How Our Family of 9 Lives in 1200 Square Feet

family of 9

Guest post from Julie

We moved into our current house eight years ago when we had three children: a 4-year-old, a 2 year-old, and a 7-month-old. It was the first home we had ever purchased and seemed like the perfect place to start!

Little did we know that in the next eight years, we would add four more children (with one more on the way) and continue to make our small space work.

Below, I’ve included photos and descriptions of the different rooms in our house. The measurements don’t add up to exactly 1200 sq. ft. but I did not include closet space in the room measurements. Also, we have been blessed with a walk-in pantry (not pictured below) that gives us more storage since our kitchen cabinet space is so small. I think this would account for the missing square footage.

I hope you enjoy the tour!


The photo above is what you see of our living room when you walk in the front door. The majority of our time is spent here or in the dining room/kitchen.

The photo below is the other side of the living room. That’s my nursing rocker and my husband’s recliner. We have a full-size electric keyboard/piano for our children’s lessons. We store blankets in the bottom of the old wash stand turned side table and my magazines in the drawer.


Below is the view from the recliner. The built-in shelves house photo albums, audio CDs, and books. The ottomans provide extra seating and store DVDs. The chest stores more blankets and our VCR/DVD combo player that we use occasionally.


Here is the view of the kitchen/dining room from the living room doorway. This is the most used space in the house (besides the bathroom!)


I love that it is an open space. It really makes our house seem larger.

The basement door leads to our small, unfinished basement. It is only under the dining room/kitchen area and is mainly used to store containers of clothing. Our washer and dryer are down there, too.

Below is a view of the dining room from the kitchen looking into the living room and at the front door. Two of the bedrooms are off the dining room.

The door straight ahead to the left is the Master Bedroom. You can barely see the doorway on the far left — that is the girls’ room. The hallway is to the right.


The hallway houses our kids’ bookshelf and game closet. To the right is the boys’ room and to the left is the bathroom.


Back in the dining room, the blueish cabinet (see below) is “homeschool central”. I turned our old china cabinet into a central place to store all our homeschool needs. I’m still in the process of refinishing it.


Underneath there are baskets for preschool puzzles and regular puzzles, as well as our floor puzzles and toddler activities. Behind the door on the left are shoe-box-sized containers for crafts, extra school supplies, paper crafts, etc.

There are also drawers for toddler activities like lacing cards, play-doh, paints, etc. The door on the right houses the kids’ binders and individual books/workbooks. The top has my teacher binders and the common books we use for Science, History, Bible, etc. The top left has flash cards, manipulatives, etc.

The photo below is my kitchen.


The refrigerator is on the right and is basically unseen. We added the counter on the left wall after we moved in because there is very limited counter space.

When we have company, we serve the food from this counter buffet-style. It tends to be a clutter-trap. Right now it is housing our seedling lamp.

The white cabinet under the “high counter” (as we call it) contains all the kids’ dishes. The doorway on the right leads to the mudroom/office and walk-in pantry (which are not pictured in this post).

The rest of our home’s space is taken up by three bedrooms and ONE bathroom! 

Yes, we only have this one bathroom, but it does have two vanities and abundant cabinetry.



The photo above shows the view from the other wall of the bathroom. You can see the tall cabinet between the vanities. It stores bed linens, towels/washcloths, some toiletries, and cleaning supplies.

The photo below shows our small closet behind the bathroom door. We keep extra diapers/wipes, toiletries, etc in here.


Our 4 oldest boys share one room, pictured below.


My husband built the triple bunk system in phases, as needed. It started as the loft with a full size bed underneath, but after our last son was born two years ago he added the two additional beds.

Our 3-year-old sleeps in the “cubby” under bed #3. He loves to drape a blanket over the opening and make it his fort. :)


All four older boys share one closet, and also this one chest of drawers. They each have one drawer, except the 3-year-old gets the top two small drawers. The plastic 3-drawer system on the floor is for the littlest boy.

The closet holds their hang-up clothes and stores dress-up clothes (knight armor, policeman and spy wear, astronaut clothing). It also has shelves to hold roller blades, football card binders, and less used items.

Most of the toys the littler guys use are stored in the cubby pictured below. The small 3-drawer system on the top right is for the three oldest boys. They each get a drawer to store whatever their heart desires.


The girls are almost 13 and 6, so it can be difficult to make this a good space for both of them considering the age span and different interests.


At the foot of the bunk bed is a chest of drawers that the girls share. Dress-up things are in the storage chest under the windows. They have under-bed storage containers for play food, 18” dolls/clothes, and paper dolls.


The baby crib has been in the girls’ room since we moved in. They don’t mind sharing their space with the littlest member of the family, no matter the gender. :)

To the left is their closet. It houses the play kitchen, Loving Family doll house, assorted craft items (knitting, beads, fabric, etc), lesser used items, and hang-up clothing.

My oldest daughter also has her own bookshelf behind the door to house her own books, calligraphy items, etc. She loves to draw and write.


This is our bedroom. It is kind of a clutter spot, but when I don’t know where to put something it comes in here!

Our elliptical is in our room and is used off and on. The dresser holds my clothing and stuff and my husband’s clothes are on a custom floor-to-ceiling shelving unit in the closet.

We have a step-in closet (see below) and it can get quite cluttered at times.

The baby takes naps in the pack ‘n play in our room so that the other kids can have access to their rooms throughout the day. Since the baby sleeps in here twice a day, I have a hard time getting in here to declutter or clean on a regular basis. When the new baby is born in August, she will sleep in our room full-time.


So that’s the full tour! 

Recently, we were gifted seven acres of property not far from our current home. This dear friend of ours wanted to bless us with a place to build a home that would give our growing family more room. We are currently praying and planning on beginning construction in spring of 2016!

Our future house plans are not extremely large, but they are not small either. Our current plan is to build a 2-story home with a main floor of approximately 1200 sq. ft. (this would double our living space!)

To be honest, we are all kind of looking forward to having more space! We go through seasons, and we kind of want this small house living to be a season the Lord is bringing us out of. However, we will continue to pray and be obedient to whatever He wants us to do.

Julie is the wife of one great man and mother to seven (soon to be 8) growing and active children, ages 20 months to 13 years. She enjoys DIY projects, conversations with friends, gardening, and coffee. Life is busy and she is learning to slow down and enjoy the little things.  She has learned to keep life simple in order to save money and live in the small space that God has blessed her and her family with.

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