With the world’s population surging towards eight billion, people living in capital cities are having to get creative.
That’s where my new favourite YouTube channel, Never Too Small, comes in. The series, created by Colin Chee, is a look inside of the homes of people who’ve managed to make micro-apartments look… appealing, somehow. With dreams of owning a house with a backyard in any major city becoming laughable for most, seeing other people’s ingenuity in turning their matchboxes into proper living spaces is both interesting and optimistic.
To be fair, the people featured in Never Too Small are mostly middle-aged professionals working in architecture and design whose life work is taking on projects just like these. (The sheer number of Aesop bottles featured throughout is a reminder that these are definitely not struggling young students.) But with Sydney coming in at number three on the world’s most expensive cities to live in 2020 (followed by Melbourne and LA respectively), it looks like we’re all going to need to take a good hard look at what’s sparking joy, and what you could do without. Hint: it’s definitely not that dumbbell set in the corner you last used in 2016.
With close to a million subscribers, it’s easy to see the appeal of Never Too Small: cleverly designed spaces, sometimes bought in states of disrepair, that have a purpose behind each and every design feature. The most viewed episode, at 8.8 million views, is set in Sydney’s Boneca Apartment block (which translates to ‘doll’s house’ in Portuguese) in Rushcutter’s Bay. The 24 square metre Sydney apartment has a hidden bathroom and a screened sleeping space, designed to maximise the natural light that comes flooding in through the side windows.
One thing’s clear from every episode—these are the kind of places devoid of that one drawer full of knick-knacks you don’t know what to do with, but can’t throw away. Have these people chucked all their life’s belongings into Kennard’s Storage for the purposes of the shoot, or are they really as minimal as their apartments suggest? And, as one YouTube user asks, ’Is this really living or just a new way of storing humans?’ I don’t really know, but I do know that I can’t stop watching Never Too Small, and you won’t be able to either.