A San Francisco Mom’s Lack-of-Space Hacks


clothes-hangers-582212_960_720If you have lived in San Francisco with one or more children, then you know the number one issue is space…or, rather, the lack thereof. Unless you are a millionaire, you most likely are living in tight quarters and running into challenges when it comes to space for you and your kids. Closets just for clothes? Forget about it!  I can’t even count how many moms have told me that their kids sleep in a closet.  Literally, the closet is transformed into a mini bedroom! Nice and cozy, right? Would the Fire Marshall agree, I am not sure…however, parents need to do what works for them and their living situation. And honestly, some of these closet nurseries are so cute, I would sleep in one!

So, if your closet is someone’s bedroom, where do you put your clothes and shoes? Storage space is slim to none in SF.  The answer is, you get creative and minimize your needs as much as you can.

I’ve become a quasi expert in space-saving techniques. My son and I live with my mom and stepdad in their home and share a bedroom. His crib is next to my bed, and we share the closet and dressers. His changing pad is set up on top of one of the dressers and diapering supplies are on another. The living room was transformed into his play space, and now that he is walking, he is all over the place!

Here are my go-to tips to get the most out of a small space:

  • Purge old clothes. What’s the point of hanging onto something you haven’t worn in the last year?  Donate to your favorite charity or women’s shelter nearby.  If my closet was big enough I would’ve put my son’s crib in it and gotten rid of half of my clothes.
  • Hanging door shoe racks, the kind with the plastic pockets. These can be used as a pantry for snack items, jewelry, diapering supplies, kids’ food pouches (which I believe are every mom’s lifesaver, by the way), bath supplies, toys, etc.  They keep items up and out of the way, giving you more shelf space and creating an easy organization system.
  • Storage bins/fabric storage containers. These come in a huge variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. I store boots in one that slides under my bed!  I love the soft fabric ones as well for kids’ toys/clothing items. They give a nice, clean appearance and can brighten up a room with fun color schemes. You can even use fabric puff paint and write on them to label what goes in each one for yourself and kiddos. Using a label will cut down on clean-up time, too!
  • Accept the situation. Most moms I know would love a bigger apartment/house or more closet space! However, we have to accept the realities of our current living environment and try to focus on ways to help create more space within it. For example, another bedroom is not just going to magically appear for me to move my son into.  What I CAN do is get organized and create a fun play space for him in the living room by removing the coffee table and anything breakable/unsafe. Luckily, my mom and stepdad have been great about allowing my son to have the living room as his play space.
  • Ask for help. Every mom out there is probably doing something within her home to save space or create more organization. Ask your closest mom friends what they are doing in their homes and share your tips!  Learn from one another, because helping out a fellow mom is some major good karma.

On that note, share a comment below with some of your own space-saving hacks!

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Nicole is a San Francisco native who grew up in the Noe Valley neighborhood before majoring in Sociology at San Jose State University. In her third year she realized her love of children as her true calling and earned a Early Childhood Education Teaching Certificate. She taught Preschool along the Peninsula for 10 years before a rare medical condition left her unable to continue her career. Now a single mom to the apple of her eye, Joey James keeps her busy. When Nicole is not playing, teaching and snuggling with Joey James she enjoys stroller walks around the Bay Area, music, San Francisco Giants Baseball and ice cubes floating in her Chardonnay.


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