of disorder.
The Sorbus desk organizer set…
The Sorbus desk set is a simple, classic set with clean lines that will go with just about any living arrangement. The gold tone pictured here adds a touch of sophistication and style. The price is nice and it can instantly transform the appearance of a home office area, making it neat, tidy and modern. This desk set organizes without dominating the desk area. It keeps a low profile. The five pieces include a pencil holder, letter sorter, letter tray, hanging file organizer, and sticky note holder. I show it in rose gold, but this desk set also comes in black, white, and silver.
Tropical Desk Organizer Set…
The tropical desk organizer set is a complete contrast to the Sorbus organizing set. This desk set doesn’t sit elegantly in the background, it is designed to define the area it’s in and give it a punch of color and style. This set contains four basics: it has an organizer with sliding drawers, a pencil holder, a vertical stationary box that can hold magazines or other documents, and a standard stationary box to hold odds, ends and stationary.
The pink pinstripes with the tropical motif certainly make a statement. This is a great gift for the right person.
Of course, you have to consider the personal taste of the person you are buying this for. But a simple desk set organizer can make an excellent gift for someone living and working in a small space.
Small kitchens produce big issues. Using decorative canisters like this Bellemain airtight canister set can help solve some of these problems. Rather than having the original boxes of your staple supplies shoved into every corner, this set of canisters offers order along with a unified look. They have the additional benefit of being airtight and are just as easy to access as the original box. I like these particular canisters because they are transparent and stylish at the same time. The transparent acrylic makes it easy to see what’s inside, which is a key convenience. There are four canisters to this set in various sizes. The largest canister holds 65 oz and the smallest holds 22 oz.
These are great gifts even for those who do not cook or bake. Everyone needs a good place to put their staples and these canisters offer order along with style.
Nested mixing bowls and measuring cup set…
For people who love to cook and bake, a small kitchen can be a real challenge. How do you get all the stuff you really need to fit? One way is to take advantage of clever designs. This nesting bowl and measuring cup combo set by Joseph Joseph is a terrific example making the most use of available space. It also makes a very thoughtful gift for the cook in your life.
This 9-piece set contains 2 mixing bowls including one with measurements, a colander, a sieve, 4 measuring cups, and a tablespoon measuring spoon. The set is made from BPA-free polypropylene and has a wide non-slip base.
Coffee makers for small spaces…
So many of us love nothing better than a great cup of coffee. This is particularly true in the early morning as we are racing out to face the day. So many people think that great cup requires a great big space-hogging machine. In fact, I know many apartment dwellers in the city rely on their local coffee shop for their morning Joe for just that reason. But good coffee doesn’t necessarily require a big coffee maker. And one of these small low-tech brewers might make the perfect gift for a coffee lover living in cramped quarters…
Large French Press Coffee Maker…
This French coffee press by Coffee Gator makes up to 34 ounces of coffee. Even with that kind of capacity, it takes surprisingly little counter space. I was going to promote the French press that I have been using. However, in preparation for this post, I read multiple reviews about glass carafes shattering quickly. As a result, I decided that a stainless steel version would be a wise modification. This stainless steel model got excellent reviews for making great coffee and for keeping the water nice and hot during the brewing process.
For those who haven’t used a French press, it is a very traditional way to make a rich brew. The coffee is immersed in boiling hot water and, after a few minutes, the grounds are pressed down to the bottom of the pot. It does not take long. Once you pour the boiling water into the pot with the coffee, it only takes 5 minutes. It’s an entirely low-tech, while being both elegant and fast.
The coffee press shown here is in graphite, but it is also available in orange, green and pink.
AeroPress Coffee Maker…
This coffee maker from AeroPress is somewhat similar to a traditional coffee press. Like the coffee press above, it uses immersion and gentle pressure to create a nice rich brew. It’s similar but not identical to a coffee press. It brews the coffee at a lower temperature in a relatively short period of time reducing the acid level found in more conventional brewers. It works for American style coffee, as well as shots that are suitable for espressos and lattes. This is very compact and has the advantage of traveling well. It works for single cups. So, if this gift is for someone who entertains a lot, that needs to be a consideration.
All in all, a compact coffee maker can make a great gift for the coffee connoisseur in your life. You certainly don’t have to break the bank to get a great compact coffee maker. One thing I did discover is that as much as I love technology, low tech is the way to go when space is tight.
I hope you found some interesting ideas for finding gifts for people living in small apartments or houses. Although I really love all the products I listed here, they can also be used as a jumping off point to get you started in the right direction. And please remember, you don’t have to spend a lot of money. Great gifts come in all sizes and price points. So, happy Cyber Monday to everyone and of course, Happy Holidays!
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