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#31 of 48 Old 11-25-2008, 07:16 AM
 
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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!
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#32 of 48 Old 11-25-2008, 12:18 PM
 
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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!
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#33 of 48 Old 11-25-2008, 01:56 PM
 
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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.

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#34 of 48 Old 11-25-2008, 02:12 PM
 
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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.
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#35 of 48 Old 11-25-2008, 02:17 PM
 
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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.
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#36 of 48 Old 11-25-2008, 02:20 PM
 
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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

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#37 of 48 Old 11-25-2008, 02:52 PM
 
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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.

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#38 of 48 Old 11-26-2008, 10:50 AM
 
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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).
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#39 of 48 Old 11-30-2008, 07:13 PM
 
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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?
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#40 of 48 Old 11-30-2008, 08:20 PM
 
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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.
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#41 of 48 Old 11-30-2008, 08:24 PM
 
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My 800 sf rancher and I are subbing for ideas!
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#42 of 48 Old 11-30-2008, 09:42 PM
 
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My 800 sf rancher and I are subbing for ideas!

My best is advice is to not sweat the small stuff.
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#43 of 48 Old 12-01-2008, 11:03 AM
 
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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?
A good air mattress is a great idea! This is exactly what we do for guests...they actually like it better than the futon we used to have.
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#44 of 48 Old 12-01-2008, 12:07 PM
 
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A good air mattress is a great idea! This is exactly what we do for guests...they actually like it better than the futon we used to have.
DH and I actually had an air mattress for a while. It never got used so I sold it in a yard sale. I hated sleeping on it - I felt like I was adrift at sea . But my mom has one that she brings when she comes to visit (and knows that the futon will be used by someone else). I just looked up futon matresses at IKEA. I think I'll get this: http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/40071241, before our Christmas party to put on the futon in this: http://www.flickr.com/photos/archymo...7607150273471/, photo. Right now I just have a folded up comforter on it so that we can sit on the futon to watch online shows on my DH's computer or read books with DS.
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#45 of 48 Old 12-01-2008, 12:29 PM
 
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We live in an 800sq ft, 2 bedroom. We are me, DH (military, so tons of stuff that goes along with that), 2.5 year old DD, and one dog.

I HUNT down extra stuff to purge. I think of new ways to use space, without feeling cramped. I condense as much as possible. Examples: I got rid of all our DVD cases, and just put the DVDs in one of those notebook-like DVD holders. That saved a ton of space, and nothing was lost (unless you have some odd attachment to your cases). I put all our book cases (well, except one in our bedroom) on the far dining room wall. It looks so much neater. All of our clothing is in one closet + one dresser, with vertical organizers and dressers in the closet. We pulled our bed out about a foot, and store DD's crib/toddler bed disassembled behind there, along with extra pillows, blankets, Halloween costumes, etc., and no one knows it's there unless you physically walk over and look behind the headboard. We cosleep (for now), so the second bedroom is a playroom and storage, and, since our kitchen is TINY, I use the second bedroom closet as our pantry (I stockpile food/supplies, and can/dry foods, so, we have a lot that needs to go somewhere, esp. in the fall/winter). Traditional? No, but it works.

I instituted a one-in, one-out rule. If DD receives a new toy, I get rid of an old one (when she's older, she'll get to help choose). If I buy new socks, I make sure to get rid of two hopelessly mismatched socks.

TBH, I need to do a good purge soon. DD has outgrown a lot of gear (baby carrier, strollers, etc), and with Christmas coming, older toys will need to go as well (someone on freecycle will be happy). Regular purges/recycling, and trying to think of new ways to make the space more efficient are key.
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#46 of 48 Old 12-02-2008, 05:00 AM
 
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hmm...i dont' feel like our home is a small space, but we are a family of 4 in 800 sq ft. we have 3 small bedrooms. 1 is office/guest room, 1 is master where we cosleep with ds and the other is the nursery...dd sleeps here and we keep all the kids clothes. our family room doubles as the playroom, bc dd loves to be out where we are. we have bookcases that hold toys, books, diapers, paperwork, craft supplies and more.

i agree to get rid of as much as you can. it makes your home much more enjoyable and comforatble.

amanda... lovin' my dh since 2004 and mama to dd (3), ds (18 months) and expecting someone new Oct 2010.
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#47 of 48 Old 12-04-2008, 03:57 PM
 
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i`m not sure i`m getting my conversions right. do 80 sq.meters equal 860sq.feet?
our apartment has 3 small bedrooms though, my son`s is very very small: closet, bed and a little table. play area is inthe livingroom.

my grandma lived in a small apartment, and her brother made her a "cieling library", he put a wood very close to the ceiling. it went around the whole apartment! books were under categories, and she ust grabbed her ladder and got a book down when she wanted one. i loved it

get rid of stuff. no need for stuff, no need for memorie boxes, you have your memories in your head. and the things that are with you are theimportant things: partner, children, pets. very little stuff!
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#48 of 48 Old 12-04-2008, 05:17 PM
 
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I was just thinking about my apartment...
I am thinking that I can make much better use of my space if I line the long wall in the dining room with bookshelves- like the lack ones from Ikea. Cause I already know that large baskets would fit on the shelves. So the bottom shelves and baskets would keep track of loose stuff, and the top shelves could be used for books, but also to extend my cabinet space in the kitchen. I feel so smart!!!!

Not to mention the fact that I could like the top with plants (because of the way the dining room, they would have to fake, but still) and get some color into the apartment!

w00t!

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