One of the greatest challenges facing us this year is adding a fourth child without adding any additional housing or storage space. They should really make reality shows about this kind of stuff. Actually, they probably do and I’m just blissfully unaware of it.
By the way, in case you hadn’t guessed it yet, this is another post on our condo life. Remember the “1100 square feet and counting…” thing?
After wracking my brains for how to increase storage space without decreasing square footage … with a plan that did not use any of the following: 1) dynamite, 2) excavation, or 3) possibly more dynamite … I came up with something that I pitched to the “Head of the House” (he’s the head, I’m the neck … or at the moment, the double chin) as a viable solution. In other, related news … thank God for IKEA.
Step One (no, this is not a song by The Fray): we did a complete and introspective soul-search (“Are we really ever going to read that book to the kids again? Do they ever play with that toy?”) and with the heightened sense of self-awareness did a thorough clean-out for our donation center of choice. I, for one, feel much better about myself now.
This picture (taken during the clean out phase) shows the damaged toy/book shelf and the super-damaged college dorm-style blocks I’d been using for Chase’s clothes. Parenting note: never use dorm-style blocks. Your kids will try and pull them apart despite the severe warnings to the contrary that you repeatedly give, and then, if the blocks restack and stand at all, it will be at an annoyingly drunken angle due to bent plastic pieces. Hypothetically speaking, that is.
Step Two: Next we picked the storage unit. (again, see: Thank God for IKEA) While the bedrooms here are larger than many, we absolutely can’t fit four (or even three!) dressers in them. And, even if we could fit that number of dressers, we currently use the bedroom as book and toy storage space, so we would lose that entirely. Enter the awesome shelving unit …
[Seen here still in the boxes. Please feel free to note all the lovely piles on the top bunk and well, pretty much everywhere else in the picture. ] The two units will take the place of the damaged book/toy shelf, the disorderly (and leaning) dorm blocks, and a gorgeous vintage roll-top dresser that I am loathe to part with. Luckily, it isn’t going very far … just across town to my parents house. And luckily, due to a slight project error (It takes how long to do how much?) and my husband’s work schedule, I haven’t had to part with it at all yet as it’s still in my living room.
Classy, huh? There’s a small part of me that feels like there should be a red-neck “dresser in the living room” joke somewhere. Don’t know why, but I do feel that there should.
Step Three: We repaired the damaged shelf from the bedroom and put it in place of this lovely pairing in the living room. Finally! A place to put paperwork, school books, and craft supplies … other than the dining room table. Again, hypothetically speaking, of course … my dining room table is always … eh, forget it … I can’t even type the sentence with a straight face.
Before: The Louis chair grouping. .. This is my husband’s throne chair. True story. Sorry about the dark and blurry quality. I do that on purpose so you can’t see how dusty my house is. If it weren’t blurry, you’d see a cardboard box under the chair that (up until this project) housed all the craft supplies. Yes, we’re so childproof and no, I did not spend half of any at home day trying to keep Chase out of the finger paint. Not. (is it too soon to bring “not” back?)
After: Ah, blissful organization! As my father would always say: “A place for everything, and everything in it’s place”.
Step Four: The assembly of bedroom storage units. (see also: My Husband is Awesome) The goal is clothes on the top and toys/books on the bottom. We’re still breaking in the sliding boxes in only a few places …not sure if we like them completely, but you still get the idea …
If you’re visualizing the “before”, this is the exact wall featured in the shelving disaster with piles and dorm blocks picture I posted higher up. (and by the way, all those green fabric boxes on top of the shelf are where I keep all my cloth diapering items)
And this, is where my beautiful dresser (which, just as a reminder, is still in my living room) used to be.
Epilogue: We increased actual space in the living room with the installation of the previously damaged/now repaired shelf and we close to doubled the space in the bedroom for clothes, toys and books. Oh, and for the curious/non-Ewoldt house-visiting among you, the sleeping situation will read one bunk bed, one standard size crib, and one super tricked-out pac ‘n’ play (tricked-out = it has a mattress and is set up like a mini crib).
So this, my friends, is how we plan to put four children in one room and survive. You know … until the housing market gets more encouraging or Chase goes to college … whichever comes first. Haha …
Any tips, tricks or suggestions? Please feel free to pass them along! I’m always in search of how to do this condo life even better and more efficiently.