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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Home Sweet Home [for now]

Our house is on the market. We listed it several weeks ago. All the neighbors have been by to tell us that they’ll be sad to see us go but that they “understand.” We have a big family so obviously we need a bigger house. Right?

Wrong. We happen to like our little house and we’ve found lots of ways to make it work for us. We have our reasons for needing and wanting to move – but none of them are because we desire a bigger house.

Besides, the term “small house” is very relative. I’ve been to Africa and I’m perfectly aware that by the world’s standards, my three bedroom, 2 bathroom house is basically a palace.

I’m not against big houses and if you own one, I think that’s great. But what I am against is the way Dan and I often feel pressured to upgrade and “move on up” just because the world tells us it’s time.

So here’s how we make our small house work for us…

This is mission control.



It’s also known as the wire shelf in the laundry room. It’s where I keep our homeschool supplies, paper products, dry goods that won’t fit in the pantry (because my “pantry” is actually just another medium sized cabinet in our kitchen), art supplies, coupons and basically everything I might stuff into a basement or an extra bedroom if I had one.

This is my homeschool room.



It’s also known as the kitchen table. I have to admit that sometimes I see pictures of really amazing homeschool rooms and I get a little jealous. What I love about them the most is the idea of a separate place to stash all the books, papers, school supplies and other clutter that goes along with homeschooling. But at the same time, having our “homeschool room” right in the middle of my kitchen works well for multi-tasking. I can teach grammar while I unload the dishwasher. Or keep an eye on the math assignments while I bake bread. It’s often rather handy.

This is the playroom.

Adorable baby not for sale with house.


It’s also known as the garage. Seriously. We rolled out a foam pad and some cheapo carpet onto the concrete floor. We run a heater in the winter and a fan in the summer and… voila, a playroom! The “playroom” also functions as additional storage space and provides an extra spot for schoolwork when I need to split up the kids to help them focus. And my car just has to live outside and that’s too bad, so sad.

By the way… are you sensing a theme here? Very, very few places in my small house have a singular function. Nearly every space doubles as something else. The den also functions as the office. The top of Madeline’s closet also functions as the linen closet. Baby Charlotte’s dresser also functions as her changing table. We can’t afford to waste any space, so we don’t.

And speaking of doubling up… my kids don’t have their own rooms. (Gasp!) Hannah and Madeline share a room, Joseph and Davis share a room and Charlotte has a small nursery next to the master bedroom. All five kids share one, simple bathroom with a single sink. And while they’re grumbling and waiting in line at night to brush their teeth, Dan and I tell them it’ll build character.

We’re perfectly happy to host guests in our little home. Baby Charlotte sleeps in a queen sized bed with bedrails. When guests stay with us, her room becomes the guest room and she bunks with the big girls. And she loves every minute of it.

And finally, there are the perks. These are my two favorite perks to living in a small house:

First, limited space means limited stuff. We have two sets of sheets for each bed in the house. My kids have two pairs of pajamas each. I don’t decorate with cute knick-knacks for every holiday of the year. And we have so few toys that it would probably be shocking to most people. But I actually find this lack of stuff to be rather freeing – not the other way around.

Second, we spend a lot of time outside. A LOT. Dan and I would much prefer a small house with a big yard over a big house with a small yard. We love to sit on the porch and watch the kids run through our backyard, climb trees and dig in the dirt. We love for them to use toys powered by nothing but their own legs and their big imaginations. It's a beautiful thing.

So by this point you might be wondering -- if we love our little house so much, why are we moving? Well, that's a blog post for another day. Stay tuned...

6 comments:

Courtney said...

We love our little house! Though it's just the two of us for now, we often wonder how many kiddos we can squeeze in :)

Naomi said...

Well I am on the edge of my seat......... anyone else?

Love your heart Shelly! God sees a heart like yours and already has plans which are even bigger!!!

Anonymous said...

So glad there are others in the world who "get" what it means to not consume and catch the Joneses. We have 3 girls in one room and only 2 boys in another and why looky, there IS an extra seat at our dining room table......hmmm. Betcha God has a plan for that chair! ;)

Colleen said...

The Owens B&B is an EXCELLENT place to stay...especially because we get to sleep in the Baby's bed. Love it. Fo sho.

Alisa said...

In a culture that has become focused on "more, bigger and better", this is enlightening! We have three rooms to split between our five kids and ya know what? We have one empty bedroom! Our son has his own room, but CHOOSES to sleep on the floor in his little sisters' room...cause there's comfort in numbers I guess. Four kids, one room. We've said he will change his mind one day, but this has been going on for 2.5 years. I SO get it Shelly :)

Mrs. Kee said...

I love this post! I have two half siblings but I never lived with them so I consider myself an only child. The whole sibling relationship thing has always intrigued me. I've always appreciated my privacy but I love the idea of my children sharing rooms and becoming closer as siblings, of our family living in a small house and enjoying it, of the smaller space making us closer. I just read Kisses for Katie and her house is constantly bursting at the seams with all of her own children and then all of the people they take in. In so many other countries people live in much smaller homes than we do, why does bigger always have to be better?