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Anyone else living in a small apartment and worried about fitting in baby stuff?

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 

I posted a similar thread in the "Mindful Home" forum but I'm anxious to know--who else lives in a small space? What are you doing to make way for baby stuff? How are you planning to fit everything--storage ideas?

 

People are already handing stuff down to us and I'm starting to panic about where to fit it all. We're trying to sort through and declutter but it's going to be a tight squeeze.

post #2 of 27

We don't live in an apartment but we have a fairly small two bedroom house and this will be our fourth. Maximizing closet space is a big deal. Get organizers, etc. Be realistic about how many clothes you need. Now babies do poop and pee a lot and go through a lot of clothes but don't go overboard. We will have one dresser for baby things, use a desk as a changing table and maximize the space under the crib/bassinet. Decide which equipment is most important. I'll have a travel swing (love them because you can drag them all over the house) and a bassinet for baby equipment at first. I had 3 showers with my first and I had TOO much stuff. It was insane and stressful since we lived in a small apartment then. I've learned that less is more!

post #3 of 27
When DS was born, we were in a one-bedroom (~600 sq ft) apartment and we turned down most of the baby accouterments we were offered due to space limitations. We didn't have a bouncer, exersaucer, swing, cradle/bassinet, crib/cosleeper, dresser, changing table, or stroller at all for the nine months we lived there after he was born. We did use a moses basket for the first few months and a doorway jumper once he was old enough for one, but we borrowed them from a friend, so as soon as we weren't using them regularly, they were returned. The one baby thing we had taking up space was our baby hammock which we loved because it took the place of a crib/bassinet/cradle and a bouncer/swing.

The way we saved space then was having lots of stuff that could be stored away when not in use so our precious space could be used for multiple purposes. Our king-sized mattress rolled up out of the way when we wanted more space in the bedroom. Our dining table folded up so it was only out around meal times and was close to the floor so we didn't have any dining chairs.

Other than having as little baby stuff as possible and getting fold-up or compact versions of what you do have, storage ideas will depend on your space. If your bed is not on the floor, lift it a little higher if possible and then make the best use of the space underneath as possible with organizers/tubs/drawers. I second what Stacey said about making sure any closets or other storage spaces are being used as efficiently as possible.
post #4 of 27

We have a tiny, one-BR apartment, and I definitely worry about this.  We have three closets and a attic crawl space, and they're all pretty full.  We bought one set of shelves from Ikea and put them at the foot of our bed (like a room divider) for baby stuff, and I plan to get a high, long shelf for one wall in our bedroom to go over two doors (nothing else will really fit on that wall because of the doors), but otherwise I'm not sure we can create much more space without looking completely cluttered.  What we're trying to do is avoid big items (stroller, crib, changing table, etc.) as long as we possibly can.  And we're being as pared-down as we can be.  Gifts that don't work for us need to go straight to the "donate" or "return" pile.

post #5 of 27

I thought of a few more things as I was sweeping. Maximize ALL the space you have-not just closets. Think about what furniture you use and how it's placed in the rooms. We were due for a new couch anyway so we bought a sectional that has much more seating than the couch and recliners we were using freeing up extra space in the room. We also moved a small desk from the living room to the bedroom to use as a changing table since it wasn't really being used in the living room. We also have a wide L-shaped hallway that would be wasted space. We use the end of the hallway to store my 3yo's toys and a bookshelf.

 

Also-declutter big time before the baby comes! I've spent the last 3 weeks cleaning out closets and going room by room getting rid of anything that doesn't belong or isn't being used!

post #6 of 27

I lived in a small apartment when I had my firstborn. I had a co sleeper with storage space under it that I used to store the receiving blankets. I hung up his clothes in the closet with mine and cleared out a dresser drawer for the stuff that didn't hang up. I used a bouncy seat that I moved around the house depending on what I was doing and a swing that basically took up a ton of space in the middle of the living room. That's about it. It's funny because that small apartment felt less crowded than the 3,000 sq. foot house I have now because I worked so hard to minimize the amount of stuff I acquired.. It's true that the more space we get, the more we fill it up.

 

ETA: I never bothered with a changing table. Instead, I bought a large basket with a handle and filled it with diapers, wipes, rash creams (I admit, I used sposies blush.gif) and toted that to where ever I changed the baby. I would just put down a blanket on the floor, couch or bed and change him on that. Any gifts that were not needed were immediately returned if possible or I sold them on ebay. Since I really didn't have storage space, I sold any outgrown clothing immediately and that also gave me funds to buy his new clothing. If you have space for a pack n play, some versions come with a changing area on top that has space for wipes/diapers on it.

post #7 of 27

Yes! Declutter! And LOL! Small space is actually a great thing! Get rid of almost everything you don't really need! And I would try to get seating more on the floor because baby will be there and toddlers.. we have a sheep skin and floor pillows, one futon couch and 2 ottomans (the ottomans could go). I don't even feel like we need a dining room table most days.. I perfer a large vinatge sheet (with flowers) on the floor for meal times because it is so much nicer to clean up and everyone lays on us and eats.. walks away.. comes back.. we are relaxed. 

 

Do NOT grab everything people give you! Toys are just kind of weird and useless until 2.. they love spoons and kitchen stuff. The Montessori peeps really know their baby toys.. and ETSY! 

 

You can have a large shelving thing (bookcase or metroshelving) with tons of baby stuff anywhere, just hang a vintage pretty sheet over this. and even your entertainment system (although just have the tv on the wall and Loooooveee it!) My son never looked under the sheets for a long time and then it turned into peek aboo. The bathroom stuff finally all went on the wall very high in the bathroom... DH made a shelf that wrapped around the room over the toilet. But any shelf up high will do. We store our stuff in baskets. Those natural looking baskets are amazing! All over the house.. on the fridge.. for the toys.. just everywhere and it finally just blends nicely. The co-sleeper, ehh. son hated it, he went inbetwen us. and then we got a futon for the floor and daughter was in between us. then I was on the floor tucking in and so forth. The bed was shoved against the wall so no roll offs. 

 

Good Luck! A small place means you will have less looking around for baby..those things for baby in the home are useless! She needs very, very little! A little floor mattress that is very low is the best thing for naps, play, nursing and then a very thick blanket for kitchen work. A carrier.. but the seats, well maybe one chair.. but not really. I would just love that you have less to clean and more time to play! Congratulations! 

 

Oh and check out the movie "babies" or else a book at the bookstore about families in other cultures. But seriously on the shelving with sheet... best thing ever.. and for clothing... well easy now but when they get a wee older, a shelving is best for them to understand dressing them selves with a few out fits for choice, 1 hair brush, 1 hat, 1 shoes..etc and the rest can go anywhere close by!

 

I live in 1100 and there are no walls and big empty spaces to play :) We have a front porch room that is closed up.. literally all of personal stuff (art, clothes, toys) is in there and some in the living room and kitchen.

 

How many sq ft? 

post #8 of 27

Boobs, diapers and a car seat (if you drive or ride).   Those are the needs.  The rest is just fluff.  Stick with 7-10 outfits and the basics.  Babies don't know if you have everything or nothing.  People may mean well but if it stresses you out tell them thanks but we're full in our space!

post #9 of 27


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by greenacresmama View Post

Good Luck! A small place means you will have less looking around for baby..those things for baby in the home are useless! She needs very, very little! A little floor mattress that is very low is the best thing for naps, play, nursing and then a very thick blanket for kitchen work. A carrier.. but the seats, well maybe one chair.. but not really. I would just love that you have less to clean and more time to play! Congratulations! 

I totally agree! I am about ready to go insane with the amount of toys my children have accumulated and the amount of time it takes me to clean them all up each day! I miss the days when it was so simple with just my DS and his small little basket of toys. My advice is to buy some beautiful wooden toys and skip the mounds of plastic battery operated stuff.

Oh! I almost forgot. Fisher Price makes the space saving high chair  with no legs that attaches to a regular dining chair and takes up so little room compared to a full size high chair. I love that thing. :)
 

post #10 of 27

Oh and room darkening curtains are a must! Where ever naps will happen or where you want them to happen (eyes on baby is the best!)

post #11 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Max'sMama View Post

Boobs, diapers and a car seat (if you drive or ride).   Those are the needs.  The rest is just fluff.  Stick with 7-10 outfits and the basics.  Babies don't know if you have everything or nothing.  People may mean well but if it stresses you out tell them thanks but we're full in our space!



Great sentiment, but we don't have a washer/dryer in the building, so I'm definitely going to need more than 7-10 outfits.  I'm not willing to do laundry that often.  ;)

 

A lot of these ideas will work for me.  But that storage space under the bed is precious, so I know I'll never have a mattress on the floor.  Ditto the wall-space (so I won't be pushing one long edge of my bed up against the wall).   We only have 600-700 square feet, by my estimate.  We don't even have room for a bathtub!

 

I do have shelves with a curtain over them, and it's a huge relief. 

post #12 of 27

we're nyc apartment dwellers so as you can imagine space is not something we have the luxery of :(

 

three words that have made this bearable: THE CONTAINER STORE

 

 anyone struggling to come up with storage solutions should live in this place. its made making space for baby, ten times easier.

post #13 of 27
Thread Starter 

You wonderful women, these suggestions are sooooo helpful! I'm not sure how many square feet we have here--I'm guessing 900 or so, which actually makes me feel like we are relatively fortunate! We have two bedrooms, but the apartment is old and has a somewhat funky layout so it makes it more difficult to fit furniture efficiently. We actually have a decent amount of built-in storage space, but the problem is a lot of it is already crammed with stuff. So I think the first step for us will definitely be to declutter.

 

I feel way better because yesterday we tackled one of the closets. It was crammed with boxes we still hadn't unpacked from our move almost three years ago. We finally found our iron, lol. Now the closet is almost clear--there is space to hang baby's clothes and also perhaps some hanging shelves or storage bins.

 

Question--my cousin is handing down both a full-size Arms' Reach cosleeper and a pack n' play. Don't the cosleepers often convert to playards? So if you had to chose one, which would you stick with? We are planning on using the cosleeper until baby outgrows it and then switching to a minicrib in our room.

 

Also, I read somewhere that leg extenders for bed frames are great because they make more room for under the bed storage space.

 

Thanks for the word on clothes. I have already received TWO garbage bags full of infant clothes (hand me downs) so I will have to weed them out. I have heard that it's hard to have too many onesies, since babies get them dirty so often anyway, so that's mostly what I've been hanging on to. In your experience, is that true about the onesies? That you need lots and lots of them?

post #14 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blanca78 View Post

 

Thanks for the word on clothes. I have already received TWO garbage bags full of infant clothes (hand me downs) so I will have to weed them out. I have heard that it's hard to have too many onesies, since babies get them dirty so often anyway, so that's mostly what I've been hanging on to. In your experience, is that true about the onesies? That you need lots and lots of them?



I would also add that I have more onsies than regular outfits (Idk about saying that you can never have too many...lol) because I keep ALL of the children I have ever nannied or had in them all the time. The stress of blowouts is cut by  90%, because it's mostly contained inside the onsie, often - not always - leaving the main outfit still wearable. Now here's why I keep so many, though...I have no hesitation cutting the onsie off the baby when there is a blowout...unless it's a fav that I just can't part with. To me, the sacrifice of a onsie that will end up massively stained anyway, for not having to pull all that poop over the head and in the hair is WELL worth it ;)

post #15 of 27
Thread Starter 

That's a great idea--some super cute onesies I would feel bad about cutting into but I also got a bunch of the cheapie plain white ones--with blowouts in mind (ick) I think I will hang onto those just in case.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoyfamMama View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by Blanca78 View Post

 

Thanks for the word on clothes. I have already received TWO garbage bags full of infant clothes (hand me downs) so I will have to weed them out. I have heard that it's hard to have too many onesies, since babies get them dirty so often anyway, so that's mostly what I've been hanging on to. In your experience, is that true about the onesies? That you need lots and lots of them?



I would also add that I have more onsies than regular outfits (Idk about saying that you can never have too many...lol) because I keep ALL of the children I have ever nannied or had in them all the time. The stress of blowouts is cut by  90%, because it's mostly contained inside the onsie, often - not always - leaving the main outfit still wearable. Now here's why I keep so many, though...I have no hesitation cutting the onsie off the baby when there is a blowout...unless it's a fav that I just can't part with. To me, the sacrifice of a onsie that will end up massively stained anyway, for not having to pull all that poop over the head and in the hair is WELL worth it ;)

post #16 of 27

Honey, oh boy do I feel your pain!! When we had DS we were living in one bedroom at my parents. This is what we had (keep in mind we had no money for specialized storage so we made do or went without):

n15613701_35437355_6197.jpg

 

n15613701_35437356_6467.jpg

 

n15613701_35437357_6720.jpg

 

I had about 14 outfits in newborn-6months plus extra onesies for layering (winter baby) and gowns for night time, a whole ton of receiving blankets (for spit up cloths and diaper changing mats), some diapers, a very few choice toys, towels, wash cloths, baby wash, warm blankets, a Boppy, a My Brest Friend, a cosleeper, a ring sling, a Moby, and a very compact folding swing. This was pretty much all he had until he was 8 months old and we moved to our current place, which is a 2 bedroom apartment that is not quite 1,000 sq feet.

post #17 of 27

Also - the subject of clothes. I'm a clothes minimalist for the whole family. It is so much easier to keep up with laundry if everyone has a limited number of clothes. For our new baby I will probably have mostly tshirts and baby legs since we are doing cloth diapers. You might find a onesie doesn't fasten well over a big fluffy cloth diaper butt, plus your diapers are so cute you want to show them off, right?! I like the gowns for nighttime, and a few nice looking outfits for going nice places. Plan to change your baby's outfit twice a day, plus night time. So multiply that number by the number of days you typically go between washings. Add two days grace. = the number of outfits you need. For my baby I plan to wash every week, so I'll have 14-20 every day outfits plus two nice "Sunday" outfits.

 

Don't be afraid to tell people you don't have the space. Don't be afraid to pass on things you cannot use. Just tell anyone who asks that you passed that along to bless someone else, since you didn't need it. People like to think of their used junk as blessing someone else.

post #18 of 27

I am feeling better about the amount of space we have too. A two bedroom with just over 1000sf. Seems tiny to most people but I love less housework. I have enough to do keeping the house clean with 5 people (soon to be 6) living in a smaller house. Plus we're home a lot since we homeschool so there is always lots of mess! I'm learning to be a minimalist big time. It just cuts the stress of having too much stuff in the house!

post #19 of 27

Nerdymom, thanks for posting pics!  Here's one of our bed/shelves/cradle setup.  These shelves are supposed to be ONLY for baby stuff, but until the kid is born in March/April, we're also keeping some scarves, hats, and gloves in there, too.  ;)

 

5265683113_14b8ef8f11(2).jpg

 

To the right of our bed, but not visible in this picture, is a large, flat dresser.  We'll put a changing pad on there. 

post #20 of 27

We live in an rv full time with a family of 4 (5 when baby arrives) so we're definitely having to get more and more minimalist. I don't have a baby space yet because we're loaning the inlaws camper right now and will be getting our own in about 3 wks. We have found the camper we will be getting - widely available same layout camper in our price range. It's small 32' with one slide so about 250sq ft definitely small lol.gif. I'm just starting to plan our layout for the place as we'll be remodeling the space. I'm not sure yet where/how I'm going to put the baby stuff until I plan the full layout of where everything is going to go. The plan though is to get a travel lite size playard with bassinet for the baby to sleep/play in. I want a moses basket to keep in our bed like a little cosleeper. Car seat but that will stay in the car. I do have a bouncer and a travel size swing. All baby stuff will be minimal and I've got to figure out the best storage solution/spot for everything but there won't be much. I do plan to have a washer/dryer in the new rv though so I will be able to run a load of clothes as needed to cut down on laundry. We're pretty minimal (and working on getting more so) because of such limited space. I have made a baby list and been cutting down/weeding out what I want. We don't have anything left from our first two so we're having to collect from scratch but that could be a good thing since I'm only buying what I feel we really want/need. Maybe we could start another thread to share our own baby lists? Comparing lists might help some of us remember things we'd forgotten or reassess what we really need.

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