Over the years, American families have downsized their homes instead of aiming for the big American dream like the McAllister’s Chicago home in the cult classic Home Alone. The median square footage of a single-family house is now at less than 2,300 square feet. In 2015, it was peaking at more than 2,500 square feet for a family of four or five.
The main reason for this is these families want to save more on the cost of maintaining the home. They’d rather put the money into their kids’ college funds rather than invest it in the costly upkeep of large homes. Sure, you need to spend on paving your yards and maintaining the other components of your home, but most of the money is better invested in your retirement fund or your kids’ college tuition.
So does that mean American families should downsize in number, too? Not really. There are a lot of ways you can decorate and organize your small home so that it will fit a family of five or even more. As long as you can happily share the common rooms, there’s no reason for you not to have as many kids as you want and can afford.
At the very least, you should have three larger-than-average bedrooms. The master bedroom is for the husband and wife. One bedroom will be for the boys. The third bedroom will be for the girls. Infants and toddlers until two years old will sleep in bed with you until they are ready to transition to their toddler beds. They can then move to either the girl’s or boy’s bedroom.
In their bedrooms, make sure you have cots and bunk beds. Let the older kids (unless they have a fear of heights) sleep on top for safety reasons. The little ones should be at the bottom bunk in case they need to go pee at night.
Make rules in the bedroom. You should be the one to turn off the lights when everyone is scheduled to sleep. No one should usurp your rule. If some kids need to study or do homework, let them do so in the living room or kitchen.
Hopefully, you have two bathrooms—one for you and one for the kids. Of course, you can allow the kids to use your master’s bathroom if they need to and some of them are running late for school. Again, for a harmonious relationship in the family, make rules to govern the bathroom. Do not allow anyone to hog it for more than 30 minutes. Be considerate of those who have an earlier schedule in school; they should be allowed to use the bathroom first.
Aside from having the kids follow a schedule, you should also give them their own storage space in the bathroom. Use command hooks to give everyone a place to hang their towels dry. If you can, let the kids use the bigger bathroom. As much as you want that for yourself, remember that kids can be rowdy, and a bigger bathroom will suit them better.
Kitchen and Living Room
If you want to downsize your homes, you have to learn how to share the common rooms. Use a divider to set a corner in the kitchen area for your kids to study in. This area should be exclusively for their educational toys and equipment such as e-readers, e-writers, boards, flashcards, pens, paints, colors, and many more. You have to be creative in trying to find a space where your kids can study uninterrupted.
A large dining room is ideal for a family of five or more. This will allow you to have dinner on the same table and share stories. If this is not possible because of the size of the room, consider using the kitchen countertop as an extension of the dining table.
The living room should follow the same rule. There should be a designated chair for people. Allow them to choose and bring the chair that they want to use. You can also use large bean bags so that they don’t take up much space.
Living in a house that’s smaller than what your family needs is not impossible. Just because you have a smaller space than what you were used to doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with it. You have to find a way so that you can still live together comfortably in a small house. With a bit of decorating genius and organization, your small home will feel like a paradise on Earth.