life in a tiny apartment.

August 27, 2014


Tip #108: Indulge in a moment of solitude.

At the time of writing it’s after dinnertime on a weeknight, only there’s not yet been any dinner. I am sitting by myself in an apartment that’s getting dark, but the half-light feels right for the mood I’m in, which is a quiet one.

James is on a walk with Faye. She’s a wriggly little bundle tonight, all gas and bubbles and the tiniest little frown on red cherry lips that you’ve ever seen. She needed a walk. To just get out from these four walls for a minute. And I needed to be alone in them. Just me and the whir of the ceiling fan and the room darkening around me.

One of the most emailed questions I receive is about how to gain a sense of quiet in a tiny apartment that you share with someone else. And while getting out of the apartment is a pretty good bet for clearing your mind, sometimes it’s staying inside that feels just as good. And it’s as simple as telling the people that you love that you need a few minutes to yourself.

It’s the new mom in me speaking, no doubt. Having spent much of the last few years working at least partially from home, being alone in our apartment was not an infrequent occurence. But lately, I’ve come to crave the moments when it’s just me. I’m not about to go hermit on you and make for the woods, but I do think it’s worth carving out a little time to be alone in your space. Tell your husband to take a walk with the baby; ask your girlfriend to sit on the church stoop while she calls her mom; figure out when your roomate is coming home and arrive an hour before him. Dare I suggest you pour yourself a glass of rosé and really relish in it? Yes.

However you spend them, steal a few quiet minutes for yourself and feel everything reset.

Tiny apartment survival tips # 1 – 107, right here.

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  • Reply Kathryn Sutton August 27, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    I could not agree more. As much as I love my boy, and living in our (tiny) apartment together is a pleasure, I sometimes show a little too much excitement when he says he's going to be out for an evening…

    Kat x

  • Reply Leah August 27, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    Yes and yes! Three cheers for speaking up for what you need! It is hard to do but so important. 🙂

    • Reply Erin August 28, 2014 at 11:33 am

      Thanks, friend!

  • Reply kristin August 27, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    beautiful advice.

    • Reply Erin August 28, 2014 at 11:33 am

      Thanks, Kristin!

  • Reply moni.zuza August 27, 2014 at 2:58 pm

    Yes and Yes. I'm lucky that my husband is able to take primary caregiver leave through work (since I am self-employed and not on any official leave), so I have his help with baby until January (5 week old here). But also it's really nice to send him out to run errands with baby so that I can catch my breath a little. Or at the least to sit out on the balcony by myself for a bit.

  • Reply nzle August 27, 2014 at 3:42 pm

    <3 this so much. My partner and I have lived in a 400 sqft studio in NYC for four years now (re-signing the lease for a fifth year at the end of the month!) and we learned the hard way how important it is for one of us to leave for work a little early sometimes, or spend a Saturday out and about in the city, to give the other some much-needed solitude. Good for you for asking for it.

    • Reply Erin August 28, 2014 at 11:35 am

      Mmm, a whole Saturday!

  • Reply laurab August 27, 2014 at 4:15 pm

    so wise, and i love the photo.

    • Reply Erin August 28, 2014 at 11:36 am

      frank ewe.

  • Reply Fey August 27, 2014 at 4:35 pm

    Quiet time is necessary to rejuvenate our soul. My husband and I take turns.

    • Reply Erin August 28, 2014 at 11:36 am

      Sounds just right.

  • Reply Alexa August 27, 2014 at 6:26 pm

    gorgeous photo! that light is perfect.

  • Reply Rara Matthews August 27, 2014 at 7:08 pm

    Absolutely. I take plenty of time to myself for meditation and resetting. It's most important for retaining who you are and to keep your mind clear of who you are – often too easily lost when you become a mother. I'm not unsociable but I often prefer to do things on my own – it cuts out half the crap.

    • Reply Erin August 28, 2014 at 11:37 am

      Mind clearing has definitely become *much* more necessary!

  • Reply Danielle E. Alvarez August 27, 2014 at 10:04 pm

    So important. Hope you enjoyed those quiet and beautiful moments!

    • Reply Erin August 28, 2014 at 11:37 am


  • Reply Kaitlyn S August 27, 2014 at 10:11 pm

    How prescient! This just happened to me last week. I sent the husband out to walk the dog while I stayed in and drank a glass of wine. No where near the same level as child-rearing, but I understand the sentiment 🙂

  • Reply Cozy Little House August 28, 2014 at 2:04 am

    I totally agree with you. I am divorced and live alone with my two Yorkies. I love living alone in a little one bedroom apartment. I love the silence, going out on my privacy fenced patio (yeah, I was lucky to get that!) with the dogs to check all my container plants and water them. Watch the birds up in the trees. Just be alone with myself and feel at peace. It is truly wonderful!

    • Reply Erin August 28, 2014 at 11:38 am

      Sounds lovely!

  • Reply Neurotic Workaholic August 28, 2014 at 4:18 am

    Everyone needs alone time; I think it helps them appreciate together time with loved ones even more.

  • Reply DontBlameTheKids August 28, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    Yes, yes, yes! Being a single mom (and my kids don't do the visits with dad, although he swings by for a few hours once a week), I've learned to count "almost alone" time as good enough. I get about an hour after they go to bed that is just for me, after the chores are done and the kitchen tidied. They are here, but asleep. Good enough.

  • Reply Jessica Brown August 28, 2014 at 6:52 pm

    This made me laugh a little – two weekends ago my oldest three went to a friends lake house for 24 hours. I was home with just my husband and baby for 24 hours and it was blissful – time to sit in my beautiful tidy house and enjoy the sunshine.

  • Reply Inge August 30, 2014 at 7:23 pm

    Oh yes, I couldn't do without. It's what I always wondered about too for your situation. These small respites sound lovely.

  • Reply Lauren September 2, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    This is true even when you DON'T live in a tiny apartment. I hope you enjoyed it, mama.

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