In my last post, a full 8 months ago (wow time flies!), Sean and I were moving off of the sleeper couch in the living room and into our own room. It became obvious that we were not going to remodel the attic into a bedroom for ourselves anytime soon, and so the only way to have a bedroom would be to put the kids together into a shared room. Our entire house is very small for a family for 4 plus a large dog: 685 sf total. And I measure the kids shared bedroom to be about 100 sf. It took a lot of rearranging and multiple brainstorms to figure out how to make it fit the best. The arrangement is working out pretty well now.
When I first started moving the kids into the same room, it was pretty bare-bones. We got rid of Cedar’s bed frame when we moved to this house (thinking we’d loft his bed), so when we first put him into Eliza’s room he was sleeping on a mattress on the floor. I had awkward furniture that didn’t fit the space. I just got them in there.
It wasn’t beautiful, but it was functional. The reality for most of us is that we can’t buy all new matching sheets and rugs and wall decorations on a whim. It takes awhile. We make do with what we have, and then slowly get new things needed for a new space over time. This is especially true when trying to put the budget as a priority over our Pinterest-induced desires!
It quickly became obvious that having both beds at floor-level was taking up too much floor space. If we could loft one of the beds we would open up a lot of space for hanging out. We found a good deal on Wayfair.com on a bed similar to this one (I can’t find the exact bed we bought any more). I’ll be honest that it’s squeaky and came with some dings. (Here is a similar one on Amazon as well) But for the price, it has worked fine for my five year old. I put most of it together by myself in an afternoon, and my husband and his friend finished it and put it into place between games of baby-corn-hole.
Even within such a small room, this gave my son his own space. My son is 5, and my daughter is under 2. She can’t climb the ladder (yet) up to the loft space. Cedar can climb up into his bed and read a book or play with toys and his sister can’t find him. He also has his own desk space where he can keep things he doesn’t want his sister to find. Below the desk was a big open space that I utilized to store toys and books.
My son LOVES to read; these are not all the books he owns. We have a giant tupperware bin out in the shed with the rest of his books that acts as a library. He can bring inside as many books as fit into this small cubby space, and we periodically rotate.
There remained just enough space between the bed and the closet for my daughter’s changing table. The cupboard below (which my Opa made) holds all her toys.
Eliza also has her own reading nook in front of the crib. She has a rocking chair that belonged to my mother as a child, and then to me as a child. Even with our massive downsize during the move to this tiny house, we were able to hold onto some of these sentimental family pieces.
Another key to this kid situation working well has been a white noise machine! We bought this one on Amazon and have been happy with it. It has several natural sounds including the ocean, crickets, running water, and a summer thunder storm. Our living room is right outside the kids’ bedroom. After the kids go to bed, the only way we can hang out without waking them up is to have this making white noise!
The up side to the kids sharing a small room: They play together. They have to be in this small space together and so they have to figure out how to get along. There is still plenty of arguing (over the smallest, silliest toys….), but they play house and Zoobs and duplos together all the time.
The down side to the kids sharing a small room: It gets dirty really fast. Five minutes after it is clean, the entire floor can be covered in toys because it is a small floor.
In a few years this may no longer work. In a few years, this size house may not work in general! But for now, for this period in our lives, this small room is working well.