When my husband and I got married, moving into an apartment was a fairly easy decision. We didn’t have a ton of stuff, and buying a house while planning a wedding seemed daunting, to say the least. Our little place in Highland Park charmed me from the moment I laid eyes on it. At the same time, I wondered how well it would function if we had a baby down the road. Would everything fit? Would we go crazy in a 1,000 square-foot space with a crying baby? 13 months into marriage, we found out the apartment would soon be put to the test. We were pregnant!
Throughout the pregnancy, we slowly transformed the guest room (that I had barely finished) into a nursery and eagerly anticipated our son’s arrival. He is now seven months old, and I am happy to report that everyone’s sanity remains intact. Living with a baby in an apartment can, in fact, be done! That being said, bringing a baby home to a smaller space definitely requires some strategy. The approaches below have made it possible, and even enjoyable, to live in our tiny home as a family of three.
The baby industry is booming with thousands of “must-have” items for babies and new parents. I’m here to tell you that you don’t need them. This is especially true when storage space is a concern. Think through what items are truly essential, and stick with those. It can also be helpful to only get items that are needed in the early months. As time passes, you can get rid of the things you no longer need to make room for your new purchases.
Giving Stuff Away
Once I reached “nesting” mode, I couldn’t find enough closets to clean out. It turns out that getting rid of stuff is great therapy for pregnant women! More importantly, it frees up valuable space that you will soon fill with swaddles, bottles, and other essentials. Look through closets, cabinets, nooks, and crannies to find anything you can donate or throw out. If you haven’t touched it in a year, then you probably don’t need it.
Getting Creative with Storage
Finding a spot for everything in an apartment can be tricky, especially if you have bigger items. Coming up with alternate storage options allows us to have the bulkier items we need without adding clutter. For example, the stroller stays in the car when not in use, the pack-and-play stays with my in-laws, and some non-baby items we don’t need right now are currently tucked away in my sister’s shed.
We also looked for items that are specifically made for smaller spaces. We found a bathtub seat that hangs on the back of the bathroom door, a small dresser that doubles as a changing table, and a compact hamper that attaches to the dresser. Furniture that doubles as storage is a big win!
Other Things to Consider
While the approaches above have made apartment life very doable, there are a few other factors that I would be remiss not to mention. For starters, we live on the first floor. This makes a HUGE difference. Getting in and out of the house with a baby in tow is much easier when you don’t have stairs to climb. If you’re looking for an apartment and anticipate growing your family in the near future, I’d highly recommend living somewhere that’s easy to access.
Second, we have plenty of great places to stroll outside, including several parks nearby. I love that we can easily and safely take walks to avoid being cooped up indoors.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, we have wonderful, kind, and patient neighbors. When you live in an apartment, a fussy baby crying in the middle of the night doesn’t just affect you; it also affects the people living above and around you. I stressed a lot about the noise level in the early weeks, but when I learned that no one was really bothered by it, my mind was eased. Their understanding has made us feel at home here, even with a baby.
At some point in the future, we will start to look for a house. After all, babies don’t keep, and one day we will have an active toddler on our hands. Until then, we’ll keep making memories in Apartment B, our first family home that I’ll always treasure.