I recently queried on Facebook for questions readers had for us about intentionally living small. You had some great thoughts! Today’s post is a response to one dear friend who asked for advice on how to start a family in a small space. Also, I have several buddies who are pregnant right now and are beginning their own families in current apartments or homes. This is for all of you! <3
I don’t generally feel comfortable giving advice per se, but I am happy to supply encouragement based off our experience. 🙂 Below are five thoughts that will hopefully give you some confidence that you can start a family in a small space. Living as a large family in a little home can be done well, and you will be blessed as a result!
Living as a large family in a little home can be done well, and you will be blessed as a result!
1. Give yourself a pat on the back
Yay for you! The fact that you are even entertaining the question “how to start a family in a small space” reveals that you haven’t bought into the lie that you need more square feet in order to add members to your clan. Children love to be in close proximity to their parents. You might even find that you’re more in-tune to their needs and quirks because of the closeness. Giving them their own bedroom/bathroom/play room are fine options if you already have the area, but they are also unnecessary uses of space. Many families don’t realize that they could be just as happy in perhaps half their square footage. In our opinion, the benefits of raising children in a small home are abundant. So, high five. You’re on a great track!
2. Embrace your home. Make it work; you might learn to love it.
Attitude has much to do with how your situation turns out. Embrace the home you are currently in. Wishing for more or something different will only add to discouragement. Make a list of the things you DO appreciate about your current home. Does it have a great location? Low rent or mortgage? Awesome natural light? Pretty floors? Great storage? Friends nearby?
Dwell on your list of positives and find ways to enhance the parts you already appreciate. Next analyze how your flow of life can work better as your family swells. Does it mean changing sleeping arrangements? Swapping out how you store certain items? Is your furniture going to continue working as it currently does? What do you need to get rid of to alleviate the crunch for space (and to feel a whole lot lighter about life in general!)?
3. Get creative with how you design your living space.
Think outside the box when preparing for a new baby. Can you omit a coffee table and instead create a spot for plants or drinks to the side or back of the couch? Will you share a room/bed with baby? Will you give them the bedroom and make a marital nest elsewhere? Is there a closet in which you can create a darling “baby nook”? (I’m especially smitten with ideas like this): 🙂
4. Be intentional about items that you allow into your home.
This one is difficult because people LOVE to buy baby things. And they love to gift them. They love to pass on heirlooms and the baby stuff that they appreciated and before you know it, your living room is transformed into a mountain range of well-meant mish-mash. Create a modest registry and politely encourage people to purchase gifts off your chosen list. It is alright to let people know upfront that you are limited in space and would prefer gift cards or “consumable” items such as baby wipes/diapers/baby food. Accept gifts graciously, but realize that what stays in your home is up to you.
Also, PURGE. Purge belongings before baby comes, purge again after and keep at it. I’m always amazed at the amount of stuff I find in our home with which I don’t mind parting. Purging is a constant, intentional action you must take to keep material items under control. If you’re not careful about only keeping what you truly need and love, you’ll accumulate more than you want. It’s as simple as that.
If you’re not careful about only keeping what you truly need and love, you’ll accumulate more than you want. It’s as simple as that.
5. Don’t buy anything that you don’t positively need.
Babies outgrow clothes and developmental stages at lightning-fast speed. Caveman and I have found that if we hold off on buying something we think we need for a few weeks, we’ll find we didn’t need the item after all. The baby’s stage or habits will change. You’ll discover a work-around that actually suits your family just fine. They’ll outgrow the size. Or they’ll all of a sudden learn how to sit up or crawl and that toy or activity or won’t seem so alluring. Life with children is amazingly fluid; it is always changing. Approaching purchases slowly and thoughtfully will help your small home to serve you better.
Growing your family in a small space is not only feasible; it can be done with grace and joy and yields great rewards.
Oh, and … If this post was helpful to you, you might want to check out this related one: Four tips for living with a baby in a small space. 🙂
Have you started your family in a little home? What would YOU add to this list of how to do it well? Comment below and tell us!