Monday, October 20, 2014

Living in a Small Space with twins

When we found out we were pregnant, there was excitement, surprise and oh-my-god-we-are-moving-into-a-one-bedroom-high-rise-condo.

When we found out we were having twins (six weeks later), there was excitement, surprise and a lot of choice words not suitable for this blog.

For the first time in our nearly 8 years of being together, my husband and I were finally living and working within the same city proper. Before that, we were either located in other states or had such a crazy, long commute we spent more time in our cars than with each other.  So, we were determined to make our 850 square foot home work for us.

We knew it wouldn’t be for forever, but we ended up spending the first year of our twin daughters’ lives in that tiny space. MUCH longer than anyone intended.
Our first lunch out with the twins. One week old!
Here’s how we did it.

1. Co-sleeping – Okay, not by the textbook “co-sleeping,” but the girls slept in our room from day one. First, in rock-n-plays next to our beds. Then in one crib, until they started re-enacting WWE moves. At 9 months, we squeezed in their second crib. At the beginning, I would jump up at every noise, sound or gurgle. But, I soon learned to sleep with the 3 other humans near me. Plus, it was cool that I could reach my hand out and touch Taylor, who was only snoring feet away. It was not cool when the girls would start stirring at 6am, see us sleeping soundly, and scream until we picked them.

Rock ‘n plays are the best for small spaces and travel. They fold up easy and are super light so they can go anywhere. 
We’re so close we can touch each other AND Mommy & Daddy!
2. Less is more – Seriously. We had to look hard at our registry and realize what we needed and what we didn’t. No highchairs. The girls used spacesaver ones on our bar chairs. No vibrating chairs. They took up too much floor space. No rocker/glider. Pretty sure there’s a permanent dent on the one couch cushion where I spent all those early days nursing, pumping and feeding. No Diaper Genie. Use a plastic grocery store bag and toss it down the trash chute down the hall when it gets too stinky. No fun nursery d├ęcor. This was the hardest for me. We still went out and bought a gorgeous furniture set for the girls but it all had to sit in our parent’s basement until we moved to a bigger house.

3. Hang everything – With limited drawer space, I hung all the girls clothes in our master closet. Dresses, PJ’s, pants and onesies. It worked well because I could see everything pretty clearly. It didn’t work well, BECAUSE I HAD TO HANG ALL THEIR STUFF. So many teeny, tiny clothes! It was a pain-staking, mind-numbing task. I usually stored all their socks, bows, shoes, etc. in baskets next to my heels.

It looks insane but it seriously made sense to me. Like Russell Crowe in A Beautiful Mind
4. Double uses – The ginormous twin pack-n-play (I know you all have one) first served as a double bassinet. Then it served as a toy and twin pen. I could toss the girls in there when I had to shower and know they would be okay. Our changing table was the 4 cubby shelf from Ikea that we had right in the living room. It stored our diapers/wipes, bibs, burp clothes, etc.

5. Clean life, happy wife – Clutter is a condo’s middle name. It’s so easy for things to start to build up and look like a hurricane just passed. We were constantly picking up and putting things away to keep some kind of order. To us, it felt organized. To outsiders, I’m pretty sure we looked like hoarders. Plus, cleaning is EASY in 850 square feet. I could dust, sweep, swiffer, vacuum and windex in about an hour or one episode of Real Housewives.

Note the 2 small children in the bottom left.
For the record, this wasn’t the worst living situation. We had gracious doormen, an indoor swimming pool, a state of the art gym, heated underground parking, and an amazing city life at our fingertips plus this incredible view.

Rocky ran up those steps!

This was obviously pre-twins. I never did this again.
And, we didn’t have everything in our condo. Our dining room table and wedding china was hanging out at my parents. The girls’ nursery furniture was at my mother-in-law’s. And once the girls grew out of their baby clothes, I packed them up in a tote and brought them to my mom and dads. (I refuse to get rid of things. Maybe I am a hoarder?!...Don’t answer that.)

City living means walkers in the hallways.
I also know people with kids who are living in even smaller quarters and doing just fine. A close friend of mine in Manhattan split her bedroom into 2 rooms with a sliding wall. Anything is possible. Pinterest is your friend.
Wait, people living in houses smaller than this?! Get out of here.
We just moved out of our 850 square foot condo earlier this month. We are now living outside Chicago in a beautiful condo that is DOUBLE THE SPACE. I have shelves! Closets! A fireplace! And a laundry room!

But, I have to admit, I already miss those days in our little city condo. It was cramped and at times crazy, but it was always cozy. There were many moments I wished the girls had their own room and I didn’t have to get dressed in the dark, but I know those nights of us all sleeping in one room will never happen again. They say home is where the heart is – which is very true, even if you have to squeeze it into 850 square feet.


  1. Good post! It makes me think twice about being cramped in 1200 sqft. We should be thankful the kids have their own bedroom..

    Our Little Miracles

  2. welcome to chicago! hopefully you now have enough space to put out all the letters on your floor puzzle ;)