Metro Morning

How a family of 4 stays sane in a 1-bedroom condo in Toronto

To make their tiny home work, the Goodtimes family rely on creativity and a cutthroat willingness to get rid of extra stuff.

Goodtimes family use creativity and organization to make their small space work

The Goodtimes family in their 730-square-foot condo. The girls' bedroom, built by Ian and a friend, is visible next to the red curtains. (Brendan Ross/CBC)

In the Goodtimes household, everyone gets a bin in the hall for their hats, scarves and all of the miscellaneous stuff that accumulates in a family home.

"If you overflow your bin, then you have to get rid of stuff," said Lindsay Goodtimes. "We don't have storage anywhere else."

She and her husband, Ian, live in a 730-square-foot condo with their two young daughters, Roxy-Jean and Pepper. To make the space work, they rely on creativity and a cutthroat willingness to get rid of extra things.

The pair keep an extra container in their busy hallway, called the "Goodwill/Goodbye" bin. That way, anything they decide they don't want gets fast-tracked out of the house.

Lindsay Goodtimes works on a craft with daughter Roxy-Jean at their kitchen table. (Brendan Ross/CBC)

Making everyone comfortable in their open-concept home has also required a little construction.

With the help of a friend, Ian built a bedroom for his two girls inside the condo, framing and drywalling a narrow space just wide enough for a bed.

"This is my favourite room in the house," said Lindsay. "It's about five by six feet. We have a toddler bed on the bottom, and we placed another crib on top of that."

A special crib with a door on the side, found in the U.S., allows Ian and Lindsay to get their daughter out of the top crib more easily.

Roxy-Jean and Pepper peek out of the bedroom their dad made them in the condo. The top bunk is a crib, and the bottom bunk is a toddler-size bed. (Brendan Ross/CBC)

As small as it is, the condo is home. "I feel like it's enough space for the kids," said Lindsay.

The family lives in the Artscape Triangle Lofts in the Queen West neighbourhood. Their building is subsidized by a non-profit that provides affordable housing for artists.

"We moved here because it was the only way we could live in Toronto," explained Ian.

32% of Toronto families in the same boat

Ian and Lindsay are part of a growing group of parents raising children in apartments and condos.

In 2011, the city found that 32 per cent of families lived in mid or high-rise buildings.

As more and more Torontonians endeavour to raise kids in a smaller space, the Toronto City Planning Division has embarked on a study looking at how to make life easier for them, called Growing Up: Planning for Children in New Vertical Communities.

Ian Goodtimes and his two daughters in front of a map of the world inside their Queen West home. (Brendan Ross/CBC)

Once finished, the study will give direction to new developments, looking at issues like unit-size and layout and building amenities.

Good news, said Lindsay.

"We can't just keep on pushing families out of Toronto. So I think it's important to get as much research and information about how families are living and then how we can improve it."     

With files from Metro Morning

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