5 things I have learned living in a 2 bedroom house with 5 children

Monday, May 18, 2015


We never planned to be in a 2 bedroom house with 5 small children. It can get a tad bit tight to say the least, but I have a feeling God had it all planned out. He definitely has a sense of humor, though I have not found it very funny at times. I know though, that I have learned so much by living so close to my loved ones. I might not always like it but I guess God knew that I needed to learn a few things before we moved on to a bigger place.

1. Contentment
Contentment has to be at the top of the list. Because whether with big or with little we all struggle with this one. I most certainly have not mastered being content by any means but I think what I have learned is that I will never be content until I reach my heavenly home.  I share more in detail here about the secret to being content.

2. Less is More
The more things you have, the more there is to clean, the more there is to break, the more there is to fight over, the more there is to be distracted by. With limited space I have to be very choosy about what comes in our home.  I have kept stuff for so long that has literally sat, taking up space. I have had no choice but to strip down to the bare essentials. Of course there are those things I wish I could keep that I have known I will need someday but for the most part it's amazing how many things you can live without. Ridding my house of clutter has become a necessity and has helped keep me sane.

3.To make the most with what I have
Since our storage space is so limited I have had to become very creative with every inch of our house. I have put shelves everywhere that it's possible to put shelves. Under every bed there are containers that hold clothes and toys. I have had to move things around, over and over again until I have found just the right fit. It does get frustrating when there is not a lot of room but it forces me to think outside the box and find a way for things to be functional.

4. Kid's don't need their own bedrooms
We have 3 kids in one bedroom ( the other 2 sleep in our room or on the couch) but even with 3 beds I still find them huddled on the floor together in their own makeshift bed/fort or all of them in one of their beds.Though it might not seem like it all the time, they really love being together. Even though our bedroom is right next to theirs they still won't let us close their door. It comforts them to know that we are in earshot.
I often wish my daughter especially, could have her own room. I feel bad at times that she has to share a room with 2  crazy boys. I asked her the other day if she would want her own room when we get a bigger place and she emphatically said no. It kind of took me by surprise but it shouldn't. Though she might not like all the teasing; she loves playing with her brothers. I often find them all talking and laughing after bedtime. They thrive on being together and that's how it should be.

5. Thankfulness
It's easy to look around us and compare what we have to others, especially those who look like they are living the "American Dream." Big house, big cars, big t.v.s and think that we are missing out if we are not living up to the American standard. Not that having those things are wrong, they just shouldn't be what defines or fulfills us. Of course for me it's just comparing kitchens and storage space;P

Comparison is usually never good but I have found a comparison that has helped change the way I see things, especially through the American lens. There are so many people all over the world who if they came into my little house, would consider our family rich. We have hot, running water, a somewhat working stove, electricity, a bathroom, central air and heat and internet! Most families in third world countries have not only their immediate family living with them but their extended family also. My husband and kids may get on my nerves at times but I am very happy to just be living with them!

Instead of being ungrateful for what I don't have God is teaching me to be thankful for what I do have, and it can't be compared with money, things, or a bigger house. Yes, I dream about a big kitchen and pray for a bigger house but for right now I am thankful for this little home that can't contain the joy and love that has filled it. If you were to come over you might hear a lot of yelling( mostly from me) crying, whining, fighting and laughing. I know that having a bigger house will not change that. God is the only one who can change our hearts and I am so thankful that he has been changing mine and teaching me about the things that really matter; that are not of this world.

"Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." Hebrews 13:5

Linking up with some of these great link parties!

45 comments:

  1. Ha! Just left a comment about your home and here it is. I LOVE this. I keep uming and ahing about getting the kids to share a room so we have a spare one for guests {and all our books!} but we just never step over the decision line to doing so. I love your thoughts and what you're learning and think that it is perfect for your family {and all the depth and craziness that comes with it}. Very inspiring!

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    1. Thats so funny! I must have been reading your mind;) Thanks so much! Its crazy how much God has taught me by not giving me what I want when I want it. I know that if we do get a bigger place I am going to appreciate the little things like, being able to all sit down at the table together, but I will miss being able to keep an eye on everyone from one spot!;)

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  2. I LOVE this. It is all so true. And honestly, looking in from the outside, I would much rather have a close family, growing in love and grace, even in a small space (though it be hard), than anything else. The luxuries and space can be serious barriers. Love you, Bekah. Thank you for sharing with such honesty and truth.

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    1. Thanks for your kind words Marah, they mean so much to me! Yes, I am so thankful that we have such a great marriage and close family unit, It's rare these days and I never want to take it for granted.

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  3. Thanks for sharing! I think we often get caught up in "stuff" instead of "memories". Its great that your kids LOVE being with each other and being close. Too many kids go to "their room" and are watching TV, videos, playing on hand-held computers, etc with no interaction with the other people living under the same roof.

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    2. Glad you came by! Yes, they have no choice here!

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  4. I think this is fantastic!!! I, too, struggle with not being content (at times). Wether it be b/c I want to be back Stateside and back in my comfort zone, or having a garage (or a laundry room on a normal floor, as opposed to a basement)... or even with my health! I compare myself to when I was younger and healthy, instead of tired and exhausted with health issues! But the reality is, it doesn't matter. We are called to be content and THANKFUL! I love your positive attitude and your outlook, as this life is only temporary! =)
    Thanks for sharing & linking up to 'Favorite Things Friday' with Hip Homeschooling & Simply Rachel!

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    1. I am so thankful God has opened my eyes and helped me to see, he is the only one who can fulfill me and bring me contentment;no matter what my situation, but it has not come to me easy! I am very thankful we have a garage and washer and dryer out there but I still find myself complaining that I have to take my laundry out to the garage. So sorry you are having health issues:( Yes, its so easy to look back sometimes and think things were better. Keep looking to Jesus!

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  5. I love this post, we have five kids and are being transferred from a huge 6 bedroom home to a tiny 3 bedroom. I have my moments of sheer panic when I think about bedtime. Or where we will store our entire school room of resources, this post gives me hope! Thanks for linking up at Favorite things Friday! Hope to see you again this week!

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  6. Absolutely! I can't imagine how cramped it feels some days though. :) It's so easy to wrapped up in wanting bigger, better and more. God provides all the time. We have a three bedroom home with not much storage and we only have two kids so far. Some days I can't imagine how tight it will feel with more, but then I remember stuff doesn't matter. I wrote a post recently called, "Why I don't care about keeping up with the Joneses" that addresses the same thing. Great post!

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  7. Thanks Erin! I'm going to check out your post!

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  8. I love this post, I really need to work on being more content with what I have. I am blessed to have a home and healthy children. Thank you for reminding me that it is the love in the home not the material things that makes a happy family. God bless you -- Romany

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  9. Thanks so much Romany! I am so glad you were encouraged! It's so easy to forget how much we have!

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  10. This is SO great. I can relate to this because for the last year we have lived in a travel trailer with our two kids. We are not in it right now because my husband got a contracted job near where his parents live so we are staying with them while he does that - in a much bigger house. The difference is amazing. I actually miss our little trailer. We were closer together and conversed more. We made do with much less stuff. There are definitely major, obvious perks to having space, too, but living in a small space can be a great experience. Found you on the #ALittleR&RWednesdays link up. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Wow! I don't know how I would handle living in a trailer with all my kids. It sure makes you appreciate things that you would normally take for granted when you have to live without it. Though it can get crazy I do love that I can always keep an eye on everybody in the house from my living room. Wherever you live, it is definitely what you make of it! Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  11. I like so much about this! Great lessons learned. Thanks for sharing. It is so fun that you find them huddled together in one bed. I bet that makes your heart happy! It goes to show what children really need! Love, siblings, comfort, etc. :)

    Thanks for linking up at Tuesday Talk this week!

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    1. It does make me happy! Yes, love is the key! Thanks for stopping by!

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  12. :) I'm glad it's working out for you! I have a friend with 8 daughters in a 2 bedroom house, although I believe they've now converted the garage to another room. Compared to homes around the world, and even here a couple hundred years ago, we've gotten used to crazy large houses. I have to say, I love my big house, though. There are 9 of us currently living in it, and it feels just right. Still, I know those are valuable lessons. I know I need to bring less *stuff* into our home, and pare down some of what we already have.

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    1. It is nice to have elbow room and room for more stuff but its crazy how much I have learned to live without that I don't even miss.Thanks for stopping by!

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  13. It is good to be thankful and content... it is so easy to have too much and still want more. We have spent weeks in a hotel room w/ 6 kids while traveling for surgery for our son... and that was not easy at all... but it also had good things about it and we learned to be with each other all of the time and deal w/ things. By the way, our house looked huge after living in one room/suite!!!! Ironically, though it was really hard, we have very good memories of those times. :)

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    1. Yes, there will always be something else we want. Being put in a tight space definitely forces you to deal with things you don't always want to. I know we will miss our little home if we ever move but will really appreciate the extra space also! Thanks for stopping by!

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  14. Wow. I am almost in a similar situation. We moved into a 2 bedroom house when we just had one child. Fast forward 2 more kids space was getting tight. We moved into a 5 bedroom rental and rented out the 2 bedroom house. My 3 kids finally each had their own room. Fast forward 3 years we ended up back in our 2 bedroom house. I actually appreciated that experience because it showed me that we don't need a big place to be happy. Yes things are back to being tight, but I think it was something that needed to happen to move forward if you know what I mean. I have a new found appreciation for just the little things. Dropping by from the Mom2Mom link up.

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    1. Doing without definitely gives you an appreciation for those things when you do have them! I know when we are able to move into a bigger place it will be great but you are right, it is not what will make us happy.

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  15. Wonderful tips on being content Rebekah! Thanks for sharing this with our 'Hearts for Home' community! Beautiful blog, excellent content! - Esther

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    1. Thank you so much Esther! I am so blessed by your sweet words! I love your link up and blog as well.

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  16. Thank you for helping me keep things in perspective! Sometimes I feel like our two-bedroom condo rental is too small between my husband and I! I totally understand what you mean about not being content until we reach heaven. Until then, we can be reminded of all of the things we DO have. Great post!

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    1. It is so hard to keep things in perspective at times. We have been given so much here on earth and have so much to look forward to, but the struggle is still real and hard at times. Keep seeking him!

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  17. We have three kids, hoping to add another [Lord willing] and we are wanting to downsize to a two bedroom from a three bedroom. Our kids LOVE sharing a room so much that often one room is just empty. I'm also quite a fan of minimalism, so I tend to purge things from the condo we live in OFTEN. You're so right : less things is much less stressful. Less stuff to clean up, the kids aren't inundated with toys.

    When I was a teenager, I lived in Lahore, Pakistan. Third world country at its finest. There's no trash pick up. Just walls around each home [if you're lucky enough to have a roof over your head] and you throw it over the wall. Lots of homeless kids in the streets. The "lucky" ones are servants in homes so they have a place to sleep, mostly girls as young as 7 yrs old that I saw personally. I suppose there are many that are younger. It was the best experience of my life to live there. I was never more grateful to get back to America and have a hot running water shower...and carpet, which they don't have.

    Living in America it's so easy to lose contentment. We're surrounded by excess and greener grass syndrome. The kids that lived in the streets in Pakistan were often seen playing and flying kites and trying to WORK for food. Kids. Put things in perspective, I just need to remember it.

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    1. Even though an extra room would be nice for us I can't imagine splitting up my kids right now they also have so much fun being together. What a great opportunity for you to live in Pakistan! I also lived in the MIddle East and Eastern Europe for a year and really changed my perspective on the world. The poorest of the poor here in America really still have it so good compared to most 3rd world countries. We are truly blessed beyond what we even comprehend. Thank you so much for sharing your story!!!

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  18. Thank you so much for posting! I know it is a couple of months old now, but I am seeing it for the first time, and it couldn't be more timely! In 2008, after the housing bubble burst, the Navy moved us to Washington state, and my husband and I bought a small 1100 sq ft 3 bedroom, 1 bath house. Three years and two kids later, the Navy moved us to San Diego. When we were able to move back to Washington two years and two more kids later, we decided it would be best to continue renting our home (we had, and still do have, a great tenant in it!), and rent a larger home on the other side of town. For the past year and a half, we've enjoyed a spacious 2000+ sq ft, 4 br, 2.5 bath home with a large fenced yard and tons of handy built-in storage space. But now the owners of the house we are renting have told us they will not be extending our lease when it is up in September, as they have extensive repairs needing to be done to the house. Many of these repairs will best be done with it vacant. None of these repairs are our fault, but more due to neglect on their part (i.e. the roof, a rotting deck, a rotting fence, paint, banisters that are falling apart. In other words, they never should have rented it in the first place). Anyway, the rental market is absolutely flat right now, and we can find no other 4 bedroom houses within a reasonable driving distance to rent that falls within our budget. So, we prayed about it, and went to look at the tiny house on the other side of town that we own. Come to find out, our tenant, who has taken wonderful care of our home, is getting ready to move herself! We've taken that as an answer from God that we need to move back into our little home. I have been dreading cramming our family of six, plus two large dogs and a cat, into a house that I felt was bursting at the seams with just four of us, one dog, and one cat! A house that has HALF the living space, no garage, little storage space, and a teeny tiny hole-ridden yard, as compared to the house we are currently living in. I have been reminding myself over the past few days that most of what we have we can easily do without, that the kids (and hubby and I, for that matter) would be better off with less stuff, that a smaller home would be easier for me to keep up with as far as cleaning goes, and that we will be saving quite a bit of money by moving back into the home we own. Plus, if we can hang on to the house for a couple more years, we should be able to sell it, and will be better able to serve God wherever He wants to send us if we don't have this house hanging over our heads. All of this to say thank you for reminding me that we CAN do this! I needed this encouragement today, as I am once again battling discouragement over having to move yet again, and feeling overwhelmed over the amount of junk I have to either dispose of or store before we move in just a little over a month. It'll all be worth it in the end, and I totally agree! God must be teaching me a lesson in contentment as well! :-D

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    1. Wow Melissa thank you so much for sharing your story! God's timing is perfect, isn't it? I am so humbled that God used my story to minister to you. You can do it...with God's grace and strength!!! And yes, it will be worth it!!! Praying for smooth transition and move for you and your family!! Contentment is a biggie for all of us! Keep seeking him for it!!!

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  19. Rebekah, This is such a sweet post.

    You are certainly right about the more things we have the more things we can become enslaved to. At this empty nest stage of my life I think back to how I always hoped that some day I would have a big colonial with two bathrooms. (I know, what am I think, who wants to clean two bathrooms?! lol.) But I am still in the same house I have been for almost 30 years; a smallish three bedroom ranch that we now share with my daughter, son-in-law and our six month granddaughter. We too have rearranged and I have bought all kinds of storage systems to make it work, but what matters most is that our children are a priority and we would do anything for them. How blessed we are to share this season of life with them.

    I enjoyed my visit today! :-)

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  20. What a great and wise word, Rebekah!
    I love your perspective on contentment and gratitude. Amy Carmichael has a wonderful quote that I repeat often, "With acceptance lies peace." Sounds like you have accepted your lot in life and found much peace. We also live in a very small space with 4 adults. I'm learning to love this little place that God has given us.

    Thanks for reminding me to make the most of what I have!
    Found you on Social Butterfly.
    Hope you have a blessed Monday~
    Melanie

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  21. What a wonderful message here, Rebekah! We live in a society where bigger is supposedly better, yet there is not much contentment that comes with it. I loved seeing all the pictures of how your organized everything, and your kids are such cuties! Thanks so much for sharing with #SocialButterflySunday! Hope to see you link up again this week :)

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    1. Thanks so much Kelly! We really can have so much yet miss out on what is really important!

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  22. I love this, Rebekah! My husband and I currently live in a one bedroom apartment, and though it can get a bit tight sometimes, I totally agree with you-less stuff, less to clean! :)

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    1. Thanks Hannah! I am constantly going through our stuff, questioning how much we really need. There is so much we can live without that will make our lives easier!

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  23. This is wonderful. I, too, live in a small space and it can be frustrating, but I think it really does make for a stronger, tighter knit family. You have to resolve your issues to live peacefully together, you learn to value important things over stuff. Your kids will be much closer. They are lucky kiddos! I hopped over from the Hearts for Home hop. @sandytoesmom

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    1. So true! We really have become such a close family even though there are times I wish we weren't so close physically;)

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  24. 5 in a 2 bedroom house?! You've got me beat! LOL! I have 4 in a two bedroom house, 3 boys and a girl. Hubby and I moved into the second bedroom, which is TINY, and gave the master bedroom to the kids. My daughter has some special needs, so we converted our enclosed porch into a room for her. During the worst of the winter and summer she "camps out" in her brothers' room. We have enough beds for all the kiddos, but they like to sleep together.

    My grandmother grew up in a 2 bedroom apartment with 7 brothers. I didn't have my own room until I was 20.

    I find it amusing when I watch home buying shows and the parents absolutely insist that each child needs their own room. I find it even more amusing when they insist their children (or groups of genders) need their own bathrooms!!!

    I'll have to add your blog to my blog list. I enjoy finding blogs of other families living in small houses.

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    1. I guess I do;) Glad you have that extra porch! It's crazy how priorities have changed over the years. I believe it's only made this generation more selfish and spoiled. I am thankful my kids love being in one room, they don't even realize they are "missing out" ;)

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  25. I definitely agree about the less is more! My friend recently told me, it helps her to get rid of things when she looks at it and thinks, "This moment, with this item, right now, is as good as it's every gonna get." It's helped me get rid of those adorable baby clothes and toys I didn't think I could part with because of the memories. :) I love that your kids are close, and love being together-maybe it has to do with the simplification and having to live in close quarters...not such a bad thing!

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  26. Love this post! We lived in a small 2 bedroom apartment for 7 years and during that time, we had 4 children. My biggest problem was that my husband works night shift and would sleep in the kids' room during the day since it was darker than ours and my kids wouldn't nap in the same room, but I learned how to get around it! I even dragged the pack n play into the bathroom each day for naps so I could separate the kids. Shortly after our 4th was born, we moved into a 3 bedroom house and it feels so luxurious to have a boys' room and a girls' room!

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