10 Reasons To Live In A Small Apartment When You Have Kids

I always assumed every family dreams about moving to the ‘burbs, with their beautifully fettered lawn, white picket fence, and precious school districts. Space. Fresh air. A nail salon and bank on every street corner. Yes, a house is certainly the way to go.

Just not for me. 

If I lived in a house, I’d eventually go crazy, Grey Gardens-style. I’m perfectly happy in the small two-bedroom apartment that I share with two toddler daughters, my husband, and his ever-expanding comic book collection. There is no pining for the yard, the fence, or the finished basement.

Here’s why we’ll never move:

1. No need for a baby monitor.

In a small apartment, you can literally hear everything. The sound of the baby rolling over, the moment her eyes pop open, subtle shifts in breathing patterns, bowels emptying. I can even hear these same things from my upstairs neighbor’s baby.

2. My kids will be close.

Super-close. Sharing a room will force my daughters to interact in more meaningful ways. They will play nicely. Or they will kill each other. Either way, it will eventually be quiet in there.

3. A small apartment requires less cleaning.

I have trouble tidying a bathroom that is approximately 9 square feet. Imagine what a mess I’d make with real square footage.

4. Someone else can do the maintenance and repair work.

I love watching HGTV the same way I enjoy Ice Road Truckers: a fascinating and slightly terrifying look at how other people live, while being secretly thankful I don’t have to do any of that. A life of putting up drywall, insulating windows, or re-tiling a kitchen doesn’t interest me in the least. My husband and I are the kind of people who once paid someone to paint one wall of our apartment. Did I mention we are both artists (lazy, lazy artists)?Home Depot should be the place where I park my car when there’s no parking at the cupcake store next door.

5. A small apartment forces me to go outside.

People with houses have lots of space to entertain their kids. A playroom, a TV room, rec rooms, pools, air hockey tables, the aforementioned yard. Living in a teeny apartment in the city, we have access to all these things, but we have to actually leave the house to get to them. Sure, the public playground is a communal death trap and the public pool is a vat of chlorinated urine. But are they really so different from the ones in your backyard?

If I lived in a house, I might never set foot outside my property again.

6. Close quarters leads to family bonding.

I mean, hopefully? No matter where I am in the apartment, I am always less than 10 feet away from my children. I can work at my computer and still be present for story time. I can cook dinner while changing a diaper (but probably shouldn’t). I can referee my daughters’ squabbles from the radius of my shower. Living on top of each other makes it much easier to detect when some crazy stuff’s going down.

7. Having so many neighbors can be less isolating.

It’s nice to interact with people daily. Even when they ask when the baby’s due, and I had her two months ago. And was currently holding her. Knowing there are others around makes me feel safer, less isolated, and more social, even though I still don’t remember anyone’s names. And who doesn’t love making small talk while doing menial tasks like laundry or riding an elevator (“Getting cold, huh?” or “Did you leave your thong in the dryer?”).

8. A small apartment reigns in my hoarder instincts.

There is literally no space for my circa-1980s National Geographic collection, or my boots held together with electrical tape. Can’t save every VHS tape from my childhood, or scrap of paper bearing my toddler’s crayon marks. A house would give me too much surface area to cover with my useless junk. Who knows? If given the space, I might take up antique-car collecting or fill the empty rooms with hundreds of stuffed cats.

9. Lawn mowers are terrifying.

Holy heavens, have you seen those things? How do people use those and not get their limbs sucked up into the chopping vortex? Keep me away.

10. I learned how to economize space.

Every room has multiple purposes, and each nook and cranny is maximized to its fullest potential. It’s a nursery AND a library! It’s a crawl space, but also the guest bedroom. The kitchen doubles as the triage center. It helps us streamline our lives down to the barest essentials, which at the end of the day are: me, my husband, two daughters, and comic book collection.

And possibly the wine fridge.


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