When my doctor held up two fingers and told me I was having twins, I almost fell off the table. I had a million thoughts running through my head, but the first thing I said was “I have to move!”
We were in a one-bedroom apartment. When we imagined having a baby (as in one baby), that was no problem. We planned to move when he or she started walking. That I could wrap my brain around. But twins? I felt like there was no possible way to fit two more people in so few square feet. But we made it work and ended up living there until my boys were a year and a half and well past just walking. We learned to make the small space work and actually appreciate it.
So yes, you can have twins in a one-bedroom, and here are 5 tips to make room for them in your tiny home.
1. Give up that Pinterest notion of a nursery, but do give them a space of their own. In my early pregnancy haze, I was pinning all sorts of cute African safari and woodland animal décor but soon realized I had to snap out of it. There was no nursery and very little space to decorate with all the cuteness the internet had to offer. So we just carved out a corner of our bedroom for them by shifting around and taking out some furniture. I hung a garland of animal illustrations above their cribs and placed a comfy chair for nursing nearby. I tried to skip a changing table, but I learned that changing that many diapers a day on the floor or bed will seriously break your back, so we secured a changing pad to our dresser and that part of our room was ‘theirs.’
2. Put them on wheels. While they initially slept next to our bed, one of the most important purchases in our one-bedroom, twin baby lives were our Babyletto Oragami cribs with a low profile mattress. The crib is on wheels and was narrow enough to fit through our bedroom door. When they were sleeping through the night we decided to take our room back, so we would put the boys down at their bedtime, but then wheel them out to the darkest part of our living room when we went to bed. They learned to sleep through the wheeling and never seemed to mind waking up in a different place. They were just outside our door, but that little bit of space did wonders for our sleep. The crib is marketed as ‘mini,’ but it’s not as tiny as some others. Our boys are small for their 2 years (as many twins are), but at 30” tall they are still comfortably sleeping in them. And with a low profile mattress they aren’t at risk of climbing out.
3. Get out of the house. It can really feel like the walls are closing in on you in an apartment -– especially if all 3 of you are crying. We had to get out daily — rain or shine. We spent almost all of our first summer lying under trees in Washington Square Park. Invest in a good park blanket, stroller rain covers, and cold weather bunting and get out. There’s so much to do with infants and toddlers in the city, but at the park alone we’d see trees, dogs, musicians, artists, and all sorts of characters. We loved it. Oh and swings! When they can sit up, swings are hands-free infant care. I used to put them in the swings just to eat lunch.
4. You do not need to double everything. You do need two of a lot of the bulky things like cribs, car seats, maybe bouncers (these went everywhere with us), and two Boppies for propping them up. But having two of every single thing is what can really drown you in clutter. Borrow and return whatever items you may find a short term need for (like a second Rock and Play or bouncer), and things like toys, blankets, and clothes can be shared between them. Fighting over the same toy doesn’t start until later. If you’ll be showered, politely ask gift givers to mix it up, especially if you won’t dress them identically. One outfit and one toy or two different pieces of clothing are much more space efficient than two of exactly the same thing.
5. Embrace the small space. When they really started to crawl, pull up and then walk, I truly appreciated the close quarters. There wasn’t too far to go. In a small apartment, you can almost always see them. If you can’t see them, then you can usually hear them. And if you can’t hear them, they’re up to no good, so you need to move very quickly.
Gillian is mama to identical two year old twin boys and wife to Colin, an integrative physical therapist. After 15 years in Manhattan, she’s a recent transplant to the Westchester ‘burbs and is finding the balance between a previous life in wellness and lifestyle marketing and her current profession as a full time toddler wrangler.