Small house, big teenage kids! I need your help organizing. Thank you in advance!! : )

Bonnie - posted on 02/17/2009 ( 2 moms have responded )

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Ladies, I need your help. I am a happily married mother of 4: ages 16, 14, 11 and 9. As the bodies get bigger, and require more acoutrements for activities, our 1550 sq. ft. 3 bedroom house has shrunk. Due to student loans, we are not going anywhere. I think often of my great grandparents who raised 4 in a 2 bedroom house, much smaller than mine. I am grateful for what I have, I just don't know how to organize it. The kids are generally awesome about bathroom time for one another, so contention isn't the issue, though my 14 year old pines for her own room as the 11 yr. old is messy. It is clutter. Our house is packed. The great room has couch, loveseat, comp. desk, book shelf and keyboard. There is no visual space not occupied.



As you all know, with teens we get way busier and are rarely at home. This calls for some serious appliances!! LOL! Crock pot for when you are gone, bread maker for when you have no time, rice cooker, because you have 3 other things going on the stove to feed them. I also have our food and emergency storage, as the economy is so scary. I think everyone should have at least 3 months, in case something happens and stores can't replenish stock for a while, or there are shortages of anything. So my kitchen is packed. Our dining room is 9X9 feet, for a family of 6. I feel like putting a sectional couch and small table in THERE, and making the family room our dining!!



Now, I have looked at my share of new homes wishing, and have fun rating kitchens by how many drawers they have!! : D !! Mine has 5 little drawers. What can I do to get more organized? I do all kinds of cooking and love to, so getting rid of things is really, really scary for me. I understand if I don't use it, I don't need it. So I can rid of things. I already am utilizing big wicker baskets on top of the cabinets to hold seasonal things for holidays, some of the big bags of sugar, and such. The home is about 11 years old, so it's not falling apart, but needs new flooring etc. We will get to that eventually, to prepare for resale, but for now, help me make it doable with teens. What do you do to make the most of your living area, in a house with lots of kids, and not feel clausterphobic?

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Bonnie - posted on 02/20/2009

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Thank you, Suzanne!  Wow, was this helpful!!  I appreciate all your wonderful suggestions.  I will try to purge, and then try and collect some "smart" pieces that function several ways.  IKEA. . .can't wait to check it out.  You are wonderful. 



I imagine being an Interior Designer would be so incredible!  You really make a difference in the world, as you change individual families' worlds, from the inside out.  What a cool profession.  Thanks again.

Suzanne - posted on 02/19/2009

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Hey Bonnie,

I am an Interior Designer and the movement and Architecture and Design is towards having small spaces that are planned really well versus large spaces that lack intimacy. There are some really good books out there now that address the very problem that you are talking about. See if your library has any that address the issues of small spaces (there is a whole series of books with "Small Spaces" in the title look for those) and organization. Another idea is to check out IKEA, they have furniture/storage ideas that are from Europe that aren't as expensive as some of the other stores. Europe has exactly what you are describing--small homes that require unique solutions.



Get some of your storage off the floor and onto the walls and that might help. The other thing to remember is that we don't always need all of the stuff we accumulate...clean out, purge and have a yard sale. The more time you put into uncluttering will really be worth it. Good luck!

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