Making space

by Ashley on May 18, 2011

Since January, we’ve been doing our best to make space for the baby in our small, 500-square-foot studio apartment. Our first step has been to rent a storage unit across town. We’ve been clearing out books and magazines, Christmas ornaments and SCUBA gear, clothes we rarely wear and travel books that will probably be useless by the time we pull them out again (probably should have been more ruthless with a few of those)–and we even put away our winter coats and boots a little earlier this year.  The challenge has been to keep the newly cleared spaces clear; it’s so tempting to fill them back-in as sort of a catch-all cleaning maneuver.

We have the mini-crib that will go where Aron’s clothes used to be, and our bookshelves will become storage for baby clothes, diapers, and the like. It’s going to take some discipline, but I’m sure we’re going to do just fine. Still, I’ll take any space-saving tips you can offer for life in a studio with a baby!

(To judge how much we could fit in our storage unit, we taped out the footprint in the apartment and started stacking. It’s like a life-sized game of Tetris!)

 

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Joanna May 18, 2011 at 9:05 am

Hi Ashley,
I think the storage unit is a brilliant idea because you can also store all the baby’s clothes there – once he has grown out of them (and if you are saving them for another baby). All our clothes are in my parents’ loft, which I feel bad about, because we have limited space too.
You will probably be given lots and lots of presents. People are so generous where babies are concerned. We found this lovely, but very overwhelming. So much stuff! Now we try and use the library as much as possible (I often get out 20 books at a time for my son) and we also have toy libraries (where you can borrow toys and then take them back, exchange them for different ones, etc. etc.). Not sure if these exist in NYC but it might be worth a look. Of course my son has lots of toys of his own, but toy libraries are great for the chance to try out new things without making bulky purchases.
My husband and I would also like to invest in a few furniture purchases that double up as storage. For e.g., I have found sofas that have storage units underneath the seat cushions (they’re still meant to be quite comfy), or a big chest instead of a coffee table. I’m sure you get the idea.
Finally, in my experience, kids don’t really need that much. I buy my son a wonderful toy for his birthday and I know everyone says this, but he is far more interested half the time in the cardboard box it came in, or the pots and pans in the kitchen (plus wooden spoons), or a laundry airer made into a den with blankets.
One final idea (sorry, I’m on a roll…), if you were going to give your baby a mobile, you could choose something that’s beautiful for your apartment too. I mean, Winnie the Pooh is fine, but since you’re all in the same room, how about a mobile with lots of black and white photos hanging from it (since babies can focus on those colours and love faces), or something similar. I think it’s called a Mobile Photo Clip.
If more inspiration strikes, I will comment again.
Hope you’re all well.

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Ashley May 18, 2011 at 3:40 pm

Thanks, Joanna! I love the idea of a toy library–such a brilliant option!
I really appreciate all the suggestions.

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Deanna (Silly Goose Farm) May 18, 2011 at 11:33 am

Good luck! I had a hard time making space for two babies in my farmhouse, I can’t imagine your challenge. I also felt like I had some much extraneous stuff, maybe this will help you stick to the “necessities.” (Whatever THAT means) Again, good luck!

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Ashley May 18, 2011 at 8:16 pm

That is the exciting part: the idea that we’ll become better yet at being minimalists. Let’s see… 🙂 thanks!

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Alyce May 18, 2011 at 12:55 pm

Ashley,
I’m getting hives just reading about this! Good luck condensing. What are you planning to do by way of laundry? I really wish there was an app for that!

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dulci May 18, 2011 at 3:43 pm

I don’t have a baby, but I do have a boyfriend and trust me, sometimes I feel like they’re one in the same!! I find that for us, over the door storage is a LIFESAVER! Living in NYC, you have to get creative and being have to store shoes, belts, WHATEVER behind a door where it is out of sight is a definite plus.

Also, we are basket obsessed. We just got some pretty ones from Restoration Hardware and it’s nice to be able to load odds and ends into a basket, cover it up with a folder throw blanket and call it a day!!

http://ladulcivida.blogspot.com

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Ashley May 18, 2011 at 8:15 pm

Thanks! It’s so true about having things out of sight. Even just putting mail down on the table can make the whole place look cluttered. Will have to check out the basket selection at RH.

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paige May 18, 2011 at 4:17 pm

it’ll all turn out just fine, you’ll see. and i agree with Joanna, baby doesn’t really need much – mama, papa, loves and kisses, milk every now and then. 😉
i think you’ll also find that you may not need much space either, as babies can be changed on your lap, on a blanket on the bed, etc…plus that crib looks fantastic! and when he starts moving around a lot, not having a large space will almost force you to get out with baby – head to the park, get some fresh air.
listen to me…i’m rambling!
It’ll be great!
can’t wait to meet him.
oh…ps…some babies like tupperware! everyone has tupperware, right?! when baby is done playing, store it back in the cupboard. 😀

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Ashley May 18, 2011 at 8:13 pm

Thanks, Paige–we can’t wait to meet him either! And I’ll have to remember the tupperware!

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Joanna May 19, 2011 at 3:47 pm

Hi again Ashley,
On my blog travels, I found this space saving bath which folds flat and saves on water usage.
http://www.vupbaby.co.uk/content/flexibath-flat-folding-bath-6-colours
Found it on a really lovely blog called Babyccino kids – beware though, there are many gorgeous things on this site which I’d love to cram my house with.

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mandie segura May 24, 2011 at 11:26 am

Wow! Now I feel like a light-weight! We currently live in an 1100 sq. ft. apt, but will be moving somewhere MUCH smaller this fall when my husband leaves his job to go back to school full time. I’m having a hard enough time trying to figure out how the 2 of us will live in a 500 or so sq. ft. studio, let alone a baby! We’re hoping to time things right where we’ll be expecting when he graduates in 2 years & then can hopefully move somewhere a smidge larger. 🙂

I’m uber impressed with you guys, though.

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Ashley May 24, 2011 at 11:31 am

Thanks, Mandie! You’ll do fine! The storage is the main bummer, but the space is actually quite adequate for us. If you look on Hither and Thither, you might find some photos of how we’ve set up the apartment. We did a guest post on Ill Seen, Ill Said (look for the link in the right-column) that has some photos for sure… Good luck!

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Madalena June 2, 2011 at 5:22 pm

I came across your blog (the other one) on Babble. I ended up here and I am absolutely in love with the stuff you’re buying for your baby. And it’s really cool that you give all the links to the stores (even if it’s not that easy to have access to them, since I’m in Portugal).
On the space subject, I have a 7 month baby and struggle with space too. I live in a tiny apartment in the center of Lisbon. A friend sent me this video the other day and reading your post I remembered it and thought you would probably enjoy it.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dAa6bOWB8qY

Wish you all the best, for you and your little one (it’s the best thing ever, trust me),
Madalena

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