10 Items That This Family of 5 Living in a 600 Square Foot Apartment Swear By

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Heather Summers won the New York City real estate jackpot the day her agent gave her a virtual Zoom tour of a sun-filled apartment overlooking Central Park. Sitting in her Sacramento home, surrounded by packed boxes in preparation for the big move east (her husband was due to attend school at NYU Law), Summers knew she had to buy it for her family of five. The caveat? It’s 600 square feet – less than half the size of their California home. “We’ve downsized pretty drastically,” recalls Summers, who now runs the blog Summer in the citydocumenting their new life in Manhattan.

white linen bedding

white desk in bedroom

To make their move around the country less stressful – and to just fit in their new apartment – Summers sold almost all the furniture they owned, except for a few things she couldn’t part with, such as their bed frame, a dresser, and the couch. While the couple’s three daughters, Lennon, Georgie, and James, all under the age of 5, don’t take up much space, Summers knew they had to maximize every square inch. “And so we thought, well, we’d better get rid of everything and start over after seeing what the apartment looks like in person,” she says.

bathroom product rolling cart

towel rack above toilet

Now that they’ve settled into their cozy spot, Summers shares the 10 pieces they bought to keep their space calm and collected, from a $30 towel rack to a perfect-sized bedroom desk.

The shape-shifting bookshelf

My husband is an avid reader so we wouldn’t get rid of any books when we moved. I love that Burrow’s shelves (we bought four) are modular. We originally had plans to mount them in a row, but the electrical panel is in the most inconvenient place ever, which dismisses our idea. We ended up placing one of the units on the opposite wall, creating an L-shaped display.

The child-safe bank

Everything has a very thoughtful purpose, even our sofa, which is deep and cozy. It’s great for lounging in, but also ideal for the girls to play and jump on. It’s bound to get dirty (it’s white!), so we draped it linen cover over it – that way it’s not that precious. The idea of ​​not compromising on cozy, beautiful pieces to create an inviting seating area was very important to us: we added pillows from Sanctuarie, an armchair by Kaiyoand a sheepskin rug by Jenni Kayne to complete the living space.

The Hot Wheels

One of these rolling carts sits next to our stove, giving us about 6 inches of extra counter space (it’s a good place for a spoon rest, olive oil, or cookbook). We have another one in the bathroom, where we keep lotion, skin care products, and extra toilet paper. If you want something, you can just take it out when you need it and then push it back into the corner.

The streamlined herbs

Spice rack.

We mounted our spices right above the oven so they are always out of the way. More importantly, Evermill’s uniform pots automatically look less cluttered.

The Shareable Toy Storage

The fact that our girls share everything has served them well (they are about 18 months apart, so they like the same toys). It also keeps stuff in their bedroom to a minimum. The items they do play with live in four of these hay chests, which we keep on their bookshelf when not in use. They are stackable, so we can always buy more and take them up to the ceiling if needed.

The Movie Night-Ready Basket

I like baskets that are both functional and aesthetically pleasing. We keep one of these containers, made in Mexico from palm fiber, in the living room for all our blankets.

The Big (Yes, Big!) Dining Table

Our most recent purchase is a large second-hand table we got from Kaiyo measuring about 60 by 30 inches. My husband was skeptical at first, but we were pleasantly surprised how it makes our space feel bigger. We can comfortably get around it with six people; the girls can spread out as they tinker; and it serves as a place to prepare food. It’s already a huge lifesaver.

The rental-friendly towel rack

Since we couldn’t drill holes in our tiled bathroom walls, we were able to hang this rack with heavy-duty Command hooks, and it does its job: it picks up towels from the floor.

The remote bedside lighting

Our Serena & Lily bedroom wall sconces are one of our biggest splurges. By having plug-in lamps on the wall, we save space (there is no large lamp that takes up space on a bedside table).

The wall desk

My husband uses the desk in our room the most as he usually has a lot to read in the evenings. We found this CB2 on Facebook Marketplace and didn’t expect it to fit, but it’s perfect.

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