When I moved into my Hell’s Kitchen studio nearly 5 years ago, I had no hesitations — large kitchen, washer/dryer, and an amazing view all equaled a no brainer. The square footage didn’t matter to me because it was just me.
Then I met my now husband.
THEN we had a baby.
Suddenly my perfect bachelorette studio started to resemble one of my many shoe boxes.
When we found out we were expecting, one of the first questions people would ask us is when we’d be moving, because the general consensus was that there was no way we could possibly raise a baby in a studio apartment. Admittedly, we felt the same way… at first. In hindsight, it was great!
IT’S MADE US SMARTER SHOPPERS.
Babies really and truly don’t take up a whole lot of space, nor do they need a whole lot of stuff. When shopping for her (and even for ourselves) it forces us to really think about our needs versus our wants. For example — we needed a place to change her, but didn’t mean it had to be a changing table, even though we initially wanted one. We bought changing pads and changed her in her crib or on our bed. Had we been in a larger place, where she’d have a nursery, we probably would’ve bought a changing table, that would’ve ultimately been unnecessary.
Unlike a lot of people, we weren't (and still aren't) tripping over a ton of toys because while worrying about where we’d put it, we also got to think about if she’d truly need it. She has a reasonable amount of toys, books, and entertainment, without it overflowing in our home (even though some times, it does still seem like a lot, lol).
WE’VE BECOME MUCH MORE RESOURCEFUL.
Everyone knows when space is at a premium in your home, everything has to serve dual purposes — storage end table, shelf lamp, etc. But in addition to looking for functional pieces to purchase, we started taking second and third looks at the things we already owned, and thinking about how they could be repurposed to better serve us. Last thing we wanted to do was throw away a bunch of stuff to only replace them with something almost the same. So our old magazine stand suddenly became a perfect caddy for her bath time; our stacking drawers became the perfect dresser; and our wire baskets -- great for organizing toys.
THERE’S NO FEAR OF US BECOMING HOARDERS.
The biggest lesson here was that 9 times out of 10, people only hold on to things because they have someplace to put it — storage breeds clutter. Unless it was truly serving a purpose or had some sort of deep sentimental value, there was really no need to hold on to a lot of things.
Spring cleaning became more than just a yearly tradition for us. We would pare down regularly, never allowing things to overflow. In a small space, it’s really easy for things to start feeling crowded, so aside from not shopping too much, we also stopped holding on to things that no longer served a purpose.
This became especially true with our daughters stuff — as she got older (she’s now 20 months) and outgrew a lot of her stuff, a lot of people urged us to hold on to things, just in case we had another baby. Never mind the fact that we didn’t have the luxury of just storing things, there was also no guarantee that (a) we’d have another baby or (b) we’d use these items for said baby. Now we’re just sitting on boxes of clothes, gear, and other, taking up valuable space.
So contrary to popular belief, I still think my tiny NYC studio apartment is the best thing that ever happened to our tiny family.