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February 2022 feature on Redfin.com

February 2022 feature on Redfin.com

Tips for Small Apartment Living with Kids

Written by Ana Guzman, Redfin.com

Small apartment living is one thing, but adding kids to the mix can make it all the more challenging. Organizing and storage is a must especially when it comes to small apartment living and It is important to create a space you are both comfortable in. We’ve gathered expert tips from all over the nation from San Diego, CA to Boston, MA, to share their insights on how to create a living space perfect for your family. From toy organization and getting your children involved in household activities, to cleaning methods and space-saving hacks, read on to see how to create a space that’s right for your needs.

Create an organization method perfect for your child

Sharing small spaces can be a challenge, as we all want our own space to call ours. Encourage kids to build their own autonomy around the space. Gamify picking up and organizing their toys. One way is to have them organize their toys differently each month and someone has to guess what the pattern is. The key is to bring joy and fun into the space. - Kamini Wood, certified Life Coach

Save space by letting kids play with items around the apartment

Kids love to model what you are doing, use your things, and have fresh things they haven't played with before. Give them access to use your things instead of buying toys and switch them out regularly. For example, let them play with your calculator and packaged food instead of buying them a cash register and plastic food. - Rebekah Keizer, Life Coach

Choose furniture with built-in storage

To make the most out of apartment living with kids, you must use these mom hacks of clever storage solutions to maximize your space. Choose furniture pieces that provide hidden storage, like storage ottomans to hide toys. Also, be sure to utilize unused storage spaces such as behind doors, under beds, and behind sofas. - Mom Hacks 101

Break down cleaning step by step

Small living spaces can be easier for kids to manage - big spaces can overwhelm them. Help your child manage the task of "cleaning their room" by breaking up the job into small steps. For example, you might ask your 5-year-old to start by picking up 5 items off the floor and putting them back in the toy box. - Katie Malinski, Parenthood Understood

Everyone should participate with chores

Small spaces are wonderful for creating intimacy and shared experiences. One of the best ways to share small spaces with children and grow as a family at the same time is for everyone to participate in household chores. Taking time to help out in age-appropriate ways teaches responsibility, encourages everyone in the home to happily work for the benefit of the rest of the family, and results in a cleaner, less cluttered, and healthier home. - Truth Love Parent 

Encourage your kids to help in the kitchen

Having kids help in the kitchen is important for them and to share family responsibility - but it isn't always easy in small spaces. Fix the elbow room problem by setting kids up at the table instead of the counter. It's a better height for them anyway, and everyone will enjoy their time together more if it's less stressful. - Kids Cook Real Food

Designate space and furniture for toy storage

As a twin mom of 3-year-old boy toddlers, toys can quickly take over every room. To keep the toys at bay (twins - think two of everything) we have designated areas and pieces of furniture for toy storage. For example, in our family room, we use a hinged, soft close, tufted fabric ottoman as a toy box and coffee table. Once the day is done, the toys are stored away in the ottoman and we simply place a cute tray on it to use as our coffee table. Perfect for drinks and the remote. - 50 is the New Mommy

Add a basket for your children to throw toys in after they play

Educate your kids to clean up after themselves or designate a “dump basket” that your child can have fun throwing their toys in and you can sort out later. I have a fun game with my son where I made him believe the vacuum would eat his toys. He thinks it’s funny and not funny at the same time, which proved to me that he is actually fully capable of cleaning his toys. - The Mommy Codes

Use plastic door shoe racks for toy organization

Use a clear plastic over-the-door shoe rack for your child's toy storage. This helps to get baskets and boxes off the floor and creates more floor space for playtime. Your child can see where each toy is located and she can organize her toys in sections. This idea makes an unused closet door space usable. If your closet door is not an option, hang the shoe rack on your child's wall. - Parenting From The Heart

Have a container dedicated to your child’s special items

Small apartment living with kids can be a challenge - but if you include your children in that challenge - it can also be fun. We all know that the most helpful tip is to decrease the amount of stuff we have and for all that stuff to have a home. We can do this with our kiddos as well, teaching them responsibility in the process. Get one small box that will fit under your kid’s bed and let that be their special box. They can fill it with whatever they want, but that’s all the space they get - so when they want to add more, they get to decide what to take away. - Coach Crystal

Multi-functional furniture is a must for small apartment living

Make each piece of furniture multi-functional. Your child’s bed is not only a bed, but it also flips up so you can store their toys underneath. The nightstand has a piece that extends out to make it a table or desk. Be creative. I also think it helps to have visual boundaries between you and your kids. Putting two kids in the same room with a bunk bed gives them a bit more privacy because they’re not always looking at each other. Creating more partitions in your small apartment can help them stay more focused and give you more peace of mind. - New Mommy Media

Make every room a playroom

As a parent who once shared a small two-bedroom with a den apartment with my husband and three kids, my advice is to make every room a playroom. Do this by furnishing your apartment with as much storage furniture as possible. The key is to find a nice modern storage bench or storage table for each room, even the kitchen, that can double as a toy chess. When your little ones follow you from room to room and want to play, you can easily clean up or teach them to clean up by throwing all of their toys in their "toy chess" at the end of the day. Makes clutter almost impossible. Who says a toy chess has to look like one? - University for Kids

Declutter and organize throughout the day

When I work with clients who find clutter to be a major anxiety for them I always recommend O.H.I.O.- only handle it once. When new tasks arise, we often put them off until tomorrow and sometimes go back to the same tasks repeatedly without completing them. You will save time and energy and reduce clutter in your home by only handling tasks when you have the time to finish them. - Coach Monique

Convert closet space to a designated children’s area

One of my favorite space-saving ideas is to convert a closet into an at-home homework or craft space. Even the smallest closet can fit a desk workspace (try a flip-down wall desk), a stool that pushes under the desk, and shelving above to help organize and hold books and craft supplies. Close away the space with the closet door or a curtain when not in use to cut down on the clutter in your main living space. - Homeschool Super Freak

Involve your children with cleaning

Get your young children to help you with the cleaning. While it can be tempting to shoo them away because let’s face it, they can be more unhelpful than helpful, it plays into their natural desire to want to help. So as they get older, they will naturally notice when things need to be put away or tidied and have already been in the routine to help. - Kids Flourish

Hide toys in plain sight

When it comes to living in an apartment with kids, try thinking outside the box... literally. Instead of hiding toys away, embrace the playtime by storing bigger toys in plain sight. Makeover your toy kitchen to match the aesthetic of your living room, add bookshelves to the wall, and think of ways to put "fun" on display.” - PEL Learning Centers

Ask yourself questions before bringing home new products

Small apartment living with kids can allow you to be closer to your child's play and exploration. When setting up their play space, consider the versatility of the products you bring into your home. Ask yourself, "Can they be used in multiple ways, can they be stored easily, can they wipe down easily?" There are so many versatile products that allow for fantastic open-ended play in smaller spaces that extend your child's engagement and development. When being selective with toys, a smaller space can be even more valuable and engaging than a larger space. - Ashley Wilson, Founder of The Creative Learning Co.

Invest in space-saving furniture for small apartment living

For small apartment living with kids, we highly recommend considering collapsible or foldable furniture, especially in your kids' rooms. If your kids are sharing a room, bunk beds are ideal for small rooms. Cubbies with bins or baskets are also an effective way to organize toys without making the room look cluttered. - Fun with Kids in LA

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