These are some things we have come up with to make it work (because it has to!) to house a family of 4-two kids under age 3-in an apartment. It is a 2-bedroom apartment and since we cannot let the 3 year old safely room-share with his sister-we share a room with the baby! I know a lot of people like to do that or feel it is safer anyways (Considered to be a SIDS protective factor.) Anyways if you may be in this situation-this post is for you! This may apply to small houses as well.
1)First of all, getting rid of UNNECESSARY FURNITURE would be the best way to start. This is not where we started, but since its so large and you can do this before move-in day if possible, it’s a good starting point.
2)Make use of a MINI STORAGE if you can afford it. If you start your family in an apartment to begin with , you may not have to do this but because we started in a house (long story) and furnished it, we had large furniture that made it cramped when adding two children playing, crawling, etc. We opted to put our larger seating (couch) in storage and keep the love seat and recliner as well as computer chair out.
3)GET RID OF anything you don’t need, or don’t need as many of. We were able to keep some things at our parents’ houses in attics and sheds (high chairs we didn’t need yet, strollers, etc.) I am planning on doing a toy cleanse to get rid of things that are essentially duplicates or things my first child has outgrown that i anticipate my second will get as gifts anyways or that are just not necessary. I really want to separate out the battery operated toys to where I control when they come out of the closet, but that’s another story entirely haha
4) Get all the compact baby items you can! (or if your kids are a little older, then get compact kids’ items.) So this would be space-saving high chairs (we are just keeping our old one but we started in a house), maybe a potty ring instead of separate potty chair (we love the Cushie Tushie!), fold-up changing pad, etc.
5)Change the purpose os some furniture you already have or combined purposes. We have a nightstand that we turned into a changing station in our room that we share with our baby, for example. We moved our kids’ dresser into their closet recently as well. If you can do some under the bed storage, that would be great, too. We didn’t do much of that.
6) Keep your stroller or infant car seats in your car. If you had a house or just one child in an apartment, you may have been used to bringing the car seat or stroller inside after each outing or walk, but those take up so much space that it’s just easier to leave it in the car. Yeah, the strollers get in the way somewhat for grocery trips but you could work around it or just leave it at home if you know you need the trunk space for shopping.
7)If you have lots of decorations or fancy china, just pack it away. For most people, this season of life with babies and preschoolers is probably not one in which you are doing lots of entertaining that requires nicer dishes-and your kids would just break them anyway-so that’s a nonessential that doesn’t have to be kept in the cabinets.
8) SPACE SAVER BAGS are awesome for off-season or outgrown clothes.
9) If you do have an upstairs and downstairs, having TWO OF EVERYTHING (just about) is just a must for me.Two or more diaper storage/changing stations, two sets of toothbrushes (not as necessary, but helpful for a pre-K kiddo or toddler), kids’ books, a few kids toys at least (and baby!) , maybe multiple diaper pails or wetbags for each floor (right now we don’t since we are on one floor most of the time especially on weekends. Thinking about keeping little trash bags upstairs so they can just be carried down when done upstairs. Two booties are a lot of booty to change. 😉 ) Blankets and burp cloths on both floors is also so helpful!
10) Gotta make it an even ten..o I’ll share that while they aren’t much to look at, the large plastic shelves meant for garages really is what we use to keep blankets, dvds, video games controllers, books, and office supplies on downstairs. oh and some toys. 😉 We have one upstairs for medicine (no med cabinet at this apartment), blankets, and my husband’s scrubs.