Living Well with Kids in Small Spaces

small space living with kids

Our little family of four is closing in on the end of three years living in our cozy 2-bedroom, 1,000 sq. ft. apartment. We quickly settled into a set-up that has worked for us, giving us all plenty of space to relax, play, work, and even entertain and welcome others into our small space.

Now, with baby three due in a few short months, we are looking around for a small 3-bedroom option. I'm all for a challenge of living small, but more than anything I am craving a yard for my growing kids to easily play outside. That said, I wanted to share a few thoughts on how we have made our apartment work for our young family. You know, before we (hopefully) transition to a 3-bedroom space.

small space with kids: hide toys away in ottomans

Hidden Toy Storage

Daniel came up with our minimalist entertainment solution before we moved in, and I quickly latched onto it loving the potential of adding ottomans to stowaway some of the kids' toys. Since the kids share a room, this gives them a little extra toy storage, and it also makes it easily accessible making the living room act as an alternative playroom. Clean up is also super easy, keeping the living room guest-friendly.

More pictures of our entertainment solution are >> here.

small spaces with kids: store books in covered crates

Kid Bookshelf Space

The kids also have their own space on the bookshelf for their books, so no book-space necessary in their tight room. There is space here for quite a few of their favorite books, as well as a shelf for the books we get from the library--especially since the library is our primary reason for not needing to own lots of our own kids' books.

The books are more easily accessible for the kids by putting them cover forward in a covered crate. This keeps our bookshelf looking clean and simple, while making the books easy to find for the kids.

Our undercover crates w/ link to tutorial is >> here.

small spaces with kids: workspace to call their own

Kid-Friendly Workspace

This kid-sized table in the dining room serves as a multi-purpose workspace for the kids. They do art here and play here and often even eat here. I thought only a large home would have space for something like this, but with a little creative rearranging there is just enough space for our main dining table and for the kids' table. Now I can't imagine not having this little workspace just for them.

small spaces with kids: decorating home with their artwork

Displaying Artwork

Incorporating the kids' artwork throughout our home is also a special way to make them feel at home here. We have some simple twine and clothespins over their table that we keep artwork curated. This space helps keep the fridge and other areas from getting cluttered, because they know this is the designated art area. There have also been times when I'll take a painting or other picture and frame it to add in the living room or over my desk. Putting it in a frame makes it stand out and mesh better with the decor.

Then, there are the areas like over the dining table where I specifically seek their help in creating what I hang on the walls. I told Brylee what I wanted written and let her decorate how she saw fit. I just love her involvement in that project and the result.

More pictures of the dining area are >> here.

small spaces with kids: rethink furniture options + placement

Rethinking Furniture

The kids' bedroom is the main place we have really had to reconsider furniture--both what is necessary and how it's placed. We started with considering what's necessary. The kids have never had a dresser, as their clothes are all organized in hanging closet organizers. This helps keep everything paired down to the essentials and what's current. They share a bookshelf and have a couple bins to organize toys.

Then, we got creative with furniture placement. Instead of wasting the space in front of the large closet doors, we strategically placed Ian's crib in front of the closet. We pulled it far enough forward that there is enough space to easily access everything in the closet. But it's also out of the way to allow room for toys and play.

More pictures of the kids' room are >> here for Brylee's space
and >> here for Ian's space.

small spaces with kids: declutter toys

Decluttering Kids' Toys, Clothes, Books

The absolute essential to helping us fit well with kids in our small home is decluttering. Kids are a magnet for things--clothes, gifts, trinkets, toys, books, etc. It's amazing how quickly we start falling out of closets and off of shelves if I don't stay on top of clearing out the excess. But as I do go through and choose carefully what we need, what we love, and what we use, then we always fit well in our home and create a naturally more organized and spacious place.

Counting Our Blessings

I constantly remind myself (and the kids) how blessed we are--and those blessings aren't dependent on the size of our space. In this season, we are so fortunate to each have our own comfy places to rest our sleepy heads, and climate control from the harsh seasonal weather, and cupboards full of food with a clean space to cook and eat.

The list goes on and on. But no matter where we find ourselves--whether we're living with my sister while we find a job and a home or living in our own 2-bedroom palace--I hope we will always find something to be thankful for, and find some way to use whatever little or lot that we have to be a blessing to others.

That, I feel, is truly a space well-used.


r e l a t e d   p o s t s :

the month we put away the kids' toys
indoor kids activities
picture chore charts
love the place you live
exhausted, but not giving up