Small house thread - Page 16 - Mothering Forums

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Old 06-27-2008, 01:36 PM
 
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What about kids bedrooms? I need some ideas on how to squeeze 3 girls into one bedroom. One of the issues I'm having it the age gap. I have a 9 year old trying to share a room with a 3 and 1 year old. She has one set of needs and wants and they have another set. I would like to give the 9 year old some personal space that her little sisters can mess with but still have a area that the little ones can play in. Right now the 1 year old doesn't have anything of hers in the bedroom. Her clothes hang in ds closet, her dresser is in my bathroom and her toys are in the livingroom. The two youngest still sleep with us but I would someday like my bed back and dh is saying sooner than later. I've been thinking of getting a bunkbed with a twin on top and a double on the bottom and the 2 little ones can share the bottom bed. Plus I need more dresser space and would like to move more of the toys into the bedrooms.
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Old 06-27-2008, 02:06 PM
 
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How big is the room? And what sort of budget do you have? Could you do something with folding furniture/futon style bedding?

For instance, a lofted bed for the 9yo that has a "tent" over it for privacy... shelves on the wall that can only be reached from the top bunk would add "private" space to her shared space.

Then under the loft you could put a folding futon type thing that could be seating/lounging during the day and fold out to "on the floor" (or low frame) sleeping for the younger girls at night. Storage could be built into the sides of the loft frame as well.

Sort of combining http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/50019950 with http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/20116207 and http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/80107827 (or http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/10103494) for your older dd and then something like http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/S99838627 for under the loft for the younger girls?

And no... I'm not totally IKEA obsessed Just mostly! (and they have good pictures)

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Old 06-27-2008, 02:43 PM
 
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wombatclay - I really like your kitchen / living room the way it is! But I remember when I was a kid my parents once divided a room in half by lining up 3 really sturdy bookcases. That would give you a little extra storage too. We are now using those bookcases in our house!

AngieB - Definitely bunkbeds! We have bunkbeds in our boys' room (our 2yo still sleeps with us though...well actually most the time our 4yo does too). But the top bunk is a great private space for our 4yo when he needs to get away from his brother. He climbs up there and I take the ladder off so the 2yo can't get up there and bug him!

I love seeing the pictures of everyone's houses! I just signed up for a flickr account, I'll have to post mine too.
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Old 06-27-2008, 03:13 PM
 
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great pictures!

I got my camera a new cord so I finally uploaded pictures!

We ( 2 adults 2 kids)are in 500 sqft , one bedroom , one bath , and a wet basement so other then washing we :
http://s24.photobucket.com/albums/c4...P1010100-1.jpg
http://s24.photobucket.com/albums/c4...t=P1010097.jpg
http://s24.photobucket.com/albums/c4...t=P1010021.jpg
http://s24.photobucket.com/albums/c4...t=P1010025.jpg

We are really disorganized right now and don't have money to organize but hopefully soon we will be working on it....and going to Ikea. We are thinking queen with a trundle for the bed room , right now we have a King and a toddler bed at the foot..you can still open the door
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Old 06-27-2008, 03:47 PM
 
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oh my gosh p1gg1e, what an adorable house!!
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Old 06-27-2008, 04:17 PM
 
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Love those shutters! And the picture of your little one on the table is great!

The "problem" I'm having with the main floor is that it's hard to relax... you can see everything from everywhere so if you sit on the couch your immediate sight line is the wreckage that will eventually be the kitchen sink. Or if you sit in the armchair your view is the girl's play corner. And so on. I'd loe to be able to just close a door and forget about a mess!

I saw on some small house show a set of bookcases that hang from a ceiling track so they can be moved. If it weren't for the fact that I think the girls would use them like Jane of the Jungle vines I'd try building a set.

Almost forgot! We do have a trundle bed (twin) in storage. Once the girls are ready and we have a place to put it we'll set it up for them. Trundles rock!

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Old 06-27-2008, 04:50 PM
 
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I definitely agree with the loft bed recommendation. That's what my kids have. The bedroom is mostly C's since J's toys are in the living room, but I wanted J to have his own space. So I made curtains that divide off the empty space under the loft and declared it J's "room". We've considered hanging curtains around C's bed to divide that space off for her, but J spends so little time in there it doesn't make much difference.

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Old 06-27-2008, 06:16 PM
 
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Thanks Ladies! Cant wait to show you more when its cleaner The picture makes it look big on the outside.

Bunk beds scare me esp since I gave birth to Violet the Monkey....that table she was on went into the barn because she was jumping on it ...also we had a book shelf but had to put that away because she was climbing it... I need to look into some sort of shelving she cant reach as the book destruction is maddening!

What do you all do about clothes storage?
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Old 06-27-2008, 06:52 PM
 
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Our upper floor is also a single room so it's a good thing we have a family bed. Clothing storage gets divided up:

DH has a dresser (3 drawer) all to himself. In the matching dresser dd2 has the top drawer while I have the other two drawers. DD1 has a hanging IKEA storage thing (for underwear, undershirts, socks) and an IKEA shoe bench (leksvik) that has, over it's 5+ years of service been a winter shoe rack, a coffee table, a bench, a toy storage unit, a bookcase, a kitchen organizer, a nature table, and finally a clothing storage system for dd1. I guess we should buy a few more some day when we've got the money.

Off season or "growing into" clothes go into cardboard boxes under the bed or plastic tubs in the shed (well, storage unit for now but shed by next week!).

ETA- the pictures...
From the stairs to the back, you can see "my" dresser and dd1's messy clothes to the side of the dresser http://www.flickr.com/photos/briarhouse/2616135943/

From the back to the stairs, "my" dresser is beind me, DH's dresser is opposite the stairs http://www.flickr.com/photos/briarhouse/2616138491/

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Old 06-27-2008, 09:24 PM
 
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Here's some pics of my house. http://www.flickr.com/photos/anniegi...7605849644358/

It's 650 square feet. The housing brochure said 700 sq ft, but I measured the outside the other day (it's just a rectangle). I guess they were rounding up LOL!

It's two bedroom, one bathroom.

Each bedroom has a closet, so that's where most the clothes are. I hang almost everything. I have two small boxes for the boys' socks and undies and they each have a basket for their shorts and pants, I hang their shirts and jackets. Dh has a small dresser and I have a set of canvas drawers in our closet for stuff that isn't hung up.

I really love our little house!
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Old 06-27-2008, 10:23 PM
 
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annie - cute house! where are you located, if you dont mind saying? or just a general part of the country LOL
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Old 06-27-2008, 10:48 PM
 
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we still have a ways to go with decluttering, and i didn't especially tidy up for the photos except to straighten out the bedclothes. we installed the smooth floors (cheap Pergo, cause its a rental, sooo much better than the industrial-grade carpet that WAS there). makes such a difference.
Thanks for not especially tidying up! Sometimes I get so jealous when other people post pictures of their houses and there is no clutter and everything is beautiful. I'm happy to see that other people live like I do I'm not really a messy person, but I do have a lot of stuff, and I have a busy little DS, and it just feels good to see proof that I'm not alone. I hope that came out the right way! I meant it nice
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Old 06-27-2008, 11:18 PM
 
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Yeah... do you like how I specifically didn't point out the trash bag of stuff for salvo, the stacks of boxes, the circular saw, piles of sawdust, and the paint covered toddler in my pictures? Bonus points if you spotted the lack of kitchen sink, over flowing compost bucket, and beer bottle.

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Old 06-28-2008, 01:13 AM
 
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My dh had our kids over at my parents' house so I was able to clean up before I took the pictures! LOL! If I were completely honest I'd take pictures right now. There's a basket of laundry sitting on the kitchen counter, dinner dishes piled up at the sink and my 2yo is currently destroying the bedroom. Ha!

It does help a lot that we got rid of TONS of stuff before we moved here and I don't like clutter.
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Old 06-28-2008, 12:18 PM
 
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Question... For those of you around the 750sq feet range- approx how much natural gas/electricity do you use each month? DH and I have only owned since September (and only moved in dec), so we're having a hard time trying to estimate, but it seems like our bills are higher than they should be.

We have almost all CFL's other than ones that Couldn't be, our computer runs too much- probably 8 hours a day. We have a washer and dryer, and dishwasher, and do about 2 loads of each a week, probably less for the dishwasher. We are very good about keeping lights off when we don't absolutely need them. We do have a huge TV that I"m sure isn't power friendly *grumbles* It was a gift. Our furnace is highly INeffecient, as is our hot water heater, but we tried to keep the furnace running as little as possible over the winter, piling on blankets instead. There's only two of us here.

Approximates? I know costs will differ, but for instance our bill for May usage was 552kw.h for electricity, and 123.121 cubic metres for natural gas. Month of May the furance was almost always, if not completely, off.

Should we be worried? EVeryone keeps telling us our bills are too high.

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Old 06-28-2008, 12:59 PM
 
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For a couple of years we lived in a one bedroom apartment that was just under 500 sq ft and there were 5 of us and a large dog. The best suggestion I can say is use your walls! My DH actually stacked dresser upon dresser in the kids room which was the only bedroom. The big kids had bunk beds which also gave us space beneath the bed for flat totes where all the craft and too small for the baby toys went. We even stuck a bakers rack next to the bed that was great because it had a high shelf that my dd on the top bunk could put things.

In the living room/dining room, we used tall bookcases behind our futon which was great for books, obviously, and sticking all sorts of stuff. For the dining part, we had a folding table and folding chairs. At night they were folded up and we used an inflatable mattress on the floor for me to sleep with the baby while DH slept on the futon. Definitely not cute, but totally versatile. The tv and stereo stuff were on an old table that I stapled some neat looking cloth on and I hid all sorts of stuff under there!

In the kitchen I was lucky to have a decent amount of space for such a small apartment, but we still needed to put up 6 shelves and used an old dresser with the legs cut off for counter space and the added drawers were another place to stash stuff. The shelves were scrap wood with brackets from the hardware store, nothing fancy but custom fit.

If I can find any pictures I will post them. The thing is, it was efficient but not very pretty :P I just don't have a good sense for that. My DH still picks out my cutest clothes while I always look for cargo pants and t-shirts.

Also, when deciding on what to keep and what to chuck, I always asked, is this something I can easily get on Freecycle or at a thrift store? Am I going to use this in the next 3-6 months? I just didn't have any storage for longer than that.

We were fortunate that we were able to store some stuff like additional clothing and non-folding furniture in our friends basement.

And lastly, there was ALWAYS clutter somewhere! I was constantly on the move to move things from one place to another and clear floor space was a rarity!!

We now live in a 1200 sq ft apartment (with an additional child) and we don't even use all of the space! We have this one room slated as a playroom which almost never gets used.

Stacey

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Old 06-28-2008, 01:02 PM
 
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That does seem high. Our electricity was 585kWh, but we live in about 1000 sqft and there are 6 of us. We use the dishwasher at least once a day and do 1-2 loads of laundry A DAY! Plus we have 2 computers, at least one is on all day. We don't have a tv though. We try to be careful with lights but the kids don't always remember to keep them off. Plus my 4yo is scared of the dark and keeps his room lit up all night!

I would have someone in to look at it!


 

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Old 06-28-2008, 01:08 PM
 
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Originally Posted by jeninejessica View Post
Question... For those of you around the 750sq feet range- approx how much natural gas/electricity do you use each month? DH and I have only owned since September (and only moved in dec), so we're having a hard time trying to estimate, but it seems like our bills are higher than they should be.

Approximates? I know costs will differ, but for instance our bill for May usage was 552kw.h for electricity, and 123.121 cubic metres for natural gas. Month of May the furance was almost always, if not completely, off.

Should we be worried? EVeryone keeps telling us our bills are too high.
We don't use gas, BUT our old neighbor did and with a 900 sq ft apartment he was paying $800-1200 usd a month! Then one day I was standing out front and noticed a smell of gas. I happened to be standing right next to where the gas is connected to the house. So I called him outside to tell him and see if he could smell it as well. He did, called the gas company and they came out to fix it within the hour. His next gas bill was 1/3 of what he used to pay! I'm not saying you have a leak but it never hurts to check. He had been paying that amount ever since he moved in 2 years before and the tenants before him also complained of a high gas bill.

HTH

Stacey

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Old 06-28-2008, 11:59 PM
 
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You know, it's interesting reading the posts on this board. It's extremely inspiring and it really makes me think.

Most moms chatting on MDC tend to have one thing in common - attachment parenting. I tend to think how impossible it would be to live in a small house if you are not an AP family, you know?

When I was a teenager, my parents were not getting along, sleeping in separate bedrooms, and they were both driving me crazy as well. (We all get along MUCH better now! But, I can remember living in that 1600 sq. ft. house that we rented at the time, my dad watching TV in the living room, me talking on the phone in my bedroom or watching TV, and my mom blasting her shortwave radio from her bedroom. And everyone had their own little cocoon. And the house was stuffed with crap and always messy. And guess what? 1600 sq. ft. did not feel big enough.

However, my family (DH, DD and me) are very cohesive (AP, co-sleeping, blah blah blah) pretty darn tidy most of the time, and TV-free. When one of use is in one room, the other two tend to end up there too. It's wonderful. Sure, sometimes DH or I need some time alone, but most of the time we are together. We recently left a large house (2000 sq. ft.) and you know what? We were basically always hanging out in the family bedroom. We were like, "These other 3 bedrooms and the two living rooms are kind of pointless!"

Now, on the verge of moving into an 800 sq. ft. cottage, I am so excited about it! I do not wish we were buying another 2000 sq. ft. house or anywhere close to it! (We moved from an inexpensive area to an expensive area, thus the square footage drop). But I am thankful for this necessity. I feel as though it will bring my family to new heights of cohesion, coziness, and intimacy. I also feel as though it will force us to keep certain habits that I believe are good for the soul anyway: getting rid of junk, not buying junk in the first place, having an organized house, conserving energy, not having to waste money on more and more furniture for a too-big house (constantly a problem at our old house - we never did fill it up with furniture!)

Anyway, I have come to view this really as an exercise in APing, voluntary simplicity, family intimacy, and spirituality. I am so thankful for you mamas on this thread for inspiring me (and DH, who reads it sometimes too), posting your beautiful pics, and sharing your wisdom. Keep the advice coming! Thanks!


Rachel, mommy to Ella (10/19/06) and Kaia (1/4/10), wife to Michael . Just another vegan, attachment parenting, homebirthing, UU & Buddhist, CLWing, bedsharing, vegetable gardening, Bay Area crunchy mom!
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Old 06-29-2008, 03:10 AM
 
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We are closing on our first house on July 15th! Woohoo! We are moving from our 820 sq ft, 2 br/2ba apartment that we've shared for almost 4 years, to a 1104 sq ft 3 br/2ba house.

I plan on having a yard sale before we even start painting, though! I'm going to get rid of as many unnecessary things as possible before moving everything to "keep" in. We've got 6 weeks to move out of our apartment, so I think we'll be set.

Any painting and/or decorating tips? There are so many colors & options out there. I want the rooms to feel open, and yet cozy. I'd prefer lighter colors to keep the rooms from looking small. I plan on *going* to some yard sales, thrift stores, and clearance racks to get most of my decor. We need to buy a dresser, a new coffee table, a TV stand, and a new book shelf (other one is falling apart). I'd prefer to get gently used items or really good deals on new stuff.

DH and I have been watching HGTV like crazy lately for decorating ideas, but we like so many things that we can't decide. We tend to both gravitate toward shades of green, blue, gray, and bold black & white for accents. Problem is DH goes more for "warm" colors, and I would like to have more "cool" colors, at least in the bathrooms & kitchen to brighten/liven things up. I wear black 99% of the time, so since I don't like wearing bright colors on myself it would be nice to brighten up my house. DH just doesn't go for it though. :

/rambling

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Old 06-29-2008, 10:37 AM
 
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racheloperasinger - I so agree on the life style being apart of how we make small spaces work. We co-sleep with our youngest and our oldest sleeps in a toddler bed at the foot ( she could sleep with us but she tosses and turns so much! ). How else though would a family be ok with sharing a room?:
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Old 06-30-2008, 02:27 PM
 
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Hi Mamas!

We just decided to make a HUGE change and move out of our HUGE house (~3000+ square feet) and into a tiny house (relatively speaking . . . I don't know the square footage, but I'd guess it's around 1200, maybe less). I'd love any advice! We're planning to get rid of about 2/3 of our stuff before we move. I really don't want the new place to feel cluttered at all. Our biggest issue is that the house has zero closets (not a one), so we need to figure out a creative solution for our clothes and I think we'll just get rid of anything else we might keep in a closet (i.e. extra linens, things that we only use a couple times a year, etc.).

I'm so excited for our new life!

Lex

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Old 06-30-2008, 04:51 PM
 
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hey mama, i remember you from the old CD board (i think).

congrats on your downsize. it can seem a little crazy at first!

we also got rid of a ton of stuff. actually 6 months later we're still decluttering in a MAJOR way.

i looked at books, mags, etc for organizational ideas. ikea catalog is a good place to start

someone had a great idea for linens, 2 sets per bed, one stored between the mattresses.
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Old 06-30-2008, 04:52 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeninejessica View Post
Question... For those of you around the 750sq feet range- approx how much natural gas/electricity do you use each month? DH and I have only owned since September (and only moved in dec), so we're having a hard time trying to estimate, but it seems like our bills are higher than they should be.

We have almost all CFL's other than ones that Couldn't be, our computer runs too much- probably 8 hours a day. We have a washer and dryer, and dishwasher, and do about 2 loads of each a week, probably less for the dishwasher. We are very good about keeping lights off when we don't absolutely need them. We do have a huge TV that I"m sure isn't power friendly *grumbles* It was a gift. Our furnace is highly INeffecient, as is our hot water heater, but we tried to keep the furnace running as little as possible over the winter, piling on blankets instead. There's only two of us here.

Approximates? I know costs will differ, but for instance our bill for May usage was 552kw.h for electricity, and 123.121 cubic metres for natural gas. Month of May the furance was almost always, if not completely, off.

Should we be worried? EVeryone keeps telling us our bills are too high.
hi mama
i dont have exact usage handy but i know our first few months seemed high too. we're 1000 SF, i will try to post info later tonight.
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Old 06-30-2008, 05:17 PM
 
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That's great you're downsizing! How exciting!

I don't really have any super great advice. Just get rid of lots of stuff (which you already know). It's also nice if everyone has their own space or "spot" to go, helps the smallness of the place not get to you.

We once lived in a 1000 sq ft place that didn't have any closets. Clutter was always a huge challenge for me. We got two big wardrobes and kept our clothes in there. Shelves with big baskets helps a lot with organizing too.

I love the idea of storing the extra sheets between the mattresses! I think I'll do that.

jeninejessica - our utilities our included in our rent so I don't really know how much we are using. In our former home though I always felt like our bills were way too high too. The utility company had a little online form you could fill out and it would tell you how much your were using in comparison to other houses and families your size. It turned out our usage was much lower than the average. Maybe it's that way for you too? It seems high, but in reality you're probably using less than average.
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Old 06-30-2008, 05:48 PM
 
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[QUOTE=radish;11588309
someone had a great idea for linens, 2 sets per bed, one stored between the mattresses.[/QUOTE]

That's FABULOUS! Exactly the kind of advice I was looking for.

Our current bed set-up is just three mattresses on the floor, but I'm wondering if it would make more sense to get some frames and then have the space under the bed for storage. It wouldn't be quite as nice for sleeping (there would obviously be a crack between the beds), but I don't know where we're going to keep our clothes otherwise. The bedrooms are on the second floor, which is really more like an attic. You can only stand up in the middle of the room, so I don't think we'd be able to put an armoire/wardrobe up there, and the walls are only about 18 inches tall (when the ceiling stops slanting), so a dresser would be tricky too.

Lex

Mindfully mothering SIX kids (ages 5, 6, 8, 9, 11 & 11) in a small house with a lot of love.
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Old 06-30-2008, 05:49 PM
 
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Originally Posted by radish
someone had a great idea for linens, 2 sets per bed, one stored between the mattresses.
That's FABULOUS! Exactly the kind of advice I was looking for.

Our current bed set-up is just three mattresses on the floor, but I'm wondering if it would make more sense to get some frames and then have the space under the bed for storage. It wouldn't be quite as nice for sleeping (there would obviously be a crack between the beds), but I don't know where we're going to keep our clothes otherwise. The bedrooms are on the second floor, which is really more like an attic. You can only stand up in the middle of the room, so I don't think we'd be able to put an armoire/wardrobe up there, and the walls are only about 18 inches tall (when the ceiling stops slanting), so a dresser would be tricky too.

Lex

Mindfully mothering SIX kids (ages 5, 6, 8, 9, 11 & 11) in a small house with a lot of love.
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Old 06-30-2008, 07:19 PM
 
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OOooooh lexbeach, I love your family bed! That looks so cozy I want to curl up there.

That is tricky about clothes storage for your new home...hmmmm.
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Old 07-01-2008, 02:53 AM
 
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Originally Posted by lexbeach View Post
Our current bed set-up is just three mattresses on the floor, but I'm wondering if it would make more sense to get some frames and then have the space under the bed for storage. It wouldn't be quite as nice for sleeping (there would obviously be a crack between the beds), but I don't know where we're going to keep our clothes otherwise. The bedrooms are on the second floor, which is really more like an attic. You can only stand up in the middle of the room, so I don't think we'd be able to put an armoire/wardrobe up there, and the walls are only about 18 inches tall (when the ceiling stops slanting), so a dresser would be tricky too.

Lex
Lovin those sleep arrangements Very cozy indeed! Agree that ya might have issues putting under bed storage if you had the mattresses up... How steep is the slop of the roof in the rooms with the 18inch shortwalls? If it's steep enough that you can get fairly close without cracking your head too often, you could make (if you/dh/some lovely family member or friend is handy with wood & tools) some custom dressers that are maybe one or two drawer deep to slip in that short spot?

Or cheat & watch craigslist etc for those waterbed 'underdressers' ... stack 2 high and nail a peice of ply on top and voila (I actually did this one myself back when I decided the waterbed had to go and it worked out really well.. only I got to use mine as a window seat with a cushion on top )

Pagan  lovin'  WOW playing mum to 5 boys in the wonderful land of Oz ... FOR THE HORDE! hehehe
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Old 07-27-2008, 05:34 PM
 
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I haven't read the whole thread so I apologize if there has already been a lengthy discussion about this.

My kitchen is making me nuts. Seriously, I cannot prepare one meal w/out cussing about something in that !#$%^ room. I've had small kitchens before, but that was before I had a DH and DD to cook for. I have really tried my best to eliminate unnecessary items, so I really don't think that's the problem. It's just such a freakishly small space. Please tell me how you organize your kitchen. Any tips or tricks? Any can't do w/out item? BTW, we are not in a position to spend much, maybe around $100 or so. If you have a creative, inexpensive way, that's even better!

TIA.
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