Reply Hey Mom! Learn more about the Gerber Life Insurance Grow-Up Plan!
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 12-12-2013, 12:03 PM   #1
mandydean
Registered Users
seller
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Greenwood, SC
Posts: 51
Need advice/encouragement. Struggling with space and/or contentment

My Dh and I consider ourselves minimalists, although probably more compared with our groups/community than compared with most of you. :-) We currently live in a small 3br/1ba house with a three-yo and a 6-mo, boys. We try to keep everything tidy and organized, and when things start to get cluttered, we purge and get rid of anything we can. Both of us are OK with this and it's rare that there are disagreements about keeping vs. donating. We're always pretty much on the same page.

Our original plan was to stay in this house until it's paid off- we have about 9 more years on the mortgage if we pay according to schedule, or possibly less if we pay extra down the road. But lately he and I both have been struggling with wondering if it's time to go ahead and buy something bigger.

I know that so many people have raised more kids than us in houses smaller than ours - my grandmother is the example I usually think of. But we feel like we're constantly running into each other and tripping over things. When we go to purge a room, we're not coming up with carloads of stuff to get rid of, but usually just a handful of things. When pressed to make more space, we're looking at giving up hobbies instead of just getting rid of sentimental stuff. Right now the baby is sleeping in our bed which we don't mind, but when he starts rolling/crawling, I have no idea where he will sleep for naps because there's no spot for a crib/pack n play in our room. I guess we've always occasionally had these frustrations.. but these days they're being fueled by the fact that all of our friends have bought larger homes this year, and that we've rearranged our living room to fit the Christmas tree (which I LOVE having and would give up a couch before I'd give up the tree... lol) .

I guess I just am looking for some encouragement and advice. Do any of you feel this way sometimes, or often? What do you do to talk yourself down? I keep trying to remember the things I like about our situation - I really do like being close to my children no matter where I am in the house. I would hate having to run upstairs every time the baby cries or wakes up, or not being able to hear what the 3-yo is playing in his room, etc. And I love the house itself - even though it's small, the layout is perfect and I love the kitchen. But DH gets more frustrated with the close quarters, and with the kids toys in the hallway/living areas because there's not really enough space in their bedroom to play with everything.

I know we could take things a few more steps... get rid of the TV and stand, bring the kids down to a handful of toys apiece, maybe give up all my craft and sewing hobbies, all of which would open up more space. But mostly right now, it seems easier to just sign a 30-year and "upgrade". Sometimes I picture my kids getting bigger and literally not having space to be boys. And I think we'll probably have more kids, and homeschooling is in our very near future, etc. I just am not sure how much longer we can pack ourselves in here.

Anyway, I'm open to criticism, advice, or commiseration. Anything. :-)

Advertisement

mandydean is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-12-2013, 12:18 PM   #2
aaiya
Registered Users
seller
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 1,347
Re: Need advice/encouragement. Struggling with space and/or contentment

We have 3 kids in a 2-bed place so I feel ya! I nap my baby on the floor...that way she can't roll off when she wakes up.
__________________
Swagbucks is FUN!
aaiya is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-12-2013, 06:41 PM   #3
megshmeg's Avatar
megshmeg
Registered Users
seller
seller
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Posts: 847
Re: Need advice/encouragement. Struggling with space and/or contentment

I think my reply will be "commiserating".

We're having our third baby soon in a 2BR apartment, and although this is temporary and we will *hopefully* be buying a home within about 2 years, we still won't be buying anything too large. So I do understand where you are coming from! I love SPACE and we regularly purge and get rid of unnecessary items, and even re-think what we think is necessary, but the fact is that we're not going to have a ton of space because we are a growing family in small quarters. I look at the kids' room and think, well, it's not insanely cluttered but I would love if it could just be their beds, and otherwise very sparse -- but it can't. We don't have extra rooms that could serve as playrooms, the dining "area" is tiny, etc. Their toys have to be in their room as well, and as little as they have, it still takes up space in a small space.

Another challenge I have in this situation is storage. I try to be thrifty so when we get hand-me-downs and whatnot, I do keep only what is nice and what we need/will use, but that means I use the closets for a lot of storage that could probably otherwise be used for toys and crafts and other items to get them more "out of the way". I guess part of it is continuing to evaluate the space I have, wise up, new solutions, and make things fit or purge further.

Even our tiny dining area has a baker's rack devoted to homeschooling materials and I know it's visual clutter though I try to keep it very tidy - but it's necessary, and there is NOWHERE else to go with the homeschooling materials.

Same with the ONE desk we have in a small cornered off living room spot. My DH and I literally share ONE desk to minimize furniture, but we need it -- he needs the organizational space for bills, etc., and I need the space for schoolwork and my yarn hobby. And yet one desk takes up a lot of space in a small area, you know?

So it is kind of frustrating that we have attempted to minimize as much as possible without sacrificing some things we deem as necessary for us, and yet it still feels like "too much" just because we are in small quarters.
__________________
Happy wife & homeschooling mama to J (6) and N (3) & Little J(1)
I'm a crocheting WAHM
I love trades! My ISO/IHA
megshmeg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-12-2013, 07:43 PM   #4
tallanvor
Registered Users
seller
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 13,402
Re: Need advice/encouragement. Struggling with space and/or contentment

While I can understand wanting to stay in one place to pay off the mortgage, it sounds like it isn't working for you. I don't think there is anything wrong with that. Some times things can be worked around and moved around to make it work, but other time, not so much. We are fairly minimalist (definitely not on the same level as some of the ladies here), and have lived in a number of homes, as we are military, so have moved several times. Our current home works well for us because we were able to have an extra room for some of our hobbies. We still work to keep clutter to a minimum, of course. Minimalist doesn't mean living in a small home.
tallanvor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-13-2013, 08:06 PM   #5
wife&mommy's Avatar
wife&mommy
Registered Users
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: FL
Posts: 171
Re: Need advice/encouragement. Struggling with space and/or contentment

So are your boys going to share a bedroom then? What do you do with the third bedroom?
__________________
Successfully completed and greatly surpassed getting rid of 2013 items in 2013! Now working on 2014 in 2014!
wife&mommy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-13-2013, 08:23 PM   #6
90924teeth's Avatar
90924teeth
Registered Users
seller
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 344
I'd say let that feeling pass. We live in 2300 sq ft and I want to downgrade to 1100. More space equals more stuff equals more to keep track of and clean. Your children are so little still they don't notice the space. More space also equals more money for heating, cooling, etc.
90924teeth is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-14-2013, 12:49 AM   #7
momomom's Avatar
momomom
Registered Users
seller
seller
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 3,653
My Mood:
Re: Need advice/encouragement. Struggling with space and/or contentment

I'd write out a thorough list of pros and cons. Then weight each pro or con as to how important it is to you both on a scale of 1-10.

How are your finances? How important is having a paid off home to both of you? If you upgrade, will it be with all the bells and whistles, or will it be a more modest upgrade? Can you find more space in a safe but not fancy neighborhood, or will you both want to move to a fancy-schmancy sort of 'hood?

We bought a larger home when I was preggo with #2 because the neighborhood had gone waaaaaay downhill. I dearly wish we would have stayed in house #1 till we were BUSTING at the seams. We now have 4 kids and have moved out of state, so it's a moot point, but still.

My vote would be to WAIT till the natural envy of your friends is gone, then evaluate with a clear head. I would not give up my sewing hobby. I would organize my machine and supplies into a closet or something, and drag it out to use it, but not get rid of it if you, like me, love it. That is a recipe for bitterness and regret. It would be for me, that is.

I like having space for my kids because we live where winters are looooong. Maybe in south Texas or SoCal i would be more content with less space for the kids to romp, but weather has been below freezing for a couple weeks now, and I'm happy the kids can be wild in here.

HOWEVER, if our finances deemed a downsizing necessary, I would be able and willing to do it.

By waiting, will your income go up so in a couple years you will more comfortably afford the larger payment? Can you upgrade your space but put the new home on a 10 year loan instead of a 30? The sooner you take on a new mortgage, the sooner it will be paid off. But only upgrade for the right reasons- kwim? Only you can decide what the right reasons are.

I personally would consider you to have good reasons, especially if you plan to have another couple kids. But that is just me. Many mamas will have different opinions!

God luck with your decision-making process!
__________________
Mo, wife to Ed, SAHM to Isaiah 3-04,Rosemary 1-07, John Paul 9-09, Ivy Ana 8-12, due 9-15
I teach Natural Family Planning! PM me for more info.
http://breadwithhoney.blogspot.com

Last edited by momomom; 12-14-2013 at 12:54 AM.
momomom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-14-2013, 01:45 AM   #8
megenic's Avatar
megenic
Registered Users
seller
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: New Brunswick, Canada
Posts: 1,734
Well, being military we move a lot and have lived in many houses both big and small. The one thing I have learned is that all homes have pros and cons. I have also discovered that getting a bigger place often just means more space to fill and clean, and more space for kids to spread out their toys. In our new house, the girls have lots of room in their bedrooms to play, but they still bring toys into the living room. We've resigned ourselves to picking up every night because it doesn't matter how big our house is - they want to play where we are.

I personally prefer a smaller space. Yes, you can bump into each other, but there are so many positives. For instance, our current home has both an upstairs living room and a downstairs TV room, which to me is too much. We are only in the downstairs room for about an hour a day. Yet we paid to furnish it, we heat it, I have to clean it. Same with the bathroom down there. Hardly ever used, but used enough that it's one extra bathroom to scrub.

I also love having the kids playing near me, and a small home has that advantage. Our last home was a 4 level split and I hated that because the kids could be all the way downstairs needing something when I was in the kitchen. Just little daily frustrations that I find come with a bigger home.

Also, once your kids get bigger you don't need as much space. Their toys get smaller and they spend more time away from home at activities and whatnot. The small child, huge toy stage is only a few years, then you get some of your space back.

If it was me and I only had 9 years left on a mortgage I would stay put and live with the home I had. Being mortgage free is our dream and I would put up with a few annoyances to achieve it :-)
__________________
Megan wife of my soldier Steve, mama to my beautiful girls Rowan (11/07) and Linden (03/10)!
megenic is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-15-2013, 08:50 AM   #9
BusyPAMommy's Avatar
BusyPAMommy
Registered Users
seller
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 570
Re: Need advice/encouragement. Struggling with space and/or contentment

Offering commiseration and a couple suggestions, for what they're worth

Your situation sounds very similar to ours....we are in a small 3 br with 2 kids 4 and 1. Plus a large dog. It's a brick rowhouse built in the 1860s so the space is very inefficient--lots of wasted space, kitchen is an ad-on to the back of the house so that anyone in there doing the cooking is completely isolated from the rest of the family and it's a long trek back and forth from kitchen to dining room, no original closets or built-in storage. Like you, we are not "strict" minimalists but we are certainly minimal compared to the rest of our families and to much of our surrounding community.

We did decide to "upgrade" soon to a a house with more space--4 br, about 2000 sq ft but laid out in a way such that there is tons of storage and no space is wasted. But the need for space was only one factor in our decision to move. Other factors were speed of traffic on our street (frightening), crime in the vicinity, a desire to move to a different school district before my oldest starts kindergarten, and the fact that we frequently have houseguests and having no guest room was starting to drive me up the wall, because their stuff is in our living room and it's generally uncomfortable both for our family and for the guests.

While I completely understand feeling squeezed, I'd think long and hard about moving just to get more space, especially since there are so many things you like about your current house. Moving is so expensive, disruptive, and stressful. Is doing renovations to your current place a possibility? Could you add some built-in storage that would make clean-up easier and reduce the feeling of being squeezed? Could you bump out a wall/add some space in a way that would make your living areas feel less cramped? These things could be much less expensive in the long run than moving to a new home, and if done well could add to the value of your home and make it more marketable if you do move in the future. Before we decided to move, I was strongly considering this in our house--my vision was to knock out the back wall and add on a small space to the back which would connect the kitchen and dining rooms into one open space, while adding lots of storage. Of course, coming up with financing for a big project like that can be a challenge, but it doesn't hurt to consider all possibilities...

Good luck!
__________________
Mommy to Mini Me and Pork Chop. Happily trying to keep it all in balance.
BusyPAMommy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-16-2013, 11:49 AM   #10
mandydean
Registered Users
seller
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Greenwood, SC
Posts: 51
Re: Need advice/encouragement. Struggling with space and/or contentment

Quote:
Originally Posted by momomom View Post
I'd write out a thorough list of pros and cons. Then weight each pro or con as to how important it is to you both on a scale of 1-10.

How are your finances? How important is having a paid off home to both of you? If you upgrade, will it be with all the bells and whistles, or will it be a more modest upgrade? Can you find more space in a safe but not fancy neighborhood, or will you both want to move to a fancy-schmancy sort of 'hood?

We bought a larger home when I was preggo with #2 because the neighborhood had gone waaaaaay downhill. I dearly wish we would have stayed in house #1 till we were BUSTING at the seams. We now have 4 kids and have moved out of state, so it's a moot point, but still.

My vote would be to WAIT till the natural envy of your friends is gone, then evaluate with a clear head. I would not give up my sewing hobby. I would organize my machine and supplies into a closet or something, and drag it out to use it, but not get rid of it if you, like me, love it. That is a recipe for bitterness and regret. It would be for me, that is.
Thanks - this was good advice. The street we are on is safe enough in terms of crime, but is very close to a really busy street - thankfully we have a fenced backyard for playtime. Would love to get away from the noise, some nosy neighbors and the apartment rentals across the street. Not looking for fancy-schmancy. Right now there are a lot of houses for sale on our street.. value is going down but not plummeting.

Our finances are good - we both have sort of dreams of having the home paid off and then having that much money freed up in our budget- to either buy a larger home, or wait a while longer and travel a lot with the kids. But I guess sometimes I think, if we're not going to be able to tough it out for 9 more years, why wait any longer? But I appreciate your advice to wait until we're busting at the seams.. at least we are building good equity at a ridiculously low interest rate, and we aren't getting used to any luxuries or frills.

And I know it's always a good idea to wait until envy isn't part of the picture... It always clouds the mind! Thanks a bunch.
mandydean is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Copyright 2005 - 2014 Escalate Media. All Rights Reserved.