The space may be tiny, but living in a studio apartment with a toddler can have its advantages — your child will have trouble hiding from you, sneaking outside, or slipping away unnoticed to wreak havoc in another room. In a studio apartment, you know where your toddler is and what he’s doing at all times, which provides countless teaching moments about neatness, responsibility and accountability.
Minimize furniture. Living in a small space with a toddler can be difficult, especially if your little one doesn’t have ample space to bounce around. Rather than a traditional furniture set with a couch and chairs, try a loveseat and folding chairs that you can put away when company leaves. Instead of a standard dining table, use dinner trays that you can pull out to eat and put away when the meal is finished. Make sure that tables have drawers to double as storage spaces.
Store items high instead of low. You’ll need to keep lots of household items out of your little one’s reach. Maximize floor space by installing shelves to keep things off of the ground. Use your shelves for clothes, shoes, cooking and cleaning supplies, plants and so on. Put your toddler's toys, books and games in a toy box on the floor so that everything he needs to entertain himself is readily available.
Be creative with your sleeping space. Depending on the size of your place, you might try a convertible futon or fold-out couch. If you don’t co-sleep with your toddler, perhaps he can sleep in a portable sleep space that can be put away when company comes over. You and your toddler could also sleep in futon mats on the floor that you can roll up and store in the closet, or on inflatable mattresses that can be deflated each morning. Another option is bunk beds, provided they’re assembled by a professional and your toddler sleeps on the bottom bed.
Downsize your belongings. Other than seasonally appropriate clothing, keep everything else in a storage space outside of your apartment. Make a rule to keep your apartment from getting too cluttered — for everything new you bring home, something old should be stored, donated or thrown away.
Create a private space for your toddler, if space permits. Use hooks and shelves for storage to minimize your need for closet space. Decorate one wall of your closet just for your toddler, and set out a soft rug for him to sit down on. Tell him he can use this space to relax, draw or play.
Respect your toddler’s schedule. When it's time for him to go to sleep, make the apartment dark. If you want to watch movies or TV or listen to music, put your headphones on. Turn your phone off or put it on vibrate. Consider putting a partition around your toddler’s sleeping space, so he feels secure and less likely to be disturbed if you’re still moving around the apartment.
Items you will need
- Convertible furniture
- Grist: Seven Ways to Live in a Small Space With a Toddler and Not Go Crazy
- Apartment Therapy: 5 Tips for Arranging Your Studio Apartment
- Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images