Friday, July 8, 2011

Townhouse Living

Alternately titled: Big Family in a Small Space

Allyson said...

One of the home options available to us right now is a 2 bedroom townhome, but I'm not sure how townhome living will affect our family. Would you mind giving me some ideas of what it was like for your family to live in a townhome?

We lived in a townhouse from April 2005 through  April 2011. Before  we moved in, we had been living in a small 2-bedroom apartment.  We had 2 kids-- a 2-year-old and an 8-month-old.  When we moved out, we had 5 kids, ages 8, 6, 4, 2, and 8 months.  Our townhouse was about 1200 square feet, but we used one bedroom exclusively for storage so we figure we had about 1100 square feet of living space.  There were times when we felt cramped and desperately wanted more space!  I think Brian felt it more than I did.  I was there all day long so it was my cozy space and I made it work, but after Brian had been at work all day, he came home and the tight space could be confining.  I don't mean to say that he complained about it.  The small space just bothered him more than it did me.

We had to be very careful about how much "stuff" came into our house.  We had to limit large toys and toys with small pieces.  The 4 older kids shared a bedroom and the baby shared our room.  Their kids' closet was relatively large so we stored toys on shelves and hung up a lot of their clothes.  We also had a storage spot in their closet for underwear, socks, and PJs. 

For me, the hardest part of living in a townhouse was our lack of privacy.  Any time we went anywhere, our neighbors knew.  Most of our neighbors were friendly and none of them were nosy, but just knowing they knew our every move was a little disconcerting.  We had no problem with noise.  Apparently the walls were built thick, but I still worried when the kids got rowdy or loud.  When we moved into our new house, it was amazing how much freer we felt to come and go. 

She also asked...

Any creative ways of playing with kids outside in a very limited space?
I'm sure we didn't go outside  nearly enough.  Again, it was the privacy issue and the lack of space. We did have a sand table on our back patio that got lots of use, although the neighborhood kids used it, too, and enjoyed throwing our sand on the ground.  We went through a lot of sidewalk chalk.  That was a way to be out in the fresh air without needing a lot of space to move.  We also had quite a collection of bikes and tricycles to use on the many sidewalks around our house. For you, that would depend on the roads near your house and whether such an activity would be safe. Bubbles were another fun thing.  I would blow and the kids would chase and pop.


What suggestions would you give for storing/organizing homeschool material in the main living quarters?

I had to be careful about the amount of homeschool stuff I collected.  We had a tall bookshelf in our bedroom.  One shelf was devoted to homeschool things I wasn't currently using.  That included Bible books we were finished with or math books in a level we hadn't reached or sewing cards or math manipulatives,  plus supplies like paper and markers.  We had another bookshelf downstairs that housed the kids' favorite books and the books we used all the time as a family (the dictionary, a medical book, etc.).  I reserved the  very short top shelf for stacking homeschool materials we used often: current teacher guides, our art prints for the year, the 3-hole punch.  Sometimes I also used the top of the bookshelf to house loose papers like our reading list or coloring sheets.  Finally, each of the older kids had a small tote bag or backpack to hold their personal workbooks and pencils.  We tucked those beside the bookshelf and I insisted on neatness.  No sloppily tossed bags allowed! 

1 comment:

  1. We lived in a townhome for many years too, w/ 5 kids in a 3 bedroom space. We were fortunate to have garages split the homes, so it was quiet. This was also when I ran a daycare, and it worked. Attitude is the can do of it all don't ya think? did I miss the whole bulk shopping posts w/ tri-moms? back to read it more thoroughly, lol....


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