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Old 07-29-2011, 03:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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okay, so we have four children, all boys, 6, 4, 2 and four months.  We also live in a two bedroom house.  The older three are all in one room while the baby is still with us.  We recently just put up two bunk beds in the room, plus there is a crib.  All of their clothes and toys have to fit in this room.  Besides the beds, there is a changing table, a small bookshelf, and one dresser.  Two other dressers are in the closest.  The bunk beds are the low ones from IKEA, where the bottom bed is actually just the floor.  Right now, the bottom of one bed is filled with toys, while the other one has a toddler mattress and a few toys.  I've been weeding toys out, but I am so overwhelmed, they have way too much stuff.  And then as soon as I get all the pieces of something together to go in the get rid of pile, they want to play with it, even though they haven't touched it in forever.  I need advice on downsizing their toys and trying to make everything fit.  The ceilings are sloped and are only 6.5 feet at the highest so we cant go up.  We were lucky to find bunk beds that would fit.  Also, if any of you have your child sleep on a mattress on the floor, how old were they when you started to use it and did they share a room with older siblings?   

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Old 07-29-2011, 03:30 PM
 
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The first thing I wondered is whether the 4 children have the largest bedroom in the house. If I was trying to manage in the same situation, I'd sacrifice a master bedroom for DH and me, in order to give them a little more space. We have almost no furniture in our bedroom. All DH and I really use is the bed, a sidetable each and one dresser/armoire. We could easily do without the armoire, and could possibly manage without the sidetables, so we don't need a big bedroom. 

 

Regarding the floor bed question, DS started sleeping on a futon when he was about 18 mos. and DD was less than 3 yrs. (maybe 24 mos? it's getting hard to remember, it was so long ago). They both liked sleeping on a floor bed. I think it's a great sleeping solution for little ones. We could have used it much earlier too. 

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Old 07-29-2011, 11:26 PM
 
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When I have my dd downsize her things I talk to her about why we should downsize, have her help me do it, then I get her one new toy (unless it is close to her birthday or Christmas and we are making room for the new toys).  I used to just take the stuff out when she was gone and put it in the garage for months on end before finally donating it (she never noticed) but she is older now and is happy to downsize. 

 

When we lived in cramped space we put her big toy box in the living room so we could have her things without being too crowded.  If there is a lot of fighting between the boys it may be something to consider in order to make the room seem bigger. 

 

My dd and I started sleeping on a mattress on the floor when she was 8 months old.  We both still prefer our mattresses on the floor.

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Old 07-30-2011, 12:24 AM
 
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Yes, both my kids transitioned to sleeping on mattresses on the floor at around 8/9 months. In my dds case it was actually a toddler bed with half-rails. They both did fine. Now we do bunk beds and that has worked out well. My suggestion would be to take out of the room whatever you know you're getting rid of, and go through it in the living room affter they are asleep. Put everything in a big box and then put the pieces together later, but don't try to do it when they are there and awake. As far as storage I personally avoid big toy boxes because ime stuff gets lost and broken in the bottom. I like shelves acrossthe wall, maybe with hooks under the bottom shelf for hanging up dress up clothes, umbrellas, jackets, etc.  Plastic storage drawers from walmart or kmart have worked really well for us for keeping things separate. I am also lusting after a melissa and doug puzzle rack but it's kind of pricey. In the meantime I keep the puzzles on a high shelf and only take out one per child at a time.

 

If they have lots of stuffed animals that they are attached to, a hanging hammock across a corner of the ceiling holds those well. For the small things like legos, etc. I took or drew pictures of each toy and used the pictures aa labels on their respective drawers. My niece who lives with us now has no concept of keeping things nice, so I have started putting stuff in difficult to open plastic containers in the drawers. Everything is labeled, almost obssessively. Ds easily learned even before he could read, to put legos in the box that starts with L, cars in the one that has a C, etc. But I'm sort of Montessori inclined so I like the openness of shelves so that even if they need help to actual set up the activity, the kids can see all their options and pick what they want to do, without it being a big pile of confusion.


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Old 07-30-2011, 02:28 AM
 
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Is it possible to keep some of their toys out in the living room or somewhere else in your house?  Our living room is full of toys and we have a toy closet in the living room, which I suppose is supposed to be for coats.  Our boys have a room they share (though they are still both in our bed for sleeping  --  on the floor btw, so since birth, we've all been on a mattress on the floor) and it would be tight in there for just the two of them if all of their toys were in there.  It's true that our LR looks like kids live here, but I think that's a good thing.  :)

 

And I agree with pp, you can't sort through the toys to get rid of stuff with the kids around.  I just get rid of stuff if it's a crap toy (like little plastic things they love for ten minutes and then never touch again) or if they haven't paid attention to it in a good long time.  If it's something I think has potential I might store it for a while or try to kindle some interest in it, but usually if they haven't played with it in a while and it doesn't look like it's got a lot to say for itself, I just get rid of it.  


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Old 07-30-2011, 04:31 AM
 
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When we lived in places like that growing up, my mom would always turn an extra bedroom or the living room into an extra room (usually a "play room" for us kids.  They were very generous about it and it always worked out well.  As long as my parents had a small spot to call their own (and to hide out in!), they were happy.  The rest was pretty much given to us youngsters and all the stuff that goes along with being a baby/kid/teen. 

 

So if it's possible, I would either switch them all into the biggest bedroom if they are not there already.  Or I would dedicate at least part of the lving room into a place for their stuff.  You've already been given a lot of great organizing/purging advice.  Don't forget about going up for space.  High shelves, hooks from the ceiling, and stuff like that can be a good way to get some extra storage into a small space.


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Old 07-30-2011, 10:10 AM
 
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downsizing toys - i wouldnt do it yet. 

 

what i would do is have a few toys out and cycle them. rotate them. your kids are still young. esp. the 4 year old and 2 year old. i would change out their toys every week or so. from that weed out stuff. your 6 year old might be able to help you put aside and give away his toys he doesnt play with. not the younger ones. so either you weed out quite a bit when they are out (maybe ur dh can take them out while you take out their toys and put them in bags in the garage) or introduce them to the idea that others dont have more and show them how you can take toys over to others who dont have many. this is something your 4 and 2 year old and perhaps even ur 6 year old might have a hard time with. 

 

mattress on the floor at 8/9 months when she started crawling. however not much otherwise. but then again i also showed her how to get down feet down first and she did that too when we were at friend's place and slept in their bed. i would have not put the bed on the floor had her dad not been scared of her falling off. 

 

 


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Old 07-30-2011, 11:23 AM
 
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I would get rid of the changing table and just change the baby on the bed.  Maybe in its place you could get a tall shelf for books and toys (tethered to the wall, of course), and then, in place of the small shelf, maybe get another dresser (it sounds like you have three but as the baby gets older, I'm guessing you'll need another).  I like the idea of toy rotation. If you've got any kind of garage space, you could store the unused toys in Rubbermaid bins with lids.  I've done it before and numbered them so I could take them out in rotation.


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Old 07-31-2011, 03:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We don't have a garage, and our house only has one closest besides the bedrooms, so the whole storage and rotation thing is kinda out, as I have no place to put the ones that are not being used. They do have the biggest room, our bedroom has a full size bed and a dresser and not much room for walking. And I can't go up for space as there is no space to go up to. The lights aren't even on the ceiling that's how low the ceilings are. The tallest point in the middle is 6.5 ft. I thought about removing the changing table, but the shelves are used for sheets/shoes/diapers/hats/ and sweaters/jackets. Which would just mean that I'd have to find another place for all that stuff. I appreciate all the responses so far.
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Old 07-31-2011, 03:56 PM
 
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can you'll invest in a shed in the backyard?

 

otherwise it seems to me the only way to go about it would be to recycle. you have a varied age group. not sure how alll that will work. seems like one day your 2 year old will want to play with 4 year old's stuff. are you going to buy new ones then?

 

gosh this is a big dilema.


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Old 07-31-2011, 09:17 PM
 
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Do you own or rent?  If you rent when is your lease up?  It really sounds like you need more space.  If you own you need to invest in some type of storage.

i would not get rid of toys. You have several children close in age and those toys you just got rid of are going to be wanted by the younger ones in a few weeks/months/years.

If the baby is in 'your room' why is the changing table etc in the older kids room?  moving that to the adult room would give the kids a bit more play space for now.


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Old 08-01-2011, 08:39 AM
 
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I hear what you're saying about the changing table, but I do think you should consider replacing it will a floor-to-ceiling bookshelf (or similar).  You could gain a few shelves worth of vertical space that way (and every little bit helps!). 

 

I'm trying to picture how the 2 bunk beds are being used.  Could you have the 6yo on top of one, the 4yo on the bottom, the 2yo on the bottom of the other and then use the top of the 2nd as storage?  Then get rid of the crib and use that space for another storage unit?  (I'm assuming the crib is for the 2yo since the littlest sleeps with you guys).  Would you be ok with keeping the baby in your room until he is ready to sleep on a bottom bunk (assuming the 4yo will then be around 6yo and ready to move to a top bunk)?

 

Re. the mattress on the floor: dd went to one when she was 18mo (she did not share a room).  Ds started sharing a room (and bed - it's a double) with his sister when he was 2.5yo.  Until then he was in the bed with me.

 

I also agree with other posters that you shouldn't get rid of too many toys, BUT I'm sure you have some junky plastic toys (I know we mysteriously end up with a surprising amount of plastic crap) that could be donated.  I agree with the suggestion to go through the toys at night when the kids are in bed, or take them out during the day and have dh sort the toys (or vice versa... or ask a friend to take them out).

 

ETA - Could you also describe the rest of your living space?  What are the other rooms like?  Can you borrow space in another room for toys, etc?  Tell us a bit more and maybe someone will come up with a brilliant solution.  ;) 


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Old 08-01-2011, 08:53 AM
 
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Also what about a different bunk bed?  Me and my two girls are going to be sharing a room soon and I plan on buying a twin over twin bunk with a trundle on the bottom.  So three beds in one relatively small space.  Maybe something like that could work for you since the baby sleeps with you anyways for now?  I also suggest the shelves instead of the changing table.  You can get the tall ones with five shelves at Walmart or Target for $30.  I've lived in many small spaces, so I have learned to love those things.


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Old 08-01-2011, 09:05 AM
 
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pp - it sounds like the op's ceilings might be too small to accommodate your bunk bed idea, but it made me think...  What about using a Japanese futon model of having floor mattresses for the middle two that roll up during the day, and come out for bedtime?  I wonder if something like that might help free up a little more floor play space during the day?  (just brainstorming here....)


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Old 08-01-2011, 09:32 AM
 
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Could be.  It's a problem in my apartment too.  I just saw that she already has bunk beds, so at least certain kinds might fit in her place. 

 

I like the roll out bed idea too.  We made our own beds on the floor a lot growing up, and it wasn't bad at all.  My mom still slleps that way in her living room every night.


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Old 08-01-2011, 11:05 AM
 
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Well, if your trundle/bunk bed idea did work in her space it would be a perfect solution!  I do know the IKEA beds that she's talking about though and they are about the lowest I've ever seen.  I think it would be tricky to find a trundle-type one that would be as low (but great if possible!).  :)


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Old 08-01-2011, 07:11 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pianojazzgirl View Post

Well, if your trundle/bunk bed idea did work in her space it would be a perfect solution!  I do know the IKEA beds that she's talking about though and they are about the lowest I've ever seen.  I think it would be tricky to find a trundle-type one that would be as low (but great if possible!).  :)



we have that same bunkbed from ikea. the one where the bottom bunk is actually just a mattress on the ground. perfect for younger kids!

 

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Old 08-03-2011, 04:13 PM
 
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we have similar right now due to family issues and needing a place to stay. but we are staying with family and it is 5 of us. 2 adults and 3 kids 2 on toddler beds and 1 adult on floor and 1 adult on bunk bed and oldest on bunk bed.


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