Let’s face it. Apartment rentals in Manhattan are space challenged. Where you used to have lots of room for all your “stuff” — probably in the house you grew up in — now it has to fit into a studio apartment or multi bedroom share. Whether it’s clothes, athletic equipment, or accessories (just how did Carrie Bradshaw fit all those Manolos into her Upper East Side closet?), there’s some tricks to fitting it all in.

Your new best friend: the tape measure

Measure every wall, window, and closet…twice! There is no room for error. Even an inch can make a huge difference in whether an item fits. Also, measure the dimensions of door frames, stairwells and elevators. It’s not going into your rental apartment if you can’t get it in. As you are figuring out your furniture, you’ll want to have a light weight tape measure handy. A word of caution if you are buying off of Craig’s List: measure items yourself before you buy them!

Your new point of view: Smaller scale

Your ambitions may be huge, but your square footage is not. What works in a Florida condo is going to be a huge space hog in your Chelsea one bedroom, so scale down the size of your selections. And don’t worry if you don’t have seating for 12. This is New York City – all those restaurants, bars, and clubs right outside your front door are designed for getting together with groups of friends.

Your new love affair: Multipurpose furniture

We love any kind of furniture that does more than one job.  The ever trusty dining table/desk/buffet server.  Couches and bed frames with storage compartments.  Nesting tables. Anything on rollers. Ikea has made multi functional furniture one of its specialties, and Pinterest is chock full of ideas.

Your new storage location: Walls

Maximize floor space by hanging things from the walls: bicycles, folding chairs, lofting beds. But remember, this is rental apartment, so any holes made in the walls will have to be repaired once you move out. You also need to make sure the walls in your apartment can bear the weight of whatever you are hanging. We recommend you check with your building manager before you start swinging a hammer.

Small spaces can present challenges, but they are also an opportunity for creativity. We’ve been surprised by how much some of our tenants can fit into their rental apartments without compromising livability. It’s just another part of the New York City experience.