Large home or small?

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  • Jennymalone
    Participant

    Hello, Ladies!

    I’m hoping for some advice and new perspectives from you all 🙂 We currently live in a 1200 sqft house that is not well laid out, and has very poor closets/storage options. We have 5 kids 7 and under. It’s kind of a nightmare for me to keep tidy especially as that is not one of my strong points. I know we could probably try to fix some of the house issues with creative storage options and such, but most of it is unfixable without major remodeling.

    We are debt free, have the house paid off,  and are well set up financially. There is a house for sale that we are considering. It is 4500 sq Ft, very nicely laid out (I think), and has LOTS of nice walk in closets and storage spaces, a good pantry, etc. It seems like a dream to me. HOWEVER, I am beginning to wonder if I am underestimating how much more work it will be to keep a large house clean, and whether I will regret leaving my little house.

    What would you do? Stick with the little cramped house, and all it’s poor layout etc, or spring for the big one? Or perhaps there’s a good middle ground: something a little bigger than our current house but much better thought out and laid out.

     

    I’m at a loss. I’ve never lived in a large house, nor have most of my circle, so this is new territory. Hoping to hear from other mamas who’ve experienced larger houses.

     

    thank you in advance.

    totheskydear
    Participant

    5 kids in 1685 square feet here. I’d go bigger but not that big. Your heating and cooling bills will triple. You will have that much more dusting. Our old house was only 50 square feet smaller but the layout left a lot of wasted space in the master bedroom (massive walk-in closet plus a 150 sq ft room just for the shower, 100ish sq ft for the toilet and sink, and probably another 100 sq ft of unused space in the bedroom). The new house has a bigger and more functional kitchen and more storage space in the hall, so the house feels much bigger even though it isn’t. Anyway, my advice would be look for a few hundred extra square feet but better layout.

    Becky
    Participant

    4 kids here. 1300 sqft house, no true closets, no storage. Its a mess. It was okay while the kids were small. But now they are much older and clothes get bigger, ect.  I would love a bigger house. It’s been hard for my kids to concentrate on school especially in their teen years. They don’t have a good place to do their school work. All the rooms are crowded and distracting.  No place to set up experiments or to just have a space to store the items needed for an experiment.  I mention it because they would have loved to do them not just watch on some video.  These are the cons for us living in a small house.

    While they were little, it was nice having them nearer and I could watch and listen. That was a pro to having a small house.

    I knew of a family who had 8 children who moved from a smaller home to a larger one and her opinion was it was harder for her to keep up with the kids and the toys got scattered over a much larger area.

    I don’t know. Now that my kids are bigger I do wish we had more space. And more kitchen space with pantry etc. and a room to have a table tennis and a place to lay out a puzzle without it being in the way so we’re not walking around a table set up right in the middle of our living area.  LOL

    Becky
    Participant

    Our realtor who sold us the house saw us in a store years later and found out we were still living in the house and she was like my goodness you guys have outgrown that place.  LOL but houses are hard to come by so if thats the case in your area I think I’d want to get it! It would be hard for me to say no because I’ve been so frustrated with lack of space.

    MissusLeata
    Participant

    Our house is about 1800 sq. ft. I have 4 children. I wish I had more space. My MIL has a 5,000 sq. foot house. I deeply struggle with contentment whenever I spend time at her house. I’d go for the big one!

    Alesha
    Participant

    Hello there-  I have 5 children 13- 2 1/2.  We just moved a year and half ago from a small home to a 3,000 sq ft home.  Our last house had good bedroom sizes but an extremely small kitchen with no storage throughout the house.  I struggled all the time with how to school and where the younger kids could play.  We now live in a one story home that is so much more functional.  We have smaller bedrooms but are really never in them.  The large family areas and other rooms are wonderful now and will continue to be.  The best part is the very large kitchen and super storage.  Moving was something that we didn’t want to do.  We kept “making it work” and pushing it off.  As soon as we were in the house we felt so much better.  We knew this was a great fit.  I too was worried about the extra amount of cleaning.  I will say that the kids have worked hard at some new habits to learn new skills.  Its not perfect by any means however we would not change the decision.

    Think about the ages of your children now and the future.  What you like to do as a family during all the seasons.  What areas of the home are the most important.  What challenges might you have there vs where you are now.  The other bills involved are important too (for us our HOA dropped so much that we are doing better off).  You mentioned the projects/remodel … have you compared the prices (we did but time and patients where what finally changed our minds).

    Hope this helps.  Good luck you you!!!

    Wings2fly
    Participant

    Go and read the children’s book: The Best Nest by PD Eastman.

    Some things to consider besides the house is your location, neighborhood, backyard, RE taxes.  If those are all good, you might consider staying where you are.  You can make better use of vertical space for storage.  We have two clothing rods in one closet to hang double the clothes – one up high and one in the middle for shorter items.  And really, most of us can do with much less stuff.  Less is more.  It is important to me that our family is together.  In a smaller home, privacy is almost nonexistent.  But we do a lot together.  I am reminded of a relative with a large house and one person upstairs was emailing another person downstairs!  I want my family close together and not off to their own separate places too much. Cover it in lots of prayer for what is right for your family.

    Taylor Fisher
    Participant

    We just moved from a 1400 square foot home to a nearly 2700 sq foot home, right after I had twins as babies 3 and 4. I have to say that this house is just right for us. Moving was stressful but now that we are in it, I have built some better habits around cleaning and it’s definitely still manageable. We have a little bit of room to grow in this house – we could add more kids if we decide to do that and be completely fine.

    I wouldn’t want to go any bigger for myself. 2.5 bathrooms is about all I want to clean, lol. And utilities and maintenance can get really expensive. But we really are happy with the new house and would do it all over again.

    If I were you, I’d maybe find a middle ground. Going to 4500 SQ ft is a big jump and I know I’d be a little overwhelmed. But you know yourself best so it’s up to you!

    Dianapatrice
    Participant

    I have 5 kids under 8, and we have moved around a lot in the past 8 years. I enjoy having space (a place for younger ones to play while older kids have lessons or “small parts”). I really like that we have a play room, and we do not store toys in bedrooms; there are less temptations at bed time and places to reflect without distractions. That being said, if you simply fill your space, (because after all “now you have space”), you will spiral into very overwhelming clutter chaos. I know, I have been there! Establishing homes for items and recognizing how much stuff you can “manage” even if your home can fit more helps.

    LovinMyFam
    Participant

    We moved 4 years ago this July from a 1700 square foot house to a 2900 square foot house. We absolutely love it! Friends ask me if it is harder keeping a bigger house clean. Honestly, it is 1000 times easier keeping the larger house clean. I am assuming because we have so much more square footage we don’t have any clutter issues, and I believe keeping things decluttered is the key factor in having a clean house.

    I worried a bit that my kids would go off to themselves more in a bigger house, but that has not been the case. They stay in the room we’re in until we all go to bed (often at different times).

    We are on 2 1/2 acres which is really nice also as we have a lot of privacy and space between homes as everyone in our neighborhood is on 2 1/2-3 acres.

    SteeblerElf
    Participant

    You will have to furnish that 4500 sq feet. The home repairs will be exponentially bigger too…We moved from 1/3 acre/1900 sq foot house to  1 acre/3300 sq ft house and it was the biggest mistake we had ever made! I only thought of how nice the space would be….I forgot about furnishing it and the time we lost in the upkeep!! Aaannnd, it is so much more money to live in a big house!! We lived in our 3300 sq ft. house for 8 years…I was happy when we finally off-loaded that thing! Never will I go that big again!

    Morgan1
    Participant

    Good morning, I have 5 kids 15,12,6,4,1

    I lived in a 900sq ft house for over 6 years. Before that it was a 1100. It was a nightmare living so small. It was an old country cottage on a farm built in the early 1900s. Beautiful but a nightmare. No closets at all. Only the tiny 2 ft wide ones in the bedrooms that’s it. No storage closets. No pantry. No laundry cabinets. No laundry room. Only 4 cabinets in kitchen 2 up 2 below. I was the supreme ruler of downsizing everything we owned forever. If someone didn’t touch something for a month it was gone! Hahaha. I hated it for lack of what we needed. But over these years I have learned that family and closeness means a lot to us after suffering such close quarters for so long. We also spent 90% of our day outside because of the small house. We have since moved to our first home (we have always rented) it is 1800. It is a dream. I wanted bigger but my friend has 7 kids has a 4800 sq ft home and it’s wonderful and huge and spacious but her mess is never ending. She cannot clean the whole house in a day let alone a couple hours. Her heating and cooling and light bills are ginormous. I do not think I would be able to keep a house clean that big. Although I want it soo badly. So we went for the in between. 1800 after 900 is wonderful and I don’t sacrifice my closeness of my family. There is something to be said for your children being physically close to you and each other creates a bond. When I go to visit my friend we never see our kids the whole time. I always feel like if I had a home that big The baby would get lost and starts to cry cause she can’t make it back to us and the puppy dogs run away potty in the floor and you can’t find them. It feels more lonely there although the break from kids is peaceful haha. I think my best advise is to pray for God to put before you and make way for you to have the home he wants you to have. Ultimately it all comes down to that I suppose what home will bring Him glory and where he wants your home ministry to take place at.
    Best Wishes

    Morgan

    fivefoll
    Participant

    Pray about it. You and your husband will know exactly what to do. Think of the years to come. Your family will not always have the same dynamic it does now and it sounds like you have made superb financial decisions up to this point if you are living debt-free. Perhaps, there is a “perfect” middle ground place with a little land that you can extend your living space out into and have a little garden and maybe some chickens, etc. if that’s a priority. (Even if it isn’t right now, it would allow for it in the case of one of your kiddos becoming interested in small garden beds or growing cut flowers as a little business,etc.) Pray for God to bring talented friends to you that can help you creatively use the space in your current place as well as one that you are looking at. That’s what I’m doing, because having extra eyes and talents evaluating the space takes the emotions out of the picture that we tend to get stuck in. Maybe make notes of what a few different ladies say and then make an idea/dream board and go from there so it’s not overwhelming. Hey, I am really helping myself out here, because this is exactly what I’m going to do.  🙂

    Jennymalone
    Participant

    Thank you all for the advice and experience shared! It is so appreciated. I have gotten a lot of wisdom from asking you ladies and others, lots of good things to learn. We decided to pass in the giant house, due to several factors. Currently we’re planning on tackling down and trying to fix some of the issues with our little house that we’ve been avoiding, like redesigning the tiny laundry room so that you can actually walk through it and tearing apart the closets to put them back together in a way that maximizes the space.

     

    I think there’s a lot we can do just by changing things around our home that we’ve been just “making do.” And if something comes up that we like that seems a good fit, then we’ll have to try to make this decision all over again, but if not we’ll probably think about an addition. I do love many aspects of our property, just the outside not the inside. lol. And since the kids practically live outside when we’re not doing school, that’s pretty important. Haha 🙂

     

    definitely agree that less is more. I do try to keep things to minimum: all the kids have capsule wardrobes, and mine is pretty minimal as well; we try to limit available toys (store them in the garage and they can bring in one thing); I try to declutter and get rid of stuff we don’t need or use. However, for us, I’ve found that there’s only so much you can get rid of without changing lifestyle, though 🙂 for instance, I want the kids to be able to go outside in all weather. That means that we have to have gear for that: rubber boots, rain suits, snow gear, etc. again, I try to keep that to a minimum. One of each type of garment for each kid. But when you have nowhere to put them, because there’s no coat rack or cubbies to put the boots in, it just adds extra clutter.

    so at this point I’m making a list of all of the issues with our living space, and solutions for them. The necessary things that don’t have a place to go. The areas that collect clutter. The rooms that make it hard to have company over. And then figuring out what we can do about it. It’s pretty encouraging, because at least on paper, there are solutions for many things, even if there will be lots of work and hassle involved.

    thank you all again for the advice! Really appreciate you ladies, and the community on here <3

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