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5 Tips for Sharing a Small Home with Kids

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Whether you have a 5,000 square foot home or you have 500 square foot home doesn’t it seem like your home is too small? Kids represent the joy of our lives, but also the clutter of our home! If you live in a larger home it is easier to keep the kids stuff in a contained area.  While if you live in a small home the task of keeping the kids items separate isn’t as simple.  Here are 5 tips for sharing a small home with your children and helping all parties keep their identity.

1.) Purge and remove clutter from every room: This rule applies to every room in your house, all the time.  You first will have to weed through yours, kids, kitchen, bathroom, living areas, etc… of belongings.  Kids grow before you know it and often times their belongings stay behind as they keep growing! If you have smaller children go through their ‘must-haves’ and ‘forgotten-about’ items.  Donate, sell or give away items that are tucked in the back of the closet, under the bed, etc… For older children have them help you with the purge so they understand what you’re doing and why it is important. Once you have done this your home will automatically feel larger and more manageable to deal with.

2.) Personalize: Everyone likes the concept of having a personalized space to call their own.  This is also true for your small home.  For parents, explain to your children that the kitchen area is only for you, while the kid’s rooms are only for them. This obviously doesn’t mean other family members aren’t welcome.  It helps provide a sense of ownership to what spaces everyone is ‘responsible’ for keeping tidy and will help parents not feel like they are the police in every room of the home. For kid’s rooms, labeling toy bins, crates, and cubbies will reiterate this concept.

3.) Designate specific areas for belongings: In larger homes toys and belongings can be located in different rooms, but in small homes it helps for belongings to stay in one space. In kid’s rooms designate an area for toys, books, clothes, and memorabilia/collectibles and help your kids keep items in these places after using them.  If  they love to play in the living room with their toys, teach them to put them back in the ‘toy’ space in their room every time.  This will help you not trip on toys, and will help your living room remain looking like a livable space.

4.) Have a day/time when kids can let loose: Kids need to remain kids as long as they can, which means letting them enjoy themselves without having to worry about cleaning for a set time.  Kids will look forward to this time on a regular basis, and when it is time to clean they will appreciate the clean… and the messy! For parents, you can let loose too.  Give yourself a break at the same designated time so you aren’t trying to clean up one portion of the home, while they are going wild with freedom.

4.) Have a day/time when kids can let loose: Kids need to remain kids as long as they can, which means letting them enjoy themselves without having to worry about cleaning for a set time.  Kids will look forward to this time on a regular basis, and when it is time to clean they will appreciate the clean… and the messy! For parents, you can let loose too.  Give yourself a break at the same designated time so you aren’t trying to clean up one portion of the home, while they are going wild with freedom.

5.) Learn to live with less: In our “more is better” society it is often hard to say ‘no’ to the kids and ourselves when buying more stuff. Take an inventory of what you have and what you need.  The reality is, if you never had it, you and the children won’t miss it, right?  Being realistic with your home space is crucial in keeping it clutter free and stress free.  If you are constantly buying new things, the home will always feel too small and cramped.  Learn to love your small home for its coziness and character rather than as a negative.

Sharing a small home with an adult is challenging, but sharing one with your kids can feel like a test that you’re failing at! Let’s face it; we all want more room than we have, so the best thing is to make the most of what you have.  Your home will be a joy to live in with your kids once everyone is on the same page. Explain to your kids the value of having a small home to call your own and how you all can love and enjoy it at the same time.

Freshome reader’s what are some tricks that you have for sharing a small home with your kids? Have some organization or space saving tips? Let us know

4 comments

  • Jennifer September 8, 2010 at 11:39 AM Login to Reply →

    isn’t that the truth….kids equal clutter and stuff! now that we have a post on how to contain their stuff, we need one on how to get them to put it there:) I love my kids AND all their stuff…..I guess I’ve just learned to live with it!
    Jennifer

  • hesham September 8, 2010 at 12:11 PM Login to Reply →

    nice & simple

  • Hsiang September 9, 2010 at 17:54 PM Login to Reply →

    I grew up sharing a room with my sister since we lived in a small apartment, but we had separate closets which we used as our personal space. I think as long as you are imaginative there are lots of ways to create interesting space for children even inside small apartments.
    We created a concept for a tree house closet (or is it closet tree house?) just for this purpose:
    http://www.ezarchitecture.com/blog/ezarchitecture-podcast-18-the-dream-closet-project-the-tree-house/

  • Kevin J. Sutton AIA September 12, 2010 at 15:31 PM Login to Reply →

    Ok this works for those zombie kids that they use in architecture magazines but what about my kids that act like they were just found in the jungle.