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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!)

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Our 4 oldest boys share one room, pictured below.

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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. 🙂

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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115 Comments

  • It’s so encouraging to see your determination to make the 1200sqft work for your growing family. And I sure do think that you need more space considering the your family members. Glad you’re going to build your own house soon. Good luck and congratulations! 🙂

  • Thank you for sharing! It’s always so much fun to get to peek into other homes.

  • Susan says:

    Julie, usually overall square footage is measured on the outside perimeter. Assessor records are based on this measure. I’m assuming you measured your rooms from the inside. This difference also contributes to the difference in the sum of the room sizes and the 1200 square foot total.

  • Kayla says:

    Thank you for sharing. We live in about 1,000 sq ft and there are 5 of us. I always think we’re packed in here very carefully! It’s encouraging to see we’re not the only ones. 🙂 We too are building soon into the future but right now I’m enjoying not having to clean a big house. See there’s always a bright side to this small quarters living. 😉

  • Jennifer says:

    Wow ! Can I just say I am impressed at the use of space for 9 in such a small home. Our house is under 1200 sq ft but we only have 2 at home:) my daughters room is only 8×8 with a section that is a half closet, not very useable. It is challenging to keep it nice and functional. You’d home is beautiful!

  • Tara H says:

    Thanks so much for sharing this! It’s very encouraging. We are a family of 7. We currently live with my inlaws but know that when we move it probably won’t be to something too large.

    • Jeanine says:

      Love this, thank you! We are a family of 9, my youngest is 1 and oldest is 15. We live in 1100sqft outside measurements. It’s tight but we homeschool and we travel. I’m at a point where my house may be small, but it affords the world at my fingertips! If I lived in anything bigger I’d never get to travel. Well done having a grateful attitude! Keep going, you’re doing a great job!

  • alex says:

    I wish Julia had a blog!

  • Lana says:

    You have done a great job of making your space fill all of your family’s needs without it being cluttered. I am impressed. I hope you will be able to build soon and I know you will do a great job of choosing a usable floor plan for your family.

  • Krystle says:

    I love these house tours you have added to the blog. My house is about the same size with three kids, 110 lb dog, and a cat. It works for us, but sometimes I think to myself “oh what I would give for a second shower”

  • Meagan says:

    Wow- impressive use of the space you have! I love these home tours too and hope it becomes a regular feature on the blog.

  • Megan says:

    I think it is great to live in a small house… but I also think it’s totally fine to live in a large house. We have 3 young kids and live in a 4 bedroom/4 bathroom 3200 sqft home. We use our home constantly…. we hosted 40 college kids for a dinner on Friday night and then hosted 24 people (8 adults and 15 kids) for small group on Sunday for our church. While I totally agree that you have to live within your means, I also think that you should not apologize or feel bad about what you have. We live relatively simply and plan to have our house paid off in 10 years. We have no car loans and pay off our credit cards every month.

    • I totally agree. A larger space definitely allows you to be more hospitable and that’s one if the worst things about living in a bus.

      My sister in law lives in about the same size space as you with two kids and my husband and I were able to have our wedding there!

  • Jennifer says:

    This is so inspiring. I have seven children also but am blessed to have a bit more space. It’s all about organization, creativity, and contentment for me. You are doing a fabulous job. Thank you for sharing your life. We can all learn so much from each other!

  • Jaimie says:

    I’m so curious how you all handle the 1 bathroom with 9 of you; we have 2 boys, and we often have “bathroom battles” over someone who needs to go really bad and just can’t wait until the other one is done. There are often tears and fights over this! Any words of advice?

    • Julie says:

      There are many times throughout our day when a child is waiting in the hallway doing the “potty dance”. 🙂 We’ve tried to teach the older ones to give preference to the younger ones since they are still learning to “hold it”, but we also encourage the kids to not wait until the last minute to go so they are able to wait until the bathroom is open. I guess we’re just used to waiting and know it is inevitable.

  • Nisha says:

    Love how you and husband utilize your home until God decides to give you more space. A great example of stewardship! My husband and I were just discussing that we still have room, ,to wisely utilize, for our family of 5 (very soon to be 6 this month!) in our 1200 sq. ft. home?

  • dara says:

    We have about 900 sq ft, and are a family of 6 right now. We would love a little more space but havent found anything in our budget yet. Not all people who live in large houses are greedy. My parents have a large beautiful house. They have done much of the work themselves and use the house regularly hosting others. They dont do it to feel better about themselves, in fact they get a little embarrassed when people comment about how beautiful their house is. But God has blessed them and now they share their blessings. Our family of 6 and my sisters family of soon to be 5 eat lunch after church at my parents every Sunday. They also host family dinners for holidays for 30+ people. They feed and house traveling missionaries. They have kept exchange students. And the teach a Crown fiance class in their home regularly. My mother has the gift of hospitality, and uses it to share Christs love. Nothing greedy about it.

    • Jen says:

      Yes! Thank you for sharing this. A larger house does not necessarily equal a greedy heart.

    • Aubrey Ives says:

      This gal was just showing how she has made this smaller house work for them right now. She was not saying that it is greedy to have a large home! In fact, she said that they were looking forward, Lord willing, to doubling their square footage when they build a new home. It is really encouraging for those of us who do have “cramped quarters” to see how others make it work.

      • Kim says:

        I believe the greediness everyone is speaking of came from a rather rude comment that was posted, but appears to have been removed, thankfully. It was uncalled for. I think Julie did a wonderful job showing how such a small space works so well for them!

        • Yes… I had to delete a few comments today that were turning heated, sharply critical, and argumentative. I want to keep things upbeat and positive here — thanks to everyone for helping us make this an encouraging and uplifting haven on the web!

  • Donna says:

    i don’t think you should apologize for needing a larger home. We raised two children in 3 bedroom, 1 bath for several years and then put a master bedroom, bath and laundry room in the garage. Even with the extra space, I always wanted more space. Not enough closets make storage hard. My kids are married now and we are slowly getting rid of stuff in our roomy four bedroom, two bath home. We are planning on selling it and moving to something smaller and with no mortgage. We no longer need all that space.

  • Lori says:

    Lovely! Thanks for sharing!

  • Sarah says:

    Beautiful home and beautiful family.

  • kariane says:

    I find this inspiring. Thank you for sharing! We’re currently working to declutter and rearrange so our small home will continue to work for us. I’m writing about our simplification efforts every week here: http://everydaymindfulliving.com/simplify-saturday/

  • Lori says:

    What an amazing homemaker you are, Julia! Your home is so organized, functional, and beautifully decorated. I am sitting here in our home feeling very convicted about how much better of a steward I could be of the space God has given us.

  • jane says:

    Love the ideas we are a family of 6 that just moved into a just under 700sq ft. 2 bed 1 bath main area is open witch helps clutter and clothes are my problem areas that I am trying to fix

  • Joy says:

    My eyes were drawn to the Scripture verses on the yellow wall over your children’s bookshelf. Did you have them custom made? Can you share where to order them?

    • Laura says:

      I noticed those as well! Would love to know if you made them or purchased them…

    • Julie says:

      I made them myself with Adobe Photoshop. After designing them I just printed them out on card stock and used Mod Podge to apply them to an 8×10 canvas. I found the idea on Pinterest with photographs on canvas. Hope that helps! 🙂

  • JJ says:

    Loved touring your home! You can tell it is well organized, but it’s a home–not a museum(love that!). I have a 2 yr old and a 1 yr old and am having our third this fall. Do you normally keep your baby in your room until a certain age before putting them with the big kids? Since I have a boy and a girl(each having their own rooms…but no extra rooms left–haha!), we aren’t completely sure what we’re going to do. Both of mine are light sleepers, so I may just keep the baby in our room until s/he continually sleeps through the night(both of mine had sleep regressions every time they were teething). Congratulations on your newest baby!

    • Julie says:

      Congratulations on the upcoming addition to your family! With our babies we usually keep them in our room until they sleep through the night, but we also usually have a toddler already in the crib so we have to also wait until that child is ready to go into the big kid room. With our last baby, that age was about 9 months. Hope that helps! 🙂

  • Kemi says:

    I love the way you have organized your space so well. That is impressive and motivating. Thank you for sharing 🙂

  • Let me just say, I love this post! To be honest, it requires courage to give an insight into your home. Thank you for sharing! I think you are doing a wonderful job making everything fit. Your family looks really blessed and happy. Besides, children learn a lot about sharing and caring while not having their own room. Wonderful post 🙂

  • Kelly Cox says:

    Wow, that is awesome! Big family, blessed to live close together! I have a spekaer I listen to reguarly by podcast and and I heard him say one time that it seems that we have so much drywall and small families these days – hence big home that is more “empty.” I know a big family isn’t for everyone but I think it’s awesome. The Lord has not blessed us with children yet but we are praying hard that He still will. Great post, thanks for sharing it!!

  • Cate R. says:

    Thanks for sharing this. Our family of 5 lives in a small home and we don’t seem to know anyone in real life who has a similar situation. I dream about having a bigger and nicer (we rent and the place is not well taken care of) home, and I must constantly be aware of bitterness creeping in. I want to be someone who makes the best of things instead of feeling like I can’t live the life I want because of how things are. So it is nice to see that there are others out there making it work in a cramped space, and sharing ideas.

  • Danielle says:

    I love this post! Thank you for sharing! You all are doing an excellent job organizing your home. I agree; it is hard to get in and declutter your room when the baby is taking naps in there!

  • Amanda says:

    I loved this! We have 3 kids and a dog in 1300 sq ft, and have been talking about how to make our space work as the kids grow (or find something bigger if we need it). It’s helpful to see a real example of someone who is making it work in a small space!

  • Hannah Beth Reid says:

    I so identify with the situation of the baby sleeping in your room and thus you don’t ever clean it!

  • Tanya Gutierrez Leishman says:

    I only have two kids and I can’t imagine living in 1200 sq feet. But thank you for opening up your home, you have definitely inspired me to declutter mine. We are in 2100 square feet. We downsized a few years ago and I feel like it’s about perfect for our family. More space definitely doesn’t always mean a happier family.

  • Christine says:

    I hope you will be able to move soon! Did I see that one of the children is sleeping on the floor? Plus, you are having another child? I will think positive thoughts for you that you will be able to move soon!!!

    • Sarah says:

      She said that her three-year-old loves sleeping under there in his “fort” :). My son would love to sleep under his bunk bed in such a cozy space.

      I love how many blessings Julie and her husband have, and how they are raising them to love the Lord and each other! <3

  • Laurie Cassano says:

    Hi Julie, loved your post! Do your daughters also keep their clothing in the closet? I know that you said that it houses the play kitchen, doll house, etc. Thanks!

  • blossom says:

    Thanks for the tour…so fun to see how other families organized their living spaces. And I can totally related…we are a family of 9 (age 15 to 4) in 1000 sq ft 3br 2ba, but luckily it’s two stories so it feels a little bigger. Before that when only had 3 kids and were expecting #4 we were in a 400 sq ft studio. We’re all done adding babies and I’m not homeschooling anymore so I’ve been able to get rid of things as the kids age out of them, and I’ve really slimmed down the stuff we currently use. But it’s an ever adjusting flow when you have kids transitioning through ages and stages. For me when I get to the end of each day I think back at what worked, what didn’t, and make adjustments as I can the next day. Congratulations on your new property and new baby!

  • Faith says:

    I think these posts are so encouraging! We are a family of 5 (5,3,10 mo) living in 750 Sq ft apartment.. Closing on our first I’ve this month,!! (1500 Sq feet!) … Your organizination and lack of {much} clutter is inspiring!!!.. Praying for you and your future home 🙂

  • Curious mom says:

    Julie,

    I’m been admiring your boy’s room set up. It’s quite inventive. Your husband is very handy! I was curious, what do you use for mattresses? Are they regular size? Smaller? And the littlest one #4, is his a toddler mattress? Is that how it all fits? I have my own family and I work with families that battle space issues. So I’m curious how it all works. Thank you so much for your post and your help!!

    – a curious mom

    • Julie says:

      The beds actually all fit a regular twin mattress. Boy #4 doesn’t currently have a mattress, but prefers to sleep on the floor. We tried having him share with Boy #3, but he wanted his own space. We will be getting him a twin mattress soon, however, a crib mattress would also be good for that space. Good thought!

      The beds were actually my husband’s first big carpentry project…I think they turned out well, too! 🙂

      • lyss says:

        I love your kids rooms! It really shows that you keep clutter at bay…something I really need to work on. And it shows creativity on how to best use the space. My kids would love those bunks! They love playing “fort”. Actually, my kid’s top bunk is currently only used as a play area, as my youngest prefers to sleep on the floor. Right now he uses a sleeping bag. He is not deprived of a good bed…he likes the floor! lol I’m sure soon he’ll sleep regularly in a bed. : )

  • Sarah says:

    thank you for sharing! I love seeing how other families make a smaller home work. We have a family of 5 and live in a 900+ sq ft home with 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom. It’s a tight squeeze but doable.

  • Diane says:

    Brings back so many memories – don’t know how many square feet we had – not many – but there were 9 of us too, mom, dad, grandfather and 6 of us children. My grandfather had one room, my triplet sisters & I shared a room with 1 closet and one dresser and 3/4 bunk beds my dad built, my 2 brothers another room and mom & dad a dining room converted to bedroom. We had one bathroom and it worked. I don’t ever remember a bad day or anything but love and fun. Mom, Dad and Pop-Pop have passed and “my” triplet (we all got to choose one) but the rest of us remain close although I am 3000 miles away. The closeness of families has no square footage.

  • Paula says:

    Hi Julie, thank you for taking us into your home and sharing how you use your space. I love the photos that accompany the post. Congratulations on your new property and I wish your family continued happy memories when you build your new home. Thanks too to Crystal for this blog and all the positive posts. Crystal you show us it’s okay to be yourself and for that…thanks!

  • Homeschooling in Hawaii says:

    I loved the tour! Thank you for sharing. I spied with my little eye a lone Abeka teacher’s book on the shelf, just curious where are the rest of the cumbersome books that go with the program are kept????? I find it hard to store for my kids and I only have 3 currently using it. And if you are doing it online, where are their computers/tvs for DVDs.

    • Julie says:

      That’s so funny that you saw that book! That is the K5 Phonics, Handwriting, etc. book and the K5 Math book is next to it. Somewhere in there is a big binder with all of the Abeka 1st grade teacher’s manuals. Honestly, after I started teaching more than two children I found Abeka didn’t work for me so we switched curriculum. I do still use Abeka for my kindergarteners b/c I like the foundation it gives them. I have some of the Phonics flashcard resources in the space on the top right of the cabinet. Do you have a small cabinet you could dedicate to all the books? Repurpose something you already have?

  • We have six living in a 400 square foot school bus and I know the feeling of wanting more space, even if things seem to be working as they are! We are building a house about the same size as yours as well 🙂

    I hope for all the best to you and yours!

  • Marcy says:

    Thank you for sharing this, Julie! I love to see how others make small spaces work for them and focus on what is truly important. I especially enjoyed your creative, space-saving tips and the beautiful, bright colors. Thanks, again!

  • Sue B says:

    Wow. We are a family of 8 and I thought we were bursting at the seams with 2200 square feet!! That is impressive. And this post proves that I am apparently even more disorganized than I thought. 🙂

  • April says:

    Wow! Very inspiring and you must be a very organized person! God’s blessings to you and your beautiful growing family!

  • I recently got into a conversation with a lab tech while getting my blood drawn. When I told her we had one daughter, live in a bus and are planning to build a 1200 sq ft home, she said, “Oh, you must not plan to have any more kids.” So, good job! I am sure that you will enjoy having more space and will make the most of it.

  • Diana says:

    I love this blog entry! This is such a great example to me of happy living in a small space! I needed this! Such lovely writing and pictures! Thank you! Sometimes I feel like I am the only person struggling to live & be content in a small space. I remember laughing when watching a decorating tv show at my parents home…the host was describing the 700+ sqft master suite and I thought wow, that’s bigger than my entire home! I find I doubt myself & our decisions to live small sometimes when I see what others are doing…and then I realize we all have choices to make and this just happens to work for us for now!

  • Diana says:

    If you don’t mind, I have a few questions, not to be nosey but to learn how to make my space work better. Where do you keep your laundry hamper? Where do you change diapers & how do your store supplies/arrange this? We are expecting our first, suggestions would be VERY useful! Do you have any thoughts on cloth diapers vs disposable In a small space? Where do you store items: clothing, stroller, car seats, extra toilet paper, vacuum cleaner, paperwork files (birth certificates, taxes, etc), winter coats, shoes, diapers? How do you manage food storage for your large growing family? Any tips to store bulky items like a crock pot, extra pots, canning trash can por kitchen items? Any tips on how to make it to pick up groceries with so many young kids? Do you use a potty chair for toilet training or do you have a space saving method that works better? You mentioned clothing bins for kids, do you have a limit on how many outfits/toys are available per child to be out at once? Do you have a clothing limit or a special technique to make laundry easier in your space? I am copying the nursing rocker in the tv area since we are lacking both on space & furniture! Thank you for your patience with my questions, I understand if there are things you would prefer to not answer?

    • Julie says:

      To answer some of your questions:

      1. Our dirty laundry is sorted at the bottom of our basement steps into 3 different laundry baskets. Everyone puts their dirty clothes in the correct basket after they get dressed.

      2. I change our babies’ diapers on our bed. I have a small basket under my nightstand that hold diapers and wipes currently being used. Extra diapers and wipes are stored in the bathroom closet.

      3. We’ve done cloth and disposable diapers. They take up the same amount of space.

      4. We keep our vacuum behind the front door in our entry way. Current clothing is in bedroom drawers and out of season clothes are kept in totes in the basement. Winter coats are the same.

      5. Our mudroom/home office has a desk with file space for paper files. Crystal has inspired me to get a lot of these papers scanned and onto the computer so I can wipe out a huge majority of our paper files. We keep special paper items in a small safe in our home. Our mudroom also has a shelf with baskets for the kids’ shoes and lots of hooks for coats/jackets/bags.

      6. We have a large walk-in pantry that houses all our food and big items like crock-pots, Kitchen-Aid stand mixer, extra dishes for serving food, etc.

      7. I keep the potty chair in the bathroom closet as well when it is being used. Otherwise, it is stored downstairs until needed.

      That wasn’t all the questions, but a good number of them. I hope what I shared can help you in some way. Blessings to you as you expect your first little one! 🙂

  • Amary Right says:

    One of the best posts ever! Thanks so much! I can feel the love in your home!

  • Lina says:

    Very beautiful organized home .Thank you for sharing I was smiling all the way 🙂

  • Mel says:

    Can I please say how nice it is to see how a real family lives. No fake blogger stuff here. It’s very authentic. I love it! I searched high and low for our apartment we have now. Its a 2 bedroom for $1095 when regular 2bedrooms are $1300 in our area. So. Cal. The only issue is its about 600sq ft for 3 people. We make it work for us, but I totally understand getting on each others nerves. When we were really struggling we had a large studio and my daughters room was the huge walk in closet. After 6 months we saved up enough for a deposit on our current apartment. We sure were going crazy. Lol.

  • Tasha says:

    I just love your house. We have two families (6 people) living in a 1600 square ft house and it gets crazy at times. Like you, we are making it work. However, I can’t help dreaming of the day when I will finally have my own house.

  • Lauren says:

    I really enjoyed reading this I am a mother of six about to be seven and would really enjoy any tips you have on saving money and staying organiZed.

    • Julie says:

      Congratulations on the soon-to-be new addition to the family! As far as tips on saving money, it all started with this blog. Crystal is great and her blog has been a HUGE blessing to our family. My husband says that all the savings I’ve made is like me having a part-time job! 😉

      We are basically on one income (I have a part-time server position at my uncle’s restaurant). Things we’ve done to save money:

      1. I shop mostly at Aldi for food. I use coupons to get toiletries, diapers, etc at CVS/Walgreens for very cheap.
      2. We use cash for food, gas, entertainment, and clothing. When it’s gone, it’s gone.
      3. I don’t really buy extra things. That’s probably one reason our home looks uncluttered. 😉

      As far as staying organized:

      1. The children don’t have a huge wardrobe so they can fit all their clothes in one drawer.
      2. I’ve learned from Emily Barnes’ book “Cleaning up the Clutter” that hooks and baskets are great for organization.
      3. I love to organize!!! I have a ways to go, but I think I’ve got a good start.
      4. Dollar Tree is a great place to get cheap plastic baskets/containers for storing things like puzzles and toys, organizing closets, etc.

      I hope those things help. You can do it. The thing I’ve found is that these things take time, which moms of many and littles don’t have a lot of, but a little here and a little there really adds up!

  • Katei says:

    Hi! Love this post, thanks for sharing! I really want to know where you got all those canvases with scripture… those are great for training the children in His word. Thanks!

    katie

    • Julie says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post! As far as the scripture canvases go, I made them myself on Adobe Photoshop and applied them to canvas with Mod Podge. You can look up DIY photo canvas on Pinterest for tutorials on how to apply them to canvas.

  • Leighann says:

    After living in a small, two bedroom trailer for nearly 13 years, we were FINALLY able to move! ….into a 1200 sq ft three bedroom two bathroom trailer 😛

    The difference is just astounding. I LOVE the extra room. Our master bath is huge and has a shower separate from the massive garden tub. Our kids have room to breath. WE have room to breath! I have three kids, not nine, and the 17 yr old has opted to stay with her aunt across town to attend a really, REALLY nice high school, so it’s basically just four of us in here.

    I do not think I’d be able to stay sane with nine kids, much less nine kids in about 1200 sq ft. Keep up the good work!

  • Laura Polk says:

    I loved seeing your house and getting ideas! We are a family of 10, happily living in 1100 square feet! We recently downsized from a 2700 square foot home we were renting in the country to purchasing our own charming little acearage – a 70 year old farmhouse we updated and it feels like I live in a bed and breakfast. 🙂 As much as we love our current space, we have some of the littles doubled up in beds ( one at each end) and know we will need more bedrooms as they get older. (We currently have 2 – one for mom and Dad and one for the 8 kiddos!) We were blessed to purchase a 600 square foot home (used for a business) owned by a house mover. We will build a nice size mudroom on to the new structure. The house mover sold it to us, and will move it, set it on the foundation, all for $15,000! May be something to look into (if you have any house movers in your area – in Colorado there are only 3 in the entire state!) as you start your new place!

  • You’ve inspired me! Thanks for sharing your home with us, Julie.

    Our house is about 1500 square foot and I think it can feel tight with just 5 of us. 🙂

  • merv says:

    We are in australia & have 7 children & we live in approx 1076 sq ft & home school.
    1200 sounds like heaven.

  • Cassandra says:

    Thank you for your post! We are a family of 7 living in a 950 sq. Ft home it certainly has its challenges.?
    But thanks for the reminder its just a season of our lives praying that we are patient and obedient until the next door opens! Have a blessed day!

  • Kim says:

    This is a great view of your home and I really appreciate your ideas for organizing! We also have small home (under 1,300 square feet) and have three children with two bedrooms for them. My oldest is a 9yo boy, our second is a 6yo girl and our baby is a girl too and she’s 14 months now. We’ve had the baby in our room still and are figuring out a way to move the baby into a room with our daughter. But how has it worked for you having the baby sleep with the older girls? Is sleep a struggle for your girls? Our 14-month-old has started sleeping through the night but occasionally she or our 6yo will get up at night for something. I’m guessing it would take some adjusting. We considered bunking our two oldest but as my oldest is the only boy we wanted him to have his own room. Thanks for your thoughts on this! 🙂

    • Julie says:

      Having the baby sleep in with the girls has worked fine. I do think that it takes some adjusting on everyone’s part, but children are usually great at adjusting. My little guy used to wake up before the girls, so I would go in and get him at the first sounds of being awake so he didn’t wake them, but if he did they usually dozed right off again. Now, he pretty much wakes up at the same time as them so it works out for everyone. As far as middle of the night wakings, it’s surprising to me what little ones will sleep through. Our little guy went through a phase where he would just start crying around 11:00 p.m. and I had to tend to him in the room. My daughters never woke up and never knew he even had a problem. 🙂 Blessings to you as you use the space you have to fit your families’ needs!

  • Merv says:

    Have you all thought of portable toilets?
    With our small home & one toilet which is separate to the bathroom we put our portable toilet from our camping & bus traveling in the bathroom to save the friction & stress when there is a line up for the loo.
    It works wonders & the only down side is that I have to empty it of course.
    But the convenience is worth it.
    By the way if you do use a porta potty/portable toilet put a scoop of clothes washing powder or liquid in the bottom tank with the first litre/pint of water so that things dont smell & it helps keep everything clean & saves us using all the toxic chemicals.
    Do you all stay away from soaps & chemicals as well?

  • Julianne says:

    Thanks for sharing your story, I love to see how other big families live- it can be helpful and encouraging!
    We have a similar situation (though we only have 5 kids). We live in just under 1200 sq. feet. When my husband and I bought this home it seemed huge to us, but we didn’t have kids yet. Now 16 years later we have 3 boys sharing one room and 2 girls sharing the other. My girls are 12 and 7 years old, there room is the smallest (some people have bigger closets than my girls room- about 10×9 feet). My boys are 10, 9, and 3. They have a little bigger room, but there closet houses the vacuum and the extra dining room chair. I’m so thankful for our home, even though there have been times I start to complain about tight spaces. Though when that happens I start decluttering and then more space magically appears. 🙂
    We are now in the beginning stages of getting a Lexar home built on the property we live on. We’ll be able to stay in our home while it’s being built and then sell it and move it off after the build is complete (our current home is a manufactured home).
    I love your post! I love how you took pictures, and I love how there was not one complaint from you! I’ve always felt that God knows what we need, and when we need it, and until then I just need to be thankful and happy with what I am blessed with now.
    I’m chronicling our home build on my blog so if you’d like to take a look feel free.
    Julianne

  • Sabrina says:

    Your home is beautiful! There are 4 in our family (and 4 dogs) and I don’t use our space as well as you. Thank you for sharing.

  • Joanna says:

    Great job fitting your 9 person family into your home and keeping it pretty clutter free! Clutter free seems to be a dream with kids anyway, right? They’re clutter magnets! We were a family of 8, including out 2 dogs, in 1300 sq ft and it was definitely a challenge. We moved into a 2400 sq ft house and Iove, love, love it, especially now that there are 9 of us, still incluuding our 2 dogs. I will say that I wish we had kept everything on 1 floor – not loving going up and downstairs constantly, losing track of who is where, and middle of the night trips up stairs to check on kids. Not to mention hauling laundry up and down! If you go with 2 floors at your new home, I love the suggestion I’ve read elsewhere of putting the laundry on the 2nd floor with all of the bedrooms! And if I could build a home, I’d do that whole amily closet thing – such a time saver. Best wishes for you and your growing family!

  • Jill says:

    Loved the tour and the reality! (Clothes on the table being folded-my life) Our family of 7 lives is approx 1000sq feet. I have all boys though (and we are done) so that makes things easier than a boy/girl mix. My older 4 (6yr old twins, a 4yr old and a 2yr old share a room-2yr old still in a crib for now) My 5mth old gets the nursery to him self-though on the weekends when I can get everyone to take a nap we play musical beds/bedrooms and I utilize pack n plays in obscure places 😉 we also have approx 500sq feet of basement space (unfinished) but my husband’s closet is down there, my laundry area, xtra storage for food/household items and then the other 1/2 of the basement were hoping to turn into a family room play area as soon as we can make sure it’s water proofed. That will feel like adding a lot of sq footage!

  • Adrienne says:

    It was so fun to read how another mom if many does this! I’m due with #8 in January, also homeschooling in 1200 square feet. We moved here expecting our fifth and never imagined what the years would bring. Our oldest will be 12 when baby is born. I’m not quite as on top of clutter… It always tries to creep in, it seems. I love how your bedroom is also the landing place for objects that need a home. Mine too!

  • C says:

    Glad to know it can be done! We live in an 800-sq-ft home (2-bedroom) with only one small closet in the baby’s room. We have another little one on the way and I’ve been wondering how to make it work—having a hard time thinking about where to put the new baby!

  • Dee says:

    I love these tips! We have seven kids ages 8 down to 3 weeks, and feel like we are stuffed to the brim in our 1400 sq. ft. home. We also homeschool, so trying to find a space for that is an added challenge. I love seeing how other families do it! 🙂

  • Alyssa says:

    I love this. We are a family of six living in 850 sq ft., you have given me some great ideas. Oddly enough, I’ve never thought of tucking a full sized electric keyboard behind furniture, but I have the perfect corner for it!

    • Julie says:

      I love getting ideas from others, too, and seeing how I can incorporate them into my life. Glad I could help. ?

  • Vanessa says:

    Love what you have done in your house! Curious about where you have your home computer/home office?

    • Julie says:

      Thanks! ?

      There is a 10′ x 10′ Mudroom/Office off the kitchen. The doorway is just beyond the fridge. That is also the location of the walk-in pantry.

  • andrea says:

    I’d love an update on this story to se where they are now. Did they build a house? Where did they add the space?

    • Julie says:

      Andrea, we did build a house! We just finished and it was quite an experience! To answer your question about added space, we now have three kid bedrooms that are all pretty big with walk-in closets, we added two bathrooms for the kids, and an upstairs family room for our kids to use. Naptime was always such a hard time at our old house because the only place the older kids could be was the kitchen/dining room or the living room, and that wasn’t a lot of space for six children. Now, the older boys have a room where there are no nappers and there is a family room where they can be as well as other areas of the house. We also now have a master suite, with a walk-in closet and attached bathroom. Oh, and a two-car garage! I’ve never had a garage before so I’m really excited to park my van in the garage this winter!

      The Lord has blessed us with more space and we are seeking to use if for His glory. We’ve had friends and family stay with us on several occasions already. One night we had a total of 20 people sleeping in our house and it didn’t even feel cramped! Nothing we have done…it’s all a gift!

      • Codee says:

        So glad to hear the rest of the story! Your family’s experience was an encouragement to me this morning as we have a plain house with two kids and I was wondering if my focus on staying simple was the right choice – it is for at least this season in our lives. Bless you!

  • Julie says:

    I’m glad you were encouraged! For everything there is a season. Blessings to you in this season.

  • Jessica says:

    What a great use of space. It is obvious this family has created a space than is functional and not cluttered. It would be neat to see an update on this family. Were they able to build on the land? How big is their family now.

  • Hannah B says:

    Thank you for sharing such a real example in this post! I am a mom of 4, expecting #5 in about 5 months. This time around hormones are driving me to wish for a remodel or a move (neither of which are budgeted or desired by my husband). Our house can be adequate for more children. Your pictures give me hope that maybe I can have a nicely organized house too!

  • Roxanne Tucker says:

    Funny I found this article. We have 9 kids and one in the way in 1100sqft. Our oldest moved out recently but soon little one will be here so back to 9 in the house. We’ve been here for 18 yesrs. A coupme years ago we purchased 25 ac in a nearby state and should begin to build our 3200 sqft home around September.

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