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Surviving Winter With Small Children In An Apartment

It was another beautiful day in Nebraska today and we took the kids to the park for some pictures.  I am loving the winter so far, hoping it will stay nice…


How’s it going?

I wanted to write up a post and update you with what is going on in our minimalist simple living.   For those of you who are new around here (I am so excited so many new people are coming!!) we started simplifying almost exactly a year ago.  We had a 2000 square foot house and it was ‘properly filled’.  Last January we decided to start getting rid of stuff, lots of stuff, and move into a smaller place so that we could spend our time and money on our priorities instead of on material upkeep.

Last May we moved into a 2 bedroom apartment and have been here ever since.  We are still cutting down materially and now have plenty of space in our little apartment.  This is our ninth month living here as a minimalist now, and it seems like the time has flown by.

Apartment living was one thing with children in the summer, but the winter is a bit different.  I wanted to share with you what we have learned so far.

Here is an interesting shot up Ian’s nose :).  I loved the lighting and colors.

Here are some challenges:

  1. We are far away from our car
  2. Our car is cold and frost covered
  3. My son has lots of energy that is not contained well in our small space
  4. The snow is pee covered within hours of falling, and the kids can’t play in it.
  5. The windows leak just as well as they did in our house
  6. The roof leaks in two rooms

But the perks of apartment living in the winter:

  1. No shoveling
  2. Warm floors (we are on third floor)
  3. Lower electrical bills (and a happy green feeling for making a smaller footprint)
  4. We have very patient neighbors around us
  5. I am really glad we are south facing, third floor and have no windows facing other colder directions. The sun is great!
  6. We have had lots of extra time in the last few months to work on photography and writing and we are having so much fun!

One morning last week Bryon reminded me, as he was leaving for work, that the maintenance guys were going to come over first thing and fix some stuff (not the roof as mentioned above :().  I don’t wake up well, and the several days before I had spent more time on writing and less time on cleaning.  The apartment was a disaster.  However, as a woman, it is way too embarrassing to have anyone show up to my ‘nest’, no matter who they are, and find it anything less than a beautiful picture of bliss.

I rolled out of bed and I cleaned, and I cleaned, and I cleaned.  Dishes, laundry, toys, books, and much more.  And about 30 minutes later it was all clean.   It hit me, as I sat down for breakfast, that this is a huge difference from our life a year ago. Back then, to clean the house from top to bottom and just pick up clutter would take hours.  I still feel overwhelmed by the messy apartment and procrastinate, but a half an hour or an hour to clean… really is amazing.  If I really get crazy I can throw in another 15 minutes and wash all 5 windows.

That, my friends, is a beautiful perk of minimalist living :)

He really wanted spiky hair like his friend Ryan, but then he really wanted me to take the spikes off. He hopped in the tub soon after we got home to get his soft hair back.  :)

Being in an apartment this year has both settled us down, less to do in the house, as well as gotten us out to explore more places and let the kids burn off energy.  Both have been nice.  Everything seems more settled.  Both my husband and I are happy about the changes we have made and the amount of time it has given us for working on our passions, and we do more intentional activities with the kids. Beyond that we have been learning to be content with what we have, and where we are.  We are practicing living in the present.

With these changes both materially and mentally our world has changed so much in the last year.  I am so happy to say that we made the changes we wanted to, even though it felt crazy at the time, and are doing what we want with our time.

Money doesn’t buy happiness.  Bigger houses, more stuff, and fancy vacations, don’t do it either.  Consumerism makes one a slave to money, and as a slave, no one can be happy.  Living on less, and needing less, gives so much more freedom.  And that freedom is empowering.

Happy Monday!


  1. Lisa Lisa

    It sounds like you have your life just about how you want it. I must say I envy you very much. I would love a life that is stress free! I have been trying to purge and lighten the load around the house but my dear hubby is not on board….yet. Still working on that. Hope ya have a wonderful week.

    • thanks. I wouldn’t say stress free :) Less stuff, is less stress and less stress is good. Hope you have a wonderful week too!

  2. Challenges 1, 2 & 3 sound like you may enjoy riding a bike, but I need to read more of your blog. Just found you from a comment on The Minimalist Mom. And biking is my simple living lifestyle of choice, so those three stuck out to me :)

    • I would love to do the biking thing and I would love to hear more about how you do it! I have thought about it and tried to figure it out. The problems I have come up with is 1)cold and icy here in the winter (Omaha NE where it just hovers around the freezing point for 3 months) 2)the kids are too big to pull, but neither kid can ride either. My daughter is still too scared to ride with training wheels and she is 8…. she is doing better with other physical skills so maybe this next year she will pick right up on it. My 4 year old has no fear of death.

      In the summer we walk a lot. How do you carry stuff like food and library books? Do you have a good bus system as a back up? I think the whole idea is great, I just haven’t figured out how to make it work yet.

      • okay, so I checked out your site and you rock! Very inspiring.

      • Thank you so much for stopping by AS6, it means a lot to me. Given the ages of your children I could imagine several different bicycling scenarios, but they all come with an investment (some much smaller than others). We love our Yuba cargo bike and it is perfect for your children’s ages, however they don’t actually do any pedaling, but would get a lot of fresh air. If you want to talk bikes (and I love to), send me an email. If you are not into it, no worries, I just thought i would share.

        As for winter, there are several great sites about bicycling in the winter with children, so I don’t think that should be a huge concern once you get started. We began our cycling adventure in the spring/summer, so we eased into this mild winter. Now that we have the basics down, we are not finding the weather very troublesome (yet!).

        Getting out on our bikes this summer has me consider an A/C free summer days attempt. I think we can acclimate better to weather changes now and might be outside more b/c of it… just thinking out loud :)

        Loving your site, so I am subscribing so I can keep up better. Thanks for being here.

      • I am all with you on summer and A/C free days. We only turned on ours maybe once or twice last summer. I love heat and fresh air :) We walk tons in the summer too. (my family hiked most of the way to the bottom of the grand canyon last summer at the end of July in crazy heat and it was SO fun!). Most of the places we would need to go to around here are within a mile (which is why we choose this apartment)… so I could probably still walk in the winter.. I will have to think on this more :) The bike idea does sound much better for carrying groceries and stuff.

        …. you have given me stuff to think on. Thanks!

  3. Danielle Danielle

    And that’s why I want to be a Minimalist!! So it only takes 30 minutes for me to clean my house!!! You’ve come such a long way!!! You are my mentor!

    • Thanks so much. We can learn together :)

  4. It’s so refreshing to read this. I’m preparing my home for sale and hope to have it on the market March 1. It’s just me and 1300 square feet of mostly unused space. I’m looking forward to apartment living and being free from the responsibilities of home ownership and spending more time in the city. Thanks for being an inspiration!

    • Yay! Congratulations. Good luck with the sale!

  5. Hello friend! I am so happy I found your blog. I am a first-born-Type A personality too and I am right now in the process of selling my 2000 sq foot home and moving into a 2br apartment. The journey looks scary but your blog gives me hope and similarity. I look forward to reading more about your journey and learning from my own. :)


    • Hey, welcome to the site :). Good luck on your move I read your post and it does sound super scary, but sometimes it is the scary things that really need to be done. I think it sounds awesome! I couldn’t leave a comment on your site (something with some of the blogger set-ups) but I am excited for you.

  6. Heather Heather

    I just came across your blog via google and I love it! My family and I are pretty minimalist and have lived in apartments until this year. We will probably be back in an apartment next year though. I do miss the easy cleaning and low utility bills. But we have a four year old boy too and the yard we have now is truly a blessing!! That will be the only thing I’ll miss when we move back into an apartment.

    Anyway, off to read more of your awesome posts!

    • Welcome! Good to meet you :) I have a 5 year old boy and just keeping him from jumping all day is tough. We are close to the library and a few parks and we have just had to make that a priority more often. The mowing, snow and high utility bills I don’t miss at all :)

  7. Jenny Jenny

    My parents always lived simply, but we lived in the country. I live in an urban setting with my husband and three kids, and my biggest issue is how to run off the kids energy without tiring myself out at the same time. My kids are 6,10, and 12. I cant send them outside in the back yard the way my parents did because our yard is tiny. I did shoo them outside with scooters yesterday to play on the sidewalk, but my neighborhood is not the best and unless my responsible 12 yr old is present, I am not entirely comfortable allowing the younger ones to play outside. The summer is not so much a problem, but I think sometimes I will go crazy in the winter. I can enroll them in sports programs, but that may just complicate our lives. What can I do? I love my little house, and we can afford everything so easily this way with extra money for vacations, etc. I don’t really want to move, but I have started to keep earplugs handy because the noise drives me nuts. I am looking for ideas, support, etc . Thank you!!

    • hum, that is a hard one. Keeping kids quiet isn’t easy. We have usually taken them out different places like the library, or for a walk to burn off energy. I think different personalities in kids makes a big difference too.

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