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Close Quarters: Growing As A Family In A Small Apartment


Maybe you have needed to make some sacrifices to your life, or you have had to downgrade from a house to an apartment, or maybe you have just never had the money in which to invest in a house. Living in close quarters can be difficult, even for the most close-knit family. With a small space can come big issues. But once you get the place up and running, you need to give thought to the positives of this. Of course, there are many negative issues, but it’s something that many parents have had to endure for decades, if not centuries: raising children in a small space. While now, we like the luxury of space, are there any life lessons we can learn from confined quarters like an apartment?  We live in a small house, with our six children and a large dog.  Many of these things apply even if you are not in an apartment complex.


Head outdoors

Especially if your close quarters stay is temporary, finding short-term solutions for a growing family (and everyone’s stuff) can be as easy as finding somewhere to head outdoors.  When growing children are given the opportunity to run and be loud, the times to be quiet and not rambunctious are easier.  Finding a park, walking trails, or school playground is the first order of business when we have found ourselves living in tight spaces.


Living Within Your Means

It’s a very simple equation, you don’t have much space, so you can’t go overboard with toys and items, no matter how much you would like to. And even if you have just one child, you may find yourself with the pleasant surprise that another one is on the way. You can look to upgrade, but if you don’t have the finances, you have to live within your means. You have to make the most of what you have, you cannot be filling the space with items that start to pile up. Clutter is a very stressful thing. If you have a small space, for the sake of everyone concerned, there needs to be room to maneuver.  This also means calling on some of your furnishings to pull double duty – such as tables that offer storage space.  Or scaling down your seating arrangements.  Or utilizing bunkbeds.   Be sure to check out the video at the end to spark ideas for your own needs.


Learning To Coexist

The stress of navigating out of everyone’s way can be one of those infuriating things, but you need to learn how to coexist with everyone. Sometimes we can be a bit selfish, and think that we need the bathroom first because we “take longer to get ready”. But we have to make compromises. When we live in a small space, we might think we have made plenty of allowances for the sake of everyone else, but to avoid arguments, you have to figure out how best you can all get out of each other’s way. This doesn’t mean staying barricaded in your room while everybody else finishes up in the bathroom; taking the time to focus on each other’s habits, and letting compromise come naturally is an essential way to avoid getting under each other’s feet. Whether this means getting up an hour earlier so you can have a shower and a coffee before everyone else wakes up, so be it. You could hold it against everyone else that you have to get up early or look at it from a positive perspective- you have that time to yourself in the morning, and you don’t have to rush getting ready. In reality, you are setting yourself up for a better day.


Tackle Problems Quickly

Whether emotionally or physically, living in such tight spaces means that if there’s a problem, it’s far better to deal with it right away. This is especially true when you live in an apartment! Noise from other residents, water leakages, or even bugs need dealing with right away. It’s for the benefit of everyone concerned that you fix the issue yourself, or you contact a plumber or bed bug exterminator. These things, especially bugs, are so common in apartment buildings, they can make your living circumstances miserable. Likewise, if you have a personal problem with someone in your building, exposing your children to this tension isn’t healthy for anyone. So if you are going through issues, keeping your distance might not even be an option.  You have have to figure out a way to deal with these problems in a healthy manner. In some ways, living on top of each other means that you are forced to put things out into the open. It’s particularly unpleasant, to begin with, but as a result, by learning how to vent your frustrations healthily as soon as they arise, this can stop arguments and frustrations bubbling up over weeks, months, or years.


You Can Grow Closer

As a family, spending time in close quarters means that you are physically closer. It’s so easy for parents these days, especially in big houses, to go in the other room, or not spend much time really with their children. When you are forced to stay in close quarters, this cozy feeling can be a constant. This is great. Granted, during the summer, it could increase the temperature somewhat. But when you are raising children, it is great to spend quality time together. Many families can be fragmented because of the need for space. Sure, we all need our own space from time to time, but this is where compromise and listening to each other will work wonders. But if you take a baby home to a small apartment, you are physically close to each other constantly. And, while during the early years, this can cause frustration, this natural closeness will soon develop into an inseparable bond. Some parents don’t bond with their children, sadly, for both the parents and children.  For those people who have kids in small spaces, and they learn how to live within their means, and the act of compromise, it nearly guarantees a tight-knit relationship. You may think, what about those families where there are six children, pets, and not enough space for them to all coexist?  Well, there are many examples of this, and yes, they we get frustrated, and from the outside, it might look like they we don’t always like each other. But this is far from the case, we have to get away from this cliched perception of the family that never argues. All families argue, but it is when they make up that they get closer together. It’s the ones who don’t communicate that you have to watch out for!

And yes, you might be counting down the days until you can get out of this pokey apartment, but you will miss it. Not necessarily the lack of space, but you may never have been so close to everyone, physically and emotionally.


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