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Big family - Small house

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#1 hiccamups

Posted 07 May 2012 - 09:03 PM

We're a family of 5, soon to be 6.  We live in a regular sized modern home, 3 bedrooms.

We're contemplating a move, into a smaller house but with a better garden and better suburb.

The thing is, the house is 2 bedrooms and is very small.  Rooms themselves are roomy, but still, there's lucky to be 100m2 of house.

It's a scary prospect, having come from such a roomy house, but we're seriously considering it.

Do you have your larger family in a small house?  How do you find it?  Have you done it before?  I'd love to hear your stories.

#2 Mamabug

Posted 07 May 2012 - 09:11 PM

Look to the future. You can do it now, but what happens when they are older?

We have a boy/girl sharing and a girl/girl sharing. There will come a time when it will not be okay for the lad to be in with his sisters, and the girls will shift about in their sharing, depending on ages.

What are your long term plans for this move/house?

Six months ago we lived in a 2br house and it was slowly sending back into the spiral of gloom and depression. Mostly because I could not escape the kids AT ALL, and there was no storage.

Seriously, storage, and potential storage options are a major factor. Also, depending on your age/gender mixes, it is okay, but what about living areas? Is there space for kids and parents - even having your bedorrom to yourself (onece the little one is big enough to be evicted!) makes a difference, but we never ven had that until we moved.

My state of mind has improved noticeably with a bigger house...

#3 CafeCat

Posted 07 May 2012 - 10:39 PM

QUOTE (Mamabug @ 07/05/2012, 10:11 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
My state of mind has improved noticeably with a bigger house...

This. We went from 7 of us across 3 bedroom one living room house to 6/7 bedrooms three living areas. Just having space to walk around the dining table, not to upack the whole cupboard to get to things needed at the back, kids being able to have there 'treasures' out and not packed away because we have to eat dinner in that space now.

#4 Rosalita

Posted 08 May 2012 - 01:46 PM

We have five children and live in a small house. 3 bedroom, one lounge/dining, no outside covered area & a small yard, our entire block is only 330m2 and I cannot wait to move. I dream about it every.single.day.

The lack of personal space is a big factor, no matter where you go in the house, someone is usually already there. I find my eldest (10yo) is finding it very difficult of late and it has caused a few dramas within our home.

We have a 8 seater dining table & during the day I push it against the wall, simply to give us a little more floor space. Our loungeroom is not quite big enough for the modular couch I want, so we just have a three seater, I hate it, the kids fight over who is sitting where, they cant lay down to watch TV because there is no room for the others to sit. I don't have a coffee table, I desperately want a coffee table, to go with the modular couch I also have no room for  dry.gif

I find the lack of space such a huge issue and it gets me down dreadfully some days, not having enough space to have the filing cabinet in easy reach, I have to move toy boxes etc out of the way all the time, so the bills/correspondence that needs to go in the filing cabinet tend pile up on the side of my desk, until I get sick of it and file it all at once. Such a little thing & you think, really, thats not so bad, but there always seems to be "stuff" around, the girls tallboys don't fit in their room, so their clothes are in the boys wardrobes, they hate it, I hate it. I do the folding & then have piles of clothes to put away, the baby is asleep, so I cant get to the boys room, where all the kids clothes are, the filing on the desk, just "stuff". I cant tell you how insane it drives me.

Oh, oh, oh oh & another issue is, BUNKS.

I HATE BUNKS. I have TWO sets of bunks. I HATE BUNKS.

TBH I at this point, do not see one good thing about a big family in a little house  sad.gif

#5 ~my happiness~

Posted 08 May 2012 - 03:18 PM

If you can avoid it. Avoid it.
Small houses with big families = frustration.

OF course if that's what you've got then that's what you've got and everyone makes do with their home.

But if you have a choice of moving to a smaller house then don't do it. IMO

I agree the storage space is a massive factor, large families need to put STUFF somewhere; and as mummypig said, before we renovated, if you were planning on going somewhere to 'escape' forget it, someone is already sitting/eating/breathing there.

I do remember someone telling me once, buy the biggest house you can possibly afford, because you're gonna need it! original.gif Not because we materialistic and want a massive house, but because if you're going to go down the large family route, these kids need space, they're not going to be newborns taking up the space of a bassinette forever, they need to run, move, when its raining, where will they "be" etc.,

#6 MickeyBoo

Posted 08 May 2012 - 03:28 PM

We are a family of soon to be 7, 2 adults and 5 kids and we currently live in a house around the 100sqm mark. It has larger living areas and a huge backyard and up to now has been do-able, annoying at times, but liveable original.gif We are now though at the end of our rope with the limited space for storage, kids sharing and just the need for more living space to give us all some breathing room, we've been here since before #1 and have made room and adjustments along the way to improve the living space etc, but now it's time for a big change, so we are trying to get an extension done to almost double the house space. We will still have a generous back yard with the extension so we're not compromising anything and I think that we would all go crazy if we had to share in a house this small with the kids all over 8 years of age.

I would not choose to be stuck in a house this small with 5 growing kids, it can be done but it would cause a lot of frustrations along the way.

#7 hiccamups

Posted 08 May 2012 - 03:30 PM

Thank you so much guys.  I think you've really given me such practical reasons to keep looking for a bigger property.

I think your state of mind is so important, especially with a new baby in the home, that I don't think risking it is worthwhile, just for locality.

TBH I at this point, do not see one good thing about a big family in a little house

I think the little house we saw was perfect for a family with 2 children, no more.   Back to the drawing board for us.

#8 Mpjp is feral

Posted 08 May 2012 - 03:59 PM

We went from huge 6 bedroom McMansion to a tiny 3 bed townhouse.


But for me its because we are not having to commute an hour or more through Melbourne traffic to get to school and work each day. Now the kids and I walk to school/ work and I've saved around 15 hours a wek.

I love living in the city etc. So for me teh LOVE is not about the small house but the location and lifestyle.

We just downsized everything, gave away heaps and spend a fortune on IKEA storage solutions!!!

#9 Princess.cranky.pants

Posted 08 May 2012 - 04:29 PM

Okay we are a family of 5 so not that big. But we live in a small 4 bed house and feel many of the frustrations the PP's have posted. And we only have 3 kids! We cannot wait till we move into something bigger.

One of the biggest problems is the tiny living/dining area. I always seem to be tripping over stuff/toys/children and it drives me insane! I get frustrated with the small living space because we can't fit enough furniture in. We have very little storage and there just seems to be stuff everywhere as a result. I get depressed and I do think the lack of space impacts negatively on our family.

If this house is one you will be staying in for awhile then I do think you need to think ahead to when kids are older. It's now that our kids are getting older (mind you they are still young 7/3/20months) that we are really finding the need for more space.

Our next house I want 2 living areas, lots of storage and decent size bedrooms. There is no way we would fit in a tiny 2 bed house. Don't do it!

#10 hiccamups

Posted 10 May 2012 - 12:32 AM

There is no way we would fit in a tiny 2 bed house. Don't do it!

You're right.  There wasn't even a hallway.

#11 Rosalita

Posted 10 May 2012 - 10:42 AM

One of the biggest problems is the tiny living/dining area. I always seem to be tripping over stuff/toys/children and it drives me insane! I get frustrated with the small living space because we can't fit enough furniture in. We have very little storage and there just seems to be stuff everywhere as a result. I get depressed and I do think the lack of space impacts negatively on our family.

Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!

#12 The 7 Dwarfs

Posted 10 May 2012 - 12:26 PM

We live in a regular sized house which is too small for us, however suits us for our needs. There are frustrations, but there are also benefits. There are things we get to do as a family having a smaller house that we wouldn't be able to do if we had a bigger (and more expensive to run) house.

Eventually we will move again, not for sometime though. As most things in life, we always continue to improve our situation and I've recently done just that. However, doing that meant a sacrifice which just so happened to be our big, wonderful house to a much smaller, more affordable house. But obviously in the long term we will be much better off.

And it also depends on the family. We are heavily involved in sport and often traveling around the state and country. We are more often not at home anyhow. However, I think a family that spends much more time at home than we do would find our home a lot more frustrating with the same amount of people than we do.

#13 amesv

Posted 10 May 2012 - 12:32 PM

We are a family of 5 living in a 3 bedroom 2 small living areas. Although it's nice DS1 and DS2 sharing a room I would prefer they didn't have to, we will be moving in the next 12 months to a larger house. I was in a really large house before moving to this smaller house and I must say I love that cleaning takes me literally half the time, I think there is such thing as to big.

#14 1/2aDozen

Posted 10 May 2012 - 12:38 PM

We have gone from a 4br with study and brand new big functional kitchen and rumpus to a 3br, no rumpus, crappy kitchen and converted a sunroom into two tiny extra br's.

When we got here we had 5 kids, now we have 6.

I HATE IT!  We did it to gain extra land - now on acreage, but the house downsize is not worth it.  

I just need to convince DH that cutting our losses financially is probably worth it because mentally I am struggling.  I do feel guilty, but I just can't help it.  I really hate it.

Good luck OP.  You might be able to manage it much better than me.  I am probably just a spoiled brat  blush.gif

#15 Freddie'sMum

Posted 10 May 2012 - 12:46 PM

I realise I don't belong in this section because we don't have a big family - but here goes -

We are a family of 4 (DH, me and 2 x DDs) - we lived in a 2 bedroom unit with absolutely no space, and I firmly believe that it contributed to me feeling extra crappy when I was home full time with the girls.

We have now moved into a 3 bedroom townhouse with an outside and an extra living space (sunroom - that I put the kids' toys and our clothes airers in).

I LOVE it.  It's not perfect - but it is our "forever" home - we can renovate it as the girls get older but as it stands right now, it's pretty damn good.

I would NOT ever in a million years go back to the 4 of us cramped into a 2 bedroom unit.

#16 Freddie'sMum

Posted 10 May 2012 - 12:46 PM


Edited by Freddie'sMum, 10 May 2012 - 12:47 PM.

#17 reng

Posted 14 May 2012 - 02:36 PM

It really depends why you are moving and whether you consider it to be a long term thing.  We've just sold our place and are renting while we hunt for the next one.  The place we are renting is ok size wise, although its a squeeze to get 2 beds into the 3rd bedroom (i can only fit one leg between the two beds, and i'm size 10!).  It has a courtyard though which is good for galloping room (or locking them outside when we want a few minutes peace).  

If you are moving for a short term gain or for other lifestyle factors - eg less commuting - then go for it, but be prepared to go to the park a lot.  If it's going to be a house that you will stay with and grow into, then you need something that will fit everyone as they get bigger.  People grow but houses don't!

We often consider moving out to western sydney to get more space for our money, but once we weigh this up against the lost time in commuting, then we decide we are happy to squeeze in here.  We walk everywhere and go to the park a lot, so the kids (7,6,2,0) get lots of running done.

#18 Sif

Posted 14 May 2012 - 02:45 PM

We're six in a 2.5 bedroom house with one, small, living area. If we could get into a bigger house, or even just a house with two living areas, we jump at it.

When the boys were young, I used to wonder why people felt the need for bigger houses, honestly, I thought it was all a bit greedy.

With older children, I can now see why. Even though the number of people hasn't grown for the past 3.5 years, the boys are physically bigger and the space around us all feels reduced.

It is hard to actually just get away from one another - and I'm all for communing, but we're all introverts and sometimes we just want shush to be with our thoughts - it's very difficult to find a secluded place in the house.

When they have their friends over it gets even crazier. There isn't room to swing a cat, you can't get away from adolescent chatter and the sounds of video games. The littlies are always, 'butting in', and forget about the adults being able to listen to their own music, or read a book, or watch tv in peace...

We make do with a small house because we have to. I wouldn't move to an outlaying suburb just for a bigger house (because I don't drive and need a lot of local services), but we do dream of a bigger house.

#19 back*again

Posted 28 May 2012 - 10:56 PM

We had 4 children quite comfortably in a small 3 bedroom house.  There was only 4years between them all, I put them all in the one bedroom and had the toy room in the other room.  The change table etc was in the corner of the lounge room.  Biggest problem was the small kitchen.  Our 5th baby squished it too much.  He originally lived in our room, then was moved in with the older children.  Fortunately we had the option of moving to a larger house when he was 6mnths old, a large 4 bedroom house.  Here we had the 2 older girls in 1 room and the 3 boys in another room, and a toy room.  When our 6th child joined us she got the toy room and the toys took over my study corner in the large lounge room (sad face).  Fortunately, when she was about 12mnths old we had the option of moving to a really really large 7 bedroom house.....I <3 my house.  All the kids have their own rooms, some of them quite large (some quite pokey).  There is 2 living areas, so they have a dedicated toy room.  The kitchen is still the achilles heal of the house.

#20 muggins_00

Posted 28 May 2012 - 11:03 PM

We've got 4 kids in a 3 bedroom house. The kids bedrooms are on the smaller side but we've got 2 decent sized living areas so all that's in their rooms are beds/cots and clothes.

Our backyard is small which annoys but I would never choose outside space over inside space, I'd go mad!

#21 sarah_jane

Posted 28 May 2012 - 11:11 PM

I certainly don't belong in this section... as it's only the three of us LOL.

However.... I have a small 3br house, older style (small rooms, all seperate with hallways, not open plan at all) and the only way I feel like I can breathe is to be completely minimal.

In the lounge there is 2 x couches, a kids table and a stereo. That's IT. No TV, no toys, no coffee table.... but enough room to play on the rug.

Kids share a room, their room has bunks, 2 x tallboys and 3 plastic tubs of toys. Again, ROOM to play.

My room is the same, bare minimum.

Spare room different story.... that's where all the clutter goes... cos I just can't deal with it in our living areas.

So, I can't imagine trying to squeeze more people into THIS space! I'm looking forward to working next year when I'm qualified so we can move somewhere bigger original.gif

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