or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Natural Living › The Mindful Home › Organize & Declutter › how to live in a small space..
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

how to live in a small space.. - Page 2

post #21 of 48
We live in a 2 brm duplex that's about 900sf and in April there will be one more of us... so me, dh and three kids.

We've done so much decluttering over the years. We've gotten rid of a lot of furniture. Our coffee table, for instance. We always used it, but it really took up lots of space in our living room. We got an atique 7-Up crate that funky and we use that whenever we need somethig to put a drink on. Instead of a computer desk, we have http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/00120818 in our kitchen. If we need more space, we just move our laptop to the kitchen table and spread out. If you don't have a laptop, you could get a tiny computer station and a foldable table to use when you need more space.

Our buffet in the eating area doubles as a buffet and storage space (we keep the kids' arts/crafts and homework stuff there). In the living room we had enough VISA points to buy a tv for the wall and we sold our tv cabinet.

In the kids' room, we have put a few shelves high up on the wall for the items they don't use much or will need when they're older. Their laundry basket hangs off of the doorknob of their door. They have bunkbeds (although they both sleep together on the bottom bunk right now)

We use wall space well - shelves, hooks, etc. You can often get rid of small bookshelves and cabinets by using the wall space better. Especially in closets!

I go through their toy boxes and clothes every few months. We use the library tons instead of having a ton of their own books.

I can't think of much else right now, but we've leaned these things over the years and I'm amazed and how much stuff we used to have that was totally uncessary. When it's tidied, it doesn't feel cramped at all. Good luck!
post #22 of 48
I do think having a lot less stuff is the key. I mean you can put up shelves and hooks all day long but if you have too much stuff, you will always feel cramped. We pared down considerably when we moved -- now, moving helps because you have the motivation of, "do I really want to pack and carry this up a flight of stairs " so it helps to declutter.

Once you get into the swing of things, it almost becomes like a game to see how little you can live with. The library suggestion above was big for me -- we used to have a ton of books and stuff hanging around .... that we only looked at maybe a couple of times a year. Otherwise they were just nice to look at. Now, we let the library store our books and we only have about 25 books -- though I could take that lower if I really tried. Same with dd, now she can treat books respectfully, we got rid of a ton of her books and take lots out of the library.

Oh, throwing out my "thin" clothes also freed up *a lot* of closet space too
post #23 of 48
Well, we just moved from a 1500+ house in teh burbs to a small strawbale in the woods. Its dh and me and our two girls and we have about 450 sf. I agree its about getting rid of stuff and then finding smart solutions. We have a cedar chest as a coffee table and store stuff in there, also stuff in those huge ziplock bags under the beds. The girsl share one half of the upstairs and dh and I have the otehr half and thats alos where out desk is. We love it and once it was organized and seriously decluttered it became very fast to clean! We will be building our own house this year or next but we dont plan on building much larger than 500-600 sf.

Tanya
post #24 of 48
We live in 560sq ft. It's just DH, me, big dog and 2 cats, but I the previous tenants had 2 small boys. I could see us having a kiddo or two.

We also use the bedroom is a sleeping room idea. We only sleep and read in there. Would be the same if we had kids, all the people just sleep in there. Unlike MIL I don't believe in sending kids away to their own rooms to watch TV alone all evening.

In our old apartment we had the computer desk in the living room and I kept my laptop on the dining table. I'm not sure if we could do that in our current living room because we now have an upright freezer and a big dog crate in there, so the spare bedroom is the computer room/office.

If you're feeling cramped, you probably have too much furniture. We only have a 2-seater loveseat and a small TV w/stand for "normal" furniture in the living room. The dog crate and cat box serve as endtables and we don't have a coffee table because there just isn't room. Also without a coffee table we can spread pillows and lay in front of the TV if we want to. For kiddos we could have bean bag chairs on the floor, and then put them on the couch if we needed floorspace.
For furniture in the bedoom we only have a bed, small bookcase and small chest of drawers. No dresser or other furniture. I have a quilt rack that holds spare blankets handy to grab if we wake up cold.
We have one big closet for the whole house, and a small coat-sized closet. We downsized our wardrobes until everything fits into our half of the closet. Everything hangs except underwear and winter items because we don't have room for dressers. We could probably hang a second lower bar for childrens' small items.

My house can get cluttery. Partly because not everything has a place right now. I'm always working on getting it all organized and trying not to bring home any extra stuff. Also I'm alway figuring out better ways to do things. For example I just hung a spring loaded shower curtain rod across the hallway to add more drying room since we hang dry everything. It doesn't take up any space when not in use !
I got just an iPod, with a cable so it can be hooked into my house stereo and car stereo. I no longer need all the CD's that I have lying around because I can carry my entire music collection all at once. Once I make sure it is all on my computer and iPod I won't need the CDs anymore. That will help declutter my computer area!
post #25 of 48
We did less the 600 sq ft for the 4 of us. I think that they key is organization and decluttering. I think it was my favorite home- really close and cozy.
post #26 of 48
I'm another one with 3 kids in a 2 bedroom. Totally doable! We are trying to get organized and what not ourselves but here is one thought- we have a twin bed in the girl's room (all 3 of our LO's are girls) and it has a trundle underneath it so during the day they have all this room to play and do crafts and what not and at night we pull it out and make a king sized bed for all 3 of our girls to cuddle up on and sleep in. It makes transitioning from co-sleeping easier and I find they *want* to sleep next to each other. :

So if you want you can get a trundle like that and take it down during the day but use it as a kind sized bed for the family at night. The same bed was once used in our room as a king sized for the whole family (yup- all 5 of us in 1 bed!).

ETA- We own no dressers. We hang up all of our clothes and DH and I keep our undies and PJs in our nightstand (it has 2 drawers) while we have 3 baskets in the girl's closet for their undies and PJs.
post #27 of 48
We live in 1200 square feet with 2 adults and 3 kids. I work at home, so one of our three bedrooms is used as an office. So basically we have five people in a two-bedroom house. The older two are sharing a room right now, and the baby will be moving in with them in a year or so. (He's 16 months and will be sleeping in our bed/room for quite a while longer.)

My advice is to look around and decide what you can live without. Keep only what you love. If you look at an item and it doesn't give you good feelings, throw it out (unless it's necessary for survival).

Also, look for storage that goes UP rather than OUT. Tall, skinny bookcases, shelves on the walls, stackable storage units, etc. are a good idea in small spaces.
post #28 of 48
I live in a converted 1-bedroom loft that has two bedrooms now. It is about 900 sf and has an open livingroom/kitchen as the main space. We have a shelf of toys, a rug, and a couch in the livingroom. We all sleep in one room (queen bed for us, twins beds for the littles) and we have 3 dressers (and the closet) and a hope chest in that room as well. It is the largest room. In the other room dh and I each have a desk and wall mounted shelves. We also have dh's baby grand and his other instruments in there. We have very little "stuff" and store what we do have very, very well imo. I like having a small space and intend to stay this way

Congrats on your baby!
post #29 of 48
We have a 3bdrm, 1000sqft house for 2 adults, 4 kids (and 8 cats, 2 dogs, etc). Sometimes I feel so cramped (usually when tripping over toys ) but mostly I love our little home.

The biggest thing that helps me is to realize that any given configuration doesn't have to work FOREVER, it just needs to meet our current needs. We have had a variety of arrangements over the years. 1 sleeping room, a playroom, and a storage room. Cosleeping room, kids room (more for toys that sleeping, but they did have beds), and office. 2 sleeping rooms and a library. Bedroom/office, big kid room, little kid room. You get the idea

Right now I have the boys (7 and 5) in one room and the girls (3 and 1) in another while dh and I have our own room (though lately all 4 end up with us except the youngest, she cosleeps full time still). Our office space changes as our bedroom needs do. Our dining area changes as our space does. Furniture comes and goes. It really just needs to be about what will fit our needs and keep us from feeling squished. I do find that as the kids get older they need their own space, not necessarily for sleep, but just to keep their stuff and get a little time away from the rest of us to get lost in play, books, daydreams, etc. This space can also be flexible as long as it feels like it is THEIRS.

Less stuff is key! We need to keep down the stuff we have. In the end it is just stuff and our happiness/sanity is so much more valuable than relics from the past!
post #30 of 48
We live in a 2 bedroom (650 sq ft). We have 2 kids right now and another coming in January. It is totally doable! When we first moved in (when I was pg with ds1) we did set up the 2nd bedroom as an office. Ds1 coslept until almost 2 years, then he got his own bed in our bedroom. Ds2 was born soon after that, he slept in our bed and ds1 was still in our room but in his own bed. We changed the 2nd bedroom from an office into a bedroom for ds1 last fall (he was 3 1/2 at that time). Sold the desktop computer and bought a laptop instead. Got rid of the other furniture in the office, except for 2 bookcases which were moved into our bedroom. So at that point we had ds1 in his own room, and ds2 still cosleeping with us. A couple of months later ds2 got his own bed in our bedroom, and just recently moved into the other bedroom with ds1. They have bunk beds now (the low one from Ikea). We still have a toddler bed set up in our bedroom, and will keep it there. When this baby comes, he/she will cosleep with us, and then move into the toddler bed around age 2. When he/she is about 3 then we will probably look at moving. But I think you are a long way away from having to worry about a separate room for the baby!

I don't really think we use a lot of tricks to manage the space, honestly... I use the dining table as my desk (with the laptop) and dh either sits at the table or on the couch with his laptop, so no need for desks. We have 3 bookcases in our bedroom and 1 in the dining room, plus a kid's size bookcase in the living room. Other than that our furniture is fairly minimal but it's all full size. For some reason that seems more spacious to us than having scaled-down furniture. We started off with a loveseat, armchair, coffee table, and footstool, but last year we switched to just a full sized couch with a footstool and the living room seems more spacious now. We also have a TV stand (pretty big, actually) in there. The dining room has a full size table with 4 regular chairs and a Svan chair. There's also an Ikea storage unit for toys in the dining room/living room (it's an open room, really).

Probably the main thing we did to save space when we started having kids was just not buying any of the typical baby stuff - no crib, no playpen, no swing, etc. Never felt a need for it anyway!
post #31 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mama2Xander View Post
Probably the main thing we did to save space when we started having kids was just not buying any of the typical baby stuff - no crib, no playpen, no swing, etc. Never felt a need for it anyway!
:
post #32 of 48
DH and I have been married for nearly 9 years. For the first 7.5 years we living in apartments. Our first apartment was a one bedroom with only 450 sq foot. We are avid kayakers and bikers, so we had two kayaks “hidden” behind our couch and bikes hanging from the ceiling at this apartment. Our second apartment was between 600-700 sq feet and had two bedrooms. We had access to a small shed for storage, so our kayaks and bikes lived out there (but we had our bikes stolen ). DS cam along while we were still apartment dwellers. We lived in the apartment for a little over a year with DS.

I’ve learned a lot about living in small spaces over the years. Some of these strategies may have already been mentioned by pp, but this is what I did.

#1 – keep only what you love or need (this is usually the hardest to do and means decluttering and purging)
#2 – buy small furniture with sensible storage
#3 – take advantage of every nook and cranny (ie. under the bed, under couch, under sinks, kitchen cabinets, in closets) for storage.
#4 – don’t be afraid to hang shelves or hooks to increase your storage (Even if you lease says not to, do it! When you go to move out, just spackle over the holes and touch it up with some cheap white paint. I’ve done this in every apartment I’ve lived in and always gotten my deposit back in full.)
#5 - If you can spend money on furniture, buy pieces that have multiple uses or conceal clutter.
#6 – use “pretty” storage solutions in the living room (such as baskets under chairs, or antique luggage stacked up to make an end table)
#7 – be willing to think outside the walls and use your furniture to partition space (When DS came along, I shifted our office out of the second bedroom and into the dining room area. The dinning room was only 8 by 8 feet, but with clever arrangement of bookshelves and desks, DH and I were both able to have a workspace. I used curtains to visually divide the office area from the living room and make the space feel less cluttered/cramped. I was working at home at the time, so getting rid of the office was not a solution for me. Another solution is to keep a small office area in the babies room and separate it with curtains or standing screen. Babies really don’t need that much space and toddlers rarely spend time in their bedroom anyway.)
#8 – Don’t bother with all that “baby” furniture – it just takes up space and is not really essential. In particular, changing tables are unnecessary. You can change your infant on your bed or on the floor using a nice changing mat. I found that the best furniture to have in the apartment for DS were: small dresser, small bookcase and crib. I used the dresser to store clothes, sheets and baby blankets. I also had a drawer for cloth diapering accessories. I had small baskets on the bookshelf to store baby toys, cloth diapers, and even feeding accessories (because there was no room in the kitchen). We couldn’t co-sleep when DS was an infant because he had severe GERD and had to sleep somewhat upright. So even if you plan to co-sleep, you may need a backup sleeping place in case it’s not possible. I recommend buying a crib that can convert to a toddler bed or full bed to make the most use of your money and space.
#9 – insist that family limit their shower gifts before baby comes and limit baby gifts after they come too. You will not have the space for all those big and largely unnecessary baby toys like swings and bouncers. Thankfully for us, DS loved the doorway jumper, which stored easily when not in use and didn’t take up lots of space. I suggest waiting until your LO is born before getting any of those large items, because each baby is different and you won’t need all of them. Playpens are not worth the money or space either, especially if you plan to babywear!
#10 – if you plan to keep some of the baby clothes after they start to outgrow them, plan ahead and make storage space now. Your LO will grow out of many sets of clothing in just the first year, so you will probably need to be selective about what you keep and store it smartly. I used plastic tote boxes that could be stacked in the closet. I kept only what I really liked and donated or sold the rest.

Well, that’s all I can think of for now. The main thing is that you will have to think carefully about what you have (and want to keep), think carefully about what you buy in the future, and keep on top of clutter by being organized. Good luck and keep us posted on your progress!
post #33 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by magstphil View Post
So if you want you can get a trundle like that and take it down during the day but use it as a kind sized bed for the family at night. The same bed was once used in our room as a king sized for the whole family (yup- all 5 of us in 1 bed!).

ETA- We own no dressers. We hang up all of our clothes and DH and I keep our undies and PJs in our nightstand (it has 2 drawers) while we have 3 baskets in the girl's closet for their undies and PJs.
I just wanted to post this bed. http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/30080316
DH and I have it for DD. Along with a pull-out sofa. We moved from Erie, PA to San Antonio, TX- so we anticipate a lot of family visits during the winter!
Anyway, the section with the drawers pulls forward and then the two mattresses on the bed rest side by side on the now-king-sized bed frame.
And the drawers are real and quite usable.
post #34 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by PatienceAndLove View Post
I just wanted to post this bed. http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/30080316
DH and I have it for DD. Along with a pull-out sofa. We moved from Erie, PA to San Antonio, TX- so we anticipate a lot of family visits during the winter!
Anyway, the section with the drawers pulls forward and then the two mattresses on the bed rest side by side on the now-king-sized bed frame.
And the drawers are real and quite usable.
Yes, I fell in love with this bed when I saw it at IKEA this summer! I just wish I had the space for it! Do you have it in a bedroom? I've wondered if it would look strange to keep it in the living room, with a bunch of throw pillows on it during the day. What do you think?

BTW: I second the greatness of trundle beds. I had a metal frame trundle bed when I was a kid. It was very convenient to use. That way my sister and I (and occasionally cousins) could share a bed (without fighting ), but you could make more space in the room during the day.
post #35 of 48
We had 540 square feet when I was growing up, and we had 2 parents, us 2 kids and an aunt living there. It was pretty cozy actually.

We had futon-type mattresses which we would roll on the floor in the evening and put in a closet in the morning. That gave us plenty of space for the daytime.
post #36 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by FreeRangeMama View Post
It really just needs to be about what will fit our needs and keep us from feeling squished. I do find that as the kids get older they need their own space, not necessarily for sleep, but just to keep their stuff and get a little time away from the rest of us to get lost in play, books, daydreams, etc. This space can also be flexible as long as it feels like it is THEIRS.

My family has friends that have 6 kids (now all grown and mostly married).
At one point the older 3 girls shared a bedroom. As they got older, the layout of their roomed changed to include book shelves and curtains that were use to "partitian" off the girl's areas. I always thought i was cool, and def gave the girls their own space.
The middle girl, created her own lttle hobbit holeby facing her bookshelves in, the bookshevles of her sisters (who were on either side of her) out, and then using a curtain as the "door" to her area.
Just wanted to throw that idea out for you!

Nice article on the subject: http://ezinearticles.com/?Room-Divid...oms&id=1504593
post #37 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by slsurface View Post
Yes, I fell in love with this bed when I saw it at IKEA this summer! I just wish I had the space for it! Do you have it in a bedroom? I've wondered if it would look strange to keep it in the living room, with a bunch of throw pillows on it during the day. What do you think?
We do have it in DD's room.
It might look ok in a living room, if you're style is that way. DH and I are more contemporary fans. But we did get the Tylosand "sofabed". The base pulls forward and the seat cushions fold out to make the bed. What I like is that you can pull out one side at a time, and kind of get the chaise thing going. They do include a mattress pad with the sofa, so tha helps make it into more of a bed. And the storage inside the sofa base is quite nice, too. We have the sheets for the bed, along with the mattress pad one side, and throw blankets inside the other.

I : Ikea for storage.
post #38 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by PatienceAndLove View Post
We do have it in DD's room.
It might look ok in a living room, if you're style is that way. DH and I are more contemporary fans. But we did get the Tylosand "sofabed". The base pulls forward and the seat cushions fold out to make the bed. What I like is that you can pull out one side at a time, and kind of get the chaise thing going. They do include a mattress pad with the sofa, so tha helps make it into more of a bed. And the storage inside the sofa base is quite nice, too. We have the sheets for the bed, along with the mattress pad one side, and throw blankets inside the other.

I : Ikea for storage.
Thanks for the tip! I wish I could afford new furniture. We have a hand-me-down love seat and wing chair. We did purchase a oat futon a number of years ago. We us it as our couch and a place to sleep for guests. Even though we splurged for the best mattress they make, it's starting to get worn out. I also have a crappy futon frame in the office, but with no mattress - I have a folded up comforter on it. We just use it for sitting and reading. But I would like to get a mattress so that we could use it for visitors (especially for the coming holidays).
post #39 of 48
Quote:
Thanks for the tip! I wish I could afford new furniture. We have a hand-me-down love seat and wing chair. We did purchase a oat futon a number of years ago. We us it as our couch and a place to sleep for guests. Even though we splurged for the best mattress they make, it's starting to get worn out. I also have a crappy futon frame in the office, but with no mattress - I have a folded up comforter on it. We just use it for sitting and reading. But I would like to get a mattress so that we could use it for visitors (especially for the coming holidays).
Yes, one of the challenges of small spaces is where do the guests go? I have been thinking about getting a high-quality air mattress. Any thoughts or suggestions on that idea?
post #40 of 48
We live in a small space and while there are drawbacks (we like to give parties), it's doable. My youngest ds has a tiny room without a closet, so we got him a wardrobe from Ikea that rocks. My dds share a tiny room & the youngest has a loft bed from ...Ikea...lol. There are eaves in the room so tall bunks don't fit, but the Ikea loft rocks and gives play space under the bunk for her, which opens to her eaves closet/hideaway, which we do not use for storage.

We keep stuff to a minimum (except for our books & art supplies which we organize well).

Just keep what you love. Keep what the kids love and try not to want to look like a Pottery Barn catalogue page.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Organize & Declutter
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Natural Living › The Mindful Home › Organize & Declutter › how to live in a small space..