Friday, April 17, 2015

Small House - (Sorta) Big Family . How We Did It

846 square feet

2 bedrooms

1 bathroom

6 people 

1 cat

This has been our reality for the last 10 months (thankfully....only a few weeks longer!)

I'll be's been difficult.  Very, very difficult.

Somehow we survived.  Barely.  

In the process, I did learn some tips for small house living.  So, I thought I would share them with you.  Because that's what this blog is all about.

1. Minimal Furniture.

This should go without saying.  When you live in a small house, you can't have even one unnecessary piece of furniture.  No coffee tables.  No knick-knack holders.  Nothing that doesn't serve a purpose.  Beds.  Kitchen Table, Couch, Chair, Desks, Dressers, Bookshelves.  That's it! Nothing decorative.  Nothing non-functional.  Nothing that takes up space. 

2, Learn to ignore the mess.

One of the biggest problems with a small house is that small messes look much  bigger in smaller spaces.  The kids build a fort in the living room.  Forget it.  You can't even walk through it anymore.   Everyone doing school on your one (small) dining room table.  It's GOING to be a mess.  When you have several kids sharing a room, all it takes is a few clothes thrown on the floor, for the entire room to look like a disaster area.   You kinda just have to embrace it, or it will drive you crazy. 

3. Kick everyone outside.

Unfortunately this doesn't work when it's cold.  Thankfully, spring is FINALLY here.  And I can kick everyone outside. Our small house does have a large backyard .  That helps A LOT when the weather is nice enough to go outside.   Or I just go outside myself and leave everyone else inside.  

4. Save nothing.

You don't have room to save anything.  So don't.  Get rid of stuff quickly. And when I say get rid of it, I mean get rid of.  If you have a bag of outgrown clothes...put them in the car to drop off someplace the next time you are out.  Don't leave them in your house....anything you are getting rid of, get rid of immediately. 

5.  Realize that it just takes sacrifice....for everyone.

We all had to sacrifice a little privacy.  Which has been really, really hard.  The kids have no place to do stuff without the toddler getting into it.  No one has their own room. There is no place to talk without kids overhearing.  Everyone is sharing ALL THE SPACE, which is hard.  So, you just have to learn to deal with the lack of individual space.  And realize that it's just as hard for the kids as for the adults.   Think of it kinda like Little House on the Prarie living. 

6. Enforce bedtime.

There are certain children who, if we had a bigger house, I would likely let them stay up later.  However, we don't have a bigger house...yet  So the only way for us to get kid-free time is if everyone is in bed. So off to bed they go...earlier than they maybe otherwise would.

7. Come up with alternative bathroom arrangements in a pinch.

This is a big one.  Having just one bathroom is very hard.  So, we actually have an old plastic cat litter pan (the cat doesn't use that one) we keep in the garage.  In an emergency, someone has been known to pee in that, and then dump it outside.   Just in an emergency.

However, that can be limited by anyone who is going to be in the bathroom for a longer period of time (ie. for a bath or shower) checking with everyone else first, to see if they need to use it.  It's had to remember to do that, but when we do, it makes everyone happier.  

Those are my tips.  Mostly, I got through the time by realizing it was only a short-term arrangement.  It ended up being longer-term than we had originally planned, but it's almost over.  And I've spent A LOT of time this past year, looking at houses on Zillow and dreaming of larger spaces. 

(Linking up with Kelly for 7QT)

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