In case you didn’t know, our family of five lives in a small house. Less than 1,200 square feet, to be exact. Additionally, our house was built in the early 1900’s, (apparently before closets were invented). As a result, we have the added challenge of little-to-no storage. However, with a little planning, (and a lot of patience), we’ve been able to live comfortably in our small house for over five years. Here are some of my favorite tips for how to organize a family in a small house.
How to Organize a Family in a Small House
For the record, we love living in a small house. In fact, very soon, we will be going even smaller (by moving our family of 4 into a 5th wheel trailer). However, living in a small house is not without its challenges. As I said before, the main living space does not have a single closet. To make matters worse, smells travel fast, and you have to turn sideways when passing each other in the hallway.
Despite the challenges of living in a small house, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Maybe that’s because, after years of living this way, I’ve learned quite a few small space hacks (which help keep me sane).
The most important thing to remember when living with a family in a small house is to keep clutter to a minimum. Clutter can easily take over a small house (if you let it), making a small space seem tiny.
Here are some guidelines to help you eliminate clutter in a small house:
- If you haven’t used an item in the last six months, (except for seasonal items), you can discard it.
- Use multi-purpose items rather than single-use ones. For example, an Instant Pot can replace your slow cooker, pressure cooker, rice cooker, and vegetable steamer.
- Purge regularly. I do a major purge with the change of the seasons.
- Sell your clutter at a yard sale and use the proceeds to purchase quality storage solutions.
- Use the Shock Treatment Declutter Method to quickly eradicate clutter.
My favorite organizational products for our small home
Clean Up After Yourself
When living in a small house, I can’t stress enough how vital it is to make sure you (and your family members) clean up after themselves. It won’t matter how clutter-free your space is if your kids throw their jackets on the floor as soon as they get home. Or, if your counters are a dumping ground for paperwork, office supplies, and dirty dishes.
I like to use the “one-touch” rule in my home. Which basically means, we deal with our belongings right away instead of moving them from one place to another to deal with later. For example, when we get home, the keys get hung by the front door, our shoes go in the closet, jackets get hung up, and mail gets sorted right away. We do our best not to let daily clutter pile up, which goes a long way towards keeping our small house organized.
The good news is, it’s super easy to clean a small house. In fact, when our entire family works together, our whole house gets clean in under two hours.
How to Organize a Family in a Small House
Know Your (Space) Limits
When you’re trying to organize a family in a small house, knowing your (space) limits is key. You may find it more necessary than ever to refuse gifts and hand-me-downs from well-intentioned friends and family members.
When a family member offers you something, instead of asking yourself, “Do I have room for this”? Ask yourself if the item will enhance or detract from the functionality of your small home. If not, politely refuse it.
Much like the items in your home should do double duty, the rooms and furniture in your small home should as well. For example, if your front door leads directly into your living room (like mine does) create your own entryway with a buffet table or dresser. This will help define the space and give you much-needed storage space at the same time. Also, you can purchase furniture with hidden storage like this ottoman and this end table.
Always, always, always use the vertical space when organizing a small house. Oftentimes, the vertical spaces in our homes go unused. Go all the way up to the ceilings if you can. Store things on the backside of doors, install shelves above door frames, build extra shelving in closets, and install floor-to-ceiling bookcases.
Also, if your small home has built-in storage (breakfast nooks, cabinets, closets, an attic) be sure you use it to its full potential.
When organizing a small house, a little creativity goes a long way!
Living in a small space with a family does have its challenges, but if your goal is to save money, live with less, and use fewer resources, it can’t be beat! Does your family live in a small house? How do you keep it organized? Let me know in the comments below!