our new apartment: (almost) 5 people in 518 square feet...

i've done apartment tours for both our dc apartment (here), and our nyc "penthouse" apartment (here). when we moved to nyc, the apartment situation was a total nightmare that became a complete miracle (some nyc apartment hunting entertainment here). our first nyc apartment was just about perfect. i mean, if you compare if to suburban standards, it probably sucked in a lot of ways, but to us it was fantastic. great location. insanely lovely use of space. awesome storage. good neighbors (they were quiet and kept to themselves- and never complained about us;). elevator. laundry in the building. we never had to kill a mouse or a cockroach. no bedbugs. skylight. and our own rooftop with a viiiieeeeew! it had drawbacks, quicks, and gross elements, too, but in comparison to what we could have had, it was amazing. i went into the experience mentally accepting we could live there for 2+ years. the 1-bedroom aspect scared me, but the longer we lived there, the more i realized it was PLENTY of space! when we found out we were having another baby, we knew a rolling mini crib would be fine as an entire nursery in one! the front hall would work for "quiet" space, and we had room by our bed for the baby at night. if the baby screamed, or if we needed fresh air, there was always the roof to escape to! when we needed to, the baby would easily fit in the kids' room, and then a trundle or triple bunk would be easy peasy. remember, here, nothing is "normal." kids live in closets. hallways and bathrooms are bedrooms. adults sleep on murphy beds and sleeper sofas. sometimes entire families sleep in a single bedroom. functionality and multi-purpose solutions are the only thing that survives natural selection. surplus doesn't exist. you get SO CREATIVE and realize you only keep what is absolutely essential. 

somehow, we made it ALL work in that 1-bedroom apartment, and it was great! we were set.

with 1 single exception. which seems SUPER logical but is always the most overwhelming aspect of this city: $$$$$.


it's the worst part about the $#*&^$#@ city.

around christmas when we realized our building was likely going to increase our rent substantially at the year mark (something i never even thought of- #ignorant), we started to process the fact that we could never pay more- it made NO sense. so we slowly started looking. criteria: 1) pay less and 2) stay in our current school zone (basically a 4-block radius). the only option was to go smaller. 

we looked and looked and looked. 5th floor walk-ups were an option (remember, that means not only lugging 3 kids up 5 flights of twisty stairs multiple times/day, but also groceries and a DOUBLE STROLLER!!). no laundry in the building was a viable option. 1 bedrooms were still our only option in-budget, and they were small (500-600 sq. ft.). we own: a couch, small kitchen table and chairs, small desk, queen bed, bunk bed, dresser, and small side table. THAT IS IT. that's all we needed to fit. we brought a tape measure and played tetris with furniture. 

fascinating fact time: did you know they have couch doctors here? their job is to remove the fabric of your couch, CUT IT UP, carry it up and into your apartment, then put it back together! that's a thing here. IT IS A THING!

long story long, we kept coming back to a smaller 1-bedroom apartment in our same building. we were giving up a lot of space (it was probably the smallest of them all), but we could keep our elevator (even though there are 10 stairs between the elevator and our actual apartment), basement laundry, doorman, proximity to school and the subway, a TINY bit of our current view (aka: a view of something other than a brick wall), and perhaps best of all, some consistency for our kids. we were able to basically put a price tag on our roof, and it was basically the same as a disney vacation every few months- for as incredible as it was, it wasn't worth the cost. this new apartment seemed to be a decent balance. the biggest sacrifice was space. but what was the loss of a little more space at this point? we could do it.

of course, our landlords were entirely unhelpful and un-accommodating in the process, and heaven forbid they even waive the fee (the feeeeeeees!!!!!), but it's done. we continued to clean out (it's a weekly- sometimes daily process). we organize. we purge. we re-evaluate. we bought a murphy bed. the table needs adjusted each night to accommodate the kids walking from their room to the kitchen in the morning (around our laid-down bed). the puzzle is in full force. 

we've been here for 2 weeks now. no regrets. i'm not entirely sold on the murphy bed yet (we had to get a new mattress, too)- but that's likely because i'm a thousand months pregnant (not really), and very sleepless and uncomfortable in general... but i still think the thought is ideal. and it makes a HUGE difference to have a bed vertical instead of horizontal! the apartment is meticulously organized. it takes a few minutes to get anything out, and it requires things be put away rather quickly, but it works. 

518 square feet.

4.5 humans.

wish us luck!!!

a quick note about storage- we literally only have 2 closets. no coat closet, no pantry, no linen closet- nothing. we also have a tiny bit of space under the kids' bed. the kids have a small bedroom closet, and we have a small walk-in just off the front door. we DO have great, high ceilings, so we utilized those. mike added shelves. our closet will not only be the nursery, but it also stores all the extra art supplies, tools, toilet paper, electronics, laundry supplies, and of course, clothes! every inch is accounted for. 

the kids' closet has the strollers, my extra shoes, car seats, office supplies, etc.

the kids' room new is smaller and darker. i miss the skylight and elle's huge window seat, but we are making it work. she never liked the skylight (especially when it rained), and in the summer i think it quadrupled our electric bill (SO MUCH HEAT). we added a small shelf for elle to use above her bed to make up for lost window-seat-space. 

frustrations? storing dirty laundry is tricky. stroller storage is tricky. our vacuum is tricky. shoes are tricky. somehow we fit in what we need......... but ask me again when this new baby is here;) also, i reeeeally don't like our bathroom. it's micro-small. there is VERY little storage, and you have to close the door to get to the tp, but the door doesn't close when you're on the toilet. it's small. but on the plus side, our water pressure rocks:)
two new things i love- this basket from amazon is amazing. we have a few of them! 

also, hanging pants! this has saved the day when it comes to mike's pants. hopefully it'll hold mine, too, once i actually fit into pants again;) 

(for memory's sake- our first days in the penthouse apartment here.)

1 comment:

  1. I love this post. Thank you for sharing. You make your home look sooo nice and clean! Well done Amanda! Also, I LOVE that Elle still has her dream catcher. that is the sweetest thing. :) :)


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