Alex Verhaeg moved into a 95-square-foot East Village flat in 2020. He made a monthly payment of $1,000. “People may call this a room or a closet, but it’s home to me,” Verhaeg told CNBC Make It.
The 23-year-old barber, bike messenger, and content creator located the flat on Zillow and only saw images of it before moving in.
“It was a bit of a shock when I saw how small it was,” he admitted, “but I wanted to try living in this area.” “Every area, no matter how large or tiny, may be transformed into a home. You just have to put some effort into it.”
Verhaeg’s mother co-signed his lease, and his moving expenses were $2,000: $1,000 for the first month’s rent and $1,000 for the security deposit. His monthly rent has since risen to $1,100.
Verhaeg’s small apartment does not have a bathroom. Instead, occupants on each floor of the five-story structure share three toilets and two showers.
“Because of the shared amenities, living here might seem like you’re in a college dorm,” he remarked. “You may occasionally see your neighbors dressed in a towel or a bathrobe. You grow accustomed to it.”
Aside from the lack of a bathroom, the apartment also lacks a regular kitchen. Verhaeghe has an electric stove on top of a dresser that he uses to store food. The bathroom area in Verhaeg’s apartment has a sink in the corner with a medicine cabinet. There is also one closet and a little loft room where he keeps his clothes and barber’s tool bag.
“The biggest advantage of living in such a small place is that it forces you to appreciate your possessions and become a minimalist,” he explained. “You can’t just go out and buy random items since you don’t have enough storage space.”
Verhaeghe has resided at the East Village residence for over two years. He told CNBC Make It that when his rent went up by $100 earlier this year, he didn’t mind because he doesn’t pay utilities. He also stated that, while he intends to stay in the 95-square-foot apartment for the third year, it will most likely be his last.