Large family, small house


Date: Mon, 18 Mar 1996 16:05:12 -0500
Subject: Large Family, Small House!

We will soon have five little ones in an 1100 sq. ft. house and would appreciate practical tips on dealing with clutter, storage, and space. Frugal suggestions would be most helpful! We have no basement and a tiny attic already stacked to capacity with children's clothing. Examples: 1. What can we do with all the homeschooling materials that are stored in boxes stuffed into closets (so there is no room for clothes!)? 2. Our dining table only seats six and the dining area is not big enough for a larger table or more chairs. How can we eat together as a family, or is there some other solution?



Date: Mon, 18 Mar 1996 18:12:55 -0500
Subject: Re: QUIVER-FULL! DIGEST #269


You might try benches along the long sides of your table, maybe you can squeeze more little ones in that way, than with chairs. Maybe you could store the boxed clothing under beds(unless something else is already there :) Check your library for organizational books and videos for other ideas. We recently saw a storage video that was a big help. I spent all this morning re-building a closet! For us it always comes down to just plain getting rid of more stuff.



Date: Mon, 18 Mar 1996 21:39:32 -0800
Subject: Re: Small house

My suggestions:
1) Use your wall space, especially up high. A shelf running around the top of a room could store a lot of those homeschool things! Get as many things as possible off the floor and onto unused wallspace.
2) How attached are you to your dining room set? A picnic table might do the trick. You can s-q-ee-z-e onto those benches. We have a homemade table made like this with separate, backless benches.
3) If you have family nearby (or good, generous friends with extra space!), ask if you can store a few things at their house.

Sherri K.


Date: Mon, 18 Mar 1996 23:08:20 -0600
Subject: Re: QUIVER-FULL! DIGEST #269

Hi Robin,

I also have five children but in a 1000 sq.ft. home! I prayed for solutions and the Lord was very generous with his witty inventions.( I live in Texas where we do not have basements either)

First on the dining table issue- I am assuming that since you mention that you will soon have five that a baby is on the way. The baby will not need to sit at the table until about 3 years old since that's about how long they use a high chair. A friend of mine with five children had her husband construct a beautiful picnic table that seats four people on each side fairly comfortably and also a person at each end for a total of ten people;perhaps this is something you can do in the future. Another bonus to the picnic table is no chairs left out away from the table!!!

I am a homeschooler as well and the school books were threatening to take over my home and we don't have a separate schoolroom so we work at the dining room table. We recently moved an old entertainment center out to the garage and put all the school related items there. Now my teachers manuals are all on the top, each child has a shelf for their books and papers, the puzzles are all in one place, and the educational games are easy to use and put away. The best part is that I don't have to constantly move school things around the house looking for a home for them.

As for clothes storage, I have three boys in one room with two dressers and one closet. I try to limit the amount of clothes they have in the first place. Such as- 4 pair of PJ's for summer and 4 for winter seem to be plenty, 7 pair of undies each, 4 pair of jeans, 6 pair of shorts, maybe ten shirts that are pretty much multi-seasonal along with two go with anything colored sweatshirts for our coldest days. I have also made use of inexpensive laundry baskets for toy boxes and extra storage boxes under the baby's crib(a longish crib skirt hides these fairly well and you could use this idea for about two years or until they get out of the crib).

I have my two girls in one room and they each share a closet and have their own chest of drawers. I have had a harder time limiting their clothes because of the fact that they wear dresses, and pants, and shorts so that there is a bit more clothing they own. I do use under bed storage in their room as well and I put a cheapie three shelf bookshelf in their closet for shoe storage. I also have storage boxes on the top shelf of all the children's closets for toys that we don't want the youngest two to abuse or lose the pieces from.

Under the beds is plenty of storage space and there are many storage boxes made for this purpose in a wide variety of price ranges(also check your local thrift stores for these if you aren't picky about everything matching). The walls are a great place to store some things such as brooms, mops, rakes, ironing board, tools,etc. This would of course be utilized mainly in the garage.

I hope these prove helpful to you and I should also mention that we have a garage sale once a year just before our HS groups used curriculum sale. The garage sale helps us to pare down to what we really need and use in our home and also provides money to buy curriculum.