Sunday, February 24, 2013

Living Simply (in 600 sq ft or less)

When I told some friends/family members of the internets we were moving into a 600-sq-ft apartment, the response was mixed, but mostly included something like: "how on earth can you live with two kids in such a tiny space? My bedroom is 600 sq ft!"

And in reality, it's actually been very manageable. Since we had virtually no belongings upon moving in, it has not been too terrible to reduce our consumption and say no to things that aren't necessities (or luxury items we use often). I no longer have a KitchenAid, or a Crockpot, and I didn't end up with that fancy Rice Cooker I wanted for Christmas. But we just knead our own bread dough (gasp!) and cook our meals in the oven! And it's actually pretty easy. We use our one cast iron frying pan for everything, and we have a few nice Calphalon pots of various sizes that we acquired in a lucky thrift store trip. We are continually reorganizing and rearranging our kitchenwares/closets/fridge/furniture to optimize the space. It's nice to change things up regularly, and having a small space both necessitates that and allows for the possibility of keeping things orderly.

Another benefit is how easy it is to clean! It's also really easy to get messy, especially since the kitchen is the living room is the play room is the bedroom, so there is really nowhere to hide clutter. Since we have friends over pretty regularly (yes, you can host a party! even in a tiny room with one couch!) we are constantly deep-cleaning the front room. And we like to keep it picked up anyways because since you can't escape the clutter, I would go crazy very quickly.

The sleeping arrangements are fairly fixed now, with Atticus sleeping in his loft bed in the middle bedroom, and me and Tallulah sleeping in the other one. Tim's sleeping position is a bit more fluid, and ranges from the couch to Atticus's bed to our bed, depending on what kind of night it is and how often the kids are waking up. He doesn't seem to mind too much, and we've only recently set up Tallulah's travel crib to see if she'll transition out of the bed-sharing arrangement because she is nursing allllllllll night long. The travel crib is great because it's super small so we can easily throw it in the closet if needs be, and one of the sides zips down so I can use it as a by-the-bed co-sleeper (ps: if you're in the market, the Guava GoCrib is hands-down the coolest and most well-made baby item we've ever invested in... even though we spent less than $50 on it at the REI garage sale.... I may have felt differently if we bought it full-priced).

Ok, enough bragging, so here are the logistics of how we do it. I've had a few people ask how we can happily live in this space, and this is how:


All of our clothes are in the closet. The limited floor space means we utilize every inch of closet space instead of having dressers. Tim and I hang mostly everything, and then the little stuff/pajamas/running clothes go in bins on our shelves.The kids' clothes are in a single hanging thing. It holds everything they own and it makes putting away laundry SO much easier.

All the children's clothes, in one six-drawer closet hanging thing

Al my clothes are thrown in these lovely bins because I'm too lazy to hang them up (the top bin is summer clothes and those are extra bed sheets on top, beautiful dark grey organic cotton sheets we found... in the dumpster)

All Tim's clothes are hung up (plus this closet has the kids' car seats and summer gear)

Diapers (cloth and disposable) plus Tim's PJs and underthings in those plastic bins (plus Atticus's
many, many board games)


In case you are wondering, that book is Women's Movements in the Global Era

This picture is actually a few weeks old, we've since had the rack installed for Tim's bike in our bedroom

Living space:

Who needs expensive decorations when you have preschooler art work and family photos?

And no, it's actually not that remarkable or hardcore. We have friends who are moving into 300-sq-ft with their 3-yr-old daughter. Most of the world lives in apartments, houses, huts tinier than this. I think the amount of space is perfect for us, for now, and am happy to be living in it. And I don't feel deprived or wishful of larger spaces (wishful for a washing machine, yes, but that could go in the hall closet! I don't much like trekking to a dank basement communal laundry room. And by trekking I mean walking down two flights of stairs). In a few years though, the townhouses in our complex will be completely redone and the three-bedroom units have their own washers and dryers.... so maybe we'll save up to live in those one day.... :)


  1. I'm impressed. And a little jealous. I sometimes wish for a little less space to clean and a reason to get rid of all the extras! You guys are awesome.

  2. Your house looks like Ikea, particularly Atticus' room. haha. ;-)

  3. It looks great! I loved living in our tiny Wymount apartment. Well, I loved many things about it anyway. One was being able to vacuum the whole place from one power outlet. Your place doesn't looked cramped or cluttered.

    *empathies on the cosleeping/not sleeping with your husband/nursing allllllll night*

  4. Let's discuss the travel crib. I want one for when we travel this summer. I don't see any GoCribs on craigslist, just Baby Bjorns.

  5. We lived in 300 square feet when we were first married and it was perfect. It helped that it was only 300 dollars a month as well...and this was pre IKEA and all their amazingly small things to help space save :) How do you deal with the nursing all night? I get kind of annoyed, like I fall asleep but I feel like I can't sleep my best. I just kept swatting at her in my sleep and having weird dreams about nipple clamps. I think it's because sometimes when she is bored she just likes to chew. Maybe I'm just weird. Anyway this is our thing now, Tiny T starts out in a crib in our bedroom but then she comes into our bed around two. I let her nurse on both sides but then after about twenty minutes I turn my back to her and she falls right asleep. Then about four Peach gets in bed on Dr. J's side. Then at five thirty he leaves. Then I nurse tiny T again. It's working ok, but I do sort of wish we had a bigger bed, we are in a queen now. Back in the 300 day we were sleeping in a full :)

  6. "There is no bad weather, just bad clothing." In this case, there are no bad spaces, just bad furniture.

  7. Your place is awesome. Ours is around 900 sq ft, but I can thankfully still vacuum from one outlet. Overall I think we are doing pretty well, but I am hoping to give away a lot of stuff when we move and live a little more simply.