Most people's eyes bulge a bit when they hear we have 6 children and 2 dogs in our 1,150 sf home! Compared to the rest of the United States, we outgrew our home 3 kids ago, but compared to the rest of the world, we're living in a mansion! Perspective is a funny thing, isn't it? While I could go on about the many benefits of smaller homes, sharing rooms, and being together - this post is really about being intentional with our space - however much it may be!
First of all, remember that what I'm sharing is what we've found works for our family. Every family is different and has differing needs. I want you to find encouragement and motivation here - not condemnation. So if you find yourself comparing, please take a long hard look at my before pictures and remind yourself this is a work in progress! Our home isn't perfect for Better Homes and Gardens - it's perfect for what God is doing in and through our family. And that should always be our priority.
Okay, now, on to the pictures! Just like my post on the kitchen, I'm going to walk through what areas looked like pre-purge, post-purge, yesterday, and today.
This is our girls' room. It is approximately 100sf.
Pre-purge: Top of 1st picture.
Post-purge: Bottom of 1st picture,
Yesterday: Left side of 2nd & top of 3rd picture.
Today: Right side of 2nd & bottom of 3rd picture.
To maximize floor space, we utilize vertical storage. The white shelves are from IKEA. But you can find similar ones on Amazon here.
The shelf on the left holds: a row of books, their dollhouse, and 3 fabric bins of toys. One bin is puppets, another is a wooden tea party set, and the fabric bin next to the dollhouse is filled with plastic furniture, people, and animals.
The shelf on the right holds the girls clothing. They have 10 shirts, 7 pairs of pants, and 5 pairs of pajamas each (not including sweaters/sweatshirts). Their clothes fit within the totes on the shelves - 1 for shirts, 1 for pants, 1 for pjs, 1 for undergarments, and the baskets on top hold belts and sweaters that cannot be hung up.
Dresses and sweatshirts are hung on the left side of their closet, which does not have doors. One of the best things I did was order a pack of velvet hangers. Clothing doesn't slide off of them, they look pretty, and they all match - perfect!
Removing the doors removed the concern of smashed fingers when our oldest was a baby. Since then, we've used the open concept in this room because it provides more room. Their doll bed is on the floor, below their clothes. On the right side of the closet is the dress up corner. Princess dresses are hung up and the wooden box underneath holds numerous dress up outfits in a variety of sizes.
Not pictured here is a small desk to the right of the dress up box. This holds their lamp, Bibles, devotional book, and ok-to-wake clock. (More on that in the upcoming Being Intentional with our Time post!) They also have a set of bunk beds with matching quilts. Which, quite frankly, weren't made especially well this morning and weren't picture ready for this post! However, I did take a picture of UNDER their bed:
That plastic, under bed tote (like this one) holds the girls' extra linens. There is an identical one under our boys' bunks. We have 2 sets of sheets and 2 fuzzy blankets for each kiddo. I realize that's an awful lot of blankets, but it's either storing extra blankets through the summer or paying insane amounts for heat in the winter. Bring on the fuzzy blankets!
Extra pairs of shoes are stored at the end of beds. We have a shoe storage rack in our coat closet where each family member keeps their most frequently worn shoes. All others, and slippers, go under beds.
This is one of our sons' rooms. It has approximately 72sf.
Pre-purge: Left of 1st picture.
Post-purge: Right of 1st picture.
Yesterday: Top of 2nd picture.
Today: Bottom of 2nd picture.
Since the first round of pictures we have gotten rid of the car ramp. The toddler bed, these toys, and a dresser along the wall are the only items in this relatively small room. His clothes and bedding are stored in the dresser.
3 of our boys share this room that is approximately 130 sf.
Pre-purge: Left of 1st picture.
Post-purge: Right of 1st picture.
Yesterday: 2nd picture.
Today: 3rd picture.
The 9-opening cubicle holds a shelf of books for the older boys, a shelf of books for the little boys, lunch bag container of cars, music kit, and fabric bins filled with: tools, Mr. Potato Head, various sport equipment, and mega blocks. (The only bin that is even close to full is the mega blocks one, which has to include enough blocks to stack to ceiling height, per my husband's request!) The big blue tub is wooden train tracks and Thomas trains (a generous gift from sweet friends!) and the backpack on top holds the boys' dinosaur collection.
Since the first picture was taken, we have changed the orientation of the crib and gotten rid of the dresser pictured.
Not pictured: a shared dresser that has their lamp and ok-to-wake clock. The older boys have 12 shirts, 7 pairs of pants, and 5 pairs of pajamas each. The little boys have quite a bit more clothing, because they both typically require at least one wardrobe change a day!
The boys closet has doors, and their sweatshirts and a couple dress shirts are hung up inside. We also have plastic totes with the little boys' upcoming clothes sizes, since they grow so quickly!
Our puzzles and board games are stored on the shelf in the top of the boys' closet:
There is also a plastic tub in the bottom of their closet with some electronic toys - radio control cars, Buzz Lightyears, and some talking dinosaur-transformer things.
Aside from a small plastic set of drawers filled with 'choking hazard' toys (small princess dolls, wooden dress up dolls, and legos), this is it. You have seen the toys our kids own. Now, in the interest of full disclosure, there IS a selection of toys I previously purged hiding in our storage closet. We have waited to see what, if anything, they asked for following the first purge. The only requests have been for a specific dinosaur and more train track. IF we get anything out, other items will have to go in order to make room!
For the sake of seeing it all at once, here are all the current pictures of the toys, books, and games in our home:
This is a far cry from 'minimalist' - but we've found it's the amount that works well for our tribe! We eliminated about 65% of the toys they had to begin with. During our first purge, we removed 2 lawn and leaf bags of toys to be donated, and 1 of trash. We've done several smaller purges since then, and there's still that selection of toys in our closet!
One of the best parts to our new system is everything has a place and every place is easily accessible for cleaning up. While orderly, it's easy enough for the 22 month old to pick up. We do a quick 'check check' before meals, before we leave the house, and before bed. Even if the place is "trashed" (which let's be real, happens more often than I'd like!), it only takes 15 minutes for the kids to get things in order.
Note: I said the kids. We are doing our best to instill in our children that this space is a blessing from God, and therefore all of our responsibility to take care of. They are learning to treat items with respect, and quickly prepare our home for visitors. They play hard and they clean up well!
Regarding clothing: Each child has enough for a full week without laundry. This is for several reasons. First of all, they like selection - and since I do, too, I think that's reasonable! We have also roadtripped for 10 days, and laundry is not easily done whilst on the road! However, we have limited the amount of outfits per child because of the amount of storage space available. Instead of keeping huge, bulky dressers everywhere, we simply let out kids wear their clothes as long as they'll last, and then replace them! (more of cost effective ways to do that in an upcoming Being Intentional with our Finances post!)
So, there you have it. 6 kids. 3 bedrooms. Approximately 300sf. The best part? There's still room for more - kids that is! - should God chose to bless our family!
What are your favorite storage hacks? Have you ever done a toy purge? I'd love to hear your favorite tips and tricks for kids' rooms!
Here you will find the musings of a homeschooling, work from home, adoptive Momma of 6! Adventures in faith, family, adoption, and training up a tribe of little people to follow hard after Jesus are spilled into these posts --- most often written with a cup of coffee in hand. I hope you'll stick around a while and find something - more likely SOMEONE! - that brings you hope!
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