When Your House is Just too Small…

HouseTooSmall

Today’s heart-cry is from Rhonda:

Hello Davonne,

Thank you so much for sharing your story. At the present moment I am drowning in clutter. We live in a small home that is just over 1,000 sq feet. We seem to purge often and not purchase much, but grandparents gifts and hand-me-downs seem to flow in often.

Our life is full here.

My husband recently started his own engineering company. His giant executive desk, double monitors, computer, fax/copy/print machine, and two file cabinets share our bedroom with our bed and two dressers.

All 3 of our children (ages 9, 6, 3) share one bedroom. There is no closet in the room (old house) so we make due with 1 dresser for each child. Floor space is maxed out.

Our third bedroom (also without a closet) holds all the kids toys, school supplies (we home educate our children), crafting supplies (for kids), and my office things.

I love to sew, and paint, but I find I have no place to keep those supplies in an accessible place. I haven’t done much creatively for many years as I seem to be “just getting by.” I feel a little like I’m slowly dying inside because of this.

I’m a bit overwhelmed and would appreciate prayer. I know God can, and will help us. He is a God of order. It will help me to push through if I know someone who understands is praying!

Thank you,

Rhonda

everything-beautiful

Rhonda,

I am so sorry that you’re having a hard time with your things!

My husband Nathan and I have talked about moving to a tiny home in the country someday. The only thing that stops me from wholeheartedly throwing myself into that idea is because I think of our sweet girls. The toys, the dolls, the books… things they love that would no longer fit in our home.

But then I also think about how free we could be from earthly things and how much we could just focus on Jesus and relationships instead of stuff. The choices are hard and I don’t always know what the best balance is.

I have spent time reading articles and watching shows about people who live in very small spaces. I’m going to link to a few of those because I think it may encourage you a bit:

Tiny: A Story About Living Small (movie on Netflix). This movie is SO inspirational!

Eight reasons to love life in a small house. I LOVE this article by Jill from the Prairie Homestead.

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The Burning house: “If your house was burning, what would you take with you?”

My husband recently introduced me to this site and it’s really thought-provoking. It started a discussion about what we’d want to take, and it made me think about how little of what I own is truly important to me.

Large family home tour.This article is about how a family of 11 lives neatly in a 1,100 square foot house. It may have wonderful ideas for you!

All their possessions in one photo. This article absolutely blew me away. People around the world were asked to stand next to their homes with every single possession they own next to them. Wow.

This short You-Tube video about organization in a tiny home is very inspiring!

I also have a board on Pinterest with small home ideas and inspiration.

I hope this encouraged you, Rhonda! I did and will continue to pray for you.

 PS Go here to learn how to submit your own questions.

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Comments

  1. I have done the three kids, 1,000 sq.ft. house…though no home based business (my crafting business and preschool teaching elsewhere did not take up much space on a permanent basis). The best thing you can do is decide what is needed right now (i.e. for the next 30 days, or whatever length of time you choose), and store the rest. We rotated clothes, books, toys, canning equipment in the summer, baking things in the winter. If we weren’t going to use it soon, it got stored. The best part about this, is they had “new” toys every-so-often, and were so excited to see them.

    We lived pretty minimalistic (?) for the most part, but did have three sets of grandparents. Outdoor things, savings bonds (for college), and braces were better ways to dote on them than STUFF. They could see the house was not conducive to acquiring things, so they were pretty careful about what they bought. “Experiences” also make good gifts that don’t require shelf space: zoo memberships, classes, fishing outings, especially if they can do it with the giver.

    We also made them buy their own “stuff” on certain things. We have never bought a game system or a television for them, but they all saved up together and bought several. They are always better about taking care of something they paid for and no one is going to replace for them.

    Of course, the best thing is to purge as much as you can, then look at things with new eyes (does that sound like Davonne or what?).

    As a now empty-nester… before you know it, they will all be gone, and you will miss their stuff!

  2. I know this is several months old now, but just in case Rhonda looks this up again, or another in a similar situation I thought I’d comment.

    1. Always go vertical. I didn’t see if it said Rhonda rents or owns, but it might be more helpful get sell the dressers and install adjustable shelving all the way up one wall for the kids, then hang a curtain in front (which could just be a length of pretty fabric from her stash, or a pretty sheet). Even if she rents this might be an option. It’s worth asking; I once had a landlord not only allow for shelf instillation, but he did the work for me after I bought the items! I also know of one home blogger who just made the improvement he wanted and figured the landlord would love the results, or the loss on deposit would be a small price to pay anyway (My bet is that the landlord loved him). If neither are options, get wardrobes – old media cabinets, which are cheap or free on craigslist all. the. time. and add clothing rods. Also, unless we’re talking about little Ikea 3-drawer dressers, it’s probably a lot more clothing than they need.

    2. Vertical again: get the kids loft beds, and you can put their clothing storage (like a wardrobe) underneath, with play space. You might consider that for yourselves as well.

    3. Get your kids on digital curricula. New options appear All The Time! If you require a book-based subject, then all the kids need to be using it, but maybe w/ age-appropriate assignments. History, geography, and even science (if the kids are close enough in ability) can all be shared subjects, so you don’t have a separate program for each child. But really, go digital. This will allow you to make room for your crafting/painting. Again, if you get a wardrobe for your supplies (craigslist or ikea, which has a variety of sizes and configurations), then you can also add locks to keep the kids out.

    4. In 2 of our apartments, my husband and I just decided to sleep on a pull-out couch bed in the living room, when we had 1 child, and when we had 2. It worked.

    5. Ask for help! Just go out on a limb and explain to your family how stressed you are, and ask for presents that are 1. experiences for the kids, like lessons or fun outings (like Marybeth explained), 2. house-help for you, like the loft beds, new shelving, or even a little (insulated!) shed in the back yard strictly for your crafting area!! Or better yet, put your husband’s mini-office out there. He might really like the quiet compared to the house. 🙂

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  1. […] If you’re having trouble letting go of some things, read this article for inspiration. […]

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