Mama in the City since 2008 and blogging since 2009!

Mama in the City on Small Space Living

October 17, 2016 // Apartment Living

My family of five, and our dog, live in a 1200 square foot condo with two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a den in downtown Vancouver. Over the years of apartment living I have probably heard all of the remarks about living in a small space. Most people appear shocked and like to ask, ‘so when will you guys move?’.

a perfect desserttable for your party

It seems many people believe that in order to thrive as a family you need a big house. The idea that less space can actually be more makes some people a little uncomfortable and confused. One thing that I know we are doing right as a family is that we are thriving! We live a purposeful life with a minimalist approach and our ‘stuff’ doesn’t own us.


This is how we do it:

The two big kids share a bedroom with bunk beds and their closet is converted into an organized catchall for toys and games and some clothing. Two big drawers under the bunk bed can be pulled out for special personalized collections. Currently you will find My Little Ponies and Shopkins in one and Lego and Transformers in the other.


When a new toy comes in we always make sure there is a space for it and if not, then something gets donated or given away. We don’t accumulate a lot of excess and that is on purpose.

I never bought a change table for any of my babies. This fact is surprising to many people who come to visit us or come to take care of my kids. I have always used foldable washable changing pads and have had a basket of diapers/wipes/creams that moved around with me as needed.


“For our family of five living a minimalist styled life in a condo continues to work for us because we make it work”


Each kid gets one of something and not more. They have one bike each, one warm Winter coat each, one pair of everyday shoes each, etc. Since we don’t have the space to pack away a variety of different fashions the answer is to have just one good quality thing. I will fork over the dollars if I know the item is to be made well and not disposable.

Can you believe my 8 year old has had the same Peekaboo Beans hoodie for over a year? It wasn’t cheap but it washes up so well and I bought it big knowing we’d just have the one. Amazingly, he hasn’t misplaced it at school!

We don’t have different everyday dishes and fancy occasional dishes. There’s no room for a China cabinet that would house stuff only to be taken out on special occasions. Instead, we use our Denby dishes that we got at our wedding ten years ago as our everyday meal dishes.

Once in awhile I do wish for an extra bedroom or a private space to relax in away from everyone. However, I know that ultimately my kids would still hunt me down and find me even if we had a huge house with many rooms. Kids are smart like that!

I like that our Costco robot vacuum can clean our floors without needing a battery charge and less space means less for me to clean. For our family of five living a minimalist styled life in a condo continues to work for us because we make it work. We don’t have any plans to move anytime soon and enjoy spending time together at home and in the city we’ve come to love.






About the author

Hi! I'm Andrea, a 30 something girl who loves living the downtown lifestyle and didn't want to give it up once I started a family. Mama in the City since 2008 and blogging since 2009!


  1. Marie says:

    Funny enough I live in a big sprawling old house and guess are right. I have so much to clean and guess what else…we actually probably ‘live’ in like 1/4 of the house. We all hang out in the kitchen./living room area. Go figure!

  2. Taylor says:

    Love thosebuno beds mama!! This is an inspiring post. Too often we are bombarded with the idea that we need more and more. Enjoyed the refreshing take!

  3. […] suburbs with a white picket fence. In a recent post, she explains how they make things work with a family of five in two-bedroom condo. And that doesn’t even include the dog too! The convenience of living downtown means that […]

  4. Oscar says:

    I love this approach. Our place is not much bigger than yours and we have 2 kids and a dog but it feels so cluttered. We just started into a journey of minimalism and your outlook on this gives us huge hope! Thanks for sharing

  5. A Life Shift says:

    Fairly new to this small apartment with baby living thing. Originally from Vancouver but living in Hong Kong now. We’ve got a 10 month old in 590 sq ft and no plans to move to a larger place any time soon. You can check out our adventures here: