Amenities Big Families Need in a Small Living Space

According to the Daily Mail, over 60,000 people have applied to live in new micro-apartments the sizes of garages in Manhattan. Formerly, there was a 400-square-foot minimum requirement on new apartments, but developers like Carmel Place received a waiver and developed 265 square-foot accommodations. Apparently for some, smaller really is better.

However, big families, let alone small ones, won’t fit into these new micro-sized spaces. Furthermore, it’s not always easy to tell how big an apartment really is just from looking at photos or reviewing an online listing; not to mention the definition of spacious will vary from city to city. When looking for an apartment to rent in a compact area, like New York City, use a site like ForRent to narrow down choices for your family that give you an overview of both square footage and amenities. Unfortunately, even a reasonably-sized apartment may snugly fit your loved ones without much room for extras like bikes and toys. To make the most out of small living spaces, focus on the amenities your big family needs to live well. Here’s what to look for.

Communal Recreation

Small spaces don’t offer much room for play areas or opportunities to run and jump. Look for apartments with communal recreation like playgrounds. Even many of the most densely-packed urban jungles like Manhattan offer playgrounds either in a basement or rooftop deck. A fitness center can also provide opportunity to get older kids physically fit and blowing off steam. Swimming pools are also becoming increasingly popular in metro areas like Atlanta that are trying to attract millennials to move in and stay put. Families can take advantage of the trend and find indoor or outdoor pools for playtime and exercise year-round.

Doorman Buildings

Don’t discount a reliable doorman as a huge time-saving amenity for big families. A doorman can sign for and hold packages instead of dealing with the hassle of coordinating a pick-up time for your local carrier. Doormen can also coordinate service with the property manager to replace broken appliances and lights while you’re at work. Some cities even have freezers and coolers manned by doormen for grocery delivery and drop-off so your weekly haul is ready when you get home.

Shared Meals

It’s possible to share meals with your neighbors without struggling to piece together a community event. Co-housing, or shared living compounds, offer private apartment or townhouse style accommodations with a twist. Residents park their cars on the periphery of the property to leave room for kids and neighbors to move freely, run and play. Playgrounds, shared gardens and even a building designated for guest rooms and storage are the norm. Co-housing residents foster togetherness for weekly, or even nightly, shared meals, lessening your load when caring for your family. Residents are usually required to volunteer in the community a few hours a month to keep things running smoothly and reap the rewards of shared amenities.

Public Transportation

One of the advantages to living in a small living space is being able to enjoy the city around you. Choose a location near public transportation and sell off your car and the insurance that goes with it. Taxi, Uber and Zipcar are easy solutions when you need wheels in a hurry. For day-to-day transportation, rely on the bus or subway system for your family. But there’s another advantage. The subway means cutting through time-consuming street traffic and congestion and getting home earlier to spend more time with your kids.

Storage Space

Small living spaces are short on adequate storage. But many apartment buildings offer small storage spaces in a basement or larger storage area for tenants. Other cities like Philadelphia and Portland offer bike storage to keep over-sized items out of your home and give more room for your family. Services like ClosetBox will even pickup your items and take to a self-storage unit and return when you need it.

Living in an apartment that sufficiently accommodates your family doesn’t have to mean an excess of space. Save money and have all of your needs met by strategically picking a location and apartment that allows for convenience, accessible recreation and any other amenity that will increase your family’s happiness.

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