“Appreciate this moment. Stop and look around you.
Be thankful for all you have and where you are
because this time next year, nothing will be the same.”
R. H. Sin
Well, so much has happened since my last post in September. It increasingly feels like lifetimes ago when in reality it’s only been nine months. The sweetest nine months of my life, growing a little person inside whose arrival is anticipated any day now.
Pregnancy has lived up to the rollercoaster status I always heard of. Weird sickness, high and low emotions, days of subtle change, slowing down but staying active, and ultimately just the physical and mental preparation for a new tiny little sidekick. I’ve absolutely loved it. Loved the absolute JOY of hearing a strong heartbeat, a daily swift kick to the ribs, picking a namesake, and inhaling the sweet scent of freshly laundered baby clothes. But oddly, even the not so glamorous parts of this journey hold a special place for me. The discomforts are so real, the uncertainty very trying, and kissing your favorite pair of jeans goodbye is in truth just painful. But, the discoveries I unearthed. The strength I found in the Lord when physical strength was at rock bottom. The control I had to relinquish when I realized I couldn’t produce a single outcome. The leaning upon others emotionally + reaching out for encouragement when hormones played dirtiest. When treasures like these self-discoveries are brought into the light, I can’t help but marvel at the circumstances that brought them about and the Lord who orchestrated them.
It’s been a wild, beautiful ride.
Through the many transitions and physical changes over the past few months my main jam has been getting to shop and prepare a little corner for our little miss to call her own. It’s been almost exactly one year since we moved into our little tiny cottage, and it’s been so neat to see all the changes it’s been through since then. On the cusp of the positive pregnancy test, I knew fitting a nursery into 400 sq ft of already functional + tight living space was definitely a creative undertaking, so my brainstorming started really early. Pinterest, as always, was my main inspiration. Finding encouragement through other bloggers that tiny nurseries are totally possible to achieve, while also making them cute and affordable at the same time.
Erin at Reading My Tea Leaves has been my inspiration from day one of our tiny living, her resources and minimal style are a source of constant encouragement and brain food.
Her Baby Proof series was especially inspiring as I began nursery prep.
I found it funny that throughout my pregnancy I got numerous comments about if we had plans to move to a larger home because a baby was on the way. And while these comments were well meaning, it made me think more about how much our American culture of “more is better” expects so much from new parents. The pressure to buy a house with 3 bedrooms, purchase that mini van, or have x amount of financial security in place before you’re “ready” to have a baby. I say this without judgment and merely as an observation that I find a little saddening. Each individual couple obviously needs to evaluate and make a wise decision about timing and what’s best for their family, and that very well might involve that fenced in back yard and large nursery space (because, yes, those are amazinggg to have). But I also realized just how lacking the encouragement was that all of those good things don’t have to be standard and that smaller spaces can definitely work even when adding a new family member, it just takes dusting off a little creativity.
All this to say, it’s been a really fun challenge for me! I love what tiny living has taught me when it comes to minimalism and simplicity. I knew I had one corner of our bedroom to work with for a nursery space, so starting there I began evaluating what we already owned that would be functional in the space and then jotting down a list of the additions we would need to add. Coming up with a “style” was very simple because I wanted her little corner to really be an extension of our home style, which sticks along the lines of clean, natural + textured. I’ve never been big on the color stereotypes of “pink for girl and blue for boy”, so I went against the grain here and made very gender neutral decisions for this space. It integrates better into the rest of our bedroom but also I hope to get lots of future use out of almost everything which is a huge plus.
Based on my style, I knew I could find almost every new addition from IKEA, and I wasn’t wrong.
IKEA always nails it for me when it comes to simple living, and their organizational solutions for small spaces are hard to beat. One big shopping trip with my mama and sister resulted in the space coming together in the space of one evening. Everything that we decided not to purchase new was a FaceBook marketplace find, which I highly recommend doing when deciding on baby purchases. So many mamas receive items as baby gifts or use them one time before deciding it didn’t work for their kiddos so you can find so many options that have been used once or maybe not at all, for almost half the original price. So if you don’t mind something not coming new in the package I highly suggest this option. Plus, it’s always cause for celebration when you score the item you were looking for and the treasure hunt element is pretty much the best.
A couple of the items we found used:
Moses Basket + Stand
SnuggleMe Organic Lounger Pillow
UppaBaby Cruz Stroller
Accordion Hanging Rack
A rocker/glider was actually at the bottom of my “need” list to begin with, but as time went on I knew it was something I would regret not having. It was a harder search than I anticipated! I really was going for something that didn’t have a distinctive “nursery glider” look. For multiple reasons: integrating the nursery into our bedroom, space allowances, and honestly I’m just not a fan of the look. Also, I loved the idea of getting something that I could easily transition into another living space of our house if I no longer needed a nursery space. Finding affordable options was the hardest part for sure, so when my parents found one through Sena Nelson’s IG and gave it to us as a sweet gift, I was floored. I absolutely love it and can totally see us using it in other rooms of our home in later years.
Our biggest small space solution was to start out with a bassinet only. I considered that we wouldn’t even be using a crib at the very beginning so that it would be wasted space at this point. I considered going with a mini crib, which is a wonderful option as well, but in the end I just personally loved the Moses basket too much to give it up. Also, the portability of the basket was really appealing to me. After our little bb is six months it will be time to add the crib to this space, but we decided to cross that bridge when we came to it. Simple really is better in a small space, especially if you crave a little more wiggle room and don’t want to be stepping over or around non essentials. You are adding the tiniest person to your family, take into account how much stuff a tiny little human really needs to be happy, it’s an important thing to consider and can save you a bunch of stress and overspending.
A couple of take aways from this section of “Living Tiny” . . .
1. Evaluate your essentials – Do your research, ask more experienced mamas what they use and love, consider your budget, and go with the bare necessities at the beginning. Worst comes to worst, you can always buy that diaper pail after baby arrives if you find you really need it. 🙂
2. Consider your style – Nailing down a style is so helpful! It will give you direction as you look for new items or to think outside the box about the things you already have in your home. Plus, when you shop, it opens up a ton of options that may not be in the “nursery” category.
3. Don’t give in to the pressure – I’m learning only nine months in to this parenting journey that the pressure to do things a certain way will always be a factor. Don’t let that discourage you. Everyone has their opinion and suggestions of what you should do as a parent and that definitely translates over even to your living space. So much possibility is out there and freedom to use so much of what you have. Embrace that, keep a humble spirit about the advice you’ll receive that is so often well meant, but don’t let the pressure (much of it is so unnecessary) cripple you.
The journey of parenthood is definitely uncharted waters for me, so I desire the flavor of my words to be that of exploration and full of humility. I laugh, I so don’t have things figured out or know what I’m doing, words I write now I may dearly wish to retract later. I know this will probably be the case in so many moments ahead. But I don’t want the lie of “having it all to together” to hinder me from sharing the journey, there is so much to learn in this phase of discovery.
Excited to link arms as we learn + experience new seasons of life together, choosing to build each other up instead of tearing down.
A few of the resources pictured in case you’re curious:
Moses Basket + Stand
Gray Wool Baskets
Natural Mesh Bags