Monday, December 2, 2013

House challenges

This is the 5th house that we have lived in since we were married. We had a little rental house and one baby. Then a bigger rental house. Next we moved into my in-laws large farm house and had another baby.  Then we rented a farm with smaller old farmhouse and had two more babies and began homeschooling. Eventually we bought the house and farm and then built a bigger house and tore down the old farmhouse. We had four young children when we built and lived there 14 years adding five children and making changes here and there as our family grew and our day-to-day lifestyle changed. This house in Idaho is a little smaller and is configured differently. Making it home has been then the challenge of our fall.

The first challenge we had is less bathrooms. After several weeks here we have figured out how to live with that. I think. The older girls carry baskets with their personal items and a towel to one of the two full baths for their showers just like in a college dorm situation. We structure shower times. I limited the number of towels and each person has their own bath towel. We placed over-the-door hooks on the bathroom and bedroom doors for towels and bathrobes.

Our second challenge is school. There is a small library/office room here where we placed bookshelves and the piano. But there is no room for a desk or the rest of the books. Our Iowa house had built-in bookshelves. This meant buying bookshelves here and placing them on empty walls in various rooms. I think the HGTV shows would not approve but we did the best we could. I tried really hard to avoid putting a desk and bookshelves in my bedroom but finally concluded that there wasn't another option. There is no room to use as a schoolroom so we are once again doing school around the kitchen table. If they all get started early enough in the day they can finish by noon and we clear the table for lunch. We still have stacks of books scattered about so either I tell myself that "It's OK, live with it" or I eventually buy more bookshelves or replace shorter bookshelves with taller. I'm leaning toward the latter. Believe it or not I left books behind in Iowa, I gave books away before we moved, and I gave more books away when we arrived and filled these shelves. My excuse for my book loving disease -- we homeschool and my children need these books for a well-rounded education. Text books all the time is dull.

The third challenge: not enough cupboard space in the kitchen and a small pantry. In Iowa we lived far enough out from town that I was well trained to buy in bulk and kept a well stocked pantry. And I had the luxury of space to do that. Here, not so much. Thankfully, the garage has some large cupboards and my walk-in closet is quite large. Larger than what we need. On my list of things to do this week is to organize that so we can use it for storage for overflow items. I need to stop buying in bulk and rely on the nearby grocery stores and most importantly use the bulk foods I have stocked up and not replace them. That's a little scary for me. But I've lived long enough to understand that the world is a big place and the doomsday folks have been wrong plenty of times. Coming Economic Earthquake? Y2K? etc. I'll put my trust in God and keep enough around here to live through an ice storm an no electricity. I don't even know if ice storms happen here.There certainly are hardly any trees to land on the power lines and pull them down here in the high desert. We keep hearing that it can be really windy but... perspective is everything. What does "really windy" mean? Regardless, I have too much bulk goods for my cupboard and pantry space.

Fourth challenge is the world's smallest laundry room. Two things in my favor though--we aren't on a farm bringing in mud and manure covered clothes and I have enough older kids now that nearly all of them are doing their own laundry. Because my bedroom is on the first floor and is big we have taken to hauling the laundry there for folding. It's working.

Fifth challenge, one living area and no playroom. That means there is no real place to send the kids when their play is getting too loud. It's working out though. The younger girls, 8 and 10, play with their toys in their room. They are old enough that they are keeping it tidy and organized.
The boys have their 1/64th scale farms set up in their bedroom and down the hall.
Games happen at the large coffee table in the one living room or at the kitchen table.
And they're being trained to play more quietly. Too much energy and noise gets them sent outside. A garage and construction tools helps with 12 year-old-boy energy output.

Sixth challenge, crafts and sewing. There is a small, odd shaped store room where we can stow our things. We work on the kitchen table, use my bed as a table, or work on the floor. That couldn't have been done years ago when we had babies, toddlers, and preschoolers.


  1. Moving is hard. Making a different house into a home is hard! It takes time; you guys will get things figured out. :)

  2. Hi Kim, I have been reading your blog for years and have your book. I remember praying for little Matthew in his early days while I waited for my 3rd bubba to arrive :) Five years ago we downsized from a 4 bedroom house with 2 large living areas and a huge covered in verandah, massive kitchen and walk in pantry which we were renting to a 3 bedroom, 1 combined living/kitchen, teeny bathroom and even tinier laundry (it will become our pantry in a few months when we finally build the new laundry!) renovator's "delight". Then we added 4 more children (making 7 in total) one of whom needs all kinds of clutter like standers, IV poles, feeding pumps etc. We are SLOWLY renovating and to say it's been a bit of a challenge at times is an understatement! It has made me really simplify. The kid's beds are loft beds to give play space. Every possible wall surface is covered with bookshelves. I have a sideboard where we keep craft items and games. I have a small lockable cupboard under my oldest's loft bed that has more craft stuff. Whoever has the key puts their name on the whiteboard and they are responsible for any mess resulting from their adventures. The kids each have a basket for their school books so they can keep everything together. I am trying to be disciplined and restrict myself to getting new books on our kindle account - not the same, but does save space. I don't have much storage space at all. We built a garden shed in the back yard which we lined and insulated to give us some more storage - I keep my sewing machine etc. in there and bring them in for sewing sessions. I will be watching for any tips you have Kim, what an adventure for your family to be simplifying, consolidating and prioritising in such a way :)

  3. Thank you for your great posts, moving is probably one of my least favorite things, especially with 4 little ones under foot. I am glad to hear it can be done and that there is a light at the end of the baby/toddler phase when you can't do anything below a 4 ft counter :). We just moved last month and I find I'm arranging the kitchen with nothing breakable or sharp below the counter:).

  4. I was wondering if there will be anywhere to purchase your book now that vision forum is closed? Thank you!

  5. Missed your blogs so glad you are back

  6. Thankful for your thoughts. We recently made the 8th move in 14 yrs of marriage. We've had such a variety of houses and it was a struggle to stay content and thank God for each one...especially when things start breaking down. But, we push through. I thank God for women being honest about parts of their lives that they are trying to make work. It gives hope to the rest of us out here:)


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