how much space will i NEED for a 4 person family? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 18 Old 09-28-2006, 03:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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SEE UPDATE AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST!

my DH and i are in the process of renting a 2 brdm home that will house the two of us plus our 14 month old son and our new baby, due in january. it's 900 square feet. small by most people's standards but it seems comfortable to me.

however, since showing the new house to my mom and telling various other family members about the size, all i've heard are negative comments.

"it's too small!"
"you'll regret it when you have two babies!"
"where are you going to LIVE?"
"well that'll be, uh, cozy..."

admittedly, when we have visitors in our current apartment, it DOES seem a little squished... but for everyday living, we're very comfortable. i imagine this house will be the same way, but i'm wondering, am i being realistic? is this a normal-sized house for a four person family? if i minimize clutter and furnishings, does this still seem like an unreasonably tight living situation? i love having my family close and can't ever imagine being stretched across a huge house that doesn't seem cozy or intimate.

it's bothersome because i feel VERY grateful for being able to rent this house at ALL and i can't believe how little support we're getting over the idea. : it's saving a TON of money and it's one level, which is important to me because keeping my DS off the stairs and having to drag things up and down constantly is a huge PITA.

i just wish i knew if i was really setting myself up for disaster. any input?

UPDATE: we've been here almost six months and i absolutely love it. LOVE IT. we don't feel cramped at all. we have done a lot of decluttering and i still have a few rooms that seem a little too busy. we're forced to shop smarter because we have to evaluate need vs. want, "do we NEED this or will it just be a waste of space?" and we've become more frugal because of it. i also love that it's single-level so i don't have to worry about my toddler and the stairs. it's absolutely lovely. if any mamas are struggling with the decision to downsize and simplify, please don't hesitate to do it! it's an awesome experience.

edit: here's a flickr photo tour of our home: http://www.flickr.com/photos/7377343...715617/detail/
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#2 of 18 Old 09-28-2006, 10:50 PM
 
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we are a family of four in a 700 sq ft house (with a big screened porch and small backyard)
It's fine.
especially if you're renting, you're not locked in there forever. Our boys are 8 and 5 and still fit in their room okay. They could use a bigger space and we would like a second bathroom, but these are not necessities. And if you are doing the family bed, then you have one room set up for sleeping, and the second can be a playroom -- that will probalby make it feel more spacious than having beds in both rooms -- and keep the toy clutter under control.

You will have to be careful on the amount of toys/clothes you acquire for the kids.
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#3 of 18 Old 09-29-2006, 12:21 AM
 
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We are a family of four in 1000 sq ft. (Two bedrooms + den, two bathrooms.) My kids are (almost) 4 and 1.5 yrs. I love it. I don't have to worry about where the kids are because I can see/hear them all the time. And if I had more space I'd just have to figure out what to put in it, and how to find the time to clean it.

We went to visit my brother in his big house a couple months ago and I had to stay upstairs with my kids because the baby wasn't old enough to be up there alone. I wouldn't have known if the other adults left the house; they were so far away from me as to feel like they weren't there anyway. I'll take my small, cozy space any day.

Congrats on your new house! Enjoy it!!!

Melanie
Magical Mama, joyfully home educating my three wonders: FR (12/02), EG (05/05), DK (06/09)
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#4 of 18 Old 09-29-2006, 12:42 AM
 
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We have one adult, two kids ages 10 and 8, a cat, and two pet rats in under 600 sq ft (and no closets!). It is not that bad actually. Like another poster said, you just have to be ruthless about the clutter and organized in that everything has a place to put it away. When my kids were little they shared one bedroom and I used the other for a computer room; now that they're older they each have their own room. I sleep on a futon in the living room/kitchen area.
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#5 of 18 Old 09-29-2006, 12:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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thanks, everyone! i'm doing a ton of decluttering before we move next week so that should help. i feel a lot better knowing other families can do make it work!
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#6 of 18 Old 09-30-2006, 01:08 PM
 
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When my 2nd child was a newborn, we moved from a 500 sq ft apartment to a 1000 sq ft townhouse. The 1000 sq ft felt HUGE! It was a really good layout for us, and it worked well. We had a bedroom (family bed) and a play/computer room. There was a 1/2 bath downstairs, so when my husband woke up in the morning, he'd go down there to get ready for work, so he didn't wake the rest of us up. It had an eat-in kitchen, which feels much bigger than a separate kitchen/dining room.

So, if the layout is good, I think that 1000 sq feet can feel quite large. In fact, if you're moving from a 2 story to a 1 story, you'll gain all that "wasted" space for the stairs, and 900 might even feel bigger than 960.

Ulrike, mom to:
Roman (3/98), Evalina (3/00), Nadia (3/03), and Kira (11/07)
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#7 of 18 Old 09-30-2006, 04:56 PM
 
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We have 5 living in a 1000 sq ft. To be honest I am going nuts! I do think it was the third baby that did me in space wise, I mean we all sleep in the same room, but its just toy space, coats, blankets, everything. We don't have a basement and that was the biggest mistake for us, although we bought the house before we had kids. I will never buy anything less than 1500 sf again.

hearts.gifhearts.gifhearts.gifhearts.gifhearts.gif A house full of girls, but for dad and one brother bikenew.gif
"Be careful how you speak to your children. One day it will become their inner voice." ~ Peggy O' Mara
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#8 of 18 Old 10-01-2006, 09:16 AM
 
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I think if you keep the clutter down, have good storage space, and a good sized yard for the kids to play in, it will be fine. You could even entertain guests outside during the summer.
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#9 of 18 Old 10-01-2006, 11:31 AM
 
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I think layout can be a LOT more important than square footage. Our current bedroom has lots of wasted space (empty floor, or more often, floor that has off season/too small clothes in piles waiting for me to get rid of them or get them packed away, etc) but our last bedroom, though theoretically a good size, I can't for the life of me think how we would have side-carred a mattress when the babies were born. So . . . when we start house/land hunting in another year or so, I'm going to be looking more at layout than sq footage. I'll get out the tape measure & figure out if the furniture items I want will fit comfortably in the room (I'm thinking lots of graph paper will be used & there will be lots of eye rolling on the part of my dh LOL),

I also think lifestyle has alot to do w/ how much house you need. All our family lives in the area & it's easier for me to have all the grandparents & aunts/uncles (we're the only ones w/ kids at this point) come to our house rather then having to drag kids to their houses & keep kids from breaking things & . . . so I like having room to comfortably entertain large groups (even if we just have family that currently puts us at around 12 people). Generally random friends end up being included too . . . SO that increases our need for living space. I'd say look at YOUR needs & ignore what others think.
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#10 of 18 Old 03-22-2007, 04:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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update in post one. we've been living simply and loving it for six months. :
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#11 of 18 Old 03-22-2007, 09:44 PM
 
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Thanks for the update!

We live in about 1400 sq ft and use maybe 800. We are going to be downsizing and I can't wait. We pay a lot to heat areas we don't use. We could use that towards living in a city we love instead of the one we can barely stand.

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#12 of 18 Old 03-23-2007, 11:19 AM
 
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glad things are going well.
I actually like the panel walls. Give a cottage/beach feel! You have an amazing # of built-in.

mom to 14yr dd and 4yr dd
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#13 of 18 Old 03-23-2007, 11:21 AM
 
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I love the photos. Your house looks really cute.
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#14 of 18 Old 03-23-2007, 01:14 PM
 
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Your place looks great!! I am so happy you are enjoying the space.
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#15 of 18 Old 03-23-2007, 03:07 PM
 
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We're a family of 4 in 1100 sq ft, and we don't use 2 rooms of that (one bedroom and one bathroom are totally not used). We're going to move to a 2-bedroom (we now have 3 bedrooms) space when our lease is up. I imagine the 2-bedroom will be 800-900 sq ft, since most of them are around here.

We could actually go down to 1, since we've taken to sleeping on a foam mattress in the living room (ds sleeps with us, dd has her own room, we really like the foam mattress on the hard ground, makes our backs feel good), but dh wants to be able to work from home, and it's very hard for him to do that without having a separate room to work in.
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#16 of 18 Old 03-23-2007, 03:24 PM
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Wow!
I just had to reply....you have done a really really lovely job fixin' up your home!!
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#17 of 18 Old 03-23-2007, 04:11 PM
 
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I LOVE your house...and I gotta say... I *love* that paneling...the angle is cool!
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#18 of 18 Old 03-23-2007, 05:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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thanks everyone! i can't bring myself to like the paneling but i can live with it, especially since our rent is so reasonable.
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