Monday, February 17, 2014

Our Home - A virtual tour of our favorite place to be

We would like to help you get to know us better by inviting you into our home via photo tour.  We will show you the floor plan and then each of the rooms inside.  Welcome.  *smile*


We purchased our house in 2004 when it was still under construction.  It is a smaller than average “split level”, 4 bed room and 3 bathroom, 1,100 sq/ft (plus a 2-car garage), so the rooms are all small.  The furniture drawn in to the floor plan is actually not a current arrangement as we've updated our photos since Bob created this floor plan, but it will hopefully still give you a good perspective as to the size.  (Click on any diagrams or photos to enlarge, 1 or 2x)


When we first moved in we had just 3 children, so this was a nice size for a first house…we never dreamed the Lord would move in our hearts as He did and bless us with 6 more children (so far) in this same house!  But the Lord has been so faithful to show us how to organize and adjust our home in many ways over time, and so far we fit just fine.  Every time we added another person, another bed, larger quantities of food to feed our growing group, a larger dining room table, add more clothes, coats and shoes, more homeschool supplies, etc…the Lord has shown us His plan with how to make it all fit.  We’ve learned and are continuing to learn to joyfully receive all that He has for us, and excitedly follow His plans for our home as He reveals them to us.

So here is the main entry way.

Upstairs to the left is the family room.

(We needed to make a "wall" along our "half wall" overlooking the stairwell because we were unable to train the children to not lean far over it and even climb over it *cringe*.  So - now it's not a problem.  *wink*).

Adjacent is the dining room which seats all 11 of us,

and then the kitchen.

The Main Hall

(Each of our children's photos when they are 1-year-old)

Off of the upstairs hallway there is a pantry on the right (Converting a Closet to a Pantry), and a full bathroom on the left.

The  playroom, computer lab, and school supply & craft storage room.  There is currently only one task chair and then we have folding chairs in a corner for others to use as well.  We've chosen not to have more task chairs yet as they take up too much floor space which we use currently more than task chairs.  Toys are stored in the storage tubs underneath the desk, and in the drawers...
(toys and puzzles are stored in storage tubs and plastic containers and on shelves in all of the white cubbies...)
(and toys are stored in these white cupboards and games are in the closet.  The additional three dress up clothes boxes are in the garage.)

Our master bedroom at the end of the hallway upstairs,
  

with a full master bath,


and a walk-in closet (with changing table currently). *smile*  We have baby clothes (or currently 3-year-old clothes) in the changing table/dresser in our closet, and some in the cubie shelves, too.

Downstairs, from the hallway there are two bedrooms, a bathroom, and a laundry room. 

The girls’ bedroom is on the left.  There are two bunk beds with a trundle underneath the left one; and that daughter's pillow and comforter are kept on the foot of the bunk bed above it.  (For those of you wondering about the safety factor in having a bed blocking a window know that there is a 12-inch space in the window sill between the bed and the window itself, so any child or adult could get out easily in case of fire.)


(The girl's shelf unit has been cleared off of all jewelry boxes and tea sets because our little 3-year-old twin girls were climbing the ladder constantly and dumping things out.  So those items are all in the closet for now.)

The boys’ bedroom is at the end of the hallway.  (For those of you wondering about the safety factor in having a bed blocking a window know that there is a 12-inch space in the window sill between the bed and the window itself, so any child or adult could get out easily in case of fire.)


On the right in the hallway is the third full bathroom,

and a laundry room is adjacent, through the bathroom on the opposite side.

Also down stairs is the door to the garage.  We’ve divided this in to three areas:  ¼ is a master closet for all of the children’s clothes (Building a Large Shared Closet), ½ is a “mud room” where we come and go from the van, and ¼ is true garage storage, tools, and the elliptical trainer exercise machine.


(Here is the children's shoe rack on the opposite side of mine and Bob's shoes; seasonal shoes only are here at a time.)


(Children's clothing is stored by age around the top perimeter of the above room, and on this center section of the garage, the right side wall of the above photo)


We also have a storage shed in the back yard for much of the garage storage.

Our back yard is big enough for the kids to be able to run around in, and currently has a deck, a swing set, a dirt corner for digging in, and we’re hoping to build a climbing structure at the back of it this summer.  

And we get to live in the beautiful Skagit Valley of Washington, near the famous tulip fields.  *smile*  God's creation is so amazing...

Hope you enjoyed seeing our home.  *smile*

Blessings!

120 comments:

  1. Just Beautiful! Our family has 6 kids (number 7 is due in Oct.) and we are not nearly this organized in 1700 sq. feet of space. This has given me so many ideas and such motivation. Thank you.

    I wish we could adapt our home as you have to better fit our needs but it is for sale as we need to relocate for hubby's job, but I will definitely keep this post in mind for our next home.

    Have a blessed day!
    ~Anna

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  2. Thank you! I enjoyed it very much, your home is lovely!

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  3. Beautiful home!! So organized and very inspirational! :)

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  4. I love all of your ideas! Do you park any vehicles in the garage? My poor hubby goes to work at 3:00 in the morning and here in north Idaho we get a lot of snow, I wouldn't want him having to shovel off his van before he could leave, that early. I don't know if we could use our garage like you...but I love all of your organization, it is very inspirational!

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    1. No vehicles in the garage. When we purchased our full size van it no longer fit, so we started utilizing that space! I do really miss our garage to park in, though.

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  5. Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it, were encouraged and received some ideas. =)
    BONNIE - we used to have a vehicle in the garage, but when we bought our full-size van a few years ago it did not fit in there, so we decided to use the space for our advantage! God worked out what initially seemed disappointing, and we love it. It's really made a huge difference in the inside of our home to be able to utilize the garage space as home space, really. I totally understand about a lot of snow in Idaho and needing to park inside. If you're needing space, the Lord can show you His plan for your family if you ask him. =)

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  6. Yay! I had been hoping you would do a post like this! Oh, to live in Washington (my husband is from Bellingham)! Thank you for all the ideas! We have converted bedrooms to "play/school" rooms before, and it worked well. Thank you again for taking the time to share all this with us!

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  7. JENNIFER - You're so sweet! =) Thank you for enjoying it so much!

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  8. I am not very good at remembering things when I comment! What do you use to sit on in the computer/play room? And, do the kids get their clothes from the garage the night before? Are the baby clothes in your room?

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    1. There are folding chairs in a corner to use at the computers. We've chosen not to have more task chairs yet as they take up so much floor space, which we use more than the computers currently.

      Yes, in the winter time kids bring their clothes in to warm up over night whenever they remember. ;)

      Yes, baby clothes (well, 3-year-old clothes now!) are in the changing table in our closet. And in the cubie unit in our closet.

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  9. JENNIFER - I'm actually working right this minute on explaining how we organize every room! =) But to answer your quick questions, we have been using dining room chairs, but we're looking on getting more task chairs like the one in the photo, from Craig's List. The kids get their clothes from the garage in the morning, then get dressed in their bedrooms (or after their shower for older girls). Yes, baby clothes are in the changing "table" dresser, right on-hand there.

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  10. Erica, I had to smile to when I saw your cribs in the closet, that's where my twins sleep too!

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  11. JANNICE - Fun. It's actually a very common "plan" for babies around here any way. =) They have their own "room", but are close by to mom & dad, hm?

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  12. I love all the shelving units. You have really inspired me to get organized. Are the storage units made or bought? You have a beautiful home! Thank you for sharing. You're making me think #5 wouldn't be such a bad idea after all.

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  13. TOMKEL2000 - Thank you! Is your name Kelly? =) Well I'm so pleased to have been an encouragement! Especially when helping someone catch the vision for welcoming more children in to their home! We were given a vision, too, many years ago and that was the key for us to welcome more children, too. To SEE how it could be done.

    The large, white 72"x72" cubbie-style shelf units are from Ikea. We bought one, and then another one, and then another one over the years! Ha ha They're awesome. $200, and they hold 4 dressers worth of clothes, and take up less space! They are strong for books, of course, and would go in any room of your house. We'd highly recommend them. =)

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  14. Lovely blog, happy to find you =)
    We are living in a tiny house w/ many for a season (10 people, 3 bedrooms, 2 bath), and are also doing the "bunkbed w/ a trundle underneath" so you made me *smile* Here's our "how are they doing it" http://thesimplelifeof8.blogspot.com/search/label/How%20are%20they%20doing%20it
    Refreshing to stop by here and see someone else whom realizes attitude/gratitude is bigger than circumstances. *smile*
    ~Sheri

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  15. Thanks so much for your response! Yes it is Kelli, Tom the husband, and we were married in 1999, but that e-mail was taken :) I've always believed that "Love grows best in little houses"
    Thank you Doug Stone. Its been my theme song. My biggest fear is that I will somehow be taking away from the ones I have if I have more. That the joy to workload balance will shift over the edge. But the underlying feeling is how can you say no to another little face. Love your blog, keep it up!

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  16. KELLY - I totally understand your fear of taking something away from current children by allowing the Lord to give you more. I think I've had that fear every single pregnancy! Ha ha But it's not true. Love multiplies. =) And the current children are surrounded all the more with love - and for their whole lives, even after we're gone. I've heard it said that the best gift you can give a child is a sibling. And with a good vision and plan for how to "do" a large family, you can be prepared and adjust beautifully with each additional child.

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  17. SHERI - Yes, attitude and gratitude is so important, isn't it? =) Well said! And thanks for the link to your blog - it's always fun to see another family's methods of how they can get things done, and done enjoyably and effectively. Nice job! May I ask what circumstances you're dealing with currently that bring about the current "living in a small house for a season" during "circumstances"? =)

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  18. We packed up our "home" for a 2 yr job out of town... in turn, we did not end up getting our own home (majority of our house is still in storage), but God called us to financially help some dear family members whom are adjusting to their own new circumstances (loss of job career, retirement, etc). This has been a lesson in priorities, grace, patience, and a willingness to be an open book (our home lifestyle) for others to see, while living in "their" homes. =) (that's the jist, w/o writing a book)
    You are quite lovely, glad to have found you. :^D
    Blessings, Sheri

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  19. SHERI - Oh, bless your hearts and sacrifice to serve and be used by the Lord in such a tangible way! I'm excited for the blessings I'm confident our Heavenly Father will shower on you either in this life or in the next. =) I'm humbled and inspired. You are a lovely friend, Sheri - thank you. *hug*

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  20. I love your blog. We are praying about buying a home right now. We have 10 of us at home (praying about adopting an infant right now) and the home we found is 3 bedrooms, but loads of space in the finished side of the basement for more bedrooms. We have a "family bedroom" now with 4 of our children in there, but not everyone agrees with our decision. Thank you for sharing. I am looking forward to going on this organizational journey with you! God bless you for sharing!

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  21. BlessedMamaOfMany - How exciting! =) A family bedroom, there's a thought. How old are the children together, and are they all the same gender? I'm excited for your new organizational journey! I'll say a prayer for you this morning that you'll have wisdom for your family, considering the precious baby you may adopt, and the home you may purchase.

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    1. I appreciate seeing what you've done as I look at blog posts about organizing to get inspiration to keep decluttering my own house. It is a slow process but I am overwhelmed with our 5th now almost a year old and want more peace and order to our lives and daily schedule! ANYWAY, I am responding to this post in particular because we have a "family bedroom" of sorts as well. We have five children, 12, 10, 7, 3 (the only girl) and 10 months. The baby sleeps in our bed and we will transition him out when he is two. The oldest has a room of his own in terms of space (dresser drawers, bookshelves, etc) but frequently a sibling (the 7 or 3 yo) will co-sleep with him, mainly because they are used to being near someone else, so if they wake up disoriented or afraid someone older is there. The oldest is also the one to "move out" when we have visitors. The 3rd bedroom in our house has a bunk with a desk area, dresser drawers, a trundle bed and a hidden space that they can sleep in if they want to. We don't really dictate which bed they sleep in each night, and as long as they settle down pretty quickly they get to choose. If there is excessive talking or playing after lights out, then we have everyone split to a solo bed. Although the 10 yo is very sensitive to little sounds at night so has largely claimed the top bunk for himself, and the 3 yo is too young to sleep in the top for my comfort!

      Anyway, it is a huge lesson in sharing small space and serving others, so it works for us!

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  22. I love your home! It's so inviting and seems so spacious and organised, despite the size! This is very encouraging for me. We live with our 5 small children in a 600sq ft 2-bedroom house in England. We have two rooms downstairs and two small bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs. Space is a real issue for us but we can't afford to move "up". The boys all fit into the bigger bedroom in bunks/toddler bed/cot, and the baby is in the smaller bedroom with us, but the main concern for us is adequate "day" space for the children. We spend our day in a 15x12ft living room, sometimes going in the kitchen. We have a tiny garden overrun with biting spiders which we do not use, but take the boys to the park daily to burn off energy. My husband and I are praying (and admittedly being more anxious than we need to be, I'm sure!) about this daily at the moment, and wondering what we should do. I desperately want to welcome more babies as God blesses us, but my husband is not happy about that idea at the moment due to things like the house.

    Your blog has wonderful ideas that can really help us make our days better or easier! Thank you!

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  23. ALICE - Thank you! I'm so glad you were encouraged. I hear your heart about day space. We wonder how it will work for us when our little people are all big - how will we fit? But that's worrying in to the future, which the Lord calls us not to do. He has always made a way for us - one day at a time. We're really tried to learn to enjoy the current time and space, and to pray about the future, watch for the Lord to reveal His plans for us - "keeping our eyes peeled" - but not to worry about it. We're not there yet.

    We have found as we've gone along that we use more of the house spaces than we used to. We used to pretty much keep everyone in the one family room, like you do. But now older ones are able to do a quiet project in our bedroom (door open, baby gate up) just down the hall and still feel a part of what's going on in the family room. The older 3 girls can play in the garage carpeted area, so that's another space now. Our oldest boy (8) can play in his bedroom sometimes alone (little boys wouldn't be safe down there unsupervised), and we're trying to get an awning for our back deck so that the kids can play there rain or shine, too, if it's dry. It's small, about 10x12, but they love fresh air even if they're just running in circles! LOL Our yard is too swampy for the kids to play in about 7-8 mo. of the year. =( It needs an expensive drainage system - prayerfully one day.

    I was wondering about your garden/yard. Do the spiders like a certain plant in the garden, and they would go away if it were just grass? Could you just wipe out the garden and plant only grass for a play area out there?

    May I also encourage you to present the idea to your husband of just letting God be in charge of your family? =) Taking care of how many kids He gives you, AND what kind of living space He gives you? It's really so very freeing once we did this. And the Lord has provided every single step of the way. I know it's hard, but we're not called to "see how it can be done" first - we're called to allow Him to be Lord and to be in charge and to follow Him no matter what we see circumstantially. Trust Him. He loves you. *hugs* And if he gives you more children, then He will also provide for all of their needs and yours. It may be more space, it may be creativity within your space - but I really encourage you not to let your limited abilities (compared to His unlimited ones) stand in the way of the glorious plans our Lord has for you. =)

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    1. Oh, I could've just read this! Yeah.. That's what I needed.

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  24. Great post! I'm wondering how much (ahem) "training" you've had to do to keep little supermen from flying off that brown couch and over the half-wall to the stairs below!

    Baby Sarah has the same lovey as the one shown in the closet crib - Lovey Ellie as I'm calling it (the other girls each have a Lovey Bunny, but when I saw the elephant and the "mommy loves me", I couldn't resist breaking the pattern!)

    That round crib is cool!

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  25. TRINITY - hello dear friend. =) Yes, MUCH training. LOl We actually had that couch pulled out to the middle of the room for a year or two, before we moved the desk from the playroom to the family room, just for that reason - we couldn't have children risking their lives going over that half wall no matter how disobedient it would be. But we got so SICK of having it there! Blocking everything in that little room! And then one little son in particular was a couple years older at that point, so we decided to try it again against the wall. Such a dumb wall. What else can you do with it??? Dumb. So far we still have to train about not running across both couches, but not much about the wall. Prayerfully no one else will get it in their head that they'd like to over it. I don't know what we'll do then. But, we're not there yet, so I'm worrying about it. ;)

    Isn't the little elephant wonderful?! =D Love-love them. They're not actually really in their cribs right now because they're turning around enough and could suffocate; but when they're one or so we'll give them to them. =)

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  26. Well, you just solidified my idea of putting baby in the walk-in closet! Thanks! (I can hardly believe that is only 1100 sq ft! WOW!)

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  27. AMY - Oh great! Ha ha, I'm glad you have that as an option. Feels funny at first, at least it did for me, but it's so normal now. Like that's really our nursery not our closet. Yep, the house is only 1100 sq. ft, but that doesn't include the garage; that is an additional 400 sq. ft. It's a lot of rooms, which was perfect for us when we bought the house, but the rooms are all very small. Cameras can easily make rooms look bigger, too. =)

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  28. I have one child, in a 2400 square foot home, and it is a disaster to the point where I have to hire someone to clean it. I cannot imagine how you manage such a large family in such a small house. Kudos to you on that!

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  29. This post has been a huge inspiration to me. We have 7 kids still at home, and just downsized to 1900sf. I have been frustrated thinking we have no room, when in reality we have WAY too much "stuff". Thank you for sharing :)

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  30. BUSY MOMMY - Oh, thank you! I'm so pleased you've found renewed hope and encouragement in what apparently seemed like a very disappointing situation. Blessings on your efforts to re-fit in to your home! =)

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  31. I am so glad I stumbled upon your post. I am eagerly awaiting your details of the family clothing area. We have 8 children, and clothing has always been my most difficult thing to keep up with. I have tried to explain to my husband about a family closet but I dont think he understands, he always says no its not a good idea. I think if he sees how you did it he might understand better. Or not? Im very inspired to try it though!

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  32. Lovely, lovely! For years, 7 of us lived in a 1100 sq. ft. home with 3 bedrooms, 1 bath. That was tight, especially with the 1 bathroom! I had five children then and now we have 8. So glad my hubby built is a larger home a few years ago. It's a 4 bedroom, 2 bath. An extra bathroom would be nice, though. I would LOVE to be as organized as you are! Trying to store clothing is the biggest problem, I think. And the toys are everywhere. The youngers keep pulling them out. :P One day I will miss the mess, I am sure. :)

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  33. We can buy triple weight bunks from a man on ebay, here in the UK - that is my plan as the children get bigger! We are in a Church house, and they are getting us a bigger home. Currently, our 2 bedrooms upstairs have sloping ceilings, and that MAJORLY affects what you can achieve in a room. So long as we have 3 good size bedrooms in the next house, that we could fit 2 triple height bunks in 2 of, then that would fit 12 children in (potentially, Lord willing....;-) ) I would like a guest room as well, as with us being a Pastor's family, we like to be able to accommodate visitors. Also, a good sized dining room, to sit plenty of people down to eat! I really like the shared closet idea, but our houses in the UK simply don't have the same spacious garages or basements as you guys have. :-( Thank you for sharing - some great ideas! (do you have Ikea shelves, perchance?....:-) )

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  34. BETH - Here is my post on the details of the kids' closet. =) http://www.largefamiliesonpurpose.com/2011/01/organization-thinking-outside-box-with_20.html You can also search my blog for "clothing closet" for more clothing storage info.

    CAROLINE - Yes, Ikea shelves! =) Blessings on your efforts; I encourage you to ask the Lord how HE desires for you to be creative with the space He's given you to work with right now.

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  35. Awesome...thank you for that :) Love that round crib...I'd not seen one like it :)

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  36. SARAH - Oh that's actually our little boy's cribs, the 1 and 2yo's. The little twins white mini-cribs are up further in the tour with our bedroom. =)

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  37. God has blessed you with a beautiful family and home! Thank you for sharing.
    In Christ,
    Susan

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  38. I am so inspired by reading your blog postings....I am a mom to four and a "extra" mom to many others. We we were first blessed in purchasing our home, within three weeks of moving into it, we had a church family move in with us for five months...and there were six of them.....so we had a 11 person party for those six months.....and yes, we are still great friends with them still. LOL I am grateful for the blessings that the Lord does for me and my family. Thanks for showing your organizational awesomeness. Thanks for your lovely spirit.

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  39. Our next house will definitely have a double garage. We use our little tiny single one to the max. for extra things! You inspired me greatly. Our house has fewer bedrooms, but a little more room than yours. We need to do better! We have 6 of us plus 6 extra daycare children during the day, and it seems we never have enough room.

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  41. Congratulations for your beautiful family and house. I'm from Brazil and here is very difficult to find large families like yours, but I always want a big family and I would love if God give me that blessing.
    Like you said, there are just two tiny bedrooms for your children and it seem to be on the "limity of capacity". You have any plan or idea for when more children come?

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    1. No, not exactly yet. *chuckle* But I'm not concerned about it as the Lord always reveals to us what the next best plan is as we need it. Right now we're not in need, so I'm not even thinking about it. But to think ahead with you, maybe we would add a toddler mattress to the boy's room floor, to be pulled out like a trundle from underneath the end of the bunk bed. Or maybe we would just have someone share their bed. Maybe we would go to triple bunk beds. I really don't care for those as they are so cramped and would be SO difficult to change the linens on. But we'll do what we need to do. =)

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    2. Erika, the master bedroom seems very large. Would you ever consider moving your daughters into that room and taking their rooms the master? It seems a lot impossible that you could squeeze another daughter into that little room unless you sling a hammock from the ceiling!

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  42. Erika, can you tell me if your twins ever shared a crib? Also, from the pictures it looks like you have cribs in your room for the twins, plus cribs in the girls room. Do you use them for different times of sleeping?

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    1. Hi! Sorry I didn't reply sooner; Christmas business. =) Got your email, too, thanks. We actually only have cribs in the girls bedroom having moved those from our closet down stairs, but I need to update our closet photo, then! Oops! *chuckle*

      When they were newborn we had them sleep together half of the time, sharing a crib, and half of the time be apart so that they'd be able to do both. They didn't seem to notice either way. It turned out to be good, too, when one of them got RSV and needed to be in the hospital for a few days; they were able to sleep apart during those days just fine. But when we had them separately sleeping at home we still put their heads close to each other in the separate cribs so that they could hear each other breathe and just feel each other's presence. Just seemed like they'd like it. =) When they became mobile (rolling or crawling) then we had them sleep separately so that they could sleep uninterrupted. When they were awake they would stand up and touch each other and "talk", but could then (and still do this) retreat to go sleep when they wanted to. This has worked great for us. Since they were about 16 mo. we've had the problem of them climbing in to each other's cribs, though, when they're playing instead of sleeping. LOL We tried separating the cribs a bit but then one fell out onto the floor. So we just keep the cribs together now. But we would always have them sleep together if we were ever away from home at night, like at my parent's house or a friend's house and they liked that as long as they still fit into a pack-n-play together; but they didn't like not being able to sleep at home when together when one of them wanted to play. They'd yell like, "Would you get off of me?!" LOL And now if one climbs into the other's crib they usually tattle on sister when I come in to the room. It's really funny and fun. But they're together all the rest of the time pretty much except for some pack-n-play times separately in the morning. They follow each other around the house. I'm excited for you. =)

      Congratulations on your twins!!!!!!!!!! =D Did you see my post on our twins? You may like it. http://www.largefamiliesonpurpose.com/2012/05/twins-their-life-with-us-so-far-smile.html

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  43. Erika, your garage is the "cat's meow". Love it! You have used the space expertly while still keeping it a garage. We have a moisture issue in our garage so we can't use ours in the same way, but if we are careful we can store lots of stuff out there. I have seperated it into 4 areas (yard tools and outside toys, building supplies and tools, long term storage, and kitchen overflow). I want to get a "mud" area out there too. We have NO good spot inside the house for coats, boots, bags, etc. I love your use of walls and carpeting. How do you manage the cleanliness issues of having garage and closet in the same space? Do you use the garage as an entrance?

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    1. Thanks! =) Well, the kids are not allowed in to the "garage" part of the garage *chuckle*; they have no need to be in there yet, so stuff doesn't (shouldn't) come out in to the "living area". My husband works on projects either out on the driveway, or in the cement-floor-part of the garage. If he needs to he's made a plastic "tent" by hanging plastic from the walls to section off an area so the table saw, for example, doesn't put saw dust everywhere. It's not ideal, but it's what we have right now. My husband dreams of having a real shop some day. =)

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  44. Is the square footage of your house at the beginning of the article a typo? It says 1,100

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    1. No, that's accurate (not including the garage). =) The lighting and organization and being de-cluttered make it look larger than it is (and probably the camera, too).

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  45. This has inspired me soooo much - well the entire contents of your Blog has inspired me. We have a four bedroomed house with 4 daughters and I just can not get organised BUT I am onto it right now ! I love love love the way you use every square inch of the property......thankyou so so much for sharing this.

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  46. Thanks so much for sharing your home with us! So neat and organized! We just moved a bunch of rooms around these past 2 months to help with the flow of things better. We are expecting our 8th child in December. I appreciate your blog and taking the time to encourage and help other "big" families! Blessings! www.aheartforthehome.com

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  47. I am just blown away at how you make do with so little space. So encouraging! We took your computer shelf idea and used it so that we can actually eat sitting down. Our home just has one somewhat small room to use as the living room and dining room. It's also our daycare space! So, we really just didn't have a dining table to sit at. We built two long shelves along two walls and then another long shelf UNDER a window sill. The two long shelves have 8 chairs at them total (all received from friends/family!) and seat 8 adults comfortably. The little window shelf seats up to 5 children comfortably. My mother was able to find little chairs for it at yard sales for 25-50 cents each. We could even put more chairs up to the ends of the shelves for the adults if needed. So nice to be able to sit at dinner again!

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  48. I cannot even express how helpful this blog (which I have been perusing all day) has been to me. We have three kids currently (5, 3, 5 months), and I just have not been able to shake the feeling that we aren't done. We are "poor", but sometimes I think I only feel that way because I see other parents stop at two kids because they "can't afford more" who make three times the money we make. We have a 1,000 sq ft home (3 bd,1 1/2 baths)- seeing how you are faithful enough to pack a room with bunk beds and keep everything so clean and happy feeling- this is just priceless to me. I want to move forward like I feel God is leading me to, but I'm nervous about what the "sane" parents will say! LOL How do you combat judgmental/materialistic parents who obviously feel that you "have more kids than you can afford"? If I could conquer that fear I could really do this....

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    1. Jamie,
      Bless you. =) Here's a post you might enjoy reading. http://www.largefamiliesonpurpose.com/2013/03/navigating-difficult-relationships.html

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    2. Thanks! I got thrown into a rumor mill at Church while I was a new (and terrified) Mother; I was going to be an artist in an attic somewhere! I think I'm just going to have to get over it. ;)

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  49. wow! such an inspiration, I certainly don't have a BIG family, but with "just" 3 kids (I do want #4 soon) it's so nice to see this.... So organized and clean! ha.....

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  50. Your home is just beautiful and it has given me ideas and inspiration! We live in a 3bedroom 900 square foot apartment. It is myself, my husband, 1 son, 2 daughters, and baby #4 who will come sometime in August. We will hopefully be purchasing a home in the next year, but until then I will admiring your organization and hopefully implementing some of it in our home! :)

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  51. My oldest daughter (10) was just looking at the pictures of your home with me. I commented, "Wow! They have 9 children! Look how organized everything is!" to which she replied, "Wow! You only have 5 children and can't keep it organized!" She VERY quickly corrected herself and said, "WE can't keep it organized!" Lol!

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  52. I enjoyed your original house tour post and am once again so amazed/impressed by the update. Thank you for sharing your life with other mom's and for being an example to look up to! When I'm trying to figure out certain "large family issues" I often wonder whether you've written about it. Just curious...where did you get those bunk beds? They look so sturdy and well made!

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    1. You can always type in a key word in the search box on the blog and see if anything comes up on that topic. =) The bunk beds came from a gal who sells new furniture locally on Craig's List. They are sturdy and nice; we love them, and they were only $200 each!

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    2. I am looking for bunk beds just like those. Do you happen to have a link from a previous purchase so I can look up some details? I'm having a hard time locating sturdy bunk beds that fit within our budget.

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    3. See the info. in a below comment from me on the bunk beds and/or dining room table. =)

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  53. Thank you for this post! We have a fairly small house with 4 bio kids, 2 bonus (foster) kids, 2 dogs, 2 cats, my self and Hubba, it feels so cramped and unorganized ALL the time! Your home is beautiful and so neat! You have given me inspiration!

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    1. We've chosen not to have any dogs or cats at this time as we just don't feel that we have space in this house currently; I totally understand what you're saying.

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  54. I have 6 kids and clutter is a HUGE prob. Toys, clothes, knick knacks, homeschool/4H projects, kids arts & crafts (+ supplies), etc. I have no idea how to tame that beast. Got any ideas???

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    1. Yes, I just posted links at the bottom of this post on de-cluttering and how we organize our home. =)

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  55. I would love to know where you got the long dining table

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    1. A local company makes them custom. =) One of the only couple of things we've purchased new (everything else is purchased used).

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    2. See the info. in a below comment from me on the bunk beds and/or dining room table. =)

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  56. I want to hire you to come organize my house! GEEZ! Love it! So inspiring!

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  57. This was an amazing post, Erika! I am seriously impressed! We are thinking of moving long-distance to a smaller house, and this post was very encouraging! Thank you!

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  58. I'm curious where you got the bunk beds & trundle. We have 2 bunk beds in the boys' room right now and I would really like to take 1 bunk out and use a trundle in order to give the 3 boys a bit more floor space. Also, I adore the signs above the children's rooms! I may have to do something similar :-)

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    1. See the info. in a below comment from me on the bunk beds and/or dining room table. =)

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  59. Wow! We live in an 1100 square foot house with 5 kids, and this is SO inspiring ! Thanks for sharing!

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  60. I need to borrow you for a few days to learn to organize better lol. there are only 4 of us in about 1800sq ft (3bd 2ba) and we are cramped lol
    Good job on keeping things so in order!

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  61. I love the shoe rack idea! We've got ten of our eleven children still living at home, and we're constantly losing shoes. I love the family closet idea, which I also saw on the Duggars, but unfortunately, living in a city rowhome doesn't provide the extra room for that. And you're very brave with all the light colors. Beautiful house!

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    1. Light colors give an "open" look and do not shrink the space.

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  62. I didn't get through all the comments so hopefully no one else already asked this. Do you remember where you found your kitchen table? We are from the PNW, too, and are looking for a skinny, long table that doesn't have seams (like leafs). It's hard to find!

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  63. We have ten children - it's nice to see how other large families organize their living space. Thank you for sharing :)

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  64. Erika, I'm going to ask a question someone else has, but I can't find the answer! Where'd you find those bunk beds? We are looking for the exact same thing...a bunk with a trundle (that can ideally become two twins, one with a trundle). Do you have a link? Thanks!

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    1. See the info. in a below comment from me on the bunk beds and/or dining room table. =)

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  65. I can get information to you all on where to buy the bunk beds and the dining room table in the next few days; I'm preparing for a speaking engagement currently and cannot take time yet to find that info. yet.

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  66. First of all, how do you keep everything white!??? Second, so much of the clutter in my house is from kids creating things (drawings hung on walls, shelves made out of cardboard boxes, actuallly anything you could imagine made out of cardboard boxes, etc.) And kids wanting to collect "treasures" which they of coarse want to display (rocks, scraps of pretty paper, junk mail, scraps of cloth, old containers, the list could go on.) Do you just have to put your foot down and "squelch" some of the creativity that seems to just flow out of children? Or how do you deal with this times 9?

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    1. I don't have room for all of that display in this house, so I photo everything and scrapbook their memories; they can enjoy them there. You can read my posts on digital scrapbooking if you like by typing "scrapbook" into the search window on the blog page.

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  67. DINING ROOM TABLE Info.
    * Purchased from Sansaco Furniture Distribution, Seattle Wa 206-575-0811. Our order details: Pine wood, "Prairie leg", strait apron, square edge, wood boards to run length of table, 42x100". $1400.

    BUNK BEDS info. Email Ruth at BetterFurnitureStore@gmail.com, or 206-293-0358. Renton WA. $280 each including tax, and a $50 local delivery fee. Solid pine wood, natural color, Twin, convertible into two separate twin beds. Also come in "Espresso" brown color.

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    1. Oh, and my husband made the trundle to go underneath the bunk bed. =)

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    2. CORRECTION - the BUNK BEDS are now $350 each. Still an awesome deal from what we've found for the quality.

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    3. THANK YOU! =D

      I *just* posted about this, so I'll go delete the posts so as not to clog up your blog. =)

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  68. Hi Erica,

    I too am impressed with the organization of your home. We have fewer children and more space, but your organization is impressive.

    For the bunk bed/trundle combination I know that not everyone reading this blog lives on the west coast. I've seen similar beds and tables at a store that's local to me here on the east coast. Gothic Cabinet Craft offers bunk beds with a trundle or a bunk bed with trundle and storage drawers. They have all kinds of tables and chairs. They even do custom work if you need it. They built a lot of our furniture when we bought our first house.

    So if you live in the NY-tri state area or you're close enough to drive to the area it's definately worth the trip. If you need to pinch a penny they have an overstock/close out warehouse in Maspeth, Queens.

    Happy Shopping!

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  70. Love the new pictures! Your home is so beautiful! We're about to move out of our 2 bed condo into a 3 bed house, but the new house is smaller square footage wise! haha. I'm not worried though, I've learned many things from your blog ;) We only have two children right now. I find just not having a lot of furniture and clutter (toys books etc) helps. We only really keep things we use every day. I buy everything on Craigslist too. I don't understand why anyone buys things new!
    I'm SO excited to have a garage at our new home, But we won't be able to use it like you do. I wish I could turn our closet into a pantry but it's the only coat closet in the entire house lol so I'll need to use it as such. Ericka, I love that you think "outside the box" on so many things. :) Thanks

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  71. What a beautiful home you have, Mrs. Shupe! It's so well organized and maintained and you've certainly done a wonderful job of fitting that many people into a smaller space. I just love your dining room table, it must hold a lot of memories of everyone in the family sitting together and digging into a delicious meal.

    I do have one worry, though. Most firefighters (like my brother-in-law!) will tell you that he suggests that there are two ways to exit a room for fire safety. I couldn't help but notice that the windows of the children's bedrooms are blocked by the bunk beds and thus aren't a means for escape. I know you want to keep your family as safe as possible, so it might be worth taking a look at that.

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    1. Thank you Mindy. =) We've considered that, and actually our window sills are very deep, probably 12", so there's room for a child or even myself to easily fit there and get out the windows which are also pretty big.

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  72. What lovely pictures! You really have a gift for homemaking! I have nine children, and we currently live in an absolutely fantastic, HUGE house. But when we had only 7 children, we lived in 925 sf, with ONE bathroom. It had its challenges, but it was wonderful in many ways that I miss, too.

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  73. Way to go, Erika! You are doing great things with what you have. I wanted to share that I have seen 2 different people reclaiming that lost space over the front door/stairs and turning that space into a reading nook, play area, etc. Just an idea that might come in handy some day. :)

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  74. Wow, this is so beautiful and inspiring. Thank you for your beautiful post.

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  75. What a blessing to see an example of good housekeeping with many children! My husband and I each have a question:
    Him: How do they get the kids to ever go to sleep with so many in the room?
    Me: You have a place for everything--how do you manage to keep everything in its place, especially with 3 3 yr-olds?
    (Pregnant with #6, oldest is 8, hoping for more.)

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    1. Sleeping - we make sure they're given just the right amount of sleep so that they're ready to conk out pretty much as soon as they get to bed. We keep all the toys out of sight and reach (in the play room upstairs). And we don't use night lights so it's dark. And we discipline if necessary.

      For toys and such we're always putting things where they belong. And when I ask them to clean up or put something away they know that only means in one place. The exact place (box, shelf, basket, closet, wherever) that it belongs. If they put it anywhere other than where it belongs then they disobeyed me and have a consequence and/or earn another job for further practice. And we have big kids help them of course. And offer accountability always.

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    2. What are your most common consequences? If you have a post on it, refer me to it because I'm loving your whole blog!

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  76. Hello from Malaysia!

    Your home organization is inspirational. It challenges the common perception that when you have many kids the home gets messy and disorganised.

    I like your post very much because I am into home organization. I sincerely think your home organization is very philosophical and a metaphor to time and space. Every inch, corner and space serves a function and very child-centric.

    I take my hat off for super efficient mommy like you.

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  77. I love this post! We currently live in a 1200 sq ft condo (I think that counts the two-car attached garage), 3 bedroom, 2 full bath, with three children (and talking about having more), and we're feeling cramped! I'm going to take some of what you do and see if I can make it work for us... at least, until we can buy a house with a yard (the boys desperately need an enclosed yard to run around in... my poor furniture is taking a beating being jungle gym equipment).

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    1. If you look up in the comments of this post (in the 2014 posts that are recent) you'll see one that has in all caps "dining room table" and "bunk beds" in all caps, and there I give the woman's email address and phone number for those items that everyone was asking about. =)

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    2. Thank you! I found it and will be contacting her. =)

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  78. This has inspired me so much!!!!! My nesting brain is in overload, hehe! I am pregnant with my tye-breaker number 7. With an unfinished downstairs I have found my solution to making us fit!

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  79. Yes! I am constantly praying while re-organizing, "Lord, help me to make the best use of what You have given us & show me where to put it all! I can't figure this out on my own!" I needed some inspiration! Thank you for sharing!

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  80. I live in 1100 sq. ft. with 4 kids and I struggle with the clutter! This post was amazing and encouraging!

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  81. Hi Erika. I tried to scroll through the comments to see if my question has already been asked. So, if it has, forgive me for the repeat. We are thinking of reorganizing the bedrooms we have right now. The boys currently have what would be considered the master b/c it was the biggest room and fit the beds the best. But, well, my husband and I would really like that space back for ourselves. My only cause for pause is floor vents! We will have to put a set of bunk beds over the vent. DId you run into this problem? Did you use a heat deflector or find a solution? Or did you find it not to be any reason for worry? Thanks so much for all your practical life posts. They are always so inspiring to me. I'm currently expecting our 6th and need your posts as a good nudge to stay on top of it all and not let it all go while I nap the day away, lol. Blessings, Emily

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    1. Emily,
      First I encourage you to use the master bedroom without guilt or embarrassment. =) Your marriage is the top priority, and your enjoyment and having your own space together is so fine and important! And if others balk at your decision to not put the children first and give them the master suite (and by the way, putting children first before mom and dad's relationship does *not* serve children the best at all) don't be concerned. It's very pop culture right now to put children first before all else, and it's not serving them well. Having mom and dad's marriage its strongest helps children the most. Their world is completely dependent on mom and dad's strength. *whew* Okay. Sorry, that's a sore subject for me (pop culture's messed up theories). ;)

      So it seems to me bunks would be totally fine over floor vents. No problem at all. Unless you have a trundle over it, too, then the room might get colder as heat is blocked. The room should be a fine temperature with bunks over it. Air circulation should happen just fine.

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    2. Thanks for the quick response AND for the little pep talk,lol. I am sure I will run into some unwanted opinions on this. As I'm sure is not uncommon for many families with more than the 2.5 kids who choose to homeschool. I should be used to all the critics by know ;) Thanks again!

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  82. Hi Eirka! As most of the other readers, I am in awe of how beautiful your home is. I shared it with a friend and we both concur (in a jesting spirit) you had to have had a cleaning service come - kidding!! ;)

    I do have a few questions, looking tfor your thoughts. We have 1000 sq ft home. Only 5 kids. My boys are both big - 6"4', 15 & 13 yo. Their bedroom is small 9x10, no way could we get bunks. Right now one is on the floor. We do not have a garage. Any suggestions for clothes space? Also, do you store winter coatsin garage? any suggestions for thoae without a garage? Also, your counter are beautiful in the kitchen!! Where are your appliances? kitchen aide? toaster? etc ? we have a crock with utensils. What do you use for ttose sorts of things?

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful home!!!

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    1. ;) Thanks.
      So, why can't you get bunks? Because the boys are so tall? It still might be better for their growth, development, and backs to sleep on actual beds even if they can't quite stretch out. Hmm. Well if you can't do that then I'd buy a twin bed that's high enough off the floor so that you can push a trundle bed underneath. Then the boys can both use actual mattresses but still have their feet able to stick off the end if necessary.

      For clothes I'd probably do cubby shelves like we use in our garage, but without the baskets because the boy's clothes will be much bigger than little kids' clothes. Just fold and stack them nicely on the shelves. Because those Ikea shelves are only 12" deep! They take up the very least amount of space possible, but can utilize all the wall space you have available (and the shelves come in varying sizes).

      Yes we store winter coats in the garage. I'd squish your coats (down coats do this really nicely) into storage boxes and slide those underneath a bed or two. Or you could rent a storage unit and put everything in there that's seasonal which you'd only get to every 6 months or so (I rotate seasonal clothes 2x/year - fall/winter, and spring summer).

      I really work to keep our tiny bit of counter space totally clear if possible. Toaster is intentionally on right side counter by the refrigerator out of view, with the blender, and coffee maker. Kitchen aid is currently in the garage as we're not using it, but it used to sit in the left side counter top/corner. I have 2 drawers for utensils as I do not prefer the clutter of having the utensils on the counter top (as much as they're more convenient to use, I prefer the space). =)

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  83. I loved reading this. We are a large family (10 children, 6 still at home) who lived in a small space. For years we lived in 1200 sq ft then later we were blessed to be able to add on to our home and it gave us another almost 800 sq ft.

    We had a large dining table built for our family. One thing we discovered is that benches down the long sides of the table not only fit more children (and company) but also saved a lot of space. Chairs take up a lot of room in a small space.

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