life in a tiny apartment.

September 23, 2019

Tip #188: Take it one day (and one person) at a time.

In case you missed the news, we’re expecting a new arrival to our family this spring. What was once two, then three, then four, will become five people living in fewer than 500 square feet on the top floor of this old brownstone. We’re not panicking.

We don’t know precisely what five people living in this space will look like, but the only plan we have is to make it work until it doesn’t anymore.

Expansion is the great American dream. As a culture we’ve tended to prioritize bigger and better and more from the very start. (It’s a compulsion that’s benefitted a relative few and hurt many others, to say nothing of the planet, so you can probably imagine where I stand on it.)

For us, right now, more space isn’t a non-negotiable. If we decide to move after this baby arrives it would likely depend on other factors, like cost, or the prospect of living somewhere filled with bright afternoon sunlight, or the allure of a bit of outdoor space, or the chance to wash clothes in our own building. Another hundred square feet, in other words, wouldn’t be reason enough to jump ship.

For the moment, we’ve been lucky to find a mini crib through a neighbor on our local Buy Nothing group. It will likely slide in next to our bed for the first few months, and squeeze into the kids’ room after that. The addition of tall cabinet of one kind or another might be helpful for stashing diapers and baby clothes and other small necessities, but we’re not rushing into that either.

What I’m sure of, is that the arrival of a new person into our family will be all sorts of life expanding. Whether it needs to also be space expanding, remains to be seen.

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75 Comments

  • Reply Jenny September 23, 2019 at 12:02 pm

    I love this. So encouraging. And congratulations! ♥️♥️♥️

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE September 23, 2019 at 12:31 pm

      Thank you!

  • Reply Jimena September 23, 2019 at 12:26 pm

    Hi dear Erin,
    Since your climate strike post your new publications are not loading to my rss feed. Do you have any idea why this might be?

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    • Reply ERIN BOYLE September 23, 2019 at 12:29 pm

      Hmm. Not sure why not! Will see if I can investigate.

    • Reply Alix September 23, 2019 at 12:57 pm

      I’ve been having the same issue! I use Feedly to read your blog and it seems to be an issue with the RSS feed.

      • Reply Jessica September 23, 2019 at 4:23 pm

        Same issue here!

        • Reply Margaret September 24, 2019 at 11:54 am

          Same here for Feedly

      • Reply Emma September 25, 2019 at 5:14 pm

        All 3 of your most recent posts just arrived to my Feedly today!

        • Reply ERIN BOYLE September 25, 2019 at 6:18 pm

          Yay! For some reason they were being cached but my web team fixed it!

          • Jimena September 26, 2019 at 3:35 am

            Same here, thanks a lot! And my best wishes for these coming months <3

      • Reply tgt September 26, 2019 at 2:08 am

        You are showing up on my feedly.

    • Reply Kristina October 1, 2019 at 3:50 pm

      This is just what i needed. We’re in a similar boat (although it’s 2 becoming 3 in our 2 bed apartment) and i had this idea we had to clear out the office in entirety to make a baby only room. We can make the space work for a joint purpose – the looks/ comments i was getting when i was floating the idea of that was like i said I’m leaving the baby in the wilderness to fend for itself; such a stigma around it. Thank you again

  • Reply Madeleine September 23, 2019 at 12:48 pm

    Hi Erin – Many congratulations!! I saw someone on your instagram feed commented that “3 is magic” and something along the lines of “love is flying in so many directions with 3.” That is exactly what my dad said after my parents had me – their unexpected 3rd baby. He said that having a third baby was the best thing that ever happened to the family’s dynamic. As he described it, “the interaction disproportionately multiplied!” It is the main reason that my spouse and I hope to have 3 children, something that is relatively uncommon among my community (but, who knows really, because we may find less children better suited to us once in the trenches…and fertility is an illusion of control anyways). Just wanted to share this happy anecdote from my father to you, via me.

    Sincerely,
    Grateful for Accidents 😉

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    • Reply Christie September 23, 2019 at 5:18 pm

      I love this! Our Third was planned. As an only child, I knew after I had my first that I wanted three. But it wasn’t easy, of course. I will say that welcoming baby number three was so much easier on so many levels than welcoming baby number 2. A huge part of that is that we knew what the heck we were doing. We had two babies worth of experience under our belt. Nothing could ruffle us. Another major factor: Child 1 and Child 2 had each other to play with, which allowed me to focus on Baby 3 in a way that I couldn’t when I had Baby 2 and Child 1 wanted attention. Now that the third is almost two, she is right in the mix. She’s a great playmate for either kid, and she enjoys getting story time from her big brothers. It takes the pressure off of us as parents to have this self-sufficient crew. You will have your own experiences with your own joys and hardships, but, at least for me, three has been the perfect number.

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    • Reply Lizzie September 26, 2019 at 1:48 am

      That’s exactly what my dad said my mom told him to convince him to have 3 some 25 years ago 🙂

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  • Reply Judith Ross September 23, 2019 at 2:05 pm

    Sending all good thoughts and wishes your way. How thrilling! To quote Flo and Eddie from the end of their song, “Keep it Warm”: “…Or make a better world from the old one
    Make yourself a baby and hold one
    Hold her in your arms and keep her warm…”

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  • Reply Breanna Marie September 23, 2019 at 3:11 pm

    This is basically the first thing that came to mind for me when you made your announcement (congratulations by the way). I bet you’re really happy you chose the bunk beds now!

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  • Reply Amanda Krieger September 23, 2019 at 3:32 pm

    I love this. One day at a time is the wisdom of a seasoned mom 🙂 that’s also the advice my husband gave me when i was overwhelmed with the addition of our third, “all you have to do is get through today.”
    Our third baby was the catalyst for our eventual move to a larger home, but it wasn’t because of the baby. It was because we no longer had a place for visitors, and since my parents are out of town having a place for them was important to me.
    This isn’t an issue for you all though, and is a bridge you crossed long ago.

    I think audiences are always looking for people living with certain priorities to finally make concessions (once they have three babies then they’ll live like the rest of us mortals!) if you do, you do. And if you do you can do so teaching us that a larger home doesn’t mean that your priorities have changed, it just means that your family has changed.

    as always, I love reading along your journey.

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  • Reply Alice September 23, 2019 at 4:21 pm

    Congratulations! I am in my second trimester with my first child and I think the parenting aspect of this blog is part of what drew me to it, as well as reconfirming my own desire to have kids. We are also trying to make our small space work with a third person joining us soon. I am looking forward to hearing how you fit your new little one in your space. I had never heard of a mini crib! This is game changing!!

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    • Reply julie September 24, 2019 at 10:13 am

      Hi Alice, Just chiming in to say that the Bloom Alma Mini crib was the only one that fit our very small space and it served us very well! Good luck!

      • Reply Alice September 24, 2019 at 7:59 pm

        Thanks for the rec!

        • Reply ERIN BOYLE September 25, 2019 at 8:05 am

          This is the same crib we were able to find through our Buy Nothing group! Ours will be the third (maybe fourth?) neighborhood baby to have sweet dreams there!

    • Reply Pati M September 24, 2019 at 6:13 pm

      Same situation but with 680 sqft and in Madrid, Spain. We can share ideas!! We don’t plan to move from now, but if we finally do is because we find our dream house in the north and we can have a life there. But for the moment and after twins, we believe that we can handle with it and of course with less crazy baby staff.

  • Reply Jessica September 23, 2019 at 4:25 pm

    <3 Thanks for always inspiring us to think creatively and critically and always go back to our core values when we have to answer tough questions. Excited to see how you use your space in new ways in the coming year(s). Congrats!

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  • Reply Eloise September 23, 2019 at 4:37 pm

    Congrats on the coming arrival. I’m curious to see how you find having the third in such a small space. Do you ever wonder how it’s going to challenge and/or frustrate your older kids? I think it’s much easier on the adults as you can compartmentalize your frustrations or think/dream ahead to when you will eventually decide to move on. But the kids only know what is right in front of them. Not having proper space to grow and think or play has to be taxing on them. And if they see you constantly cleaning and reorganizing to make everything so perfect, what message is that sending? I think one lesson we all learn as parents is that it’s not really about us anymore. I know you are excellent parents and care deeply about your kids, but perhaps the egos need to be put to the side a bit for the happiness of the kids. Not everyone has to live in Brooklyn Heights!

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    • Reply ERIN BOYLE September 23, 2019 at 6:18 pm

      I’m curious to see how our family fares in this small space, too. We’re planning to take it a day at a time, which is why I wrote this post. As for concern about damaging my kids by raising them in a small space, this is literally at the bottom of my list of worries. Ditto having them see us rearrange our space to better accommodate our needs and wishes. Indeed, I think our decision to stay in the home that we love sends a message of hope, confidence, resilience, and resourcefulness. A lesson commonly used to shame parents is one that insinuates they’re putting personal needs above the needs of their children, or that they’re depriving their children of something “proper”–whatever the person in question decides that is. I’m just not into it.

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      • Reply Carmella September 24, 2019 at 11:01 am

        Bravo, Erin! No damage done here, either, raising three athletic teenage boys in our 665 sq ft. In fact, as they’ve begun moving on to college, we’ve been amazed at the confidence and skills they’ve shown in making their first spaces their own, not the least of which is an innate understanding that the walls of a dwelling are but a small part of the greater environment in which they live and explore. It’s been so rewarding to see them unbound by the unfounded opinion that says you have to have a certain size house, with certain things in it, in order to live well. You are sending loving, wholesome, resourceful, welcoming messages to your children, hands down, friend.

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      • Reply Kelly Libby September 24, 2019 at 4:07 pm

        totally agree! the shaming of women by other women is why the patriarchy is so powerful. we’ve got to be better at not only accepting different ways of living but encourage it. more space does NOT equate to happier, less “frustrated” children. Keep being you and live wherever the heck you want.

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    • Reply Pam September 23, 2019 at 9:15 pm

      We were a family of 5 growing up in a 600 sq ft apartment because that’s all my immigrant family could afford. We lived in NYC because that’s where our parents had the opportunity to make a living. We were hardly damaged, it’s all we knew. And to have the city as our playground made us feel that much more blessed. Space doesn’t equal happiness necessarily and every family’s needs are different.

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    • Reply Liz September 24, 2019 at 7:00 am

      Eloise, unfortunately, I read your words just as I was going to bed last night as they really upset me. I just do not understand how out of all the comments you could have possibly made, why would you choose to write what you did? It certainly isn’t in the spirit of supporting each other. I found your words to be presuming and judging and, honestly, shockingly mean-spirited. Not to mention, at the very least, simply unkind as they were written to someone who is expecting and has shared just how poor she has been feeling. We all choose to read this wonderful and important blog, and I for one am a better person all-around for it. Erin, works hard to provide content to help us consider and think about our choices, celebrate each other and the world we live in, and make improvements where we can and determine we should – she does the research so that we can step in with little effort, as we choose to. Never writing in the tone and manner in which you chose, and, admiringly, even deciding to respond to you and with both respect and kindness that certainly wasn’t extended to her. As I laid in bed thinking about this last night, I was reminded of what I have always taught my girls – to try to remember that for the most part, at any given time, people are doing the best they can. I hope that whatever is causing you such darkness, improves and that things shine brighter your way. We all need to raise each other up and be generous whenever and wherever we can! XO, Liz

      P.S. A few years ago, my daughter and I had the pleasure of attending Erin’s book signing at JR Julia’s in Erin’s hometown. We had the pleasure of meeting Erin, and her delightful parents. Erin’s husband, James, and their, daughter, Faye, were in attendance, as well. There was nothing about this dear family that brings the word “ego” to mind. Only the words “good” and “humble” and a family who clearly all love each other and are just trying to make the world a better place. <3

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      • Reply ERIN BOYLE September 24, 2019 at 9:12 am

        I admit that I often hesitate to publish this kind of comment because it does feel mean-spirited and hosting a site where mean-spiritedness can fester is not the line of work I want to be in. I’m sorry this comment was among the last things you read before sleep last night. I had a knee-jerk reaction here myself and couldn’t help but respond. Thanks so much for your supportive words here. It’s a comfort to know you’re still here reading!

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        • Reply Liz September 24, 2019 at 9:47 pm

          ❤️

    • Reply Cece September 24, 2019 at 9:03 am

      I’m not speaking for myself here (our home is small-ish and quirky but very different to Erin’s) but I can absolutely see how space is just one of the many things that might be desirable for family life. Being part of a vibrant and diverse community, close to great schools, in a walkable area, near to family, spending less time commuting to maximise family time, having ready access to amazing cultural experiences. Maybe those are all higher up the list for some than a larger space? I don’t think having differing priorities means you’re putting the happiness of your children to one side. And also lets not forget that having that choice at all is a huge privilege – are you saying that those parents who don’t have the opportunity to upsize are somehow failing their families?

      Having said all of that, I feel that the lure of an accessible washer/dryer and not having to coax two children and lug a baby up many flights of stairs would probably be enough to persuade me to move! My tiny house is over four floors with laundry at the bottom and clothes storage at the top, and man, I cover a lot of ground.

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    • Reply C September 24, 2019 at 11:35 am

      Congratulations Erin and family! What a wonderful continuation of your families adventure. And….
      Ugh. What a crummy comment. Seriously, living in a small space hardly counts as improper care. And what a way to discount all the families who simply cannot afford what you consider to be a “proper” growing space! If you are concerned about children in abusive situations I’m positive there are many places you could plug in to make a difference.
      I also understand that comments like this generally stem from ones own unhappiness and so I wish you all the support you need.

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    • Reply Tara Rasmus September 24, 2019 at 12:47 pm

      There are many, many, MANY ways to raise a happy, healthy family. Let’s all try to keep that in mind. Also, “good for her, not for me.” Also, mom-shaming is never okay. Just a reminder to think about the human on the other side of the screen, and think about how you might feel about receiving a similar criticism about your own parenting/homemaking style. Pretty sure outsiders could find judgment to pass on literally any family situation; but once again, there are MANY ways to raise happy, healthy, well-adjusted kids.

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    • Reply Steph October 4, 2019 at 10:25 pm

      I find this a really bizarre comment!

      These two (and soon three) children are growing up in a loving family, with delicious healthy food on their table, a comfy bed to sleep in and an outside world to explore!! Some could only hope for that.

      I think children need far less material goods than the modern world thinks they need, including “their own room” and space for their own stuff (gah!! so much stuff!!). If they need space to grow or think, I’d hazard a guess there are parks and outdoor spaces available at a moment’s notice 🙂

      All the best with baby #3 from Australia.

  • Reply Ina Flowers September 23, 2019 at 6:06 pm

    I love this! We just became a family of five too and we live in 568 square feet. Our property managers “kindly suggested” that we find another place that’s bigger due to “county fire regulations.” I upsettingly referenced that most of the world shares one space as small as ours with double the number of occupants. On the bright side, we are now owners and not renters, so we have all three kids sharing one bedroom but we have a large yard for them to run wild. I think no matter where you live, your family values don’t change. Looking forward to seeing more of your adventures!

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    • Reply Amanda September 26, 2019 at 6:49 pm

      Hahah! I love this story. I used to joke that we didn’t want to move after baby #3 but that the fire inspector took one look at our small ranch that had beds on every wall and told us to!
      We now have 4 kids, adn the oldest three share a room. Even if you have lots of space you can teach values and benefits of sharing space, which is important to me.

  • Reply Rose September 23, 2019 at 8:54 pm

    Congratulations! I am so excited to see all about the new baby.

    I’m getting married next month, planning to conceive soon *fingers crossed*, and hoping to pull this kind of thing off on the top floor of a brownstone as well.

    You are an inspiration! Thank you.

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  • Reply Nancy September 24, 2019 at 2:15 am

    I admit, the very first thing I thought was, “will they stay in that apartment,” followed quickly by “yay for babies!” Honestly, right now, I live in a two bedroom with three kids in one room and while it would be nice to have more space, I’m not prepared to spend exponentially more money for not a lot more space (NorCal, sigh) so we make it work. Anything can be made to work for as long as you need it to!

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  • Reply Maureen September 24, 2019 at 5:27 am

    Morning Erin,
    Congratulations on this happy news – and as for you moving or not, I fully agree that space does not equal happiness.
    Take care and hugs from afar xx

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  • Reply Sheryl September 24, 2019 at 9:24 am

    Yes to all of this! We lived in our tiny 1+ den Toronto apartment with 4 of us until we decided it was the right time to move. We just had our third child three months ago– and sometimes I think the baby phase was actually much easier in our tiny apartment! With a small space, feedings and playing/ just being with older kids naturally happen in the same room. I think it really helped my eldest feel more connected. In the end we, too, chose to move because we wanted more light, some green space, and a better neighbourhood. Of course, a bit more space was welcomed– but it wasn’t the ultimate push factor! Best wishes to you, Erin. Children bring so much joy, no matter the space.

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  • Reply laura September 24, 2019 at 10:54 am

    This is such a lovely and true sentiment. Although we have plenty of space now, the first several months of my son’s life was in a back bedroom with three animals and it was the happiest 170 square feet of my life.

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  • Reply Chelsea September 24, 2019 at 11:51 am

    I come back to your blog nearly every day to see how you make it work without succumbing to all the messages of “bigger is better!” and “more is more!” It is so inspiring and has helped me stay grounded to my values. I just finished reading your book and loved your approach to acquiring baby things (wait and see) which has obviously served you well. Oh how I wish I had read that when we had our first! In any case, when you announced baby #3, one of my first thoughts was, I can’t WAIT to see how she goes against the grain (in the best of ways) to welcome this new babe into their home. I’m pregnant with #2 and taking a lot of pages out of your book this time around … thanks for all the inspiration and encouragement! xo

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  • Reply Tara Rasmus September 24, 2019 at 12:42 pm

    Love this! All of the applause for you guys figuring out exactly what works for you and not succumbing to any random outside anxieties. I always think of this lovely apartment tour on Cup of Jo with the three kids in one room when I start to be like OMG SHOULD WE MOVE TO THE SUBURBS…three kids in one lovely (and I’m sure, sometimes chaotic) setup that honestly seems pretty magical. https://cupofjo.com/2015/01/brooklyn-apartment-tour/

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    • Reply Rachel September 27, 2019 at 11:41 am

      I actually found Erin’s blog when her old apartment was featured on Cup of Jo. At the time, Erin was pregnant with Faye and she and James were searching for their current apartment. I’m actually looking forward to the upcoming posts about raising a family of three kids in a one-bedroom apartment. I live alone in a 390sqft studio with two cats and sometimes I think I need to move. I love my apartment, and I do want to move, because other neighbors are inconsiderate, but it isn’t a need right now.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE September 27, 2019 at 12:09 pm

      HA! Yes! I loved seeing Linsey’s (and fam’s) space!

      • Reply Kate hulow October 5, 2019 at 9:15 am

        BUT let’s not forget the fact that linsey has since bought a massive brownstone in Brooklyn. So it’s clear she was only doing what she “had to” the time. Once she could afford to give her family a less stressful life, she did.

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        • Reply ERIN BOYLE October 5, 2019 at 11:39 am

          So glad Linsey and her family have been able to make a move that feels right for them, for whatever the reason.

  • Reply Bridget September 24, 2019 at 2:49 pm

    Congratulations! And this post is so encouraging and lovely. As a new mother who has stayed in our rental apartment, rather than buying a huge home in the suburbs as everyone has encouraged us to do, I am buoyed by people like you making it work. Thank you!

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  • Reply Caitlin September 24, 2019 at 3:24 pm

    Congratulations on your growing family! Echo the sentiment that “space” is hardly reflective of “proper” care (and, more generally, that we all could benefit greatly from less judgment directed to women). I had to laugh, as well, because, although we do have a bit of space, I often wake up with both of my kids in my bed.

    I have a 3.5 and 1 yo and (to my surprise) sometimes wonder if we might ever think about one more. I look forward to reading your thoughtful reflections and about your adventures as a family of five — wherever that might be!

  • Reply Kelly Libby September 24, 2019 at 4:02 pm

    My education, decades of experience working with families and young children and basic common sense fully disagrees with your response, shaming and juding of parents and families who live their lives differently than you. A giant house in the suburbs would be a horrible “choice” for many people including parents and their kids. If it works for you then that’s great. But that would NEVER be a good option for me nor my mental health. The lack of culture and peoples from different parts of the world isn’t something I’d chose to limit my children from. Driving everywhere without an option to get fresh air and walk to places in not acceptable to me. My values are not your values and Erin’s values are what she choices and shares here.

    Parents who sacrifice everything, including their values, for their children are not doing ANY service to their children, nor their marriage. And, a stable, loving marriage is also important to kids not being “frustrated”. Everything shouldn’t come first before these so called needs of children. More space to “grow and play and imagine” has no correlation to dreaming and certainly does not equate to happier children.

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  • Reply Elizabeth September 24, 2019 at 4:59 pm

    Congratulations on your pregnancy! I was a middle child of three and LOVED it – there was always someone to play with and my sister and I absolutely doted on our baby brother. Except when he punctured her inflatable Barbie pool and stuck gum onto my dollhouse. But all was forgiven and now those are the funny stories I share with my daughter. The three of us absolutely had the best times and I’m sure your little ones will too. Blessings, blessings on you all!

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  • Reply Kim P September 24, 2019 at 11:49 pm

    Congratulations! I am so thankful that you choose to share your stories. I am always very inspired. I am one of three sisters and until I was 11 years old we shared a fairly small bedroom. I have many happy memories of that room and those times with the secret talks by the wall on the side of the bunk bed and the group whispers after lights out when we were supposed to be sleeping. Although there was certainly sister fighting we were/are very close. For about three years my boyfriend, his young son, and myself lived in a 600 sq foot condo. We now live in a larger place but I think we were closer before and I think a lot of that is due to the smaller space. My personal experience has shown that living in a larger place is not necessary for a happy, close family.

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    • Reply Valeria September 25, 2019 at 6:56 am

      Espero puedas traducir esto!
      Somos una familia de 6 viviendo en una pequeña casa, me guiaste hermosamente a encontrar maneras de organizar nuestro pequeño lugar en el mundo, disfrutando aun mas las cosas simples de la vida!! Intentamos transmitir valores simlares a nuestros 4 pequeños…estoy muy contenta por su expansión familiar! Muchas felicidades…el tercero es muy facil….y el cuarto aun mas…pero un dia a la vez se convierta en el mantra de mama y papa!!
      Desde argentina mando cariño!

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      • Reply ERIN BOYLE September 25, 2019 at 8:03 am

        Thank you, thank you!

  • Reply S September 25, 2019 at 7:23 am

    Huge congratulations!! And gosh, what a beautiful message of hope and resilience. To the negative commentary, good grief. We had our first in the spring and live in a 1,300ish sqft home, and it makes me want to burst out laughing every time someone suggests we’ll “need to” move to a bigger space soon. We’d happily downsize!

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    • Reply Audrey September 26, 2019 at 11:52 am

      I’m in the same boat! We live in a 1,100 sq. foot house with 1 kiddo and 2 dogs. I want to try for a 2nd and keep hearing that we don’t have enough space LOL. I’ll never give up a wonderful location for more house.

  • Reply A European September 25, 2019 at 7:29 am

    I love it when capital letters start appearing in the comments section, it shows passion and commitment to the cause :))
    I am big on “live and let live“. Besides, existing and creating in the tiniest of spaces is the quintessential reason NYers are a bit more neurotic than the rest of us. It preserves the myth of the greatest city there is. And kudos for that! :))

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  • Reply Liya September 26, 2019 at 2:26 pm

    I lived in about 275 sq ft for 4 years. No yard, nothing but a brick wall to look at, at the top of a small mountain on an island with no cars. When I had my son, we originally built him a small crib into a bookshelf. Later, we built a loft bed and made a small “room” for him underneath. We got a wall-mounted changing table, and made a playroom under our kitchen table. While pregnant, I spent hours on the couch looking at my walls thinking of ways to maximize the space we had. It was like a puzzle, and I made it work for all that time. You’ve got more of a challenge with 3 kids, for sure. But I think it’s great to show people that it can be done; more for the sake of more isn’t necessary.

  • Reply Laurence September 26, 2019 at 4:55 pm

    Erin, Si contente pour vous et votre famille de ce bébé qui arrivera au printemps.
    Je vous admire et admire votre travail, votre détermination et votre courage.
    Une vraie inspiration,
    Laurence in Aix-en-Provence

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    • Reply ERIN BOYLE September 26, 2019 at 5:15 pm

      Merci mille fois, Laurence!

  • Reply L September 26, 2019 at 5:19 pm

    My Congratulations to you and your growing family. May your pregnancy be blessed with good health and blessings. I remember my folks planning for their 3 ( 6 years apart as he built his law career to a judgeship) and yes they did go to a bigger living space after the 3rd. It was necessity and when Dad dropped dead when we were all little ( 3 kids under 10 ) we were so thankful to have that space for Birthday parties, pets, outdoor activities, ping pong table, piano and of course bookcases for each of us, slumber parties and dinner parties. We were able to play until dark together out side as a family. home was our refuge when times were tough . It allowed us to grow up as our own people and have privacy when we needed it yet bound us together as a family in a way my Mom never regretted. Having that home meant we all got to have pets which meant the world to us. That house today represents love and family to us. We always had our home the knowledge our folks gave us that gift of our own rooms and room to grow. It was truly a blessing. Frankly as a Mother of 3 young kids my wish for you is yes to not have to struggle in life in a walk up or go to a laundromat and eventually have more room albeit your own little space in whatever you choose.

  • Reply Alessandra September 26, 2019 at 10:14 pm

    You and your family are an inspiration! I live in Toronto, currently in a two-bedroom apartment with my new husband and already we are getting pressured by others to buy a house out of the City or move somewhere larger so that we can have kids. I think this is just ridiculous. I like being walking distance to the subway and a two-bedroom is more than enough space to have a kid! Where we live, buying ist just not an option for us right now and I don’t want to move out of the City.

    Thank you for sharing your story with us. It gives me hope for my own future in the City.

  • Reply Samantha James September 27, 2019 at 6:14 am

    I love your thoughtful words; your inspirational lifestyle and that you invite us into your world so we can learn & understand.
    I’ve taken such joy in your journey for many, many years. I love how your ethos and principles have influenced my thoughts and on the way we live our life. I am on a different continent – an ocean away, living a very different lifestyle, but I love thinking through how I could do things differently, inspired by you, your blog and book!

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  • Reply Carrie September 27, 2019 at 8:25 am

    Congratulations! We have a new addition and find I’m also dreaming of on-site laundry… In the meantime, I would love to read about little logistics of how you manage the laundromat life. Namely, favorite detergent for drop-off service (and those residue-y washing machines), whether air-dry things dominate your space for a large portion of the week (they do ours), and how many kid & baby clothes you keep in rotation (we used to drop off every 2 weeks and now that we’re 4 we do every 7-10 days, just hoping to pare down clothing quantity a bit)!

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  • Reply Kate Kellman September 27, 2019 at 11:25 am

    My first question was how you were going to deal with the additional human in your space. Glad to hear you’re giving it a go and so glad to hear about Buy Nothing! I missed that the first time you shared it. Thank you for being an inspiration. Sending love and well wishes!

  • Reply Clare Chippendale September 28, 2019 at 7:19 am

    This is so wonderful. I really appreciate you sharing your families conscious and considered choices about how to live.

  • Reply Elinor September 30, 2019 at 9:39 am

    Hi Erin!
    Congratulations on your new addition! I really admire how you make your way of living so elegant despite all the various constraints. It can be so complicated acting on our beliefs sometimes can’t it? I’m moving into a new apartment myself today….for one basic reason, I’ve realized that having a washer/dryer included in my apartment will save me between 50 & 100$ per month. I’m a bit sad as I love love love my current apartments style, but I’m going with I-need-to-do-this-to-pay-down-debt & KNOW that I will find a way to make my more modern (I Love old housing styles) little apartment loveable too. 🙂
    Happy regards,
    Elinor

  • Reply Steph October 4, 2019 at 10:30 pm

    Congrats on the imminent baby!
    For what its worth, we live in a 90 sq metre house (google says about 960sq feet) in Australia which is TINY by Aussie standards. We are a family of 4. We love it – our location is amazing, close to large parks/galleries/the zoo/the city. We are forced to only own what we need. We spend 90% of our life outdoors.

    Sure, we may move in future, but only because we want to and not because other people think we should.
    I grew up in a room with 2 sisters and when I got the option for my own room at about 12, i said no!!

    Steph x

  • Reply Rebecca October 6, 2019 at 6:44 pm

    Here is another perspective for all the commenters. My family grew up in a big city in a tiny apartment and while I always felt loved and safe, I remember it feeling stressful. There were four kids in a two bedroom apartment, 4th floor walk up. My parents did their best to make our little space feel like a home. But I remember this: we always felt the pressure to keep it clean at all times, wiping sweat from my brow as we carried groceries to the top floor, trying to not drop crumbs in case of mice or bugs, patiently waiting and staring out the window until we could go outside and play. I remember never feeling “free” unless we were out of the house and running through the park or when we went on any vacation (not often). I watched the daily stress on my parents for years and once we finally moved to the country it was like they could breathe again. Our move out of the tiny apartment was not about selling out in suburbia or getting a huge home to fill with plastic toys (as many commenters have mentioned, which is spoken from a huge amount of privledge). For my parents it was about the dream of owning a home, sending us to good schools, having slower moments with each other, getting us out of the city. At the risk of sounding assuming….I gather that most people commenting here (like Erin) are upper middle class white people. Patting each other the back for making such noble choices as “choosing” to raise your children in these small spaces but also forgetting to mention that you are wearing $500 sweaters, escaping to your parents sprawling country house every weekend, being able to afford private childcare. I really am taken aback by the tone in these comments that by moving to a bigger house or away from a high town city is somehow appalling or an unintellectual choice. Please consider how lucky you are to have the choice to have a “fancy” city life, even if you are “slumming” it in a tiny apt.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE October 7, 2019 at 9:08 am

      I think what’s most clear is that folks are most hoping for their choices, or lack thereof, to be respected and understood without judgement. We all come to other people with our own stories, our own freedoms or constraints, our own reasons for choosing or not being able to choose one lifestyle or another, our own abilities and values and needs. I think the most we can all do is to try to write thoughtfully about our own experiences and perspectives without disparaging the experiences or perspectives of others. It’s a tricky task. We’re so used to pitting our choices against other choices, rather than talking about them at face value. And indeed, even when we speak about personal choices without disparaging others, these words can come across as an affront to someone who hasn’t been able to, or doesn’t desire to make that same choice. The truth is that we all know so little about the full circumstances of each others lives. The more we try to remember that, I think the kinder and more constructive we can be.

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  • Reply Maria October 21, 2019 at 12:25 pm

    Erin, I have been following your blog for a good year and a half now, and while many of your posts have resonated with me, this particular one (and all its comments) wound up being a real game changer! It really got me thinking about the 1800 sq ft space that my family of 4 (+ 2 cats) live in and what amount of space would actually best suit us. I realized much less. Lo and behold, a week later a home in our neighborhood came on the market with 500 sq ft less than what we have (but with a nature preserve abutting the back yard!), and we did what many would think unthinkable for a growing family, we downsized! I am so much look forward to the natural simplifying that will happen with being in a smaller space, the so much less time spent cleaning, and the social-emotional skills we’ll all hone by being in each other’s space. So thank you, thank you!

  • Reply Áine November 14, 2019 at 9:27 am

    I’m always fascinated by your tiny apartment living – we’re three people in a three bedroom house, and feel like its not enough space. We have big furniture and a lot of stuff, and I at least am very much a “stuff” person rather than a minimalist, so I don’t know how happy we’d be in a smaller space, but I always come away from your blog wondering how we could better use what we have. I think the city living and the access it gives to places to see and things to do (parks! museums! long walks!) is vital – a small space in the suburbs could be much more confining than the same square footage in a city. I think living somewhere you feel secure and nested is what’s important, and what people need their space to be like to give them that varies a lot.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE November 14, 2019 at 9:54 am

      For sure. No one-size-fits-all here (or anywhere).

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