taza’s nyc guide: urban living!

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taza's-nyc-guide-apartment-livingi’ve been wanting to share a post about urban living, and how we’ve made a 2 bedroom apartment in new york city work for our family of 5. we’ve been in this space for almost 3 years, and since questions around city living seem to be asked a lot these days, i thought i’d share what we’ve learned and how we manage. also, i have a lot of opinions on the matter, so get ready. ;)

i first want to start with a disclaimer, because what can work for one family may not work for another, and when people compare urban life to suburban or rural life, i just don’t think that makes sense.  it’s all apples and oranges, honestly.  pros and cons to both. they couldn’t be more different and i don’t believe one is better than the other. it depends on the atmosphere, the space, the preferences, the season of life, and most importantly, the people.  some people might say our apartment is really big, some people might say it’s way too small. it feels just right for us, and i’m just super grateful for it.

we don’t really know much else besides city living with our kids, and so far, we love it. there’s this great saying around new york about how 500 square feet in new york city is bigger than 500 square feet anywhere else. ha! i believe it.  in a nutshell, while we’re in about 700 square feet of space, our apartment is really narrow but long, going from the front of the building to the back, so you walk through every room to get to the next. this can make for tricky furniture arrangements, but since it’s really long, it doesn’t feel too crammed. and the kids have plenty of room to run and scoot and play throughout the entire space. (thankful for kind neighbors who swear they don’t hear them play! insert hands over eyes emoji here.)

i think my biggest tip for anyone apartment hunting is if you can find something with tall ceilings and a lot of natural light, it can help make the space feel bigger than it is, even just by 10%, which feels like a lot sometimes. :)

it’s been a fun challenge with furniture and keeping “stuff” to a minimum. we make frequent trips up to goodwill to drop off clothes and toys and other things we don’t need, and have mostly just enjoyed making this space our own and the way it allows us to live in the heart of such an incredible city.

below are some photos i took over the past few weeks and also a few tips and thoughts on how to get the most out of your city living experience….

002---living-room

1. MOVE IN! …. PAINT THE WALLS, HANG THINGS UP! DECORATE!…

one of the hard things about city living and apartment renting, is you’re never really in one spot for very long.  it gives you this terrible mentality of, “well, i don’t know how long i’m going to be here, so i’m not going to really move in. i’ll settle into my space when i own it…” that’s fine, and it works great for a lot of people, but for me, whether i’m living there for three years or two years or even just a year, i want that space to feel like mine. i want it to be my safe place, my refuge from a hustling and bustling city, and for my family, i want it to feel like a good representation of us.

it’s tricky when you’re renting, but most landlords will still allow you to paint. just ask! sometimes they’ll request you paint everything back to white upon leaving, but honestly, a little paint goes a long way to helping a space feel like yours.  i know white walls and white floors and minimal stuff is all the rage these days in the interior decorating world, and since i’m no interior designer, perhaps we’ve done it all backwards by painting some of our walls bold and bright colors, but we love it. and i think that’s what matters. (in fact, we let eleanor pick out that blue color you see in the dining room last year. ha! i’m just glad she didn’t pick out a pink or something.)

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001--wall-gallery

in all of the spaces we’ve rented, we’ve loved hanging up a mix of art we’ve collected and our own photos on the walls. we also like sticking some of the kids art on the walls as well. the kids love to see their own faces on the wall and also the art they are creating! several walls in their nursery are filled with their drawings and paintings and a few of their most special paintings i have framed in our living room. in their room, i rotate their drawings and paintings on the wall every few months or so (i wish i could save all of their art, but we just have room to save a few pieces every few months or so in big art binders. their art binders are currently being stored under their toddler beds.)

also, since both my previous bikes were stolen when locked up on the street, we’ve been storing my current bike in the apartment and hanging it on the wall which helps take up less floor space. keeping it inside has also kept it in tip top shape, which is nice. i also think it’s pretty up there on the wall!

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chalk board walls are also so fun! i’ve painted one in every space i’ve rented, dating back to my first college apartment in the city when i was studying at juilliard. so they aren’t just for college dorms or kids rooms! this one is currently in our small hallway to the kitchen, and a nice place for the kids to hang out while we cook. i use this chalk board paint. also, i know my books are messy on the shelf there. :0 that’s next on my list to tackle and organize.
002-bedroom

we took the smaller bedroom and gave the kids the bigger one.  you have to walk through ours to get to theirs, but we’re a close knit family so it’s never bothered any of us. we’re a little bit lucky to have two rather large and deep closets in there (at least by nyc apartment standards!) so josh and i are both able to store a lot of stuff in those things! we also bought a bedframe that is high enough to store containers underneath with items and various things we don’t use daily.
001-naomis-closet

josh and i each have a shoe rack on the back of our closet doors. it’s a great way to store our shoes in our space. this shoe rack is the best one we’ve found so far (we’ve tried a few).  we have a big wire basket under the desk in our living room where the kids shoes go. it’s easier to store them by the door since that is where they put them on and take them off, and since they are in charge of putting them away, it works well.  we just carry our shoes back to our closet since we don’t have a lot of storage in our front space for them.

002-closet

inside my closet on one wall, i have several hooks for hats and bags. i also have a storage container in the back of my closet where i keep other hats and bags as i rotate through them during the year.

goodwill-run

2. ON STORAGE! AND DECLUTTERING (ALL THE  TIME!)…

we don’t have additional storage units anywhere in the city. so everything we own, is in our apartment.  i occasionally send a box to my mom of any special things i want to hold onto (kid clothes mostly, i’m super sentimental there and can’t give all of it away. she’s the nicest for storing a couple of boxes in her basement for me. thanks mom!), but not having a storage unit or a garage or an attic to store stuff has really helped us to just declutter all the freaking time.  we often make a large pile to take up to goodwill. here’s josh and samson taking a big haul in the bucket bike last month!  i talk a little bit more below about how we handle the toys and books situation for the kids…001-kids-hooks

001-front-closet

by the way, we have these water tight storage trunks stacked in several closets and under our bed. they are the best we’ve found! we have christmas stuff in one trunk, winter clothing in another, tools in another… they are awesome. also, that’s my laundry by the door. more on that below!

002-kids-room-full-view

3. KIDS TOYS AND BOOK STORAGE…

so we have all three little ones in the bigger bedroom. conrad still sleeps in our room a lot of the time, so i can’t really advise anyone just yet on how three share a room every night, but i’m writing a separate post about how sleep arrangements have been working in our family as that is also a frequently asked question. so stay tuned!

we rotate through the kids toys and books often.  as they get new toys, we give old ones away. same goes with books.  it just helps minimize the amount of “stuff” that can collect with kiddos, and i think talking about donating helps the kids not feel too attached to their things and learn about sharing.

002-kids-rooms

001---kids-toys

001--kids-toy-containers

i’ve tried several different storage methods when it comes to their toys and books, and i’ve found that these wire baskets (or clear containers) where they can SEE their toys, is what works best for us.  that way they aren’t dumping out an entire container looking for a single toy. while it doesn’t always happen, we try to keep to the rule of putting whatever away we were playing with before getting out something different, so we don’t have a mess of train tracks AND legos AND play-doh out at once. (although that happens more often than not. we’re working on it.)

we don’t really enforce any other rules when it comes to the kids toys. they are welcome to play anywhere in the house with their toys, they aren’t just confined to their room, although that’s where they tend to play the most.  we have the most amazing downstairs neighbors who claim they can’t hear us playing! it is probably our biggest blessing with this whole apartment living thing.

002-kitchen 002-shelves

4. ON KITCHEN STORAGE…

when it comes to the kitchen, we don’t have a lot of cabinet space, so we keep food items in our cabinets and have a great shelving unit where we store all of our dishes and other things like them. we keep our crockpot, kitchen aid and the bulkier food equipment on the lower shelves. we keep the blender and toaster on the counter, since those are used almost daily. we have a smaller fridge as well, so that, paired with not a whole lot of cabinet space means we don’t buy many things in bulk (besides diapers! you can never run too low on those things!).

it’s actually been rather nice though, because we tend to bring in and eat a lot of fresh produce this way, since we’re grocery shopping every few days. another perk of city living is that you can get all of your groceries delivered at a specific time you request, which makes grocery shopping online every few days even more convenient. we also have two garbage cans in our kitchen, one for recycling and one for regular trash, and we take the trash out a lot.

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5. ON TREATING YOURSELF!…

we don’t have a washer or dryer in our apartment.  i get the biggest kick out of those street easy ads around manhattan that say you know you’ve made it in life when you have a washer and dryer in your apartment.  guess we haven’t made it yet, hopefully someday. ;) in the meantime, we send out our laundry for wash and fold and it has seriously SAVED MY LIFE.  it feels like the biggest luxury! i don’t know if i’d want a washer and dryer after experiencing “wash and fold.” ha! in our neighborhood, it doesn’t cost much more than doing it yourself, and we can have it picked up at our door and dropped off right back at our door on the same day.  also, hooray for laundry coming back so neatly folded in a cube cause truth be told i’ve always struggled folding!

A FEW OTHER NOTES….

a few other things i thought i’d write about since they are often asked…

with most of the grocery stores in our area delivering groceries, as well as several online food delivery services, we have most of our shopping and grocery items delivered. this works out great since we do live in a walk-up building. this way, we don’t have to worry about carrying a bunch of bags up the stairs as often and can just carry conrad instead. in new york, sometimes you can get lucky with a larger lobby in your apartment building that has a place to store strollers, so you don’t have to carry one up and down the stairs, too!

several asked on instagram how one entertains in new york. it’s an interesting question i hadn’t really thought about before, because most of the time, we just meet friends out and about. in fact, i brought this up to a couple of girlfriends after thinking about it and we all kind of thought it was interesting how we don’t really entertain here that much. it sounds so weird now that i think about it, but i haven’t even been to a couple of my good girlfriend’s apartments! how weird is that! but there is so much to do and see and eat in new york, we are constantly out and about in the city together, that we usually have a play date out, or a dinner date out with other couples…my church group has had a mommy email list since i moved here where people are constantly emailing and texting throughout the day saying “we’re here at this playground, come join!” or “we are heading here in the morning around 10…” and so there is always something going on and everyone has always been included. it’s one of the best things about city living, i think, how these people instantly become your family. i mean the saying couldn’t be more true… it takes a village, or in this case, a city.

and we do enjoy having people over every now and again, as well. if we do have people over, for breakfast or a birthday party, people sit everywhere and anywhere they can. we’ve even had several friends and family members stay with us. it’s what blow up mattresses are made for! so long as everyone is cool with sharing a single bathroom!

i know i am biased, but city living is just wonderful.  we live just a few blocks away from several parks including central park, museums, the library, a number of different playgrounds and our favorite shops and restaurants.  i love how city life exposes my children to a variety of people and beliefs and ideas. i love the hustle and bustle (although not during rush hour, ha!) and all the lights. i love the caliber of talent and energy and motivation that new yorkers have around me. i love how new york challenges one to explore more, create more, and live.  this city will forever have my heart and i’m grateful for the chance to live here for a chapter of my life and to share this adventure with my little family.

  1. Great post… living in an apartment, it’s amazing how often I declutter and throw things away. I probably buy less too.

    I absolutely love the green wall. So many times small rooms end up being boring because someone’s afraid to take a risk.

    Well done!

    Lindsay | http://www.ReadTheThread.com

  2. Gabriella

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I love that you took the time to answer so many questions. And I love how it puts my own living situation into perspective, too. My husband and I have a one-bedroom apartment and generally have enough space for the two of us, but our kitchen and bathroom are TINY (seriously). However, our balcony and fairly quiet surroundings make up for SO much.

    Really looking forward to the kids-sharing-the-bedroom post, too!

    Also, I’d be interested to know: how do you keep on top of keeping everything (fairly) clean and tidy? I feel that small spaces look cluttered so much easier than larger ones, and although I know your motto is “home not museum”, I’d love your tips and trick on this topic, too!

    Thank you again for sharing!x

  3. Catherine

    this post has been such a wonderful inspiration for all the people in tiny flats (even in Paris ;-), thank you so much for sharing your tips here Taza! :-)

  4. This is by far my FAVORITE post you’ve done, from an information standpoint. So much of my curiosity has been satiated, thanks to this thorough and thoughtful post. Thanks for taking the time to do this! It gets me motivated to organize and declutter! One of my favorite quotes is “Do what you can with what you have where you are” by Theodore Roosevelt. I see that all over this post. You’re doing such a great job, city mama!

    -Britt

  5. Minju

    I absolutely love your home! It’s like a place in the movie.

  6. Mariana Seoane

    this is a dream come true!
    thank you taza! for this beautiful post

  7. Thank you so much for sharing this! I don’t have a family/kids/pets or anything, but I’m moving to a new flat in London and will be living in tighter quarters. Your storage advice definitely helped and I’m excited to decorate! x

    http://www.chevronsandeclairs.com/blog

  8. Meagan M

    I’ve never lived in a big city and always felt sorry for people that did because they had “no space” and how do you live with one bathroom and no washer/dryer!!! But recently I’ve seen the appeal to big city living, especially with a family. And now I feel sorry for myself (not really but ya know…) I have to go grocery shopping and do my own laundry-I want grocery and laundry delivered…then I would feel like I had “made it”. I love this post and it’s so fun seeing how other people (especially families) live.

  9. Jess

    Thanks for sharing your space! Where is the NYC poster in the living room from?

  10. Giselle

    Looooooove your home! So cozy and colorful!

  11. Aww, you shouldn’t have to justify your living space! It’s such a sweet, welcoming home, and as long as you and your family enjoy living there that’s all that matters. I love that there’s so much colour. Such an inspiring post, as always x

  12. Melissa

    This may sound super strange, but seeing your beautiful apartment has made me feel less pressured to “match everything” I love your eclectic style and the go with the flow buy what you like kind of thing. That’s always been my go-to feeling but sometimes i totally over-think it! thanks for sharing the tips!

  13. I love this post! I grew up in a small town, and love our little suburban life, but I’ve always been fascinated with NYC (specifically) city life! A childhood friend is now an ER doctor up there, and I just love watching her city adventures via Fb/Ig – thanks for giving me another little glimpse! As you say, it’s so apples and oranges – they both have their charm and their downfalls. It’s interesting about the entertaining – I never really thought about it but if I lived in a big city like that (with so much to explore!) – I’d probably never have people over to the house. Even a quiet, private chat could be had out-and-about in an interesting locale!

  14. Hazza

    I love the colour and personality in your space! It’s inspired me to be bolder with my rental places :)

    Thank-you for letting us into your home – I had been wondering about the Taza clothes storage situation for the longest time! Well done for fitting all those amazing pieces in! x

  15. hanna

    LOVE your guys’ space. Making it work ;) –Hanna Lei

  16. I’m ready to move in!! :D

  17. Nanette

    loved this post! i’ve always wondered how you made it work! thanks for the great tips. those wire baskets are awesome.

  18. Tilly

    I really enjoyed reading this. Your place is lovely.

    We are a family of four living in a similar sized apartment, but in Europe. I agree that having understanding neighbours is so important! We are lucky in that we have the benefit of a 2m2 balcony that we can use during the summer and it feels like an enormous garden during those months! I grew up in a house in a suburb and was used to taking public transport everywhere. I always imagined that is how my adult life would be. But now we love having everything on our doorstep or a walk or cycle away and I’m not sure we will ever move out of the city.

    Thanks for sharing!

  19. Whit

    Thanks for posting as I think about this situation a ton these days. You guys have done a great job making it work, but where do you store your stroller and any other bulky baby stuff?

    Thank you! Looking forward to the next post on shared room sleeping.

  20. Linda

    Where do you keep that big orange bike?

  21. ashlee norton

    Where do you store the bucket bike?

  22. Melissa

    Thanks for sharing all of this! Since I don’t live in the city, it’s very interesting to get to read some secrets and perspectives of city living. And thanks for sharing pics of your apartment, it’s so cute and I love all of the color everywhere! It looks like you’ve built a very loving, happy home :)

    http://www.melismcgrath.com

  23. Kellie

    Hey Naomi! I’m not sure why exactly but for some reason this was one of your BEST posts! I suppose because it shows how you guys do real daily life – something that I struggle to accept from all these beautiful blogs with picture-perfect homes and families (you’ve NEVER claimed to be this and have done a fabulous job of being transparent and honest but it’s still hard to see past the lens sometimes). Anyhow, thanks for the “real-ness” – your home is “imperfectly perfect!” :)

  24. Johanna

    I always thought living in a big city like NYC would be pretty horrible with children (the germs! the weird people! no open space!), but this definitely changed my mind. Thank you for sharing!

    http://www.engineeredperfection.blogspot.com

  25. Dora

    Love seeing your beautiful apartment and how it works so well for your family. Really makes me want to organise my flat and make the most of it. An inspiring post – Thank you!

  26. I live in a decent size cabin on 3 acres in the middle of Missouri, and found inspiration in this post! Although we have plenty of space, I want to live as though we have minimal space for STUFF. Knowing how to minimize and store our necessities, and make the most of what we have is something you’ve definitely helped with. Now if I could find a laundry genie…

  27. I love how your family makes it work! I live in a small apartment with my bf and I am struggling to find space. Have to try maximizing our space more. Thanks for the tips!

  28. LS

    Thanks for sharing! It’s fun to see more pictures of the apartment! I’m confused about the layout though… I’m such a spatial person, I like to visually make sense of things, haha. Is the kitchen off of the living/dining room, past that chalkboard wall? Or is on the opposite end of the apartment, with the bedrooms in between?

  29. Emily

    YES. THANK YOU. We are moving from Utah to NYC next year and I have been so stressed/confused about how to do it all! Thank you thank you thank you a million times for all these tips!

  30. Kailey

    Great post! I’m always inspired by how cozy and welcoming your apartment looks – not to mention your obviously killer organization skills! Your family of five is putting my family of two to shame! Note to self: clean out my closets!

  31. Libby

    So cute — where did you get the Lego people hooks? My daughter (yes, daughter) is OBSESSED with Legos and I love mixing up her room with girly and less-girly decor. Plus, I love that you have the hooks mounted low enough for the kids to hang up their own stuff!

  32. Jenna

    Lovely home! Thanks for sharing a peek into your beautiful life. I don’t live in the City but I think everyone can take away something from this post. I love what you are teaching your children about donating and sharing what they no longer need…plus it makes more room for making memories!

  33. Jenn

    I love your apartment! I live in a suburban area in California and sometimes I feel my house is too big and that I have too much stuff. I love your ideas of de-cluttering and storage!
    And I am so sorry to hear about your bikes… they were truly beautiful!

  34. Taza, your home is lovely! I’m impressed with what you’ve done and how you’ve decorated such a small space (and I’m an interior designer). High five. xox

  35. Molly

    Thanks so much for sharing, Naomi! I also live on the uws and it’s always fun to see how other New Yorkers are making it work. I couldn’t agree more that constant trips to goodwill and under bed storage are key!

    I must know though, where do you possibly store that bucket bike ;) xx

  36. Vera

    Oh, New York must be full of great apartments. I hope you move have a fantastic time in your new one! With love,
    Vera

    The Flash Window | Bloglovin

  37. Andrea

    wonderful post. Thank you so much for sharing!

  38. Kate

    What a wonderful post! I know that you must have lots of stressful moments, but you always make an effort to be grateful and positive, and I really love coming here to read. I always leave feeling brighter and uplifted.

  39. kat

    Thank you for sharing this! Loved how alive your space is. Where is your leather couch from? It’s beautiful!

  40. Emily S

    I love this! We’ll be moving into a studio this September and while it’s really exciting, I’m really nervous about the probable lack of cabinets, closet space, and figuring out how to do laundry.

  41. Katherine

    I found this really informative and interesting! More posts like this, please.

  42. Lisa Anderson

    I love this post! We moved from our 400 sq ft basement apt to a 700 sq ft place with awesome light and ceilings and it still feels like a palace to me! Living in DC has totally changed my perspective and attachment to space and “things” and I have even learned to love our drop-offs at Goodwill :). I feel like NYC with 3 kids is the next level, though, and loved hearing how you guys make it work. Hope you are doing well!

  43. Great post! I have to say, I kind of laughed my way through it because I can definitely relate and it’s so funny trying to explain how we do things in NY. I’m in a railroad style apartment in BK so one room bleeds into the next, just like at yours. When people come to visit they’re always so fascinated by how we do things – from sending away the laundry to ordering Amazon fresh and even Seamless. You’re absolutely right, it’s so hard to compare to rural life or even just life in a smaller city – there is no better or worse, just different

    Ok, now I have a totally random question – Who makes that beautiful Panama hat you have hanging on the wall in your closet picture? I loooove it :-)

    http://www.youmademelikeyou.com

  44. Liz

    This is such a great post – thank you! I am in Chicago in a tiny apartment and found this so helpful. I love your bright apartment and that’s how I like to keep mine too (helps during these horrible winters!) Also, I love the whole “decluttering” process as well :) Does the bucket bike fit in your place too? Or perhaps in your lobby?

    Have a great weekend!

  45. Julia

    Hi! Thanks for this post! It was very informative. My husband, myself and my 3 young children will be moving to Brooklyn the end of this month! I need to know how to fit the 5 of us into a 2 bedroom and 1 bath apartment. Ha! We are excited for this new adventure and can’t wait for city living! We are moving from Mobile, Alabama, so I’m sure this will be interesting!!!!!

  46. alison

    cutest space.

    have you read the magic art of tidying up? so great for decluttering.

    her message is to only live with the things you love. and that your home already has all the storage space you need. you seem to be living that type of life. such a happy home

  47. amy koop

    FABULOUS post! We too were a family of five in a two bed apartment – and it’s amazing the creativity that comes from restrictions. I swear by the saying “necessity is the mother of invention” We’ve moved to a three bed now and its not that much bigger actually but it feels PALATIAL. All our friends and i do mean ALL – live in single family homes 3,000 sq feet or more and can’t fathom how we can survive in a such a tiny space. But we love it and are a very tight knit family. I love seeing your personality shine through your space. I think this is what makes it so beautiful! We also rent – and the first thing i do is get out the paint brush! It makes it yours! Loved this post!

  48. Great post! I’ve always been fascinated by city living. I grew up in a very small town and recently moved to “the city.” Very much on the outskirts but still in a smaller apartment than before (750sq ft.) I love to organize and stay as clutter free as possible. Thanks for the tips and glimpse into your sweet home!

  49. i love this post so much and completely can relate to everything you said…

    my family of five lives in a one bedroom converted into 2 bedroom. my three kids share the master bedroom. every night for them is like a sleepover! i swear i think they will always want to share a room! my husband and my bedroom is tiny with our bed and dresser and closet (i thought it was a bonus having a closet and a window in there!). i feel so fortunate having the space we do. we have an alley kitchen with a door on either end, one of the doors opening up to our bedroom. i love laying in bed working and watching/talking to my husband as he is right in front of me cooking (such a luxury!).

    our friends outside of the city think we are absolutely crazy. it really has taught me to minimize the amount of things we have. i think of our little neighborhood almost like a suburb having a library, a bodega, a dry cleaner, our church, the grocery store, and all of the fun neighbors you pass along the way. i think the city is not for everyone, but it really pushes me to do things outside my comfort zone. it makes us go out and explore and do things we might not normally do. i also love the creative challenge of making the best space in our little apartment (and how many ways you can do so!).

    such a great post and i’m sure people that are unfamiliar with city life learned a lot from reading it!!

  50. cal

    I grew up sharing a very small bedroom with two sisters…we had bunk beds and a trundle bed and it worked well…in fact my youngest sister cried when in high school we all got our own rooms

  51. What a fun peek behind the curtain, I love it! I thought I was the only crazy person with a family of 5 living in a tiny 2-bedroom city apartment. Seeing how another family does it is fascinating! What a great point about entertaining, I hadn’t thought about it quite like that before, but it makes sense! Great post.

  52. Mihelle

    This is my first time posting but I just had to share how amazing this post was! In 2 weeks my family and I moving to DC…not as much of a city as NYC but we are less then one mile to the national mall so our living space is going to change drastically from our suburban life. Thanks for sharing all your tips!

  53. Sonya

    You’ve given me some inspiration. I think I could be doing so much more in my apartment instead just complaining of what I don’t have. You’ve really made it work and made it work very well. Thank you for this.

  54. Ines

    Thank you thank you! As a graduate student studying early childhood in Manhattan it’s always great to hear about different insights and perspectives about city living with kiddos :)

  55. Thanks!! That was an awesome post and gave me some good ideas for our move to Stanford at the end of the summer.

  56. so many gems in here! lots of good ideas. :) xo

  57. Amanda

    Great post Naomi! I’m moving back into my NYC studio after living in a huge 1 bedroom and I’m definitely going to use some of your tips!

  58. Ola

    It’s really great how you manage to keep all the things in your apartment. Everything looks so neat and well thought-out. I guess it requires a lot of discipline. You’re a great organizer :) Love your design taste :)

    http://lifestylebyola.blogspot.com/

  59. This is just perfect. We don’t live in NYC, but we chose to sacrifice square footage for location when we purchased an 1100 SF house inside the DC beltway. Our family and friends who live in cities with a reasonable cost/space ratio can’t fathom raising a young family family in such “conditions.” I don’t agree. Small living keeps your family close, teaches you to be creative with storage, to not identify with belongings and to clean up after yourself. I loved this post.

  60. Thank you for sharing this with us! I have a bit of a thing for rearranging + decorating my space. Like you said, it feels so much nicer when you make a space your own regardless of how long you intend on staying in it. I think I rearranged my University room around 5 times during the time I was there!

    Also, I love the pop of colours you have in your rooms. Eleanor has excellent taste ;) xox Louise | Reads and Recipes – A literary lifestyle blog

  61. Molly

    Thank you so much for sharing! I absolutely love your home…all the colors,love! My little family also loves urban living, the three of us live in a one bedroom apartment in downtown Denver and it just seems perfect right now!

    We have the same shelving unit for our kitchen, can you share with me what you put on top of each shelf? Thanks so much!

    -Molly

  62. Tiana Garnett

    This is so fun to read!
    Living in a small town on the west coast it’s so interesting to read about life in such a different place. I mean, I think small towns should have grocery delivery too, because I would SO pay for that. Haha. I love your place, your family, and your outlook. Thanks for the fun read!

  63. Lucie

    Dear Taza,

    Thank you very much for this post. We live in a 400 feet apartment in Paris with a 10 months old and there are days when it feels way too small. the decluttering seems like a great idea. We will definitely have to give it a try.

    Have a great summer in the city.

    Lucie

  64. Jennifer F

    I loved seeing your bright apartment and all the wonderful ways you’ve made the small space work. We’re a family of 5 (youngest now 23 months) and I would trade our modest home with 3 bedrooms for your apartment any day- I love how you’ve decorated and made it yours. (we own and have yet to truly do that- thanks for the inspiration!)

    I recently read a book that you may have heard of (very popular around here) that this post reminded me of- mostly because you seem to have grasped the key principle of it. It’s called “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing”. I very highly recommend it to everyone- regardless of how organized or disorganized their house/apartment is. The ideas basically turn all other schools of thought about keeping a home (no matter how small or large) completely on their heads. It’s truly life changing, and I can’t help but tell everyone about it. (Sorry!!)
    Thanks again for sharing and inspiring so many others!!

  65. Shar

    I am so in love with that green wall!! What paint brand/color is it?

  66. Bridget

    Great post! I love how bold and colorful the walls are! I live in CA and so many of these tips apply.

  67. Lesley

    Ive heard wonderful things about this app:
    https://www.artkiveapp.com

    Artkive. It scans and keeps the kiddos artwork so you don’t need to keep the originals if you don’t want to or have the space. Plus you can make books through their site.

  68. emi

    i love all that you said! you guys make it work so well. we live in SF with no kids and it’s still crazy so i love seeing your city life with kids!!

    xo
    welltraveledwife.com

  69. Amanda

    Thank you so much for this post! I am moving to nyc with my husband, dog and having a baby in the fall and have had many of the questions you addressed. A few more things I was curious about is whether you have a car or if you’ve found it easier to rent one for trips out of the city? You mentioned you live in a walkup apartment, do you have to lug the stroller up and down every day or are you able to store it safely in the lobby? Have you found favorite grocery deliveries?
    Thank you again for writing this, I’m always eager to learn more about how people do it well with a small family!

  70. Shannon Merrell

    my mind is completely blown. your place is incredibly impressive!

  71. What a beautiful post Naomi!
    Your apartment is so cosy and welcoming and it’s easy to see you and the kids really love the city life :)
    Although not New York, I live with my family in downtown rather busy Munich, far away from my parents, so I know the storing issues! I too love the city life, the fact that I can go to cafes and museums and parks or just sit on our balcony and watch people. It’s just amazing and I wouldn’t change it for country living (at least not now) :))

    Kristjaana
    http://www.kristjaana.com

  72. Chiara

    Hi there Naomi and beautiful family! I’d love to ask you how do you handle the music rights on your home video?

  73. Carolyn

    Hey taza family
    I follow you from France since 4 years now i guess. But first time i post.
    Congrat’s for everything you do!
    This appartment of yours is wonderful and so cosy
    Nice job!
    Best regards
    Carolyn

  74. Thank you for sharing your home with your readers. Me and my daughter live in a two bedroom corner apt and constantly thinking of how to create more space. With plans to expand my family I think about buying a bigger place. But as you point out, it’s how you live as a family not where you live.

    As your kids get bigger, what are your and your husbands plans especially related to gender? Will the boys eventually share a room or will you have them all together when they’re older?

  75. mara

    is that the children’s songbook i spy on your piano? ;) haha. i love your space and think it’s beautiful and if it works for you, then that’s all that matters!

  76. So dreamy! You are one of the many who have confirmed my decision to live in the city after college. I love this!

  77. stephanie

    Hi, I’d love to know where your pot rack is from! I love your style by the way!

  78. marie

    This is definitely one of your best posts! I live in sunny Singapore, a vibrant city in Asia, and my family and I absolutely love living here. City life fits us well as there are supermarkets, shops, libraries, etc just a short distance from where we stay! My house is slightly bigger than yours, about 1000 Sq feet but I feel it’s quite big for my family and kids already! ;)

    http://smittenbyangels.blogspot.sg

  79. Queenie

    Looks so homely and lovely!

    I absolutely adore the framed art/photos on your living room wall! I totally agree with you, I love to make places feel like home even if I know I won’t be there forever!

    http://peanutbutterandmussels.com/

  80. What a great post! I have to share it with my daughter because, even though we live “in the sticks” she wants to live in NYC! I love how you share your life with your readers, with no pretenses! Thanks for the great insights into making things work in a small space.

  81. Deborah

    My favorite post ever! Thank you so much. I got so inspired.
    We live in the heart of Stockholm with 2 toddles and a baby in a very small 2 bedroom apartment. I was feeling so anxious with all comments around that we don’t have so much space and bla,bla,bla… But, I got so many ideas to save space with this post and picture.

    Thank you so much!

  82. Mel

    Loved this post!! Thanks for all the great pics. You’ve inspired me to simplify ;)

  83. Ron

    Hello there! I’ve been reading your blog for several months now, but commenting for the first time.

    GREAT post! And being someone who also lives in a city (Philadelphia), I understood completely what you mean when you said, “…when people compare urban life to suburban or rural life, i just don’t think that makes sense. it’s all apples and oranges, honestly. pros and cons to both. they couldn’t be more different.” Yes, exactly.

    I live in a studio apartment and always have (even when I live in NYC), and love it. I’m very much like a cat; adaptable to any space. I think living in a smaller space teaching you how to live efficiently and simply. As long as I have windows and natural light in my apartment, I’m fine. I have four massive windows in my current apartment, so it feels much bigger than what it really is.

    I think you did an amazing job with your apartment. It looks very cozy, bright, and cheerful. Well done!

    And I loved your last paragraph about city living; especially NY. To me, it’s the most amazing city on the east coast and hope to one day live there again.

    I *heart* NY!

  84. Hi Naomi and Josh,
    I’ve been following along on your adventures since E was a baby and I’ve never commented before, believe it or not! I just want to say that I love how you guys approach life. I appreciate your positive and hopeful outlook so much. My husband and I live in a 350 square foot 1-bedroom apartment with our 4-year old and we apply all of the tips you suggest here. We love our little nest home and wouldn’t have it any other way. xox from Winnipeg, Canada. Keep doing you. It’s so refreshing and your light is contagious.

  85. Georgie

    Loved the post, just wondering if you painted your piano or if you bought it that colour! I’ve recently acquired one and I don’t like the colour and yours has given me inspiration!

  86. Je suis fan de votre blog! Je vous suis depuis 2009! Quelle joie! Si vous venez à La Rochelle avec votre tribu, je serai ravie d’être votre guide!

  87. EmilyAnn

    Where did Samson sit when you took the donations to Goodwill? ;)

    • josh

      Hi Emily Ann! We walked the bike there and rode it back.

  88. Emily

    What helpful tips! I don’t have a “real” pre se, apartment yet, However, I am moving into one for my senior year of college, so I will be taking some of these tips to heart! Thanks so much!

    Emily // http://simplyemilyl.blogspot.com

  89. Olly

    Hi Taza !
    Your home is so beautiful. A Pinterest home aha !
    I just wanted to know whitch with kind of lens you took those pictures ? In your FAQ you say you usually used a 50mm but…
    Sorry for this question, I’m sure you are tired answering it…

    Thanks !

  90. Alliyah

    Your apartment is so so so lovely! Makes me want to throw out all the old stuff I’ve clung onto and paint my bedroom yellow :’)

  91. Maggie

    I love our 600 sq feet in SF and as I expect my first baby, I can’t figure out where the heck to store a stroller… where do you store yours? And where do you keep that bucket bike?

  92. Felisha

    I love your tiny space! It’s simple and cozy. Plus, who needs a backyard when you have the greatest city on Earth right outside of your doorstep.

    http://www.smallestthing.com

  93. vicky

    great post! i’ve always wanted to see what your home looked like and now that i have, i want to declutter my whole house so that i can make mine as beautiful as y’alls ;) thanks for the advice!

  94. Ashley

    I love this post. Love seeing picture of your beautiful home.

  95. Kelly

    I get a kick out of those washer / dryer ads too … and I send my laundry out. #welcometonewyork

    xx Kelly
    Sparkles and Shoes

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  97. Louise

    I loved this post
    I have always wondered how you make it work
    such positive thinking