If you’re looking for a little room in your budget, your housing expenses can be a tempting place to search. After all, it’s likely that more of your money goes to keeping you and your family sheltered than to any other expense. One of the easiest ways to cut down on housing costs is to find a smaller home, or even an apartment or condo. Before you go looking for the smallest space you can find, though, it’s important to think through your family’s size and needs so that you don’t end up spending more on another move when the first doesn’t work out. Here are some things to consider when choosing a new housing situation for a big family.
Common areas are important for a large family, and you’ll want large spaces for these if you want to avoid contention in the fight for elbow room during family dinners and meetings. When looking at single-family homes, you need one that has at least one common room space that can hold the entire family at once with enough room for the younger ones to let off their energy. Older kids will get irritable if the younger ones are jumping in their laps or poking them in the side, so ample foot and couch room is important. If family dinners are important to you, then opt for a larger dining room, as well.
For kids, a bedroom is their small “home within a home.” Their bedroom becomes their sleep space, play space, study space, and more. Younger children are more likely to be okay with sharing a room if there is a lot of space provided for them to play together and spread out their toys. Older children, however, are much more inclined to have a small but private room over a large but shared room. Teenagers, in particular, can get moody and will need frequent time alone to deal with their emotions and changing bodies, so make sure you have enough room that the teens or soon-to-be teens will have their own space. If you have lots of younger children, however, two to a room will be adequate so long as the rooms are large enough, and so long as you’re ready to move when they start getting older.
Big Yard or Small Yard?
Yard space is important to consider, as well. If you have lots of younger children, then having an outdoor space where they can release their energy and explore nature can be beneficial for the whole family. However, if most of your kids are past the frolicking stage, a smaller yard may be more prudent to avoid extra yardwork. A simple porch swing and patio grill is all you need for the less athletically-inclined teens, but cramped space like that is a recipe for trouble if the little ones get bored. If you can’t afford a large yard, check out the neighbors and see if there’s a cul-de-sac you can take advantage of, and neighbors with children of their own will allow your children to find a group to roam and explore yards with rather than staying confined to their own devices in your home.
No matter what your living situation is, however, the most important thing to remember is to have a level of compromise and patience to help make life more enjoyable for everyone. Budgets may force you to make hard decisions in terms of space, but if you talk things over as a family, compromises can be made. Children are much more understanding of inconveniences if they can understand why they’re happening, and teens, while they can be grudging, will step up where needed to ensure that everyone has a place to call their own. In the end, the decision for where to live needs to be made the way you live: as a family.