Small Space Living with KIDS! Inside one MomCaver’s Apartment

Small Space Living

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As performers in the heart of Manhattan, my husband and I were intimately acquainted with small space living. With the cost of housing in New York City, we had no choice. When it was time to add a baby to the mix, we were still living in a one-bedroom apartment, the size of most of a suburban family’s “bonus rooms” or basement.

And somehow, we made it work. It took a little creativity, some discipline, and a lot of flexibility, but we were able to thrive in that tiny space until my son was five years old. When baby number two was on the way, we decided it was finally time to give up city life.

Though I love our MUCH MUCH bigger house in the country, I sometimes pine for the simpler days of apartment living. Somehow, the more space we have, the more stuff we fill it up with!

I had completely forgotten about this video my son and I made back in those small space days. Hope you enjoy it!

Small Space Living with Kids

–Edit, edit, edit. Do you really need two can openers or three half-used bottles of lotion? Nope. Pare down to the best of each thing. I was particularly short on clothing storage space. Maybe that’s because my love of the three thrift shops down the block had led to a collection of 20-ish sweaters. Who needs that many sweaters? So I pared down the sweaters to make room for things that really matter… shoes!

–Buy especially FOR small spaces. Did you know that most appliances come in more apartment-friendly space-saving sizes? Everything from dishwashers, to washing machines, to microwaves can be made to fit in your smaller space. It takes some searching, and the prices are usually higher than bigger appliances. (It figures, right?) But breathing space is worth something!

–Buy furniture that does double duty. Whether it is a closet, tulip table or a dresser for yourself, make sure you buy furniture that does double duty.   We have a storage bed that has enough drawers underneath it that we’ve never needed a dresser. If you need extra sleep space for kids that wander in after having a bad dream or to get away from your snoring spouse, try an ottoman bed.

–Share stuff. I’m serious. My husband and I shared a sock drawer. That’s true love. And why would we need two hairbrushes–a his and hers? I mean, if you can’t share a hairbrush with the father of your child, maybe you need to rethink your relationship.

–Keep toys to a minimum. This is a tough one. We all want to give our kids the world. Especially their grandparents! But, alas, the world does not fit into a 600 square foot tiny apartment. It may take quite a few talks with Grandma, but make it clear that you value experience gifts over “stuff.” A trip to the zoo is a better gift than yet another Leggo set to step on. Just to experiment, I went a few hours without cleaning up my preschooler’s toys. Look what happened!

–Use the library and the internet for entertainment. In this digital age, do you really need to store shelves of albums, DVDs, and books? I had a tough time letting go of my vast book collection. But I did it and haven’t regretted it since. And when it comes to children’s book storage, you’ll get sick of reading the same story over and over and over again. So why not blame the library? “Sorry, buddy, Everyone Poops is due tomorrow. We can check it out again never sometime.”

–Think outside of the box. Or closet. Or whatever. We stored my son’s board games in my clothing closet and my husband’s sheet music collection under the bed. Use the space that you have, no matter how limited it is.

–Don’t assume you need every baby gadget out there. For the longest time, we didn’t have a changing table. We just used a pad on the bed or floor.

What are your best space-saving tips for small space living with kids?

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The hooks we used to hold our stroller:

Wireless headphones to watch TV with a sleeping baby (or mama!) in the same room:

Portable dishwasher on wheels, perfect for renters:

Shoe storage. Mama can never have enough:

We had these in almost every closet!

Changing Table with Drawers

We had this one!

Apartment Sized Play Kitchens

Throwback to the time we did a LIVE broadcast on YouTube about our kids taking over our apartments!

Small Space Living with Kids MomCave



  • loveyoumoretoo

    Such great tips! It has to be hard, but totally doable. I laughed out loud at the hairbrush one. I am so annoyed when I catch my husband using my brush. YOu are a better wife than me. haha

  • we lived in Queens in 1000 square feet when my son was born. It felt palatial. then my daughter was born and the walls were closing in! Now of course we live in the burbs! LOL living in small spaces did teach me to pare down my stuff. Even in our house, the house is like half empty! One thing I hated was having the huge double stroller in the foyer of the apt. Not sure how to get around that.

  • Elizabeth O

    We moved from the city when we were expecting our twins so we never got the taste of making it all work in a smaller space.
    What I can testify to is that the more space we humans have, the more stuff we add. 24 years later and I am working super hard to move the stuff all out. Phew! Keeping it simple is a gift.


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