Married to Medicine

Married to Medicine

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Top Ten Space-Savers (for Tiny living with Tots!)

If you're in a situation like we were (family of four in a 2-bedroom apartment) or if you'll soon be headed that way with your residency move ... OR if you just like to save space and keep things neat and tidy ... this has been rolling around in my mind for some time now.  I'm finally putting it all down on paper, so here you go - My top ten space-savers:


This may seem like an odd one to lead off with but it's seriously the best product ever.  EVERYBODY should be using these; NOBODY should be hauling and storing cans of broth.  They not only save a TON of cabinet space (and hauling effort; each small jar makes 38 cups or 14 cans of broth) but they taste BETTER and you can make it a stronger dilution (add like 1.5 tsp per cup of water instead of 1) which almost always enhances the flavor of whatever I'm using it for.  Once you get into it it'll become easier and easier.  I don't even bother diluting anymore; I just add however many tsps I need and however much water right to the recipe.  And keep in mind that 3 tsp = 1 tbsp.  That'll make it even faster.  You HAVE GOT to get on this.  Find them in the broth section of your local grocery store.

(photo credit)

We actually only just discovered these bed frames two weeks ago but I'm obsessed.  These are easy to assemble (they come with all the tools you need), they work great, they eliminate the need for a box spring, and they leave a TON of room underneath for storage.  AND they're cheap!  These are an awesome solution for city living OR if you have a lot of stuff you want to store in the bedroom itself rather than in a basement or attic.




If you're in the high chair stage and you're short on space, do not get a freestanding high chair.  Get one of these - they work awesome and they sit on a chair you already have.  Bonus:  SUPER cheap.  You can get a 4-star one for $20 or less, or go for the 4.5-5 stars at $20-50.



One thing we didn't have space for in our old apartment was a glider.  We didn't need one for either child, thanks to this.  It did the rocking for me, right next to my bed - and was a complete magic bullet for my firstborn, I literally was never once up at night with him after a feeding.  As for the feedings themselves, I just used a My Breast Friend on the couch or another chair.  Saved so much space and so much money this way.  And got lots more sleep too!

We had the "Starlight" one.  LOVED IT.

If you're an Apple devotee but you can't swing the price tag, my husband came up with the awesome solution of getting a "Mac Mini" (the computer without the screen - it's tiny) and using a Dell Monitor.  LOVE LOVE LOVE it.  Not only did we save hundreds and get me an awesome monitor, but when my mac needs to be serviced all I have to haul to the Apple store is the tiny Mac Mini.  It fits in my purse.  If you go this route, be sure to double check that you've selected a monitor and a mini that are compatible with each other!  And then presto, you're good to go.


We could NOT have made it through our years in the 2-bedroom without this thing.  Not only does it keep all your dirty laundry sorted by color (white, bright, dark) and ready to be thrown in the wash, but the pole extends up so you can hang tons of stuff on it.  Yes, it's an eyesore.  But it's in your bedroom (or your kids' room) so nobody sees it... and it's really the only solution if you have a tiny closet.


(7) The "Closet Doubler."
This is another thing I couldn't live without, even now that we have lots more closet space.  I use it in my kids' closet to keep their stuff separate but it would work great in an adult closet too.  




Pretty much my favorite thing ever!  These hangers keep each outfit together and neat, instead of crammed in a drawer somewhere with the top nowhere near its proper bottom.  They'll also save you a ton of space over using separate hangers for each piece.




If you're in a tiny space with kids (or even without!), chances are you've got noise issues.  One kid needs to nap, the other needs to scream.  If that's you, these are the ultimate... and they have a real fan inside (fans reduce SIDS).  They're pricey - utilizing the newest technology in sound waves - but more sleep???  PRICELESS.



No space for toys?  Then don't bother with them; you probably don't have space to have other kids over either, and your (young) kids will be way more interested in your purse than their toys unless someone new is around to play.  Instead, stick only to the rare unicorn exceptions to the toy rule:  your kids will play with Tegu Blocks and Magna-Tiles (and art supplies, and maybe trains when they're really small) even when other kids aren't around ... and they can be tossed in a bag for easy space-saving storage.  Their prices reflect their value, unfortunately, but very rarely (about twice a year) Tegu Blocks go up to 40% off - and when they do, I post the sale in my Facebook group that you are welcome to join.  Magna-Tiles I've heard are price controlled... I have never once seen a sale on them other than a minimal store-wide coupon.  BUT I have also heard that one of the knockoff brands, "Shape Mags," is as good or better than the original, definitely worth checking out.  If you're wondering about Magformers, those are great too... especially for the younger crowd since they're easier to grip.  But they're not quite as cool as Tegu's or Magna-Tiles, once your child hits 3 years of age.

If you have to choose just one, get the Magna-Tiles.  But really, you want both - Tegu Blocks are great once your kid hits about 4 years old; they're like a hybrid blocks/puzzle with the polarization of the magnets.  

I just have to squeak in one more.  These are hard to find... you have to kind of poke around periodically to find find them in stock and under $200.  But when you think about the cost of buying both a wooden toy box and a wooden play table, and you consider the space saved, they're worth every penny even when they're up around $200.  We LOVE ours.


So there you have it.  My best-find products for smaller living.  Did I miss anything?  If so, let me know in a comment!

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