How To Live in a One-Bedroom Apartment with a Baby (and Stay Sane)

Sure, there have been a few moments when I’ve frantically started searching Craigslist for 2-bedroom apartments so we can get the heck out of this teeny place, but in general, I’d say living in a 1-bedroom apartment with two adults and a baby has gone just swimmingly. (Those frantic moments always had something to do with an overtired baby and nowhere to run away from the heart-wrenching cries :-/ )

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There are several reasons why we decided not to move when we found out I was pregnant: 1. We knew it was very likely we’d be moving for my husband’s grad school program in a year or so and didn’t want to move twice. 2. We save a TON of money living in our 500-square foot apartment. 3. We actually truly do love our apartment, despite it’s quirks, eg. creaky floorboards, fluctuating water temperatures, unreliable window unit, etc etc.

All that said, we’ve definitely had to learn a thing or two to make it work. Here are a few of our tips and tricks for keeping baby Liv happy and us parents sane!

  1. The nighttime switerchoo. I’ve heard of other parents with a baby in a 1-bed say that they put their baby to sleep in the living room, then simply have to stay isolated to their bedroom and sneak around quietly after the baby goes to bed. After hearing that, I’d say probably the most genius idea we’ve come up with is to put Liv to bed in the Pack ‘n Play in our bedroom, then hang out and function as normal adults in the rest of the house until we are ready to go to bed. At that time, we each take a side of the Pack ‘n Play, lift it up, walk it out into the darkened living room, then go get ready for bed in our room as usual. Sometimes Liv stirs in her sleep, but it usually works out just fine!
  2. Pack ‘N Play fo life. Another one of our greatest ideas in parenthood life was to buy a Pack ‘N Play and have it serve as Liv’s bassinet, crib, crib-on-the-go and play pen. I know plenty of parents buy them for the whole crib-on-the-go aspect, but if you’re on a budget or tight on space, GET THE PACK N PLAY, and ONLY the Pack ‘N Play. Bonus: if you’re having a party and want it out of sight, you can simply fold it and put it away in the closet for the evening.
  3. Naps in the bedroom. Just like we do at night, we put Liv down for naps in our bedroom. That way, we can darken the windows (we’re ghetto and use cardboard), minimize the noise in the room and still have the rest of the apartment to do our thing.
  4. Every bit of storage space counts. This baby girl certainly doesn’t have a nursery abounding with toys. Instead, she gets precisely two corners of the apartment to lay claim over. One spot is her toy zone in the living room. The other is her dresser/baby storage/changing table in our bedroom. To maximize space, we decorated the shelves above the dresser with her toys, books, and even diapers and wipes. Present them in a pretty way, and you’ve got function and cheap decor. Win-win!
  5. Minimal toys. We made sure to find toys that could be packed down compactly, since babies quickly outgrow them. For months 0-3, her main “toy” was this Graco swing. Then we put it away in storage and introduced this play mat. When she turned 6 months, we put that away and brought out the big boy: the Fisher Price Rainforest Jumperoo. Whenever Liv outgrows that, we’ll be able to pack it down too and then her little corner will be filled with a few other toys. Aside from those main toys, she has a few stacking cups, fake food, a stuffed animal and some books. That’s it and that’s all! We give her household items like lotion bottles, boxes and plastic dishes to keep things real lively around here.
  6. High chair efficiency. If we had a big enough space for the kitchen table, we would’ve gotten one of these high chair seats that just goes on an adult chair, but since we only have a 2-person table, we went for the next best thing: the $15 Ikea high chair. It’s small and can easily be taken apart if we want to make room for dinner guests some nights.
  7. Walks, walks and more walks. In a 1-bedroom apartment, there aren’t a lot of places to turn for a change of scenery. Even Liv gets tired of it sometimes! So when she’s fed up with the apartment life, we make sure to get out for a walk around the block, if nothing else. We usually end up walking once in the morning and once in the evening. Sometimes more if we haven’t been running errands at all during the day! Luckily we live in the perfect area for observing lots of birds in the trees, fish in the stream and people on the street!

(Photo via Marriage is the Bomb)