The Heat is On: Surviving in Tiny Spaces through Hot Summer Months


Let’s face it, the southwestern United States is a great place to live when winter snow has much of the country shivering, but thanks to climate change, some of those places that were once pleasant throughout the summer now also have record high temperatures.

Living in a small apartment is not as big of a deal if you can get outside and be active, but when you are cooped up in the heat of summer, it can wear on you. You can suffer from claustrophobia, cabin fever, depression, and even Seasonal Affect Disorder or SAD, something usually associated with winter months in northern climates.

So, what do you do to survive and even thrive in a tiny apartment through the hot summer months? Here are some tips.

Unclutter your Space

Look around your apartment. Are there things you only use when the weather is nice? Do you have seasonal hobbies, and is that equipment taking up valuable room in your apartment or living space? The answer may be to find cheap self-storage, although if you are storing electronics or any other delicate equipment, you will need to get a unit that is climate controlled.

Then ask yourself if there are some things that you are just not using any more. Can you sell them or get rid of them? This might not only free up space, but net you a little bit of money as well.

Just cleaning up and putting things away in their place is another solution as well. If you have a tiny space, neatness is an important part of it feeling bigger.

Whether you store things, sell them, or just put them away, uncluttering your space is an essential part of you feeling better about where you live.

Brighten the Place Up

Often it is cooler to keep the shades drawn and the blinds closed especially if you have large windows. The issue with this is that it makes it feel darker in your home, and this is the biggest contributor to SAD. It’s hard to go out and get natural sunlight because you have to endure the heat.

  • Get More Lamps and Lights: Add lamps and lights to your space, whether they are stand lamps or table lamps. Brighten dark corners and leave lights on when you are home.
  • Replace Bulbs with Full-Spectrum Lights: Full spectrum bulbs imitate sunlight, and can help greatly with SAD. Put these bulbs in lights where you sit often, like where you watch TV or eat dinner.
  • Replace Bulbs with LED Lights: LED bulbs not only last longer, but they are also brighter and make your space feel more open. You can often get a tax credit for replacing these bulbs, and some power companies will even give them to you. Your power bill will be reduced significantly by using them.

Making your place brighter with new lights and even adding color to your décor can help with SAD, and make you feel much better about where your tiny space.

Rearrange the Furniture

This may sound silly, but sometimes some simple rearranging can make things seem more open, and help you survive in your tiny space through the summer heat.

Turning couches to face windows even if there is little light coming through the blinds or curtains still helps. Moving end tables to corners and getting rid of coffee tables that sit in the center of the room can also help with the feeling of space.

Consider adding plants to corners as well. While it may seem counterintuitive to add something to small spaces, plants help clean the air, brighten the room, and make things feel more natural. This can help you survive the heat, and mitigate the symptoms of SAD.

Eat the Right Foods and Exercise

Believe it or not, the right diet and exercise is one of the best and easiest ways to prevent SAD. It is said that exercise is one of the best and least used antidepressants in the world, and it may be true.

When you are depressed, it is easy to sit around and not move, and not eat the right foods since you don’t feel like cooking. However, a little bit of effort as you feel depression and SAD coming on will help them from getting worse, and can even reverse their effects.

Turn Up the AC

Don’t turn the AC down, instead turn it up. Leave the temperature warm so that your body experiences less shock when you transition from inside to outside and vice versa. Also, cold tends to depress your body functions, and making it too cold makes it hard for your body to adapt to the seasonal changes that even the southwest brings.

No matter how you intend to deal with the heat, and whether or not things get depressing for you, making a plan can help you better survive in tiny spaces through the hot summer months.