Small House Living with Kids
When we’re finally ready to start a family, one of the first things that comes to mind is the house we’ll live in. Do we have enough space? Should we move? My husband and I decided to raise our growing family in a small house that only has 1000 square feet…by choice! With the right space saving techniques and awesome products designed for small houses, small house living with kids IS POSSIBLE!
“Love grows best in little houses, with fewer walls to separate. Where you eat and sleep so close together, you can’t help but communicate. If we had more room between us, think of all we’d miss. Love grows best in houses just like this. – Doug Stone
Can a Small Home Work for Your Family?
I honestly think most families these days could really benefit from shrinking their space. Are there downsides? Sure! But the benefits far outweigh any cons.
I hear from lots of couples who really want to start a family but can’t afford to move out of their small apartment or buy a bigger home. Then there are the families who have bitten off more than they can chew and are living in a house big enough to hold all the clutter they could ever want, but the financial stress is almost too much to bear.
Why not consider downsizing to a smaller home and significantly downsizing your financial stress? I’m here to tell you from experience that if small house living is what you want, it IS POSSIBLE, even with a growing family.
Our Small House Living Story
When my husband and I finally realized our dream of moving south, we found ourselves living in an RV in a new state with a 5 week old baby. As we shopped around for houses, I couldn’t decide what I wanted. Do we want a little house in the country with some land? Should we buy a townhome since we don’t have much time to maintain a yard? Where will we put more babies if we don’t buy a big enough house?
Home searching proved to be so stressful for us because I couldn’t make up my mind, and my husband would have been happy anywhere as long as it wasn’t in that RV.
Related: Check out these tips to get a small space organized
Unlike him, I didn’t feel rushed. Our baby wasn’t crawling yet so we didn’t need much room. I just wanted to make the right choice for our little family.
After looking tons of houses (and even putting some offers in on homes that weren’t meant to be) my husband fell in love with a tiny 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom house about 40 minutes from town. It had over 2 acres and was priced well below our budget.
I wasn’t sold.
Our little one was getting a little bigger now and I was already thinking about a future baby number 2. “We’ve already outgrown it!” I told him. “We want more kids and have no more rooms for them. What if we have a girl?!”
My husband gently reminded me that any house was bigger than the 300 square feet we were currently living in in our RV. We continued to look at houses until the day he reminded me of a conversation we had one day when we were dating.
I had told him that I didn’t ever want a big house. I wanted a little house with little bedrooms, little closets, and lots of outdoor space. I told him I wanted to raise our kids to appreciate experiences and people, not things. I didn’t want the space to accumulate more stuff we didn’t need. I just wanted porches to spend time on with our neighbors, friends, and each other.
Making a Home in 1000 sq ft
I finally realized he was right. We closed on our home September 11, 2015. Just in time because Nugget started crawling immediately after!
A big factor in making this work is the fact that we attachment parent and co-sleep. Our little Nugget sleeps right next to me and nurses on demand. We plan to do the exact same thing with each baby without asking our toddlers to relocate to their room.
One day, I’m sure they will decide to move on to big boy beds. When that day comes, they can move to our “office” aka 2nd bedroom, with the knowledge that one day, their brothers and sisters will be joining them.
I’ve realized that with some organizational skills and the right sized furniture, you can make just about any space work for you. If we were able to live in an RV for over 2 years, families can easily make 1000 square feet work for them.
Small House Furniture
The best thing you can do to make a small house work for your family is to buy furniture that actually fits in the space and is multi-functional.
I’ve always loved sectionals and was pleasantly surprised to find a small sectional that fits the space perfectly!
Dining / Kitchen
For a dining table, try one with a drop leave that can shorten the table when not in use. I LOVE this one and I absolutely love the Zinus brand.
We’re about to upgrade to this farmhouse table just because I feel like 3 high chairs around our current table will be a little bit of a tight fit. I’m justifying the fact that it isn’t an expandable table because we plan to homeschool and this table will be perfect for that!
Another investment you’ll be happy you made is in stackable dining chairs like these. They’re lightweight and can be moved to other rooms as needed (like when company comes) and stack neatly in a corner when not in use.
Bedroom / Making a Family Bed
The one place we can’t sacrifice space is in bed. With baby number 3 on the way, we have almost outgrown our king bed already. This is the king bed we have and are in love with. We’re purchasing this full-sized bed this week to push next to our king to make our gigantic family bed that we can’t possibly outgrow.
The best part about these beds are these bedframes. They sit up nice and high and have TONS of storage underneath. We use this space for extra kids clothes and even our clothes that are currently in use. We just slide out the under bed storage, take out whatever we need, and slide the bin back. It works so well for our family and adds tons of square footage to our family bedroom.
Perks to Small House Living
One of the biggest perks is the price. Obviously, a house that boasts only 1000 square feet isn’t likely to be at the top of many people’s short lists. Full disclosure, our home was $64,000 on just over 2 acres of land. Another financial perk is utilities. With only 1000 square feet to heat in the winter or cool in the summer, your energy savings can really add up. Plus, there are less rooms with less lights to be accidentally left on to consume expensive electricity.
But We Have/Want More Kids!
I know what you might be thinking. “But how can I entertain in such a small house?” Or “it’s easy for you to say, you only have two kids!”
Related: Small House Furniture
Well, we’re currently expecting baby #3 and don’t plan to stop there.
My husband and I would like to have 4 kids one day and feel that we would be perfectly happy in this home. A little cramped? Sure. But at the end of the day, we have more money to make memories outside of our home because we aren’t house poor. We are able to travel to see friends in other states. We are also able to “homestead” and be more self-sufficient.
My advice to anyone looking for a home to grow their family in is to really consider your values and priorities.
I don’t judge anyone for having a large home. In fact, most of our friends live in homes that are at least 2000 square feet.
However, we feel such a cozy home gives us opportunities we wouldn’t otherwise have. Not just financially, but socially. We’re never far from our baby in our home, we don’t spend hours and hours cleaning and organizing it, and we ultimately have more time to spend with each other.
When our kids leave our home, we’re confident they’ll remember the memories we made in our adorable little ranch, not long for a childhood with more rooms and more things that will eventually wither away.
We do plan to add on a master suite with a bathroom one day when the kids are older adding about 300 square feet, but it just isn’t a priority for us for the foreseeable future. After all, our things are just that…things. It’s our memories and relationships that will last forever.
There are so many benefits to living in a small home, that we feel it’s the perfect fit for our family. If you are on a limited budget or have the desire to become more self-sufficient, small house living with kids is a great option – one that I hope you’ll consider!
Do you think you could ever live in 1000 square feet with your family? Why or why not? Let me know in the comments!