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The 211 Apartments in Las Vegas: Tiny apartment life

When I moved to Las Vegas I started out living downtown in the 211 apartments building. This space consists of micro-apartments — basically tiny homes made up of around 217 square feet each.

I absolutely loved living small (I want a tiny house one day). It helps me remember to only buy things I need and to spend my money on experiences instead. It helped that I’d previously lived in a 144 square foot travel trailer in Fort Lauderdale for 13 months. The simple life appeals to me — just buying the groceries that can fit in a mini-fridge, staying out of Home Goods because I just don’t have room for the furniture and decor items, and spending more time sitting outside relaxing with a glass of wine.

Patio with bike and picnic tabel and flowers next to a trailerMy travel trailer parked in Fort Lauderdale. This was such a great living experience! I downsized from a house to this and never missed it.

I moved to Las Vegas in my little yellow Yaris so I didn’t have very much to begin with so the 211 apartments were an easy choice.

Little yellow car parked next to mountainWhatever could fit in this baby was all I brought to Vegas.

The move into the 211 apartments was pretty simple. I lived on the 4th floor so it sucked tripping up and down the elevator solo but I didn’t know anyone in Vegas yet. I unpacked Soco (my kitty) first — she was a helluva trooper, going 3 days cross country with me, our longest road trip yet. (Little did she know our next trip would be abroad … ) She took off under the bed while I traipsed back and forth getting everything else settled in.

Apartment kitchen and floor with unpacked bagsUnpacking in our new home in the 211 aparments has begun. (Yes, I still move by dumping most things in trash bags college style.)

Apartment countertop and table wtih unpacked itemsThe essentials … (also, you can see the original kitchen table and chairs my unit had before I switched them out for a desk).

The beautify of micro-living in spaces like the 211 apartments is that things like unpacking, cleaning, or straightening up only take a little bit of time. You simply have the little bit of space you have and you make do with it.

The 211 apartments offer furnished and unfurnished unite. I chose furnished so I wouldn’t have to deal with buying a bed and things like that right away. I wanted to actually live in the 211 apartments and check out the surrounding area before committing to living there for a year (and I’m glad I did!) I signed up for a 3-month lease which started on December 4th.

At the 211 apartments, they don’t do legit 3-month leases so take note of that. By that I mean if you move in on the 4th you don’t move out on the 4th. Instead, my 3 months counted as January, February, and March with December being prorated. Weird but whatever.

After unpacking and a quick trip to Ikea and the grocery store for a few additional items, Soco and I were all moved into the 211 apartments — tiny living, here we come again!

A 211 apartments overview

My unit consisted of 217 square feet.

A furnished unit comes with:

  • Twin or queen bed
    • Mine was a twin which I liked because it took up less space.
  • Bedding and pillow
  • Dresser
  • TV
  • Desk and chair OR kitchen table and chairs
    • I initially had a kitchen table and chairs but asked them to switch it out for a desk and desk chair. This fit better with my needs and since there was an empty furnished unit they were happy to oblige.
  • French press
    • Which I found odd as there was no grinder included and I don’t know how to use it anyway. I found out from a friend later I was supposed to buy pre-ground stuff but whatever. I thought a regular coffee pot would make more sense but then I’m not a connoisseur.
  • Cutting boards
  • Spatula and spoons, wine bottle opener, silverware, plates, cups, bowls, pots, pans
  • A toilet tissue rack stand
  • A plunger (more on that later)

The apartments also come standard with

  • A hand towel rack by the kitchen sink
  • A towel rack over the toilet in the bathroom
  • AC unit and remote
  • Shower curtain and liner
  • Garbage disposal

I brought

  • My Keurig
  • My own bedding

I bought

  • A dish drain
  • Ikea chair
  • Oven mitt
  • A bamboo plant
    • Which I stuck in a beer bottle sans vase
    • One of the few plants I can keep alive
  • Christmas lights
    • To string up for ambiance
  • Wrapping paper — to line the dresser drawers
  • 2 Ikea rugs
    • Only $12 bucks each. They were a great purchase.
  • Ikea stool
    • I used as a nightstand next to the bed for setting my contacts/glasses/phone on at night
    • I’d also use it as a TV tray for my drink while relaxing and watching TV
  • A plunger (more on that later )

I decorated with

  • My new Nevada license plate
  • Christmas cards
  • Christmas lights
  • Map of the world
  • Map of Las Vegas

My 211 apartment: How I lived in the space

Decorating

I tend to stay on the move so I don’t like to spend a lot of money on decor. I’ve had to come up with some creative ways to get something on the walls because I do love ambiance.

First, I had to register my car and get new plates. In Nevada, they require front and back plates if your car comes with the space for the front plate. In Florida, you only need one plate, the back plate and since I bought my car there it doesn’t have the front plate capacity. I hung the extra plate up on the wall as something simple and decorative (and to memorize my new plate # since I’d had the Florida one for about 8 years).

Since I moved to Vegas in December, lots of friends and family sent Christmas cards so I hung those up on the walls for the first month.

I bought a $3 string of white Christmas lights and hung them from command hooks. These were nice in the evenings when I was still up reading or watching TV but didn’t want the brighter overhead lights standard in all the 211 apartment units.

I printed out two maps, a world map and a map of Las Vegas. The Vegas map I hung over my desk to help me get oriented and learn some of the streets, sides of town, etc. It actually helped a ton and was super easy.

I hung the map of the world on the opposite wall. It came out really nicely and I’ll probably do the same every place I live. Then, when I move, it’s easily recyclable. If you’re interested in doing the same check out the next section.

How to print a large map across multiple pages

Go to Google and find your image.

To get mine I did an image search for “world map” then clicked on Settings > Advanced search > Image size > Larger than 4 MP.

Download and save the image. Then open a blank Excel workbook. Click into one cell and choose Insert Photo > Image from file.

Make sure scaling is turned off. Click into the Page setup and set the margins to 0. The printer will automatically leave a bit of whitespace.

Keep the pages in order as they print out for easy hanging. Cut off the edges and use double stick tape to put the map up on the wall.

My tiny unit in the 211 apartments building

Spall apartment space with chair, bed, cat on bed, rug, desk and computerThe main living space. So apparently I forgot to snap photos of the bathroom but it is off to the left in this photo. I’m standing next to the shower. The toilet is further back right as you come in the door.

countertop with coffee maker paper towels and dish drain with books and stored items in cabinetsThe kitchen/bookshelf/morning makeup mirror/ toilet paper storage. Everything does double duty.

small closet with clothes and shoesThe closet. I stored a few items in the dresser provided but this is the majority of what I own.

Open minifridge with a few items insideThe mini fridge. 

large map of the world hanging on wall behind a TVMy DIY world map right before moving out. After a while the edges came up and I just never got around to taping them better. When originally hung it looked amazing!

view from window overlooking cityI really miss my view out over to the mountains. There were some spectacular sunrises here.

Awesome things about micro-living (211 apartments or anywhere)

Entertaining

You can easily and unashamedly say no to people who want to come visit but you’re not “that close.” It’s a very small space and if you’re not close friends with someone you really wouldn’t want them staying. That being said I easily had friends I am close with come and stay. I put a twin air mattress down in the “hall space,” (where the garbage bags are in the unpacking image).

With a guy friend came and stayed, we just took turns with showering and such in the morning — one of us going down to the courtyard or common room while the other got ready in the morning. I’d also known him since we were kids so it wasn’t weird. With any other guy, it would’ve been annoying.

When my college roomie came to visit it was no big deal obviously as we’d roomed together for years in college and abroad.

There were two common bathrooms downstairs in the hall for the, ah, obvious times when you’d want more privacy to do your business.

Convenience

There was many a night I stayed up until 1 or 2 a.m. writing or working and I can’t lie, I got really used to having the fridge a foot from my desk.

Because of the size of the fridge, I got in the habit of keeping beer on the shelf and only putting them in the fridge when I was ready to drink one. That made me slow down and think about whether I wanted another one or not and helped me to pace myself vs. get stuck in the zone. I’d put a beer in the freezer, keep working for a half-hour or so and then pop the top.

collage - cat sitting by computer, cat sleeping on desk by computerMy trusty work companion … how quickly she gets bored.

In addition to the “office beer fridge,” I liked the fact that even a deep clean of the apartment could only take an hour at most. There was a place for everything and everything in its place so it was such a piece of cake.

The small size came in handy in other situations too. Now that I’m living in a bigger space I’ll sometimes do laundry and forget to put the clean towels in the bathroom. Then I’ll step out of the shower sopping wet and traipse around dripping and looking for a towel. In the tiny unit at the 211 apartments, I could just poke my head out of the shower and reach virtually anything in the apartment in two steps.

Location*

From my research into other cities, as well as my own experience, micro-apartments are typically located in very walkable areas like downtown.

My building was located just 1 block from Fremont street with my local Walgreens being a 5-minute walk away inside the Fremont Street Experience. This made for absolutely unparalleled nights out entertaining when friends came to visit.

Being Vegas, there were plenty of places open 24 hours. This meant I could pop out and grab a bite to eat no matter what time of day or night.

*It’s important to note that just like any other downtown there are numerous homeless people around. I was very uncomfortable when I first moved into the area as I’ve only lived right in a downtown area in Europe where things are a bit different. Over time I became more used to it but it’s definitely something to consider. It is Vegas after all where anything goes, drugs are prevalent, and almost everyone acts odder than usual. I’ve seen people screamed at, chased, and more, and have even had a few hostile run ins myself. I did begin carrying legal means to protect myself and felt much more comfortable after that.

More information specific to the 211 Apartments

The Common Spaces

Because the units are so small the building comes with a number of common areas. The courtyard in the back, two full-sized kitchens and dining rooms, a media room, and a gym.

I rarely used these simply because of the number of other people using them. I used the microwave for popcorn a few nights but it could be messy as a lot of people don’t clean up after themselves. I might put some items in a shared fridge in a hostel but I find that people in hostels are sometimes more considerate than apartment dwellers so I never even considered it here.

There was laundry on each floor and laundry is included in rent. I heard of several people having issues with others dumping their laundry out or stealing things but I feel like this happens in a lot of communities. I never experienced any issues.

Cable/Internet

Cable and internet were also included in rent BUT …

So this was weird. Cable and internet are included but you have to go down to Cox and pick up a modem and box and set up your own account. As anyone who’s ever done anything with a cable company can surmise, I’d rather do just about anything but go wait in a cable company store. (There is always someone throwing a fit and bitching to the manager and the lines are ungodly long even for the simplest of things.)

What’s more, it wasn’t quite free but instead a random $3.14 per month. Of course, that’s nothing to sneeze at but the hassle was just weird. I had to set up autopay for this random bill that I almost forgot the first month and no one could really explain to me why it cost anything. If I had it to do over again, I would forego the hassle and just use my phone’s hotspot. (I don’t watch TV so that wouldn’t have been an issue.)

When I called to cancel because I was moving out, the girl tried every tactic in the book to get me to move my service instead of canceling even though I didn’t need it. She said they couldn’t close the account without a new address — and I refused saying they’d just use it to send me more junk mail. She then tried to hold me, hostage, with a $0.33 credit on my account that they need to mail me and I politely suggested they keep it and donate it. Can you imagine? Depositing a $0.33 check?! Ugh. There’s a good chance I’ll never have cable again.

Parking

There was plenty of street parking around the 211 apartment building and you could purchase a designated parking spot in front of or behind the building for $50/month or arrange your own parking through the City of Las Vegas Parking Authority. I went the latter route and purchased a pass at the Downtowner parking lot (a half block away) for $30/month. It’s a damn good price for being right off of Fremont — in fact, if you visit downtown regularly it’s worth considering purchasing a downtown parking pass.

The Noise

I rarely heard my neighbors on either side however the door was thinner than the walls. I could hear people’s steps in the hall but mainly just when they were directly in front of the door. One of my neighbors worked until around 2 a.m. so if I was still up working at night I could sometimes hear her get home and shut the door or open a cabinet. This was rare though.

It was much more common to hear the shower running in an adjoining apartment. The pipes weren’t insulated very well so it was quite loud. With these units being so small and typically one person living it each it wasn’t a big deal to hear this once a day.

The units in the 211 apartments are fitted within wall/window AC units so those contribute to the noise also. I preferred the constant hum of the machine to outside noise so would often leave mine running on fan. At night, no matter the temperature, I put the unit on to drown out people in the courtyard.

The windows in this building are beyond thin! I lived on the 4th floor and could hear conversations from people in the courtyard below plain as day. There’s a fire pit in the backyard and typically a group of people sitting around it drinking and talking (and sometimes fighting) each night. While you’ll have dumbassery in any apartment complex, I didn’t expect normal volume conversations to come through so clearly.

There were a few other distractions from the maintenance schedule at the 211 aparments. Vacuuming was done as early as 8:30 some mornings in the halls. Not terrible, but not ideal.

The lawn maintenance comes every Monday bright and early between 7:30 and 7:45 a.m. The leaf blowers carry loud and clear through the thin windows. The AC drowns out some but hell, it’s a real pain for those of us who aren’t early birds.

The Kitchen

The individual 211 apartment units have a 2 burner stove and I decided against getting a toaster oven, instead, heating most items up in a pot or pan.

The mini-fridge was plenty of food space for one person. It kept me from buying too many groceries and letting them go to waste.

The Bathroom

I was surprised that they put a full-sized shower and tub in a unit this small but I have to say I appreciated it. At 5’ 8” I’m not the tallest but it can get tricky to wash your hair in one of those 3 x 3 showers, elbows going everywhere in a contortionist struggle. Luckily, I didn’t have to worry about that here.

The water was plenty hot — in fact, I had trouble figuring out how to lessen the heat. Just like in any semi-older building it sometimes takes some experience to find the sweet spot on the faucet. Once I did, it was all good. The hot water supply would definitely lessen if the neighbor had just taken a shower but that only happened once or twice in the 4 months I lived there.

The toilet. Oh, the fricking toilet in this place. So about 2 months in I saw a small roach, freaked out, sprayed it, freaked out some more, snatched it up in a paper towel, and flushed it down the toilet. (All with my cat watching me like, “What the … ?”)

Anyway. It was one of those half paper towel rectangles, not even a full square and it clogged the toilet. The plunger which was included with the apartment didn’t work so after a few tries I had to put in a work order for maintenance to come fix it.

Yep, my first work order in the new place was a clogged toilet. (That’s not embarrassing at all.) And you can’t even tell the real story because no one would believe it. Ugh.

The apartment is so small there’s nowhere else to be, so I just sat at my desk working away pretending it wasn’t awkward while the maintenance guy plunged my toilet. But life goes on.

Only the toilet kept clogging. See it wasn’t the paper towel so much as just really crappy plumbing. I went to Walmart and bought one of those supercharged jumbo plungers because I didn’t want to keep calling maintenance three times a week.

About a month later they went around to all of the apartments and replaced the toilet lines. I don’t know what that does but the problem got worse. Every flush I’d just assume a clog. It was pretty ridiculous but at least predictable.

Once I got pretty damn good at unclogging a toilet, it started running. And running, and running. I fixed it. It happened again. I fixed it again. It happened again. The flapper chain kept falling off. I finally got a pair of pliers and bent the chain wire around the flush rod so many times I don’t think the next tenants will have any issues for years to come!

The Fire Alarms

I noticed before I moved in that some of the online reviews completely dogged the 211 apartments about the fire alarms, complaining that they went off constantly. For the first two and a half months I lived there, none went off. Then they started up, culminating in two in the same week just a short while before I moved out — one at 11:45 p.m. when I had to be up the next morning at 4:30 a.m.

Their ear-splitting volume could wake the dead — the enormous screeching bouncing off the walls in the tiny apartments like a Hulk-sized monster dragging his fingernails on a chalkboard. It was beyond unbearable. (Luckily the night it went off at 11:45 I was still awake because if that thing went off in the middle of the night I think I’d die of fright!)

As a pet owner, not only did I have to get myself out and down 4 flights of stairs but I needed to take my cat with me also — better safe than sorry, even though it was never a real fire in any of the instances.

I couldn’t leave her there with the god-awful screeching. If it hurt my ears, I can’t even imagine what it was doing to her. Someone in the building joked that the fire alarms went off so often that we should officially dub the occasion, “Your weekly ‘meet your neighbor night.’”

We’d all straggle down to the courtyard and wait for the firemen to give the all clear —  us cat owners sheltering our scared cats from the rowdy dogs that had also just been chased from their homes.

The main issue seemed to be that when someone sets off the smoke detector in their single apartment, they’d open their front door to let the unit air out and that would set off the alarm across the entire 211 apartments. Unfortunately, that didn’t seem to be common knowledge. A few people posted about it in the Facebook group but it didn’t seem to do the trick.

The Bugs

So this is the absolute one main thing that drove me to move elsewhere. Cockroaches. I grew up in the midwest then lived in Florida for around 9 years. Even down there in the hot humid climate I only ever saw one cockroach in the house. In 9 years!

I know they exist in Las Vegas but they don’t need to exist in my place. I have a cat but I’m super careful to clean up after her and not let the area around her food get messy. I don’t leave dishes in the sink with scraps of food on them and I vacuum and Swiffer pretty regularly. I’m not a clean freak by nature, but I despise bugs.

The first few months here were great but then one night a small one showed up. Then, the next day another one. And the next day another one. Those a-holes started not even waiting for the lights to go out! I’d be sitting at my desk working away at 11:30 p.m. and one would be trucking down the wall from the ceiling. The nerve!

I couldn’t tell where the bastards were coming from but since they were always on the wall by my desk I assumed it was an issue with my neighbor on that wall OR the neighbor below me. (There were some comments in the Facebook group about there being issues with a 3rd-floor tenant.)

The 211 apartments do offer complimentary pest control spraying and I thought I was in luck as they were coming out the very next day.

I moved all my stuff away from baseboards toward the center of the room and waited expectantly. The pest control guy showed up bright and early and indiscriminately splashed whatever chemical he had in his container in a couple of spots at a baseboard and was gone. I was not impressed. Furthermore, the bugs continued.

According to the apartment complex, they can’t spray too often because the bugs would then become immune and yadda yadda. Still, I wasn’t about to live with these nasty bastards appearing every night so two days later I was off to Walmart to pick up Raid spray to insta-kill them as well as Raid Max bug barrier — recommended by my sister who was still living in college housing and a certified expert on avoiding bugs and germs of any kind.

Raid max bug barrier sprayThis stuff works!

I once again moved all my stuff to the center of the room and doused the place! I put down a solid barrier of spray all along every baseboard — even shooting it into the cracks in some areas where the baseboard didn’t meet the floor. I added an extra dose around the front door which didn’t seal at all, and the window and air conditioner — figuring that they were obvious entry points as well.

The bugs continued for two more days and then stopped. I only ever saw one more, lying on the floor dead but by then I’d already tendered my notice of move out. I cannot tolerate roaches. I didn’t want to get complacent so I continued to put down the Raid Max bug barrier spray every 30 days until I left the place.

I’d highly suggest starting with that from day 1 if you live here. The issue with bugs was quite clearly a resident issue and not the fault of the 211 apartments. I talked to several residents who said they have lived there for years and never had any issues. The units are so tiny that if you have dirty neighbors you’re bound to end up with their bugs.

The 211 apartments overall

I enjoyed my time at the 211 and will definitely be looking for opportunities to live in a micro-apartment again. I’d consider moving back to downtown also. I moved out because of 1) the issue with bugs and 2) I’ve got quite a bit of travel coming up so I decided to move in with someone to share rent. I now have a bigger space, my rent is cut in half, and I have a built-in cat sitter while I’m off traveling.

Do you have more questions about micro-living or specifically living at the 211 apartments? Reach out on Insta @liveworktravelig and I’ll be happy to answer them!

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