New Baby With A Small Home? Strategies to Make it WorkKatlyn Joy |10, May 2012
While you may have imagined the picket fence around that perfect family house complete with an oversized nursery, reality may be a bit off. Or perhaps far off. Many families live in tight quarters, especially young ones that are still struggling to stretch paychecks into rent each month. The current economic situation dictates that many families have to delay their dreams a bit longer than planned.
That doesn't mean miserable conditions however. You can maximize space even while sharing it with a new adorable resident. All it takes is minimum investments of creativity, time and effort and perhaps a few bucks here and there.
Get off the floor. Avoid furniture and accessories that steal valuable floor space. Instead opt for items that use walls or ceiling space. For instance, opt for a pendant over a floor lamp. Instead of bookshelves go for wall shelves. In small areas, having your foot traffic gobbled up is a small space mistake.
Reflect your space well. Use well placed mirrors to add to the visual dimension of the room. The reflection amps up the perceived space of the room. Add to that by placing lamps at strategic points in the room to gain more light.
Make every piece multitask. An ottoman is a waste of space unless it doubles as a storage holder as well. Opt for a crib that grows into a youth bed. Don't buy a changing table, get a dresser and put a changer on top so you may remove it later when your child is potty-trained.
Buy wise pieces. Consider unusual nursery elements such as a wall-mounted changing table. Get a portable style crib, or a mini-crib to make the most of your square footage. Don't get a fancy crib complete with canopy. Sleek and simple is the friend of the space-disadvantaged.
If baby can't have his own room then simply partion off a corner of your bedroom or the living area. You can use draperies, Japanese screens or even properly placed large furniture items to create either a definite physical space or an illusion of such.
Keep it simple. Don't let clutter take hold of your cozy home. Minimize accumulation of stuff and always consider where something new will fit before you purchase it. Consider trading out items if you buy something new, get rid of an equal sized item.
Organize everything. Having piles of blankets overtaking a closet shelf or baskets of baby toys will add to the closed in feeling of a smaller living area. Instead use storage organizers that can slid under or behind other furniture, or hang out of the way, or stack somewhere. Having the wrong organizers is as bad as clutter. Both eat up space.
Don't hold onto unused things. Don't keep that extra stroller on hand just because you hate to get rid of the gift from Aunt Tammy. If you aren't using it, store it elsewhere (Grandma's garage?) or pitch it.
Keep your small home baby-proofed. In a small space, you likely will have fewer areas off limits to baby exploration. You won't be able to get much use from a baby gate in a one bedroom or studio style apartment. Have open floor areas for baby to crawl, roll and toddle. If every inch is an obstacle course, baby will experience more bumps and bruises in gaining mobility. Find an area of your home that will provide a place for a baby gym, a runway for beginning cruisers, or a place to roll or kick a rubber ball.
Always opt for items that fold up, collapse or store easily. That way you can store them up and out of the way whenever they aren't in use. In particular look for highchairs, baby swings and exercisers that you can get out of the way unless baby is in them.
Resist the temptation to buy every cool baby thing ever invented. Yes wipe warmers, diaper holders, baby tunnels and motion chairs are cool but you simply won't have room for everything you want. Pick the most necessary, then the most desired items. You will need to whittle that list to a reasonable size.
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