The classic American Dream might include a mutiple-story house with a sprawling porch and extensive fenced-in yard, but that’s not always the reality for modern day families. More people are starting their families in the hearts of the country’s urban centers. This choice puts them in the thick of the metropolitan action and can cut costs, as the renters of unfurnished apartments paid a median price of $1,492 per month in 2017.
However, this choice also puts family members on top of one another and can test the limits of one’s personal bubble. You might want to work after retirement like 63% of Americans, and your space needs to last at least that long! Let’s take a look at the top tips for small space living that can help save the sanity of everyone in your family.
Allow yourself time to adjust
This tip is most important for a family that is just starting out with a newborn baby. Whether your newborn tends to cry throughout the night, is one of the 6,000 babies born every year with Down Syndrome, or comes weeks before you expect them to, you’re bringing an entirely new person into your family. Not only will you have to adjust to the baby’s needs and routines, but you will have to adjust to the extra space that all of the necessary baby items are going to take up. Not to mention, you’ll need to plan for those first two months when your baby can’t tell the difference between day and night. Talk about setting a sleep schedule, too.
You can do as much research on organization techniques and decluttering of your things as you want, but your strategies are inevitably going to need adjustment once you put them into practice. For instance, you may have planned to store the baby bouncer in your closet. If your little one constantly uses it, however, it may be easier to rearrange the space in the living room to accommodate it.
Buy a dark couch
You won’t have a separate sitting room, family room, and playroom in a small space. The couch in your living room is going to be the couch that every family member uses for every activity. Unless your children are absolutely perfect angels, they’re going to spill drinks on it and get it dirty with almost anything you can think of.
When your couch is in a darker color, it will be better at hiding stains. Try to choose a sofa in a material that wipes down easily as well. If you can’t stand dark furniture and are determined to buy a light-colored couch, get one upholstered in indoor-outdoor fabric. With 50% of households in America living to paycheck to paycheck, it’s no small feat to purchase an entirely new sectional when your artistic ingenues get paint or craft glue all over the sofa (again).
Get creative with your space
When you’re looking around your apartment trying to determine where you can fit the baby’s crib or changing table, think outside of the box. A great space-saving solution is to use your closet as an extension of the room. Remove the closet doors and you can push your dresser into the lower half or even empty the entire space of clothes and put the crib in there. Hang your clothes on a slim rack instead or store them for the season in under-bed storage bins.
If you want to keep your closet as just your closet, try going vertical for your other needs. Use tall bookcases or shelves to store your belongings. Some families even go vertical with their baby’s crib. Hanging cribs suspend baby’s sleeping space from the ceiling, allowing it to hang just above a short dresser. Not only does this save space, but it can rock your little one right to sleep.
Invest in multipurpose furniture
When you live in an apartment, you’ll save money on certain things. You can leave pricey problems like pipeline corrosion, which costs the U.S. economy over $9 billion every year, to your landlord and save your hard-earned money for things like multipurpose furniture.
For newborns, invest in pieces that combine the crib with the dresser and/or changing table. Buy children’s beds that have storage space built in underneath or a couch that can fold out into a guest bed. In a small space, you’ll find that making furniture do double-duty is a huge help.
Whether you’re one of the 45 million people who move every year and are facing a smaller space for the first time or you’re staying in a small space while your family is growing, this type of living will undoubtedly be a challenge. With some strategic planning and creative thinking, you’ll be able to make the space adjust to your needs. Soon enough your cozy space will be more than just livable, it’ll be home.