Finding the perfect apartment in New York City can be tough. Once you have it, giving it up can be even tougher. Even the immediate need for more space that accompanies a new baby may not be enough to push you into the market for a new place.
If this situation seems all too familiar, you may be looking for a few pointers on how to make the most of the space you have. Fortunately, there are several things you can do in the next nine months to help prepare your home for the inevitable expansion of your family.
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Converting Your Spare Room to a Nursery
If you have a spare room, get ready to say goodbye to it. Forget its current purpose. When a baby is on the way, you need to find space for a nursery—and an extra room is a perfect solution!
If you’ve lived in NYC for long, you likely have a “less is more” mentality—this makes it easier to part with your old space. Don’t worry, many changes come with having a baby, but you won’t necessarily have to get rid of everything.
Repurpose pieces to fit the aesthetic of a newborn’s nursery. Give life to an old dresser to match a new crib. Save money by using the top of the dresser as a changing station. Keep existing light fixtures but swap out old shades for child-friendly options. Old chairs can be repurposed or re-upholstered to match the room’s theme, and still give you a place to sit and relax when your newborn finally falls asleep.
When space is at a premium, the phrase, “everything has its place,” quickly becomes, “everything goes wherever it fits.” When you allow your spaces to blend, it can help ease your mind about converting your spare room. These multi-purpose spaces or “flex-rooms” are a part necessity and part of convenience. Your bedroom is now partly your office, your living room is now partly a playroom; Being more flexible with your space can help you ease the transition to your new living arrangement.
Increasing Your Storage Options
How can something so tiny come with so many things? This question might come to mind while shopping for baby items or organizing your home. Prioritize must-haves, or you’ll quickly use up all available storage space; plus, it’s essential to leave some room to grow as your needs change.
Furniture pieces that double as storage, like an ottoman or media stand, come in clutch for small spaces. Plus, multi-functional pieces help you clear clutter and store new toys, books, and playthings without feeling crowded. The process may feel daunting, but creating an organized space everyone loves isn’t an impossible task.
There are many tasteful ways to increase your storage without forgoing breathable living space; Research small space solutions and ideas to discover ways to store items while maintaining a balanced look. Make vertical shelving your best friend. Install shelving anywhere you can, as high as you can. It may seem excessive at first, but it fills up quickly. Use any remaining wall space to hang items that would otherwise take up too much floor space. Strollers and highchairs, for example, are often made to be collapsible and can easily be hung on a wall or back of a door, leaving more valuable storage space for bulkier items.
As you prepare your home and family for a new baby, try to stay calm. It’s an exciting time, and you can use this growing stage as an excuse to upgrade your furniture and storage solutions at the same time. Some dining room tables have built-in drawers to store silverware, plates, and other utensils, which in turn can free up some drawer and cupboard space for other baby-related things.
This one may not be an available option for everyone, but if you have the time, money, the right permits, and permission from your owner’s association, an apartment renovation can be the perfect solution for your lack of space.
There are certain things to consider before launching into a large project like this. First and foremost is knowing (and trusting) the people doing the work. Take your time researching and determining the right people for every job. New York City has a wide variety of apartments with different ages and styles; so, it is crucial to find someone who has experience with your type of building.
If your bathroom feels overcrowded as a family of two, imagine it down the line as children age. If you aren’t moving any time soon, consider adding a second bathroom or reconfiguring your existing one; either option will create more space for your growing family.
Again, this project is no easy feat, so before you begin, research the plumbing project guidelines and codes specific to your location. Once you get the green light to upgrade your bathroom space, choose a licensed plumber in the area to help. A local plumber is more likely to know of and comply with the requirements and codes for your location; which can help avoid issues down the road.
Also, keep in mind that the timeline your team presents you may not be exactly what you hope—especially if you are expecting a baby during that time. New York renovations are well known for their delays; but if you mentally prepare for potential hiccups ahead of time, it’s easier to face them down the line.
Upgrading Your Cleaning Routine
Physical changes aside, you can alter daily routines to form new, healthy habits. Once you prioritize cleanliness habits, you can easily maintain a beautiful and peaceful home.
In the past, you may have felt the benefit of buying in bulk, but in your new baby-centric home you need all the space you can get. It’s best to get in the habit of only buying things when you need them, as opposed to stocking up ahead of time. You’ll find it much easier to keep your countertops clear and to prevent additional clutter from piling up.
Committing to a nightly clean-up routine may sound exhausting, but it’s one of the best things you can do for your mental state. After a long day of work (and caring for a small child,) understandably, the only thing you want to do is relax on the couch, or even just sleep.
So why bother picking up your child’s toys when they’re just going to get them all out again tomorrow? Why put away the dishes when you’re going to use them for breakfast in the morning? Well, it turns out ensuring that you wake up to a clean and organized home environment every morning works wonders for your mental health and helps you start each day off fresh.
Finding the space to raise a child in NYC can seem overwhelming at first, but it is certainly not impossible. Keep these tips in mind as you begin your journey, and learn to revel in the joys, while embracing the challenges of raising a family in New York City.