Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Making Do - Baby Edition

Yesterday, I blogged about some of our financial struggles as well as some of our latest blessings. We strive to live simply and I would like to share with you just how we plan to fit a new baby into our tiny home.

We gave up our master bedroom for the boys months ago. Eventually, we thought there would be three of them in one room, when in effect, it will be four.



We moved down to the dungeon basement. There was a tiny bedroom, not being used, so we claimed it for our own. We had a legal window installed, for safety reasons obviously. With half of the family sleeping downstairs, we needed an exit in the case of an emergency. Now our master bedroom looks like this:

It is cosy. Our closet has no doors, but we have a built in bookcase. Some science projects are taking place on the window sill. We aren't in there much, so we figured that we didn't need much room or mind giving up space. But, where do we put the toddler? He is too small to leave upstairs, so far away from us. So we made him a space all on his own. Now we added a space for baby and love how it turned out. What do you think? The space was dead space anyway and we didn't know how to use it. Now it looks like this:
The nursery, right outside our bedroom door.

View from the main rec room. The doorway in the back is our bedroom.

Our library and movie theatre.

I am amazed at what a great choice in paint colour (thanks honey), a few pictures, furniture arrangement and love can do to a space. We hung a set of curtains with tie-backs as a room divider. The only purchase that we made for this space was the toddler bed / crib on kijiji. We found a matching one to the crib we already had for $100. The price was a little higher than I had hoped, but it was the only purchase we made for the entire space. All of the other stuff in the pictures were from other places in the house. The change table / dresser has been painted in numerous colours since we bought in in 2002.

This room reminds me of days gone by. It doesn't look old fashioned at all, I know. But most of us remember growing up in small houses with lots of children. My grandma raised 11 kids in a four bedroom house that had been previously converted from a Presbyterian church. I grew up in a three bedroom farmhouse as one of six kids. We only had one bathroom growing up as kids. I survived unscathed. We all did. I have nothing against big houses, I just don't live in one.

Our small house is still a lot bigger than our low income housing apartment in Germany. The first apartment I lived in Germany was tiny. North Americans have more space, it is a fact. We have more space now than most Germans families and we are so grateful. It helps us stay simple. I have four huge black bags and two diaper boxes of stuff waiting for Goodwill. I am always amazed on how we can still have so much stuff.

Part 2 of this post, I wanted to focus on baby gear. Although, our baby isn't due for another 4-5 months, the nesting has begun. I have a garden to work in this summer, so I want to be outside and not indoors. So while I wait for spring in the great white north to arrive, I am desperately trying to declutter. I am also taking inventory. I mentioned before that some things only survive so many babies, but we don't have money for new stuff right now. Since I am going through clothes and closets and looking to downsize, I figured now was as good a time as any to go through the baby stuff.

I cracked open two boxes of baby stuff yesterday. One box was full of newborn clothes, burp clothes, receiving blankets, breast pump and other mama-baby stuff for the first few weeks. The other box contained baby clothes up to about 1 1/2 years. Although, I wash clothes before I pack them away, I noticed quite a few yellow spots on the clothes. I couldn't waste perfectly good clothes because of old stains, could I? There were ones that each of my babies wore (except maybe Mia). So I promptly googled several combinations of storage + baby clothes + yellow stains + removal and found something I thought might work.

1/2 cup in a basin with cool water.
Dip the baby article in this above mixture a few times until it is wet. WARNING: Wear rubber gloves! I did not for the first 10 or so items and my fingers have funny red marks, hurt, burn when in water and bleed a little. So please, don't try this without rubber gloves.
Squirt a bit on the yellow stain and rub until the stain is gone.
I squirted a bit of the blue Dawn on the spot and rubbed the spot until it disappeared. Some spots didn't disappear, so I let them soak and rubbed again. I had a small wash basin, so I just did whatever I could fit in it, transferred everthing then to my top-loader and started another load. I did all of my whites first. There were a lot more than I expected. I continued with all of the load and then I filled the machine with water, let it agitate for a while and let it soak, again. I repeated this a few times without actually running a cycle. I wouldn't recommend doing this though. I had quite a few bubbles come up the drain when I ran the machine on normal. I anticipated this and didn't walk away. My machine is in the utility room with a concrete floor. I just wiped up the bubbles and rinsed a second time.

Next, I ran the machine with homemade detergent (not much) and added a 1/2 cup peroxide and 1/2 cup washing soda. This was a version of homemade oxyclean that I had also found on the internet. I put vinegar in the softener disperser and ran a normal cycle. I did one extra rinse again and hung everything in the sun to hopefully get all of the shadows out. There were a few stubborn stains.

Voila! My baby stuff is white or off-white again. There are no stains left and are ready for use. Thanks to Jillee at "One Good Thing" for all of her laundry tips. I should also thank my two year old for keeping me company while mommy played in water. He sang with me his versions of his favourite songs. Did you know that Old MacDonald had a frog?

I think this whole living on a budget can be quite addictive. I love seeing the goodness in the hopeless. I have learned new things about myself and my family. I am loving being a wife and mommy, even if it is dirty at times.

God Bless my friends,


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