Space Saving Ideas for Urban Families
Small Space Living
Living in small spaces is something I've grown accustomed to, being a city dweller. We started out living in a small apartment in the artsy/cultural part of Vancouver, just my husband and I. Six years later my husband and I are still loyal city residents but now we've got two kids under the age of 3 and a half. We just can't find a good reason to leave this culturally diverse, physically stunning location in the heart of the city and our kids love city living just as much as we do.
As much as I love our location and our close proximity to markets, shops, cafes and community centers, we have willingly sacrificed space for the sake of great location and easy access to work. Most people can quite easily adjust to apartment or condo life with just one child, in terms of stuff management. I will say that even with one child, it's very possible to lose the war on space as kids these days seem to require more and more "equipment". Many families find that once your child reaches a certain age or when you start to have more kids, you lose a lot of surface space in your home and all of a sudden, living in small spaces is all of a sudden a reality.
Small space living can be tricky for for everyone, not just for families with kids. It's easy to get sucked into the trap of keeping absolutely everything and before you know you've got stacks of paperwork, boxes of unworn clothing, dozens of shoes that go on untouched as well as extra furniture and sports equipment. Let's look at some space saving ideas that will save your sanity.
Space Saving Tips
Finding Solutions to Small Space Living
If you're like most people living in a small spaces, you're probably feeling cramped and frustrated. Maybe you don't even know where to start and the thought of hiring an organizer can be daunting and also expensive. Adding kids to the mix can make matters even worse and if you're in this boat (a lot of us are, whether we're living in small spaces or even living in large spaces). So where do you even begin to get your life in order? Here are some space saving tips that will help you get you to steam line your life in a major way, I've broken down the tips into 2 categories, family tips (feel free to ignore these tips if you are currently not living with kids) and general clutter free tips.
Space Saving Ideas
Space Saving Ideas
General Clutter-Free Tips
Tip #1: Instead of displaying your kids toys where your kids can access them, just pick 5 or 6 toys per child and display those. The rest of your kids toys can be put in a box in a storage space. Try rotating the toys every week. Picking which 5 or 6 toys are out and on display can be child-led or parent-led-it's really up to you, depending on the age(es) of your child (children).
Tip #1: Don't hold on to everything you own: learn to let go. If any item you own is not used in the past 6 months to a year, throw it out or give it away. Sentimental items can be kept, but it's important for you to establish what is sentimental and what is clutter.
Tip #2: Go through your kids toys regularly and pick out any toys that literally never get played with. Give the toys that are mostly unused to a non-profit or thrift store. Consider trading excellent condition items for other items that you need for your kids. Example: I'm currently trying to trade my single Chariot bike trailer for a double bike trailer, since I now have 2 kids.
Tip #2: Periodically go through and assess your stuff and decide which stuff can stay and which stuff can go. What can you live without?
Tip #3: If you don't want all your kids toys and stuff all over the house, consider keeping these items in your child/children's room. If your kids have the habit of leaving their stuff all over the house, be sure to call them on it and enforce an immediate consequence.
Tip #3: Maximize floor space by using floating shelves and have furniture items that serve multiple purposes, such as a bookshelf with an attachable desk or a bed that folds into the wall (Murphy bed)
Small Space Living
Space Saving Ideas: Kitchen
- If your kitchen table is taking up too much floor space, have you thought about replacing it with a table that easily folds flat? Instead of having the table out in the open, you could store a folding table and chairs somewhere else in the house and use bar stools and the kitchen counter to eat. This might not work for every family, but it would certainly give you a lot more floor space.
- If you don't have room for a deep freezer and you're finding that there's just not enough room in your regular fridge/freezer, have you considered vacuum sealing some of your food? This significantly decreases the surface area taken up by regular containers or food packages.
- Is your pantry or front entry a disaster area every time you open it? A good way to organize your brooms is to mount them up on the wall of your closet/pantry. Mounting cleaning devices on the wall also creates more floor space and gives you more room for other things, like shoes.
- Do cards, pictures and your kids' artwork pile up quickly on your kitchen counter? A fun way to display these types of items is to pin up a string or wire and to clip on the items you want to display. Be sure to change up the items often.
- Have a space to collect immediate paperwork and be sure to file these papers in a file cabinet or other permanent spot once the paperwork is dealt with.
Space Saving Ideas: Rec Room/Storage Area
- If you find yourself with a ton of sports equipment, utilize shelving units and wall racks to store your stuff, so you're not stumbling over items on the floor.
- Bike stands or bike hooks are great for storing multiple bikes and for maximizing floor space.
- If you don't want a cluttered rec room, consider keeping toys in bins. These bins can stay in the rec room or they could stay in other rooms in the house, even the child's bedroom.