One of the most common questions we got after announcing that we were pregnant was “are you going to buy a house?” Even though we live in a fairly metropolitan area, it seemed to be a common theme that baby = house. When we said no, we had no plans to give up our condo, we got a lot of raised eyebrows and questions about how we were going to fit in such a small space.
When we originally decided to buy a home, having kids wasn’t anywhere near our radar. We had a limited budget in a very high cost-of-living area, and our priorities were keeping our commute reasonable and to buy a space that wasn’t high maintenance. Neither Mr. Carrot nor I had any experience with home ownership, and our busy work lives, travel schedules and limited finances didn’t jibe with spending much time on figuring out how to do major renovations. Within these parameters, our best option was to buy a condo.
We bought a two bedroom unit in an older building rather than new construction, because the square footage was actually comparable to many houses in our area, whereas most new construction units were half the space. We assumed that if anything ever changed on the subject of kids, we at least had an extra bedroom to work with, and we’d figure out everything else. Now that Baby Carrot is a toddler and we are in full throes of being overrun by baby “stuff,” we’ve found some tactics to make our smaller space work for our needs, and discovered some benefits we hadn’t considered to condo living over owning a house.
1) Walls and corners are amazing organization (and baby proofing!) tools. I admit, I can be a bit neurotic about keeping our living space organized, so when Baby C started getting mobile and her activity needs increased beyond just a play mat, I was really nervous about tripping over toys and having no space to house her stuff. However, putting her toys around our wall spaces and corners ended up being a two-fold benefit – nothing was in the middle of the room AND we could hide some of the things that aren’t so baby safe but are hard to do without.