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wasCarmel23 02-02-2013 07:50 PM

mom of many--5 kids-- family downsizing
Hey mamas! We are going to be moving from our 3 bedroom house with large yard into student family housing for my DH to do his phd.

We have 5 kids and will be moving across the country... so will be selling/giving away most of our stuff.... help! Where to begin?

Has anyone out there radically downsized with 5 kids? My kids are ages 9 months to 12 years.


lilac0226 02-05-2013 01:28 PM

Re: mom of many--5 kids-- family downsizing
Good luck, I downsized with 4, then added 1 and after 6 months of 5 kids in 1300 sq ft. thought I was going crazy. I think the key is to get rid of all non-necessities, my space was way too cramped by stuff that I had way too much storage when I needed livable space. Obviously you will be getting rid of a lot of stuff just for your move. If you have a walk-in closet, that can be made into a room for a baby or an office area. I was converting a walk-in closet to an office for my husband when the right house to move came up but having quiet space was difficult, so I think that would have worked. I would also check out craigslist in the area you are moving to, just to have a good idea of what kinds of things you could easily and inexpensively buy once you move there because it might be a lot easier to sell some of your big furniture items and rebuy them. Good luck, I hope it all goes smoothly. We lived in a townhouse complex but I will say it was positive for the kids, they really did not mind us not having our own yard or living in cramped quarters, they loved all the kids in the complex they had to play with and there was a swimming pool for the summer. The other hard part might be figuring out a good child proof area for the baby. Upstairs had a landing type area, my plan was to put a rug, rocking chair and the babies toys, get a mini-crib and gate off the stairs and close all the room doors to give her a play area/ baby room in the hall. So had we stayed there it was a 3 bedroom but I was going to utilize the upstairs landing area and a walk-in closet to basically give it the space similar to a 5 bedroom. We also had a single garage that we had considered dry walling part off to make either an office or playroom, but hubby opted to get a motorcycle instead. We had one of those combo living/dinning/kitchen rooms, hopefully you don't have one of those but I would definitely prioritize the space if you do. In ours hubby had a 60 inch tv with a huge entertainment center, smaller tv and no entertainment center I think the space could have been utilized better. We also were able to fit one of those corner bench style tables that can seat up to 8 people, it took up less space than a round with chairs table would have.

thekuligs 02-05-2013 01:37 PM

Re: mom of many--5 kids-- family downsizing
We're military and you never know what you are going to get when you move--my favorite house was actually our smallest; even though it was less sq ft than the rest it made very good use of space. BUILD UP, use tall organizers.

Inside for me would be a non issue, but I just couldn't do without a space outside for them to play unless we were at the park/pool etc twice a day for long stretches.

Do you know what size space you have yet?

kannondicarpo 02-05-2013 01:40 PM

Re: mom of many--5 kids-- family downsizing
I'll come back in a bit because we just moved our family of 6 from 1400 sq in Ohio to 800ish sq ft in Hawaii. We sold/donated almost everything and started over. It was very freeing. I have some tips but I hear my little guy rustling around.

dalynnrmc 02-17-2013 03:09 PM

Re: mom of many--5 kids-- family downsizing
We have!

We lived in 1600sq ft on an acre plus had storage, when we got pregnant in 2009. The twins (numbers 4 and 5!) were born in June of 2010 and we had moved by then and discovered our need to downsize. When we moved out of that house and back "home" near our parents, we sent 35 boxes, 10 bags of clothes, 4 pieces of furniture, 6 large toys (kitchen sets, etc), and.... there's something I'm leaving off the list that I can't remember - we sent it all to the children's home that came around twice a year and picked stuff up off the curb. (The benefits of our short stay in a large city!) That was after having already sent them stuff in the spring, too.

We are now living in just under 1000sq ft and, though we are feeling cramped, are making the most of it!

Some of the biggest things for us include
--the kitchen table. We are big on NOT eating in the living room, but with our limited space have had to "give" some on that.

--the bedrooms. We are going to give in and put all three of our bigger boys together so we can move the twins out of our bedroom. The three boys have a bunk bed that has a trundle, so it's 3 twin sized beds. We purchased it used for $400 and that included 2 almost new mattresses and bunkie boards - a blessing from the Lord for sure! We'll have to revisit this eventually because only one of our 5 kids is a girl, so when she's old enough to need to separate from her twin brother, we'll have to rethink.

--storage. We've massively reduced the things we think we need to store. We gave away a lot of it and are still going through and repurposing, giving away, or even trashing some of it. Storage is too much of an issue when it just sits there in totes year after year after year. Taking pictures and scrapbooking it, and getting rid of it. DONE!

--clothes. Closet space is an issue and we are working on what we really need. This is a process we are just starting, and some things I'm just starting to wrap my mind and purposes around, including making sure everything in the closet coordinates and mix-matches with everything else, so you actually have more options than what the numbers seem to say.

--books. Big for me personally. I could be collecting shoes or purses or something like that, but no, I like books! Who can blame me? Well... my hubby can, when he has to move box after box of books, and 9 shelves. He can, and he does! So I'm working (in my mind... LOL) on deciding what is worth keeping and what can be given away, swapped away, or sold. I'm stocking up on eBooks because I can keep an almost unlimited amount of books on my Kindle and not take up any more room. I still love the feel of the pages, but storage is a big deal and some of my collection can go that route for the benefit of my family. :)

What else? We've moved 12 times in 12 years. I'm sure I can come up with more if you have specific questions or concerns. ;)

BTW, I'm new here to DS - came for the FSOT but didn't realize there was a whole community here! Nice to meet you!

smblake 02-17-2013 06:15 PM


Originally Posted by kannondicarpo
I'll come back in a bit because we just moved our family of 6 from 1400 sq in Ohio to 800ish sq ft in Hawaii. We sold/donated almost everything and started over. It was very freeing. I have some tips but I hear my little guy rustling around.

Please come back and share. There is a chance we might be relocating to Hawaii this summer, we are a family of 5 but will be 6 come October.

We currently live on 5 acres in a 2400 sq ft house so it'll be a huge adjustment. We know we can do it but I'd love to know how you do it in 800 sq ft, we were thinking we couldn't go less than 1100. Maybe you can inspire me :)

musicmom2x 04-10-2013 06:07 PM

Re: mom of many--5 kids-- family downsizing
There was a thread on here some time back about decuttlering/minimizing one day at a time it was like a 30 day plan? It went through your whole house and challanged you to get rid of 20? things in each category I think? Anyways I remember it being well paced and easy and I tried it and loved it. I'll look for it again because I too am about to move again lol

AmeliasMum 04-10-2013 06:43 PM

Re: mom of many--5 kids-- family downsizing
I am a minimal living Mama, married to a hoarder, LOL. Well, DH isn't that bad, but still. I purge things once a week here. Go through all the clothes, toys and such. Whatever hasn't been used or worn gets stored. We have 4200sqft with 7 bedrooms a 3 baths on 36 acres. I am lucky enough to have tons of secure outbuildings for storage, but I purge those twice a year, LOL. Moving will be the absolute bare things we need, start over at the new ranch.

leadmare 04-16-2013 10:18 AM

Re: mom of many--5 kids-- family downsizing
You've gotten some great advice so far. Also, there is a "minimismalist" subforum (it is a subforum of the "thrifty" forum. Check it out for more encouragement!

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