Prior to getting married, my husband and I agreed that he would move from his condo to my condo, although his condo is about 100 square feet larger than mine, because his condo was downtown and I would have to rent a parking space on a monthly basis. My dog also has allergies and his carpeted floor would be an issue (although not that big of an issue as we could have always removed the carpet). His condo also doesn’t have much in the way of a balcony which is a must for me to not feel claustrophobic.
When we got married we found out shortly after we were expecting and then the panic ensued. I started fretting about how we were going to make a one bedroom 450 square feet space work for two adults, a baby, and a small dog.
We started looking at two bedroom spaces to rent, but the rental prices was just too much for what was available compared to my mortgage and maintenance fees I was paying now. One place was a ‘garden level’ suite which was really a euphemism for a basement suite and you could hear the kids upstairs (at least 2-3 kids?) stomping around and screaming. Another place we looked at seemed nice but they had a strict pet policy and bike policy (my husband refused to leave his bike in a bike locker).
Therefore we felt that since we have always been wanting to make small spaces work and we embrace the idea of minimalism and throwing things away (I was obsessed with Resource Furniture and their functional designs), we would try to make this work. It would be for short term anyway, until the little one was 1.5 to 2 years of age.
When I tell people I know that we are making 450 square feet work I usually get incredulous looks. So far, 450 square feet has worked for both of us and one dog and we haven’t wanted to strangle each other yet, so hopefully adding a baby to the mix won’t be too bad.
So then the idea was born of get rid of 365 things in my condo (of my stuff, in my personal finance goals for 2017) and my husband did his fair share of getting rid of his stuff (though he still has all his Berkshire Hathaway Annual Reports that he treasures) to fit into the apartment.
Here are some of the things we did to prepare for the addition of a baby in 450 square feet:
Thankfully my condo has some pretty highish ceilings so we went vertical. Nothing fancy but it’ll do temporarily.
- We fixed my Dyson Vacuum onto the wall (I swear I should have done that eons ago, it’s so handy when it’s hung on the wall!)
- We put up a shelf to hold the baby stuff (toys, extra diapers, books)
- We put an Ikea rack in the bathroom to put our extra towels and supplies for baby bath time (it looks crooked but it really isn’t!)
- We bought a two person dining table that folds into the wall
- Hung up a changing station with diapers, wash cloths, and wipes
There was a lot of evaluating whether we needed things that we currently own and a lot of getting creative.
- Turned my printer area into a change table by adding a changing pad on top of it, moving the printer off it (obviously haha) and getting rid of books etc. in the cabinets and putting baby paraphernalia in it instead
- We dedicated a drawer in our bed to baby clothing, 0-6 months and have other clothing tucked away in a Rubbermaid tote
BOUGHT COMPACT BABY GEAR
We needed things that could be stored away or folded.
- We bought a Babyletto Origami Mini Crib on Amazon ($269) that has wheels and is in my favourite colour, which they call Lagoon. We are hoping the mini crib will last until the baby is 1.5 to 2 years old. It was much cheaper to buy on Amazon than at the local stores in Canada (over $400 for the same crib). When buying a crib in the United States you have to make sure they sell the same crib in Canada or else the customs officials won’t allow you to bring it over.
- We have a Brica Fold N’ Go Travel Bassinet (it’s mesh) and can be stowed away when not in use.
- We also got a Baby Box that we got for free from Baby Box Co that we use as a bassinet (and can use as storage for toys after the bassinet is not needed). Our baby liked this initially but then kept banging his hands and feet against the cardboard so doesn’t like it as much as the Brica Fold N’ Go bassinet
- We bought a Boon Naked Collapsible Baby Bathtub (used, on Craigslist for $30) that folds relatively flat and can be tucked away. We actually hang it on that Ikea rack you saw earlier where it dries nicely after bath time.
- We know that we will need to get rid of our bed in the bedroom and just have the crib in there when the baby starts to sleep on its own when he/she is anywhere from six months to one year (or so the recommendations are). Then we will be sleeping in the living room, so we were thinking about buying a Resource Furniture wall bed (that is also a sofa) or Vancouver’s own Expand Furniture sofa/wall bed but this is going to set us back $5000-$10,000 and we might just stick with a futon sofa bed instead (at no cost since it will be one that family doesn’t want).
The Penelope Sofa from Resource Furniture, isn’t it just gorgeous?
The Expand Furniture Double Wall Bed Couch a cool $5995 + taxes
Hopefully the above tips will help you realize that you have more space than you need, and if I can do it in a 450 square foot one bedroom apartment (two adults, one small dog, and one baby) you can too!
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Readers, do you have any other tips for living minimally? Yay or Nay on splurging on convertible furniture?