Living in Small Spaces: Nursery, Part I

DSC_0549It was in the 60s today, and the sun was out.  Old hat for everyone who doesn’t live in a sub-arctic region, but for us it was pure heaven.  The baby is due in a month and the “nursery” is still full of our office-y kind of stuff and all our other storage spaces have seem to run out of room.  So we went on a sort of cleaning/clearing out frenzy today.  Or I started to and then John graciously stepped in and helped.

So now I have a bag for Goodwill and another bag for Trader K’s (a consignment store here that gives you store credit for nice used clothes) ready to go.  In the past few weeks I’ve also taken bags full of books and random, unused home goods to donate (sheets for beds we no longer have, some kitchen things that never get used, pillows we had too many of).  So now we have a little more space. Though the nursery is still half office and pretty much a mess.

DSC_0548I think the usual thinking with having a baby is that you’re adding another person so you need a bigger car and a bigger house or apartment or whatever.  Our thinking has been: let’s get rid of enough stuff so that we can bring in a baby and still have enough space to breathe.  This means that we’ve had to clear out our 8.5′ x 7.5′ guest room/office to make a nursery.  We’re keeping a high shelf on the wall with some office things, but we got rid of our twin bed (sorry, guests!) and we’re going to buy a new bookcase from IKEA for our living room to move the rest of our office-type things into (as well as all the books that are double stacked on our current bookshelves).

DSC_0550Along with getting rid of things we’re also trying not to accumulate much new stuff for the baby.   We got a mini-crib instead of a full-sized one (we’ll see how long it lasts– the mattress can be adjusted and goes down almost as low as the floor).  We have a desk/table that we might use for a changing table if it fits in the room once we get a little dresser in there.  If it doesn’t fit, I’m going to change the baby on an old towel on the ground.

Anyway, the room is still in progress.  I’ll post more pictures once everything is finished.

Also, for the record, I’m not trying to be all “look how frugal and simple we are,” because most people in the world would look at our tiny apartment and think that we must be some kind of royalty. (Running water that is clean!  Electricity! Pantry and fridge full of food!) And some people we know here lived in a 400 sq ft. apartment with 2 babies– the younger of whom slept in her car seat for 6 months because there wasn’t room for two cribs.  And there are people who have more space than us who are able to take care of foster kids or offer rooms for people to stay in.  So I’m not saying that we’ve arrived at some holy pinnacle of simplicity or that we’re virtuous because we live in a (relatively) small apartment. Not at all.

I’m just writing this for people who for whatever reason live in a small-ish space or for people who feel like they are too cramped wherever they are.  I’m just saying that you don’t (necessarily) need a bigger house or apartment.  It’s possible to go through boxes and drawers and closets and find things to give away or sell or donate and carve out enough space to stay right where you are.  And if any of you have ideas about how to make a nursery in a small space I would love to hear your thoughts!

Resources for clearing out clutter & living simply:

8 Tips for Editing Your Life that Work for Any Budget

Living With Less

Simple Mom (blog with lots of ideas for organizing and living more simply)

Great series on simplifying:

Simplifying in the Bedroom
Simplifying in the Bathroom
Simplifying in the Kitchen
Simplifying Your Wardrobe
Simplifying Your Purchases
Simplifying the Toy Collection
Simplifying Your Home Office

Organized Simplicity: Clutter Free Approach to Intentional Living (book)

From Clutter to Clarity (book)

5 thoughts on “Living in Small Spaces: Nursery, Part I”

  1. I totally agree with you, we also live in a small house with a teenager and it works. It forces you to simplify, which is a good thing.

  2. you can change the baby on a padded changing pad on top of the dresser! that’s what we are going to do!! and I have seen it done on lots of design sites-definitely no need for a piece used only for changing. or you can change the baby on your bed on a changing pad of sorts, which is what I have done with lots of babies I’ve nannied (probably way more comfortable than a towel on the floor!) hope this helps 🙂 SO excited for y’all- the baby is coming so soon!!! love you!
    p.s. we have designated our storage closet as the nursery, so we are working in a similarly small space 🙂

    1. Hey Kristin! Yeah, I love the idea of a changing pad on top of a dresser, but we’re getting a taller dresser so that won’t work. 😦 But I think we might be able to keep this little wooden table/desk in there for changing. We just have to see how crowded it feels once the dresser is in there…… Thanks for the advice though! And I want to hear how things are going with you guys getting settled into the new place sometime soon! love you too!

  3. Hi Laurie!
    This is Shelly (Jenny’s friend), I know we’ve never met, but since you live near where I grew up (Owego) and we have a mutual friend I almost feel like I know you. I enjoy looking at your blog, your recipes are fabulous!
    I have always had my changing station set up on top of our washer/dryer, it seemed easier using cloth diapers, since I didn’t have to take them anywhere when it was time to wash them. This also meant that the dresser wasn’t right there, so for about the first year of their lives my kids cloths lived in a shoe rack on the back of the laundry room door…so that took up almost no room at all, just another outside the box thought.
    Best wishes for your sweet one’s birth!

    1. Shelly!!! I feel like I practically know you, too! Amazing! I love the idea of changing on top of the washer/dryer, and clothes on the back of the door. Genius. Thank you for the great ideas!!

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