Let’s talk large family living! With baby #6 due to arrive in September, we have definitely crossed over from “average” family size, to make people stop and stare big family size. Now I know there are plenty of families out there with way more than six kids, but around here, six kids is a lot and makes for large family living. I think we are raising a large family, for sure. Today, I want to share with you my best tips for how to make a small house work for a large family.
If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you know we downsized in 2015. We went from a 5 bedroom, 2,600 square foot house, to a 4 bedroom 1,500 square foot house. I wouldn’t necessarily call our current home “small,” but it is small compared to other homes that house families with smaller children in the area. Our smallest bedroom is my husband’s office, so technically we have three bedrooms for seven (going on eight) people.
Large Family Bedrooms – Work with What You Have
We have a boys’ room, a girls’ room, and our master bedroom.
In the boys’ room there is currently a bunk bed. We use mattresses from Saatva because they are extremely comfortable and eco-friendly. Read about how to choose a mattress for your child in this post. My oldest who is eight years old sleeps on the top, and my youngest two boys, who are four and two sleep on the bottom. They actually prefer to sleep next to each other, and it works out well. We will soon get creative with their beds when my youngest needs his own sleeping space by adding a trundle bed under the bunk.
My oldest daughter who is six, currently has a room to herself. She has a full sized bed. Our youngest, who is 11 months, still sleeps in our room, and will until she is two years old. We have a Pack n Play for her in our room. When she is two, she will move to the girls’ room. She will most likely start out sharing the full size bed with my oldest daughter, and then get her own bed as she gets older.
When the new baby is born, he or she will co-sleep with us and stay in our room until around age 2. At that point, we will reassess our bedroom situation. 1
Right now, our kids don’t mind sleeping together, and actually prefer it. I know as they get older we will make new arrangements and configurations.
If you have a large family, don’t be afraid to get creative with sleeping arrangements. It’s OKAY if your kids share a bedroom. It won’t damage them in the long run.
See our updated bedroom situation! How To Fit Three Kids in One Bedroom
Making the Bathroom Functional
Our house has two bathrooms, and hallelujah my husband and I have our own. Granted, it’s just a shower stall and a sink, but it works. We do live in military housing and even though this house is old, it has lots of great storage. Our kids’ bathroom, or the “pink” bathroom as we call it has a medicine cabinet, under sink storage, and a floor to ceiling storage cabinet. It’s always a good idea to use labels like these to help organize the different containers we keep in our bathroom.
I’ve started using a space saving system for storing the kids’ teeth products. This toothbrush holder includes cups on goes right on the bottom corner of the mirror. Towels, washcloths, and hair products are in the upper cabinet. On the top shelf I keep cleaning products and our vaporizer. The bottom cabinet holds our baby bathtub.
I put command hooks on the wall so our kids can hang their towels to dry.
Rooms Can Be Used Non-Traditionally
Some families have given the children the master bedroom. In our home, we converted our “dining” room into the schoolroom. Some families use the living room as a dining room. You do not have to be bound by traditional rooms. Get creative and make your house work for your family.
Use storage space wisely
I love having plenty of storage space, but with this many people, we still have to watch what we keep. Decluttering is a constant around here. In fact, I declutter so much, I’ve devoted many posts to it. We use bins and baskets. I love my storage system in our schoolroom.
I’ve used plastic stacks of drawers as a dresser. The backs of doors make wonderful spots for hanging organizers. We use the space under our beds for more storage.
What to do with the clothes?
Finally, let’s talk about clothes. Lots of kids means lots of clothes. Both of the kids’s rooms have two dressers. I divide up the clothes among the dressers and also hang up their clothes in the closet.
I’ve become more picky about what clothes I keep for storage, but I keep them boxed up by gender and size and store them in our hallway closet. When the next season comes around, I can just pull out a box for the younger kids.
If you don’t have dresser space, don’t fret! A plastic set of drawers works well for baby clothes. Can you buy some under bed storage containers and use those for clothing? Once again, if you don’t have a traditional space for everyone’s clothes, think outside the box!
Do you have a large family? What are your best tips for living in a small space?