Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Gettin started on downsizing

We like to change our rooms around. Through various ages and stages, wants and needs of our four children, through fads and phases and theories, we have made some choices that have ranged from perfect to absurd to weird to impractical to genius.

Well, this is what we did yesterday: We took all four of the kids' beds, and put them into our smallest bedroom. All lined up like a little storybook cottage. Nothing else in there, no dressers, no toys, no flim flam. Just 4 beds, a nightlight and a fan for white noise.

In the other bedroom, our biggest one, we made it into a sort of super fun kids' lounge. 2 TVs, a couch, a little table, video games, lamps, a few toys, open ended stuff like little cars and blocks, and some throw pillows. They got to hang every crazy poster they collectively owned, The Beatles, Lord Of The Rings, Harry Potter. Spongebob, and all the drawings they ever wanted to tape up.

Then the third bedroom is for me and my husband.

There are boxes and boxes of flibbety flub for us to go through and to get rid of/sort/and distribute. We told the kids that this is going to be a fun hang out for EVERYONE, and so it cant be all delicately decorated with Charlie on the prowl. I told them they will each get a shelf about 4 feet up to lay out their display items such as jewelry box, little trophies, special trinkets.

The Mom-secret to all of this is that all the stuff that is crazy and hodge podge can be in the their kids lounge, and I can have my nursery-decor urges fulfilled by the sweet and peaceful little sleeping room they share.

I think back to how we used to fret about what "people" thought back when Greta and Mickey--gasp--shared a room when they were little tots. I laugh and shake my head at how much I cared what relatives who came by twice a year (if we were lucky!) thought about our life. Silly old 20-something Joy. I remember how excited Greta was when baby Mickey started sleeping in her room and not with mama anymore, and how much fun they all have had in various room-sharing combos over the years.

Now we have 4 kids sharing a room to sleep happily and we got this amazingly cute and fun kids lounge room out of it. They have proclaimed me to be a genius and were jumping up and down and screaming how much they loved it. Cool!

Maybe it will last and maybe not. But it was fun to do and I think it will solve alot of small issues we were having. For example, Greta likes to stay up later, but me and Steve are kind of "done" by about 8 or 8:30. So, we told her she can stay up in the kids loungey room and read for a while, watch an approved show that her brothers are too young for (she likes Animal Cops, a scary true show about animal rescue squads in different cities: pretty graphic images about abused dogs and such--she also likes Goosebumps, a mildly "scary" show written for her age that is too scary for Mickey that comes on at 8:30-9pm)

So we put Charlie to bed first, around 7:30 and let him fall asleep. Then Casey around 7:45 . then Mickey around 8, then Greta later. It worked last night, hope it continues.

I keep learning so much from these small house people, and this is good practice for us. As Greta put it yesterday when we were setting up all the beds, "Mama, there is room for 4 bunk beds in here! That's 8 people!"

That's my girl! She and I have been pouring over this site for days now, looking for inspiration. We have a tentative plan to declutter, compact, and scale down over the next few months so that we can begin to look for a new more simple and small and cozy and affordable home in the area in January. I must admit I have already been peeking and poking about online on craigslist and and there is lots of stuff out there at a fraction of what we pay now. We are looking for something with a small cottage like inside and a fenced yard. Other fantasies include a kitchen with some kind of half-wall so I don't feel so isolated in there (found 3 online already but I'm not supposed to be looking yet!! arg) and just a simple, cheery vibe. I want NO ceiling panels and NO upstairs with dangerous stairs. I also really do not want carpet--too many bad memories of stained crusty grossness at the old house.

Today: going through the schoolroom and leaving ONLY what we use and love.

(This is so fun!!!!!!)


Trish said...

How super cool!!!

I wish my kids all got along as well as yours! For the minute or two I tried to have Julia and Tommy share a room we had a melt-down :-(

At one point in our lives we had one bedroom with wall to wall mattresses directly on the floor. The room was so small that we had to take the door off and put a beaded curtain up. We did the family bed in there and made the master bedroom a "dressing room" - complete with a futon for "grown-up alone time" ;-) The other bedroom held the kids' clothes and some toys. It was lovely. But after a while we got sick of having all those kids in our sleeping space.

Anyway, I think what you're doing is wonderful. The sleeping room looks so cute and comfy! With less stuff in there to distract them, I bet they'll sleep wonderfully!

Good Luck!!!

Housefairy said...

Trish, thank you so much! I was surprised at how fun both rooms became. We did it all last night from about 4 to 7 pm. They have been playing in the kids lounge all morning, somehow this isnt usually possible in the regualr house. Maybe the cozyness is helping?

We did the giant mattresses on the floor room years ago, too. It was cool and awful. I think Casey was a crawling baby, Greta was 6 and Mickey was 3. It was supossed to get me more sleep but I got much much less--but I love the concept.

Rixa said...

I love the idea of a sleeping room and then a play/lounge/getting dressed room! That way kids can get ready for bed, read books, etc without bugging the already sleeping ones! Brilliant.

I shared a bed with my little brother (10 years younger) when I was in my teens. It was fine except when he wet the bed! Anyway room sharing is no big deal, especially when everyone has their own beds.

Don't fret about carpet. It's super easy to rip it up and install wood floors, especially if you buy pre-finished wood flooring. Then all you have to do is nail it down with a rented air compressor and nail gun, and you're done. We've always done wood floors the old-fashioned way (install, sand, and finish) but I am definitely open to pre-finished in the future.

Amanda said...

I love how you have these great ideas and go for it. I hope that didn't sound like a back-handed compliment, I know you look into everything you do before you try it but at least you try it! If it doesn't work you turn it into a great blog and we can learn from it!

P.S. So excited I figured out the trick to start commenting again!

Kelley said...

We've got all three of our kids sleeping in the same room right now. Kind of by accident, really. Josh prefers to sleep in a sleeping bag on the floor, and Matt and Ben share the queen-size bed we handed down when we bought our king. I love our new bed. It is so amazingly comfortable, and we got a smokin' deal on it, too. Anyway, all three boys share a room. We keep a twin-size bed up in the other bedroom/playroom for guests or if one of the kiddos is not going to sleep and is bugging everybody else. We've been doing it for months, and the boys love it. The only problem is that when one wakes up, they all wake up. Makes for some early mornings, that's for sure. :)

I love the idea of all that decluttering. I get so tired of cleaning up this house. Arrggh. I try to have it so that if I'm working the kids are, too, but it doesn't always work that way. :(

Housefairy said...

Glad to hear about more room-sharers. Like so many thins, sleeping alone is such a new invention, less than 200 years old, just a blip on the human timeline...

I shared an actual bed with my little sis too, and she wet the bed sometimes, hee hee. (I hope she doesnt mind that I said this, she was VERY young.)

Charlie cries very early and if I nurse him in my bed, he will go back to sleep in the crib. So goes the theory. Today he just stood in the crib and said (shouted) "Gegga! Gickey! Daysee!" and we ran back in there and got him out in order to save sleep for the others and switched camp to the living room where he played with wooden trains in the early hours of dawn while me and Steve laid there on the couches and sulked. That kinda sucked. But it is very novel for him to see all the siblings in the room and unfortuanelty they all insisted on a nightlight so he saw them all...not too worried about it yet...

Jill said...

What a cool mom you are! That's an awesome idea. I felt a kid-like thrill of excitement just reading this post. Maybe one day when we have a 3/4 bedroom house and not just a 2 bedroom apartment, we will try something like this. :)

Housefairy said...

Thanks! I think like a kid, which is usually a blessing ;)

I knew they would like this, and I love it. Plus, if we ever did end up in a situation where we HAD to room share to such an extent, they are used to it now!

SO funny how people are either fiercely against this or totally into it. But for us, it has been awesomely fun!