Closet space in the US and Europe

There’s no doubt that many things are different between the US and Europe. In addition to different languages (except for a few countries of course), different food and different customs, the spaces are quite different. Things are just bigger in the US. In Europe the buildings are older and there’s just less space in general. Plus I’ve noticed that people in Spain like to live near each other more. You see that everyone not only lives right in the cities, but also they choose to live in the center of towns and villages too. That, however, is a topic for another blog post.

I recently came across a company called MakeSpace and it prompted me to think about about my dream closet. After all, I really do love my closet space that I lucked into here in Spain. Is it my dream space? No. But we will get into that later. Also for those who are not aware, MakeSpace is a self-storage service that moves your unwanted stuff and stores it for you. They have several self-storage locations throughout the United States.

Le Tote

Before Spain

I remember the days before my big move to Spain. As we all know, this dress was sort of founded on the idea that I own over 60 dresses. Well, I currently don’t have 60 dresses with me in my closet (ask me in May, though … and I might have a different answer).

In the days leading up to the move, I made several piles. One pile was the “cannot live without,” one was “maybe” and the other was “definitely leave at home.” My dad has lots of storage space at the small business he owns (thank God), so boxing up a few things was no problem. I’d say my floors looked a little bit like this …

closet space US and Europe
image courtesy of Makespace

The funniest thing was that nothing from the maybe pile even fit in my suitcases. There were some almost tearful goodbyes. However at the end of the day, I’d always trade a few dresses to go live in Europe. I knew the experience would be invaluable.

Arrival in Spain

Upon arrival, I had to find an apartment. This, my friends, was the hardest thing I’ve done here in Spain. Not even speaking Spanish has been this hard. Everything that has happened since finding my piso has fallen into my lap. Isn’t life funny like that? It look me a week to find an apartment and almost no effort to fill my schedule with private English lessons, which doubles my monthly income. What? And looking back, I’ll take it! Who doesn’t love doubling their income?

When searching for an apartment, you have to make compromises. The fact is that in September in a European city with a university, everyone is looking at the same thing. It can feel competitive. These things were musts:

  • Spanish roommates
  • Convenient location
  • Overall nice place

These things would have been nice but didn’t work out:

  • Full size bed (yes I’m 29 and sleep in a twin-sized bed)
  • Bigger room
  • Not facing street (although my street is quiet)
  • A bit more, smack dab in center

At the end of the day, you win some and loose some. I’m in a nice piso with nice people. I’m close to several grocery stores, one of my bank branches, lots of restaurants and several bus lines. Life is good.

My space

closet space US and Europe

closet space US and Europe

As you can see, my space is not huge. However it’s enough for me. Why do we need tons of space or stuff? Have any of you read about those tiny houses or watched the documentary Tiny? I find all of that so interesting!

The closet space in my room, though, is bomb diggity. I feel like I’ll always be able to make room in it. Here’s a little look into my amazingly big closet space:

closet space US and Europe

The organization could be worse and it could be better. When I first arrived, I had to buy all sorts of things. I had to buy hangers of course plus that bin which holds kids games (all the classes I teach) and those plastic drawers. My duffle bag is a makeshift hamper.

closet space US and Europe

A few more looks …

closet space US and Europe closet space US and Europe closet space US and Europe

My dream closet

Obviously my closet space is not perfect. Let’s be honest, though … who’s is? However a girl can dream of what she would ideally like. Here are a few things I think wold be nice.

  • Walk in space
  • A mirror for all angles
  • a shoe organizer
  • a jewelry organizer
  • A mini bar

Closet space US and Europe

I will say that my closet here in Spain really takes advantage of the space. I’ve noticed that built in storage in apartment spaces over here in common. In Europe, more people live in apartments than in the US. When you have a small space, you have to make the best use of it. Europeans do it well.

Do you need to de-clutter? MakeSpace made this awesome graphic to help you out!

closet space US and Europe

If you’re in the United States in one of their locations, give MakeSpace a try. I’m sure you won’t regret the lack of clutter in your life.

What’s in your dream closet space?

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  1. How nice is that! A little peek in your room! It is small, but most of the time youre living out of you room. Can you send me your contribution for the Style by…. series one of these days?

    1. Yes it is small but you are right … I spend a lot of time out and about. And yes Nancy, I was thinking about that collaboration the other day. I will work on it soon!

  2. Great tips! I’m always amazed at how human create jobs out of everyday need. There is always problem to solve and creating solutions to any problems can create fortune.

    1. Hahaha very true! There’s always something someone else doesn’t want to do and is willing to pay another to do for them.

  3. Great ideas! Yeah, everything in Europe is much smaller I found. We were in England for 3 years and I didn’t even know where to put all my stuff.

    1. Yeah they don’t have lots of space in general in Europe. But you figure it out and manage.

  4. I would like to think I would be ok with getting rid of my stuff. Especially if I had the privilege of moving to Europe. We do have a huge abundance of stuff. I enjoy watching that tiny house show but I don’t believe that people especially ones with families can squeeze in there.

    1. Yeah for me the tradeoff has been awesome! And I’m sure there is a family somewhere living in a tiny house but you’re probably right that it’s not common.

  5. We just moved from a two-bedroom apartment in California to a small (MUCH smaller) apartment in Tennessee. We had to get rid of a lot of things and be really creative with our storage space. It’s crazy how much you can fit if you find the nooks and crannies!

  6. Wow, I litterally just got into a two bedroom apartment for the first time this year. I have been in a dorm for the past 7 years because of undergrad and grad school. So, I know what you mean about the space part. I think its cool that they have a service that helps with unwanted things!

    Isaly Holland

  7. As a British, watching house hunters and the huge lists of things North Americans want in their new apartment on the budget they have is mildly amusing. The apartments and flats are expensive and space is a real premium. You’ve got some great tips here for utilizing space better in a small flat.

    1. Yeah we Americans have a stereotype for needing lots of crap. I personally hate that and am loving having less things over here.

  8. I always wanted to move to Spain! I hope one day I get the chance to do that. I’m loving your little space.ive been doing a lot of decluttering these past few months.

    1. Awesome! Well if you have interest in teaching English, it’s rather easy. The program I’m a part of takes like 4,000 people every year. Let me know if you want more info!

    1. Oh for sure! Downsizing was worth every bit … I get to travel and experience a new culture!

    1. Yes I mean for me when it came down to it, my desire to travel and experience another culture outweighed my need for things.

  9. I love having regular clearouts for my closet and tend to follow the rule that if I buy something, donate something and when having a big clearout, I ask myself if I’ve worn it in the past year, and unless for special occasion pieces, I donate it!

  10. I have to take a good look at Makespace. I know there are stuff in the house that we no longer need or use and it would be nice if we could either do a garage sale, donate to charity and move some items into storage. Thanks for letting me know about this. Oh, BTW. Congratulations on your move and I wish you all the best in your new home in an exciting country.

  11. You wardrobe is so much more organised than mine! Good luck in your new place. I’ve got so much stuff that I don’t use or wear, should start sorting it out soon!

  12. Like you said you sometimes sacrifice to make way for better opportunities. When I first came to London I lived in a tiny box room and now I live in a much better area and a bigger room!

    1. Yeah for sure. I will say, though, that everything else about my apartment is amazing. It is in a great area of Granada with all I need (grocery stores, restaurants and bus lines … also the main pick up/drop of for BlaBla Car). And we have central heating which not everyone has in Spain. So I would stay in this apartment for a while, honestly.

    1. Yeah I mean I was like that in the US. Also … talk to me in six months. My closet will likely look a lot fuller!

  13. I guess there’s nver enough storage space! In my current home I made a walk-in-closet but even though I haven’t done any serious shopping for 3 years now it seems to be too small. A friend of mine just moved in to a completely nre apartment and it’s lacking storage space! There’s only one very small built-in closet. That’s typical European style!

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