Imagine going from living in a 1900 square foot house to a 207 square foot tiny home. You might not be able to imagine that, but nowadays, thanks the tiny house movement, more and more people are making the switch to smaller spaces. Much of the time, the transition that these tiny house lovers are making include living with a couple of kids.
Aside from the financial benefits, there are plenty of emotional benefits, too. Families who live like this spend a lot of time together and wind up being closer. If you’re thinking of transitioning into a smaller space, even if it’s not a tiny house, you’ll want to keep these four ideas in mind. They’ll help you and your children live more harmoniously in your small space.
1. Adjust Your Thinking
Did you know that the average size home today is about 2500 square feet? Did you also know that the average home size in 1950 was 983 square feet? They were less than half the size that homes are today. And that’s not all. On average, households of today have between two and three people living in a single house. However, the households of 1950 had between three and four people living in a single house.
This is important to keep in mind when you’re thinking about downsizing with your kids. Most people need less space than they think they do. They’re just used to having more. True enough, it takes some adjusting to move from a large space to a small space, but it can be done. However, the first step is deciding that this is how you want you and your children to live and then take the steps necessary to make it happen.
2. Redefine How You Use Space
Back in the day, kids played in the backyard or down at the neighbors, spent time at the local ball fields in the park, and road their bikes to town. These days, the opposite is true. Most people’s time is spent inside their homes, requiring them to have spaces like a den, an eating nook off the kitchen, and a guest room or two.
However, if you want your kids to learn how to live in a small space, you must reintroduce them (and the rest of the family) to the idea of using the broader spaces around you, according to Grist.org. Plan afternoons walking around or working in the community garden. Take trips to your local zoo. Build sand forts at the local park. If you do that, then home can become a retreat at the end of the day, a place to eat meals together and sleep mostly.
3. Give Them the Bigger Space
If you’re like most parents, you automatically take the master bedroom when you move into a home, but Real Simple cautions against this practice. Instead, the article suggests that you pass the big bedroom on to your kids and you and your spouse take the smaller bedroom. A bigger bedroom allows you to use setups like bunk beds and built-in cubbies and drawers to save floor space. If you have two or three children who are about the same age, this arrangement will work very well.
4. Replace Bulky Furniture
To help you maximize your living space, you should ditch your big, bulky furniture pieces for some other types. However, if you have kids, you may wonder how you can do this and still give them the space they need to do activities like homework. In this case, you want to invest in “clever” furniture pieces.
For example, instead of a full-size table, why not add a drop-leaf or even a folding table to your space? The same goes for big, bulky chairs. Add a Murphy bed to the wall to clear out some floor space in their rooms. You can also do double duty by bring a futon into the space: It can be either a bed or a couch. When you’re acquiring furniture for your small spaces, think about ways you can use furniture in economical ways like these.
Small-home living fosters family togetherness and closeness. However, it does take some time to get used to. There are ways that you can encourage your family to adjust to living in a smaller space. First, make the best use of the space you have by being clever with the furniture and by extending your usable space to the area beyond your walls. Second, be willing to give up the master bedroom and give it to your kids instead. Finally, make an attitude adjustment: The small home of today is the same size as the big home of yesterday.