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Small house people... please commiserate with me.


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Under 1200 sqft, four adults.  Yes, 3 of them work full time, but when it's everybody, I feel like the walls are closing in on me.   I love and adore these people.  Seriously, they are my people.  But crapola, I'm going bonkers.    Tell me I'm not the only one.    

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650 sq ft and 4 of us -- 3 adults and one 17 year old.  It was a thing during lockdown here as we were only allowed to leave our flat for 1 hour of exercise per day (NZ lockdown was one of the strictest in the world).  With 3 rooms (2 bedrooms and a lounge), in the end we set up a small tent in the lounge for my teen, because I had to work by zoom in the same room. 

Now, my big boy is back again, but with my husband at work, we have 3 rooms and 3 people during the day. This is more doable.

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We don't have a small house (2860 square feet plus a basement), but man this last 10 months have made it seem tiny.  We are using every inch.  7 people and 2 dogs who are home 24 hours a day now.  I can't wait for life to get more normal so we can get out of the house again.  We have been living like it is still March.  This would have been the best time to have a huge house.  I think it would have been a lot better for my sanity.  Or have a huge yard.  We don't have that either. 

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865sqft, two adults and two teens. My teens are in the living room most of the time. My husband is either in the bedroom on conference calls or in the patio gardening. I am usually in the kitchen. 

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1650 sqft. 11 people. But the layout is such that I never feel like the walls are closing in on me which I always felt when we lived in 1850 sqft but with a great-room layout. So I do love my small house...although 10 of us are always here 24/7 so perhaps I'm just used to this? And 4 have "flown the coop" so it feels more spacious/quiet. Maybe if some of them worked full time, then were home all the time, I would feel differently.


 

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4 minutes ago, BakersDozen said:

1650 sqft. 11 people. But the layout is such that I never feel like the walls are closing in on me which I always felt when we lived in 1850 sqft but with a great-room layout. So I do love my small house...although 10 of us are always here 24/7 so perhaps I'm just used to this? And 4 have "flown the coop" so it feels more spacious/quiet. Maybe if some of them worked full time, then were home all the time, I would feel differently.


 

Do you live in the country? For a time, we lived in a house approximately 1,000 sq feet when we had eight kids. It is fondly remembered as our favorite house however, we lived on an acreage with two barns and a chicken coop. It was glorious. I don’t think I could do it in town. DH and I say we are small house people at heart, but small house plus more than two adults in a home is a challenge for sure, especially if the personalities aren’t complementary. 
 

 

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2300 sq feet and 8 people (4 adults 4 kids).  There is enough rooms that we can get mostly by ourselves but the real problem is that the extroverts won't stay in spaces by themselves.  They follow the introverts around the house and talk nonstop and get highly offended when you ask them to give you space.  To make matters worse, the 2 extroverts won't talk to each other which means there is at least 2 introverts at all time trying to foist their shadow off on some other introvert who is already trying to hide from both the extroverts and the other introverts. It's not a pleasant dynamic.

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15 minutes ago, BlsdMama said:

Do you live in the country?

No. We have just under .25 acre that is well laid out (kind of like our small house) so there is a lot of space for kids to build, climb, play, etc. We've made large investments in space-saving measures (lofts, cabinets) and fun toys for yard and home so each space/area has something different. I think it helps that I grew up in about the same space with 6 people but the layout was horrible and my mom was a nut job (still is) about having huge furniture but little floor space. She wouldn't allow bunk beds, she took the largest room/closet for herself, and we basically had room to walk in bedrooms but nowhere to play. And never were we given space outside our bedrooms for toys and such. So this house with it's great layout is really ideal - enough space but not too much space.

I've also made sure to carve out space for individual kids. So everyone has a desk/bed area that is like a tiny "room" of sorts. If someone needs to be quiet or by themselves they have that place/space.

 

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1250 sq. ft., 3 adults, all working. We have a shop and room to roam, cannot imagine being less rural. But we do have the great room layout and there are definitely days off and evenings when our poor lone introvert wishes the other two of us, who process everything verbally, would please stop!

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1490 square feet: 3 adults and a 15 yo.

The house was built in 1949 so the rooms are tiny and it’s mostly not open plan. There was an addition built on to create a dining room and that’s open to the living room, but otherwise, there are a lot of doors in this house.  And that’s a great thing.  We can each mostly find a nook somewhere away from everyone else and shut the door.

My DH likes to have the TV running all the time when he’s not working (from home), and sometimes I just Can’t Take It Anymore. He likes to watch British comedy game shows with lots of canned laughter. Oh, it drives me bonkers. Every 5 seconds: AHAHAHAH!! So, when I just Can’t Take It Anymore, he will put on some sort of bluetooth earbuds and listen through those. 

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We're at about 1600 sqft plus laundry and storage in the back which isn't counted in the estimate, I'm pretty sure. 2 adults and 2 grown sized teens. 

One of the things that makes it feel smaller is the lack of outdoor space. We're lucky that we do have a little front and backyard - the back has a little patio. But it's a rowhouse, so we're right up against the neighbors. BalletBoy is currently using a huge swath of that space for his dance "studio." There's marley down and a PVC pipe barre on the wall. The pandemic has helped us use our space more and more effectively, but... it still feels like nowhere near enough.

 

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2 hours ago, Thatboyofmine said:

Under 1200 sqft, four adults.  Yes, 3 of them work full time, but when it's everybody, I feel like the walls are closing in on me.   I love and adore these people.  Seriously, they are my people.  But crapola, I'm going bonkers.    Tell me I'm not the only one.    

I feel you.

1450 sq ft here - 6 humans, 3 large dogs (60lbs is the smallest) and 2 cats. Only one, my 21 yr old, works outside the house. DH is now working out of our bedroom, other kids are homeschooled. So 5 humans in it all the time, and no one but 21 yr old goes in his bedroom, so rest are in what is left. 

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1 hour ago, SeaConquest said:

Try 4 people in a 5th wheel. I think we maybe have 400 square feet. Maybe. Just shoot me.

My dh wanted to pack 6 kids and us in a travel trailer some years back and "just go". I told him OK...he can "just go" as far and long as he wants. But we wouldn't "just go" with him. We would, however, just stay and wait for him to return. Did he want me to lose my mind???? Kudos to those who are in trailers/RVs and maintaining your sanity.

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1 hour ago, Melissa Louise said:

I feel your pain. 

I spend a LOT of time in my room. 

I can't even go there because DH is working in there! 

So DH is in the master bedroom all day, DS 21 has one of the remaining 2 bedrooms, so during the day the other 3 kids and I and the 3 big dogs and the cats all are in the one remaining bedroom or the main living area/kitchen. All open to each other. Oh, and that bedroom's door doesn't shut because there is a doorway gym/swing thing hanging there. So can't even close the door on whatever kids are in there. 

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My dad claims this house is over 2k sq ft but I dunno.  There are 6 of us here right now, 3 adults and 3 kids.  But it's not so much the size that is the problem.  It's the fact that a) the space is not optimized for 6 people and b) it's not 6 people, it's a household of 2 and a household of 4....a different spacing dynamic.  

 

And I am about to lose my ever loving mind.  

 

ETA: even if the house is 2k sq ft, the upper floor is really only a half story...it's one of those where the roof slopes down into the living spaces.  And it's carved up badly, because of that.  The 2nd story only contains a total of 2 bedrooms and a 3/4 bath (has a tub, but there's not enough height for there to be a shower) So that leaves the downstairs having a living room, family room, bedroom, full bath and eat in kitchen.  

It's extremely different from the 2k sq ft space I was in that had a formal living room and dining room in the front, the worlds tiniest kitchen and then a huge main room, playroom/den area, and florida room all for living spaces, plus 3 bedrooms and 2 full sized bathrooms.  

 

How a space is utilized really makes a difference.  

Edited by happysmileylady
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Us too. About 1260 sq ft with 4 adult sized people (and a 50 lb dog) all working or schooling at home right now. Winter makes it way, way worse. We have .25 acre that is very pleasant to be out in most of the year, but not Jan and Feb. I am longing for spring and summer! 

The extrovert/introvert thing is real. I am a verbal processor, but can’t because it drives my peeps crazy. So they can be themselves, but I am not allowed to be me in my own house. 

(Thankful for friends who like to talk on the phone!)

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1 hour ago, Farrar said:

We're at about 1600 sqft plus laundry and storage in the back which isn't counted in the estimate, I'm pretty sure. 2 adults and 2 grown sized teens. 

One of the things that makes it feel smaller is the lack of outdoor space. We're lucky that we do have a little front and backyard - the back has a little patio. But it's a rowhouse, so we're right up against the neighbors. BalletBoy is currently using a huge swath of that space for his dance "studio." There's marley down and a PVC pipe barre on the wall. The pandemic has helped us use our space more and more effectively, but... it still feels like nowhere near enough.

 

That is going on in our house too.  We turned almost our whole basement into a dance studio.  While it is great that the kids get to still dance in a functional space, we can't do anything with all that space.  

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26 minutes ago, ktgrok said:

I can't even go there because DH is working in there! 

So DH is in the master bedroom all day, DS 21 has one of the remaining 2 bedrooms, so during the day the other 3 kids and I and the 3 big dogs and the cats all are in the one remaining bedroom or the main living area/kitchen. All open to each other. Oh, and that bedroom's door doesn't shut because there is a doorway gym/swing thing hanging there. So can't even close the door on whatever kids are in there. 

Yeah, one of my kids moved out and so I took her room. When there were 5 of us here, it was not spacious.

Really difficult for ppl who have spouses using that bedroom space as a study. 

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Small house, but, only 3 of us, so I don't have it as bad as some others, but, my people are LOUD when they are on Zoom calls and one of them does rigorous conditioning on Zoom where the padding we put down on hardwood is insufficient and we hear thump, thump, thump for a long time every day! Human voices disturb my thought process and I loose my train of thought all the time when loud people are around me. My DH bought me a high end noise cancelling headphone set but now, my glasses get skewed when I wear them and hence I need to decide if I can read without glasses or headphones most of the time.

I am an introvert and like my peace and quiet. I can go out to my yard to escape it all, normally, but, there are days like now where the wind is 25mph and it is unpleasant outside. I hate these days.

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2 hours ago, prairiewindmomma said:

I feel like I am drowning in stuff and people.  I really need to go more minimalist.

This is how I feel! We have 1500sq ft for 7 people (3 adults, 4 kids) and it was hard when my husband was teaching from home in the spring.

We really need to upgrade to less/better furniture that would work better in our spaces. It pains me to say it but, if we had fewer bookcases ... 😮

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1 hour ago, BakersDozen said:

My dh wanted to pack 6 kids and us in a travel trailer some years back and "just go". I told him OK...he can "just go" as far and long as he wants. But we wouldn't "just go" with him. We would, however, just stay and wait for him to return. Did he want me to lose my mind???? Kudos to those who are in trailers/RVs and maintaining your sanity.

Well, I don't know that I am maintaining my sanity, but here I am.  This seemed like a much better idea when the entirety of Southern California wasn't closed up tight with no place for us to go, nothing to do, and no friends to do it with anyway. So, yeah, I can think of better ideas than basically being bedridden +10 steps for almost a year.

Edited by SeaConquest
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32 minutes ago, Noreen Claire said:

It pains me to say it but, if we had fewer bookcases ...

Gasp!!! Not that...anything but that! Throw out everything else but not the bookcases!!

What my dh wouldn't give to have fewer of those in the house (and books as well, lol).

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48 minutes ago, Noreen Claire said:

This is how I feel! We have 1500sq ft for 7 people (3 adults, 4 kids) and it was hard when my husband was teaching from home in the spring.

We really need to upgrade to less/better furniture that would work better in our spaces. It pains me to say it but, if we had fewer bookcases ... 😮

Yes! I've had that same thought. But my husband would mutiny. Mind you, he doesn't READ the dang books. Or use them. But he likes looking at them. I want that space. Between 5 regular bookcases (well, one is used for toys), two smaller cube bookcase things (those are for a mix of toys and books) and two great big dog kennels (one is 49 inches long!) and then actual furniture it's SO cramped. Not a wasted inch. 

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Yup.  1100sf,  currently two adults, a soon-to-be adult, another teen, and a tween. Plus a tiny dog and old cat.  Other dd moved out recently and oldest ds about two years ago. But he was before pandemic.

On top of that, dh is “privileged” to be able to work from home when he feels like it. His privilege is my nightmare. (He’s the only person in his business office. I’m not trying to say I want him to increase exposure or anything.)

We’re looking at plans for around 1800-2000sf but with a basement. I will happily hang out in a basement. Or garage. Or attic. Or tiny closet under the stairs. But building is looking about 9 months time right now.

I do spend a lot of time in my room. When dh isn’t working in it.  And I spent two weeks without my room when dh got COVID. That was something!

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750 square feet, 2 adults and 2 teenagers.    No bonus space at all (no attic, basement, garage, etc) but a decent outside area if the weather is cooperative (which it isn't these days).    We manage because we're all introverts so the kids spend 99% of their time in their rooms.  I'm really the only one that doesn't have a space of my own to escape to, but I also have the science center (my business) that I can go to.   That helps quite a bit. 

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Not that I want anyone else to suffer, lol, but I’m glad I’m not the only one!   

lately, I’ve been keeping up with real estate just to see if something pops up.  I do NOT want to move, ever again!  But the walls are closing in, ykwim?   I did mention to dh getting me a “she shed”.    I know the problem is my introvert-ness.   I’m fine during the day when everyone is at work, but crap, they walk in and the tv gets turned on, everybody is talking, shutting and opening doors, walking around.  The problem is me, I know it.   Sound is really bothersome to me.  Maybe I need noise canceling headphones, too.  

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A little under 800 sq ft here, only 3 people. It’s not horrible. But my goodness, the neighbors are so loud and their cooking is so... fragrant.
 

Our biggest issue isn’t necessarily the small space but that we don’t have the proper furniture to accommodate the stuff. Books in baskets instead of shelves. Toys in buckets and small bins that eat up floor space. Sigh. 

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22 minutes ago, Thatboyofmine said:

Not that I want anyone else to suffer, lol, but I’m glad I’m not the only one!   

lately, I’ve been keeping up with real estate just to see if something pops up.  I do NOT want to move, ever again!  But the walls are closing in, ykwim?   I did mention to dh getting me a “she shed”.    I know the problem is my introvert-ness.   I’m fine during the day when everyone is at work, but crap, they walk in and the tv gets turned on, everybody is talking, shutting and opening doors, walking around.  The problem is me, I know it.   Sound is really bothersome to me.  Maybe I need noise canceling headphones, too.  

I'm sensitive to sound. Thankfully, my house has a broken up floor plan so I can escape to the kitchen to get away from most of the noise. And the televison makes me bonkers. My kids do know that I like quiet when I'm cooking so they've learned to mostly leave me alone. And I do use audio books/podcasts in earbuds to kind of escape to my own brain. Kids know to leave mom alone when the earbuds are in.

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20 hours ago, BakersDozen said:

1650 sqft. 11 people. But the layout is such that I never feel like the walls are closing in on me which I always felt when we lived in 1850 sqft but with a great-room layout. So I do love my small house...although 10 of us are always here 24/7 so perhaps I'm just used to this? And 4 have "flown the coop" so it feels more spacious/quiet. Maybe if some of them worked full time, then were home all the time, I would feel differently.


 

Wow, how many bedrooms do you have?  

 

 

 

I think a lot of it is if you have outdoor space or lots of rooms and the sq footage is done well.  We are looking at building another house and the floor plan is the thing that would be the most important to me.  Our house is 2860 square feet now, but the downstairs is 2 rooms (other than laundry and bathroom).  I hate open floor plans.  HATE.  Of course I didn't know that going into this because I never lived in one.  I am currently looking at a home that says it is 1800 square foot(plus a full basement) and it looks so well spaced.  A room or two might be smaller than ours, but it has the same spaces inside.  Of course at this point I would love like 5000 square feet and everyone have their own rooms.  But I thought I read at one point that square footage doesn't have a standard calculation from city or state to state.  We have stayed in a lot of rentals that are smaller than our house, but have such great floor plans you could see living in them better than our current house. 

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3 hours ago, mommyoffive said:

Wow, how many bedrooms do you have? 

3 bedrooms - 1 very small (ours), one about 10X14 (4 boys), one master w/vaulted ceiling (girls' suite w/loft we built).

And I would like to amend my original response, if I may. First, we have no animals. One dog or cat and any space makes me feel closed in and like I need to flee. Seriously. Second, we're all home all day, every day, so I'm used to this. Third, dh has worked from home the last 2 days due to a record snowfall and I.am.ready.to.lose.my.mind. Give me all 13 kids home at one time and I'm fine. What it is about dh being home I don't know but things are getting mighty tense and I feel like the walls are closing in on me.

 

 

3 hours ago, mommyoffive said:

I hate open floor plans.  HATE. 

Yep. There's never an escape. Never a chance to "leave" one room and go to another. Our floor plan makes me sane (unless dh is home, lol).

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On 1/25/2021 at 2:30 PM, lewelma said:

650 sq ft and 4 of us -- 3 adults and one 17 year old.  It was a thing during lockdown here as we were only allowed to leave our flat for 1 hour of exercise per day (NZ lockdown was one of the strictest in the world).  With 3 rooms (2 bedrooms and a lounge), in the end we set up a small tent in the lounge for my teen, because I had to work by zoom in the same room. 

Now, my big boy is back again, but with my husband at work, we have 3 rooms and 3 people during the day. This is more doable.

Sometimes we have 3 people zooming in the main room at the same time. 

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1 hour ago, BakersDozen said:

, dh has worked from home the last 2 days due to a record snowfall and I.am.ready.to.lose.my.mind. Give me all 13 kids home at one time and I'm fine. What it is about dh being home I don't know but things are getting mighty tense and I feel like the walls are closing in on me.

 

You know, I really do think this is a lot of my current frustration. It's like I have a guest or a supervisor or something, even though he doesn't act that way, PLUS I have to try to keep noise down for him, PLUS I can't go in my room to say, fold laundry on the bed by myself for 15 minutes or whatever. Just that little bit of alone time made a huge difference. 

Plus he throws me off with meals, etc. He always wants to eat lunch before I've started it, then snacks on random things that I bought for the kids, etc. Or works through and it gets cold, etc. Drives me bonkers. 

And when he takes a short lunch break and is "off duty" for a bit, he comes to see and talk to me in the kitchen, but that's my busiest time! I'm trying to get lunch made, do dishes, just finished with dealing with school struggles, etc and he's just STANDING THERE TALKING TO ME when I'm thinking 5 things at once and trying to get food plated. Dude, this is your break, but this is my rush hour! MOVE!!!!!

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1 hour ago, sassenach said:

Sometimes we have 3 people zooming in the main room at the same time. 

Boy, I'm not sure how you would hear anything. Our main room is about 13 by 14ft square.  

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32 minutes ago, lewelma said:

Boy, I'm not sure how you would hear anything. Our main room is about 13 by 14ft square.  

Everyone is on noise canceling headphones though ds was a smidge embarrassed when I was loudly talking about pushing down above the pubic bone (OB nursing) and he happened to be unmuted for English. 
 

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On 1/25/2021 at 5:12 PM, BakersDozen said:

No. We have just under .25 acre that is well laid out (kind of like our small house) so there is a lot of space for kids to build, climb, play, etc. We've made large investments in space-saving measures (lofts, cabinets) and fun toys for yard and home so each space/area has something different. I think it helps that I grew up in about the same space with 6 people but the layout was horrible and my mom was a nut job (still is) about having huge furniture but little floor space. She wouldn't allow bunk beds, she took the largest room/closet for herself, and we basically had room to walk in bedrooms but nowhere to play. And never were we given space outside our bedrooms for toys and such. So this house with it's great layout is really ideal - enough space but not too much space.

I've also made sure to carve out space for individual kids. So everyone has a desk/bed area that is like a tiny "room" of sorts. If someone needs to be quiet or by themselves they have that place/space.

 

What kind of beds do you  have for your kids?  Do they each have a loft?  Or are you using bunk beds?   I am redoing rooms for people and I am trying to figure out what would be best.  Lofts or Bunks?

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When all our kids were home, we had a 1650-foot house with one full bathroom and 7 people.  We also have hyper-sensory-sensitive children.  We maybe had more casual rules in place as a result?  So, for example, music couldn't be too loud (although everyone took piano lessons so there was always that going on!).  We tried to make cozy little spaces all over.  We had a schedule for the shower.  We had three screened porches, and those plus the yard nearly doubled the size of things in the summer!  We looked forward to summers so much, and stretched them as far as we could into the fall so that we had more space.

In the winter, we were all pretty active outside of the home so when we were actually home, it was time to relax or buckle down to chores or school work, so I guess that made it a little easier.  It definitely would have been harder during a pandemic though, when everyone had to be home all the time!

I actually think it was helpful for our kids to learn to live in small spaces with other people.  They've had a lot of interesting opportunities since they've left home, which would have felt uncomfortable or bothersome if they were used to their own big private bedroom. 🙂 

Edited by J-rap
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7 minutes ago, J-rap said:

When all our kids were home, we had a 1650-foot house with one full bathroom and 7 people.  We also have hyper-sensory-sensitive children.  We maybe had more casual rules in place as a result?  So, for example, music couldn't be too loud (although everyone took piano lessons so there was always that going on!).  We tried to make cozy little spaces all over.  We had a schedule for the shower.  We had three screened porches, and those plus the yard nearly doubled the size of things in the summer!  We looked forward to summers so much, and stretched them as far as we could into the fall so that we had more space.

In the winter, we were all pretty active outside of the home so when we were actually home, it was time to relax or buckle down to chores or school work, so I guess that made it a little easier.  It definitely would have been harder during a pandemic though, when everyone had to be home all the time!

I actually think it was helpful for our kids to learn to live in small spaces with other people.  They've had a lot of interesting opportunities since they've left home, which would have felt uncomfortable or bothersome if they were used to their own big private bedroom. 🙂 

I am sure it is helpful.  I grew up with my own bedroom.  I always think it is odd to have your own room when you are a kid and then not when you are an adult (in my life at least, I know others take different roads).  I think it  made going to college and sharing a room so much harder.  I had no experience on how to deal with living with someone else in such a small space. 

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