Living in Southern California is expensive. There is no way around it. With house prices nearing a million dollars and rent sky rocketing, it makes it hard. So we live in a small house. Partly out of necessity, and partly by choice. Continuing to live small allows me to stay home with the kids, home school, and it also allows us to do more fun activities and continue to pay down debt while living in the city we want to live in. This is the first year in the last five that we could have moved financially but chose to stay put. For us, not being rent poor is worth room sharing and all the hassles that it brings. I get asked a lot “how do you get all three kids to sleep in the same room?” My answer, “its sort of like playing chess.” One wrong move and you lose the game. Dun, dun, dun, duuuunnn. I’m kidding of course, but it’s definitely a lot of moving parts. So I thought I’d share our routine in hopes of helping others who are considering room sharing! I will also give you a little tour of our home and show you how we make small work for our large family.
Since the addition of our third child, Miss Sawyer, we have had to be extra creative with our bedtime routine. Our children have the master bedroom in our house because it’s bigger and it just made more sense. When Sawyer was born I bought a mini crib and I put it at the end of our bed. When she was a newborn, we co-slept sometimes but mostly she slept in her mini crib. I just can never really rest with a baby in my bed. I worry and I am a light sleeper. When she was about six month old I started putting her to bed in our room, then when the other two were asleep in the kids room, I move her into her crib in there. So here it is.
5:30pm-Free play while I clean up.
6:00pm- Bath for Sawyer
6:35pm-Bathe the other two
7:00pm-Room clean up/”quiet time.” (I use quotations because it is NEVER actually quiet)
7:30pm-The two older ones are in their room. We brush teeth, read aloud, sing songs, snuggle. etc etc. My daughter like to listen to guided meditations for kids sleep. She says it gives her happy dreams. Whatever works.
8:30pm-Usually the older two are both actually asleep by 8:30. They have been room sharing since my son was four months old and are fine going to bed together.
9:00-10:00pm-I go to bed. I move Sawyer into the kids room, she never wakes up when I move her. I think she is used to it.
That is it! Viola! Three in one room!
So to answer some questions you might have……
- Yes, when Sawyer wakes at night or someone has a bad dream or an accident or whatever could possibly happen happens, I have to rush in. Cry it out isn’t an option for us. Not if anyone wants to sleep. My son is a light sleeper, but usually he doesn’t wake up to Sawyer’s crying unless it’s early in the morning, close to wake up time.Fortunately my oldest could sleep through a hurricane, so she’s fine.
- We use a white noise machine. We bought one but you can also just download an app on your phone if you wanted to save a few bucks.
- When Sawyer was younger (0-9 months) she would end up sleeping in our room all night in the mini crib. It was just more convenient for me and that way we didn’t disturb the others during late night feedings. Now that she isn’t nursing or getting a bottle at night. She sleeps in the kids room almost every night.
- I was chatting with a friend and it got me thinking. Wait, how DID we make that work? It’s not easy, and the idea of a routine really just has to go out the window. Flexibility is key. Challenging and frustrating at times, but key. Sometimes, I end up on the couch or in bed with Asher. Some nights are hard. Asher has nightmares and Sawyer still wakes up once at night. She’s usually lost her “snuggy” which is her little blanket.
- When Asher, my son, was a baby I didn’t have the mini crib at all. When he would wake up I would just nurse in the same room. Khloe is in another world when she is asleep. She was made for room sharing so I lucked out.
- Also when Asher was younger we staggered their bedtimes. So I would put Asher to bed first in the kids room, then Khloe after he had fallen asleep. There was a short time when they needed to go to bed at the same time and that wasn’t working well, so we put Khloe in our bed and then just moved her before we went to bed.
- Just be flexible, it is not always perfect and sometimes people wake each other up, but I think they actually enjoy being together most of the time.
Mini Home Tour!
Our room. You can see the mini crib I was referring to above. I actually bought it used and it has been great for us. I try to keep our room simple but it kind of becomes the catch-all. Some day I will re do this room but for now it works!
This is the bunk room aka kids room. These beds are actually bunk beds, but my daughter was afraid of being so high up and my son isn’t quite old enough to be trusted climbing up and down yet. So this works! They lost some floor space for playing but they actually like playing on their beds. They could hide stuff from Sawyer, but now she can climb anywhere so no one is safe. This room is large, one full size bed, one twin, one crib, one rocker, two little desks and one shelf. I utilize the closet to put two three drawer dressers in so they don’t take up room. We store a few toys and books under Asher’s bed, but most everything fits in the shelf.
The baskets hold dress up clothes and Sawyer’s dolls. Everyone has one bucket. I try to keep their toys to a minimum. We do keep toys in a couple other places, but they don’t have a ton.
I have learned to utilize every inch of space. These mini guitars were just ending up on the floor and I considered buying bags, but these hooks were inexpensive and I like the way they look hanging on the wall. See dual purpose! Decor/storage.
This is our everything table. Literally everything happens here. We spend a lot of our time around this table. Eating together, school, crafts, work, reading, coffee drinking etc. etc. I use a bench along the wall to save space and I just recently bought Sawyer a booster seat and moved the high chair out. It is a nice space saver but not a great option for a younger baby , obviously.
I try to buy pieces of furniture that are dual purpose. It keeps furniture to a minimum and in a small space things need to be useful. These poufs all serve as extra seating, or a place to set a drink, rest your feet, and my kids use them like launching pads. I also make sure the scale or size of the piece is right for our apartment. You don’t want giant furniture in a small area. It never quite looks right and takes up a lot of room. These rattan ottomans are from Ikea and the leather pouf I ordered online from One Kings Lane.
This is our entry way. I try to keep in simple, just a few things and everything else needs to go to its place. I don’t like clutter and in a small space just a few things can make a room feel messy.
We keep getting rid of furniture. I say, more people, less stuff! More room for activities. We have enough room to put up our fun tee pee and when we aren’t using it I just store it behind our front door. Since it is black and white it kind of just blends in when it isn’t in use.
Like I said before. Things need to have a dual purpose. I love to use vintage suitcases for storage and it adds a fun vintage touch. This small one is filled with Groovebooks. Otherwise an eyesore, now they look pretty and are hidden. The trunk I use for storing old pictures, and some books that were handed down to my kids. We aren’t quite old enough to handle them yet, so I put them in here.
So there you have it, a little glimpse into our home and how we fit five people and two dogs into 1000 square feet. If you have any questions feel free to comment below! I hope you enjoy your Memorial Day weekend. Never forget the true meaning! So many have sacrificed so that we can have the freedoms we do today. Happy Friday!