Tag: Our Home

How We Make Small Spaces Work With Toddlers

img_8335You may remember that our home is currently split into two separate apartments. We currently occupy the first floor and the basement; while someday we hope to make it back into one house and utilize all of the space for our family, for now we make it work and I think we do it fairly well.

It takes creativity to have four people live in approximately 700 sq. ft. (plus the basement), and it takes some time to figure out the best way to arrange things. We’ve been here 2.5 years and I’m still always thinking of new/better furniture arrangements. 🙂 Everything must be multi-functional in order to live comfortably.

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One of the things we (by we, I mean my dad) did to make the living room (which had been split in half with a wall and a door to create a bedroom) more functional was to put in french doors. In the future, it can just be part of the living room/an office and not a bedroom, but it is currently the boys’ bedroom.

Until last weekend, the living room was also their playroom (which is fine, as we do not believe children should be confined to a separate space – this is their home, too, plus, how?).

We wanted to make better use of our available space so we took down the huge crib (where Caleb had been sleeping) and added another Pack-n-Play (with a good mattress, like Isaiah has been using).

This allowed us to move their play area into their room and make it an even better living situation for us all!

We also have a reading station and a music station in the living room, as well as other bigger toys (currently these tunnels) for them to enjoy.

They carry their toys from room to room and it’s never this clean (I quickly tidied up to be able to take a decent picture!), but that’s okay. We wanted them to feel free to have fun and to play wherever they want, safely. Toddler life is not a tidy life, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

While it isn’t always easy to live in a small space, it is possible, and it is worth it. It’s saving us money, helping us become debt-free, and it’s forcing us to be thoughtful about using every inch wisely. And there’s less space to clean 😉

Day Twenty-Six: We’re Thankful For…Our Home.

Preface: Last year I decided to express my thanks during the month of November for something new each day, as so many others have done before me. I never finished this series, so that’s my goal this year. I am re-posting the ones I wrote last year and adding new ones. This one is new 🙂

In September 2012, we were very content to continue renting and not be “tied down” anywhere. Our rent was cheap, our apartment was in an amazing location, and we were happy. But that all changed the following month…

Our landlord had recently placed a brand new manufactured home on our property and told us that he would be renting it for close to $1,000 per month. I was really surprised that anyone would pay that much to rent a 3 bedroom, 1 bathroom home (our rent was $550 for a 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom top floor of a house)…so I started looking at property around our area to see if that was comparable or high. Turns out it was high. 🙂

During my search, an ad appeared on one of the websites that said something like this: “If this were your home, your mortgage would be ____.” Whatever that number was, it was low, and it made me consider the possibility of buying a house so that we could actually SAVE money.

Brennan and I started talking seriously about buying a house in October 2012. We had very few “requirements” – natural gas heat, central air, and lots of space. We saw six houses, and the last one that we toured became our first home together.

On November 1st, with my parents and his mom and step-dad, we toured a bank-owned, not pretty house. It had plenty of space (1,800 sq. ft, 4 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms on a 1/2 acre), it was in a good neighborhood, and it was incredibly inexpensive. It needed a lot of cosmetic work, but nothing major. So, on November 1st, 2012, we made an offer.

We closed on December 21, 2012 and immediately got to work by tearing up all the carpet in the basement. We moved in on January 20, 2013 and that’s when the work really began.

We are so thankful for the opportunity that we had to buy this house – especially because it is worth approximately $55K more than we paid for it. Selling this house will allow us to be debt-free as we could pay off our student loans with the profit.

We are also thankful for the amount of space that we now have for housing/hosting people! It was difficult to have many people over in our little 600 sq. foot apartment; now we can comfortably sleep TEN PEOPLE on couches and beds (and even more if we had more air mattresses!). We recently had a church event at our house and had over 30 people there, comfortably. This house has created such an opportunity for ministry (RYFO, church, etc.) and we LOVE it.

We are even more thankful for all of the people who selflessly donated their skills and time to help us do the work that was needed (my parents, Dan, Kim, Dean, Jason, Courtney, Tim, Stacey, Shannon, Jana, Billy, and so many more!) – we couldn’t have made as much progress without help! There is still quite a bit of work to be done (and yes, we still need a lot of help!), but as you can see in the pictures below, we’ve already accomplished so much.

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Thank you, Lord, for our beautiful home…