Mitch and I committed to move into our one-bedroom apartment in November, started renovations in December, and found out we were pregnant in January. Even though we aren’t sure how long this arrangement is going to work, Erin Boyle’s Simple Matters gives me a lot of hope that tiny apartments can work for families. I love our place, so we're intentionally making improvements to hopefully prolong our stay.
I discussed our first order of business here, talking about the great purge of our possessions when we moved, and we have been strict with ourselves since. However, we have those items we won't part with and the reality is we're soon-to-be parents. We couldn't simply purge everything to fit the space. We also needed to spend some time wrestling with the challenges to come up with some solutions.
The moral of the story: eliminate what you can,
then make space for the items you love and reality's curveballs along the way.
You might find space you didn’t know you had.
We did in three different areas!
CHALLENGE 1 | NO LIBRARY
It’s bad guys. Cord can attest that Mitch and I had more than a dozen boxes of books, which took Cord and me multiple trips to transport from our old place to this one. Our two heirloom bookshelves were overflowing. We're book lovers…it's our vice.
SOLUTION: We have high ceilings and not much art, so we decided to use the upper wall space to our advantage. Mitch designed a custom bookshelf, which he hung high enough to utilize otherwise unused space. If you're interested in a HOW TO for this project, let us know. Mitch can definitely share his design and process.
CHALLENGE 2 | NO NURSERY
Obviously, in a one-bedroom apartment, we don't have a separate nursery. There is a large closet in the bedroom, but it was an awkwardly long space that had been poorly utilized. Because of that, we store my clothing in the bedroom on an open rack Mitch made at our last place. We honestly considered using the closet as a nursery. We thought of a ton of arrangements and shopped for tiny furniture online, but nothing made sense. Plus, I’m nervous about the lack of windows and vents. So, we had a dysfunctional closet and no nursery.
SOLUTION: We decided to revamp the closet to fit everything two (and a half) people could need, and have made more space in our bedroom for the man cub to co-sleep with us...for now. I measured and laid it out on the computer, and then Mitch cut shelves and rods and installed everything based on the design. It’s working great!
CHALLENGE 3 | NO PANTRY
We decided not to install upper cabinets when we renovated the kitchen. The larger I’ve gotten with the pregnancy, the more difficult it has been to crouch and reach into lower cupboards for pantry items and everyday dishes.
SOLUTION: We raided our mamas' spare jar and container collections and made an open pantry that we now store on the upper open shelving. It can look a little busy, but it’s so much more accessible, simple, and practical.
We really value simplicity as a lifestyle. I also hate visual clutter. I always thought the two preferences were compatible, but one thing I’m learning about getting creative with space...a lifestyle of simplicity doesn’t always look sparse. Simplicity isn’t always aesthetically flawless.
For us, living in a tiny apartment is a lifestyle choice towards simple. However, in our experience, it doesn’t mean getting rid of absolutely everything, especially beloved collections. When you’re married to an old soul whose loves are pipe tobacco and literature, you create a space for his library. And when you become pregnant unexpectedly, you work with your changing body and make space for a new little soul to join you.
So how did we do? What do you think of our solutions? How have you accommodated your vices and life’s curveballs in your own spaces? Would love to hear! Comment and let us know!