Our Nest in The Toronto Star

Last week I was contacted by a journalist from the Canadian Press who wondered if she could pick my brain on living small, urban, and minimal with kids. As it's one of my favourite topics to discuss, I wasn't a hard sell! I love any opportunity to shed light on the incredible benefits of living small in the city. I've gone on and on about how our three kids share a bedroom (featured in la Presse) and encouraged families to move into the city (in an article on The Gospel Coalition), so this article felt like a very natural fit to contribute my thoughts to. 

I thought I'd share a few excerpts here from the article, which was published today in The Toronto Star. See full article by Gemma Karstens-Smith here.

Canadians are increasingly shifting to smaller living. The number of people living in apartments taller than five stories went up more than 12 per cent between the 2011 and 2016 census, according to data from Statistics Canada.

Minimalism is also key to small living, says freelance writer Emily Morrice, whose family of five lives in a 1,000-square-foot, two-bedroom condo in downtown Montreal.

Constant de-cluttering is necessary, as is saying no to people who want to buy the kids presents, she says, which can be difficult.

“You have to be careful about that,” she says. “Or once you let new stuff in, you have to be willing to send things out.”

The family asks for memberships to museums or for activities like swimming lessons instead of toys or clothes for Christmas and birthdays, she says, and the three kids — aged 7, 6 and 4 — have become experts at sharing.

All three share a room with bunk beds and a pullout mattress and abide by an important house rule: The first day someone gets a toy, it’s theirs, but every day thereafter, it’s shared, Morrice explains.

She says the kids have a uniquely close bond as a result.

“I wouldn’t say that we chose to have a small home in the beginning. We chose to live in the city and that necessitates a small home,” says Morrice, who chronicles her family’s experience on her blog, Our Nest in the City.

“But we’ve been parents in a small home for eight years and I would never want anything else. It’s just so great for the family and the kids.”

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