Before I met my husband I always pictured living in a tiny home, but after realizing his six foot three body probably wouldn’t fit into one, I resigned that dream to the “unreachable” pile and moved on. That dream became an unconventional realization recently when we moved back in with my in laws and began living between two rooms with our toddler. Yes, technically we don’t live in a tiny house, but we do consider ourselves a part of the tiny living community, primarily in regard to the fact we became accidental minimalists pretty much over night.
Sharing a room with a toddler can be both super rewarding but also comes with it’s fair share of challenges, but before we get into any of that let me show you the set up.
So as you can see above, we took what used to be a living room and turned it into a studio apartment so to speak. We set up little man with his own space complete while enabling us to have our own space as well. This design took about four months of moving furniture, decluttering, getting rid of unnecessary stuff, and then going through and getting rid of a little bit more before we finally came to this set up.
You’ll note the TV sits in a wood cabinet on our side of the room, we don’t actually watch much TV in the room but put it there to avoid any night time wake ups of little dude.
The initial transition into room sharing was easier than expected as little man slept with us most nights anyway prior to the move, but now that he has his own big boy bed, he tends to at least stay in his bed more than he used to, and has the freedom to wake up and play quietly in the mornings if he want’s, rather than wake me up screaming.
The pros of shared living are great, if he wakes in the night I don’t have to leave my room, and we don’t need a baby monitor since he’s four feet away. It makes us a lot more in tune with each other as family members because we don’t really get much alone time as individuals, but it also has lead to a lot of great opening up of communication between us as parents because we have to work through problems rather than run from them.
The cons are obviously the lack of privacy, I can’t really hid from anyone when I want to sneak a nap, and the space can get cramped really quick on laundry day, or when there’s an unexpected influx of toys from the living room. There also isn’t much room for anything extra, which is great because it keeps the clutter and unnecessary stuff to a minimum, but also came with a lot of material sacrifices along the way. With the holidays coming a new level of anxiety has been added as I know family members will mean well, but by giving little man a bunch of extra toys, our space will get full again really quick.
The keys to success when sharing a room with a toddler are that at the end of the day, everything has a place and has to be in that place for it to work. Clutter can make or break a tiny living experience, which is why we’ve somehow became minimalists. When we moved luckily I was away with the military so my darling husband had the challenge of weeding through our apartment amount of belongings and paring down to what could reasonably be accommodated. Even still, I regularly get rid of things, mainly clothes as a closet isn’t handy, but realistically this experience has shown we don’t need the insane amount of material things we thought we did to be happy.
At first I wasn’t nearly as relaxed about the whole minimalist thing, honestly I panicked when I came home and couldn’t find 98% of our belongings, but eventually I broke the train of thought that things equated happiness and came to roll along happily with our minimalist life.
Shared living with a toddler is not a permanent solution, hopefully we can move on into our own place within the next year, but until then we’ll keep things small and cozy and hope for the best!