Benefits to a larger than necessary house (as children grow)

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills
Post Reply
smartypants
Posts: 28
Joined: Wed Jun 23, 2010 9:56 am

Benefits to a larger than necessary house (as children grow)

Post by smartypants » Sun Oct 19, 2014 2:00 pm

Question:

What are some reasons you have found for purchasing a home that is larger than necessary (if you can easily afford it)?

General Scenario:

My wife and I have 5 small children (ages 8 and under). Our house has four bedrooms and a small backyard. We're looking for something with at least six bedrooms and a large yard.

Details:

My wife and I have lived in the same house for 12 years. The house was massive for just us two. It has 4K square feet but only 4 bedrooms. Since that time, we now have five kids ranging from ages eight to newborn. (Don't ask me how that happened!) We are now into a situation where two sets of our children are sharing two rooms (which I always did growing up) and the newborn one has her own room because she wakes up every few hours. The oldest two (8 and 5) keep each other up for HOURS after their bedtime EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT. We've gotten to the point where we put one to sleep in her room and the other to sleep in our bed until the first is asleep. Then we move the one from our bed to her bed. EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT. The situation is almost the same for the other set of children younger who both just turned 2. These twins *can* fall asleep as early as 6:30 or 7, but will often keep each other awake until 8PM or later. Regardless of the time they're put to bed, all of the kids in my house will wake up at 5:30 or 6 in the morning like clockwork.

Furthermore, there isn't a room in my home that isn't...infected...with kids stuff (toys, etc.). My workspace at home consists of a single 3' x 5' section in one room that has a table top and a chair. I have been pretty good at convincing the kids not to touch my table. My wife has a small desk next to mine and my two oldest children have overflowing craft tables immediately behind my workspace. There just isn't a good place for my kids to play or have their own space. Their bedrooms are so small (because they're sharing) they can't reasonably play in there.

My wife and I are going absolutely nuts because we're basically in permanent cleanup mode. When we finally get all the kids to bed (and asleep) for the night and we've finished cleaning up the damage from the day, we're both exhausted and plunk down in bed without hardly even communicating or connecting in any way.

My wife has talked about moving, but more recently she has talked about expanding the house and adding on a few rooms. Her talk of moving somewhere abruptly changed when her parents moved in across the street (which is super convenient for her, for obvious reasons). My problem is that expanding the current house to add a few bedrooms doesn't make a lot of sense. First and foremost, it's a huge invasion into our lives and having construction workers roaming through your home to do expansions for any length of time is awful. (Years ago, we had our unfinished basement completed and she hated every minute of it.) Beyond that, there's no obvious architectural way to expand because of the lot layout and the roofline of the home. Financially speaking, our home is at the upper end of value for our neighborhood. I've talked with a few people in real estate and they all agree, dumping even $50K into the house to expand is basically a lost/sunk cost. Finally, this still doesn't solve the problem of the children having a dedicated play space or of me having a quiet, dedicated and ISOLATED workspace. (I work from home about 20% of the time)

We looked online for a home that met our requirements for number of bedrooms, size, price, lot size, and proximity to her parents, and we found 2-3 listings, but only one was interesting, so we scheduled and appointment and went and looked at it. Because it's larger than our current house (and unfamiliar), my wife left the showing feeling overwhelmed. She just couldn't fathom the need for all of the space. There were aspects that she loved--like the kitchen and family room setup.

In this new house there's a room for each child, a guest room, a master bedroom, formal dining and receiving area, living space, kitchen, exercise room, library/study, a play room for kids, an entertainment room, etc. It's got a 3-car garage which I've always wanted as well as a separate large shop building out back for things like snow equipment and a place to store summer stuff in the winter. My wife looked at it and says it's way too big. "We don't need all that space" I look at it and think, this place is perfect. I feel like we'll grow into it as our children age and as our needs change. It's very much within our price range. It's on a quiet, out-of-the-way street where the lots don't have fences (which freaks her out because she wants to know where her toddlers are). I plan on owning that house for at least 20 years.

My big question is: what are ways that you thought a place was "too big" but ended up being "just right" as your children aged? As they got older and have friends over how was it nice to have a space for them to hang out? I'm just looking for a big list of reasons.

Obviously this is an emotional thinking for my wife. She wants to be close to her parents. This house is only a mile away and fits our needs much better than our current house.

Naismith
Posts: 373
Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 2:58 pm

Re: Benefits to a larger than necessary house (as children g

Post by Naismith » Sun Oct 19, 2014 2:17 pm

Obviously, if you can afford the new house and feel good about it, you should go for it. But what do those of us do with fewer options try?

For a while, we had the older kids split up, so that each of them had a younger sibling in their room to kind of take care of, instead of grouping them with the one closest in age. They liked the responsibility.

We never had all the toys out at one time. We boxed up half of them, and switched the boxes every few months, giving "new" toys that were more interesting and forcing an extra good clean-up of the old box before the new one could come out.

Our friends built loft beds, so that one child was up close to the ceiling and had their desk underneath, creating more usable space in the room. This also put the kids on separate planes, helping some to prevent them from bothering each other at night--eliminated the obvious kicking up and thrown down. (Of course they always find new ways to torment each other).

Realtors kept trying to show us a great room, and we opted for smaller rooms with various uses. We turned the formal dining room into an office and put the dining table at the end of the family room closest to the kitchen. We have a living room that is just used for music and reading and guests.

User avatar
BL
Posts: 8271
Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2009 2:28 pm

Re: Benefits to a larger than necessary house (as children g

Post by BL » Sun Oct 19, 2014 2:24 pm

Is one mile away the same as 1 minute of driving time?
I hope you find a solution that is satisfying to both of you.
It sounds like maid service would be needed even if you don't have one now. Also a fence to contain the little kids. Do you love yard work? What are taxes like? It sounds like maybe you can afford all these extras, so that is good.
Some of these child problems will disappear with a little time or discipline. Kids messes seem to expand to the space available, but probably could be contained more easily. Right now, I can understand your wife liking to have parents handy for overwhelming child care. Did they move there to be nearby?

User avatar
dodecahedron
Posts: 3691
Joined: Tue Nov 12, 2013 12:28 pm

Re: Benefits to a larger than necessary house (as children g

Post by dodecahedron » Sun Oct 19, 2014 2:24 pm

4,000 square feet sounds like a phenomenal amount of space for a family of your size. I grew up in a family of 5 kids (though we weren't all so close in age as yours are) and I just went to Zillow and looked up the square footage for the home where we lived. Zillow says it is 1,400 square feet and 3 bedrooms, though I suspect that doesn't count the attic space (where there was another "bedroom" apparently not counted by Zillow) and also where my dad had his study (like you, he worked at home a significant amount in his side job) and I also doubt it counted the basement space (where we spent a lot of time playing) nor the front and back porches, where we also spent a lot of time hanging out in mild weather. Still, I am sure that it was much less than 4,000 square feet.

I have to wonder whether you couldn't get an interior designer/architect just to figure out how to reconfigure the space where you currently live (maybe installing built in furniture or beds that push up into walls to create playspace during the daytime) or something that would use your existing space more efficiently. Also, maybe some kind of room divider arrangement might make it easier for your kids to go to sleep without interfering with each other.

(I shared a double bed with my sister for many years and my brothers shared a bunk bed in another room. I do remember my parents yelling at us occasionally to be quiet and go to sleep. We did have a ridiculously early bedtime from my perspective. We were all supposed to be lights out in bed by 7pm when I was 9 years old! I will admit to a certain amount of flashlights under the covers!)

I do sympathize with your need to have a quiet working space. Is there any chance zoning laws would allow the construction of a small outbuilding in your backyard, not connected to the main home? Construction of that space might be much less intrusive than an addition built onto your home.

User avatar
6miths
Posts: 688
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2010 1:55 pm
Location: Toronto, Canada

Re: Benefits to a larger than necessary house (as children g

Post by 6miths » Sun Oct 19, 2014 2:26 pm

It's a hard call. We've been in our current house for 18 years and we have changed it to fit our family. We have 4 children, now 15 to 21. It is a hundred year old farm house on an acre with a small creek bisecting the back half of the lot. It has been great for the kids to have the big, treed backyard. As well we have a church beside us which gave us an additional cushion and parking lot to learn to ride bikes, play ball hockey, learn to drive cars, etc. When we bought it, it had had two additions of a family room/kitchen and a large garage with an apartment above it. The main house which originally had 4 upstairs bedrooms had been converted to 3 to accommodate a master suite. We converted it back to give the children each a room of their own with the two girls sharing a bathroom between their rooms and the boys sharing the main bath. We also converted the apartment above the garage into a master suite as well a guest room with an ensuite that my MiL moved into when her home became too much. She lived there until she passed. It may be that my mother moves into it in the not too distant future. We had a walkout basement that has been excellent for the kids and all of their friends at various stages. So we have adapted the house to our family and the children have been able to grow up in a single place which they value - and of course because of that we will get a little heat from them when we decide to downsize... I don't regret the decisions we made but it is possible that we would have been better off moving to a bigger placed that was finished as we wanted. Problem of course being, finding such a place in the neighbourhood that you love. I'd say we are content but it is a hard decision.
'It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so!' Mark Twain

jackietreehorn
Posts: 116
Joined: Fri Sep 05, 2014 7:24 am

Re: Benefits to a larger than necessary house (as children g

Post by jackietreehorn » Sun Oct 19, 2014 2:26 pm

This is probably not the response you were expecting, but take it for what it is worth. I have immigrant parents and was always told to have a small house. The reason being was to force your kids to get along and have a relationship. We had a small house growing up, and I'd have to say it works. My brothers and I did a lot together and got along pretty well.

This might be something for you to consider. It is nice that you are in the position to be able to purchase a bigger house, but if that bigger space makes your family grow apart, it may not be worth it.

Obviously, there are a lot more factors that go into relationships within your family, but just something to think about.

User avatar
dodecahedron
Posts: 3691
Joined: Tue Nov 12, 2013 12:28 pm

Re: Benefits to a larger than necessary house (as children g

Post by dodecahedron » Sun Oct 19, 2014 2:32 pm

Also, I totally empathize with your wife's fear of unfenced lot with toddlers. Kids need to be outside (sunshine, fresh air, exercise means they will maybe sleep better!) but supervising so many young children simultaneously is extremely stressful. An unfenced lot would be a deal killer until the children are all much older. If you can't install a fence at the new home you are considering, forget it!

retiredjg
Posts: 33850
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2008 12:56 pm

Re: Benefits to a larger than necessary house (as children g

Post by retiredjg » Sun Oct 19, 2014 3:31 pm

I had a home once with 5 BR, 3 full baths, 2 kitchens, LR, and family room....all in 2600 square feet. So I'm wondering just how all the space is being used in your 4000 square foot home. Something just doesn't doesn't add up.

Like the previous poster, I'm wondering why you can't just close off another couple of BRs and designate something as a play room (toys stay in there). Another possibility is to change the sleeping arrangements - put a young one and an older one together. The young one goes to bed early and the older one goes to bed later. They aren't using the BR for play space anyway.

However, none of that is any of my business (although I do wonder....). If you can afford the new home and if your wife gets on board, buy it.

However, your wife may be considering what it will take to keep something greater than 4k square feet clean and orderly. So if that can be worked out, fine. If not, don't move there because she will never be happy if the new house is more of a burden than your current situation which sounds like more than enough to have to take care of in the first place.

It is counter-intuitive, but consider that the real solution to your situation might be to move to 2000 square feet and get rid of a lot of stuff.

Texas hold em71
Posts: 595
Joined: Sat May 18, 2013 11:09 am

Re: Benefits to a larger than necessary house (as children g

Post by Texas hold em71 » Sun Oct 19, 2014 4:25 pm

A 4,000 square foot house with four bedrooms has big bedrooms and probably has 2 or 3 living areas, an eat in kitchen and a dining room. Can one of the living areas or the dining room be repurposed into an office for you and your wife?

The bedtime problems you refer to are short lived. The newborn won't need her own room for more than a year and the older kids will begin to get exhausted enough by school and activities to fall asleep faster.

With five kids, you are NUTS to leave grandparents right across the street. Unless your street is busy, your 5 and 8 year old are old enough to look both ways and cross to visit grandparents whenever they want. If my kids had that at those ages, I would have never seen them!

To answer your question directly, we have upsized twice and both times have managed to fill up whatever space we had available. I do think as your kids age, you'll want more space but while they are small and you have help, I think I would make the current space work better (no 50,000 additions, just better use of the same space). Relatively small expenditures on things like well designed furniture and shelves in closets can go a long way.

Have you thought about having the kids clean up toys before bedtime? Sounds like they need to be more tired at bedtime and that may help.

I agree with previous poster that toys should be restricted to the bedrooms, outside and in one living area that you designate as a playroom.

stan1
Posts: 5893
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2007 4:35 pm

Re: Benefits to a larger than necessary house (as children g

Post by stan1 » Sun Oct 19, 2014 4:46 pm

Having the parents across the street is very different than having them a mile away. Some people would not want parents across the street -- but in your case it sounds like your wife really appreciates it. Also I would not worry about resale if you are planning to stay in the house for many years (until the kids are gone). With the parents across the street, if the schools/parks are close/good, and the location is close to work I'd definitely stay put and bring in some help to get some ideas.

Some ideas:
- Build a stand alone office in the back yard. You could start with it as a single or double garage and adapt it into an office and storage. If permits permit you could even make it two stories with a guest room or exercise room. If you don't put in plumbing cost might be under $25K. Less invasive on the rest of the house. If permits allow you could even make it two stories if you really wanted to.
- Kids clean up before bed and impose strict rules about where toys can go, although you probably would have wanted to start that 5 years ago :)
- Impose a rule for everyone (including mom/dad) that you have to get rid of one thing for every new thing you bring into the house.
- Make an annual garage sale (or trip to donate to a charitable thrift shop) a family event that everyone gets excited about.
- Add in more built in storage. Put in closet organizers and look at the garage carefully. Could you create a storage area in the basement? Talk to someone if you aren't seeing the ideas. In a 4000 square foot house there should be plenty of space.

We have some friends who just moved into a 6000 square foot house with close to an acre of land. They then spent I'm guessing over $200K on furniture. Utilities and repairs also cost more. Of course if you have the money and this is a priority then do as you please.

mw1739
Posts: 506
Joined: Mon Mar 21, 2011 5:44 pm

Re: Benefits to a larger than necessary house (as children g

Post by mw1739 » Sun Oct 19, 2014 7:46 pm

I did what you're proposing and in some regards I wish I hadnt. My toddler runs all over our 6000 square foot home. Think you will be able to work from home? How will it work when a toddler who knows daddy is home bangs on your office door?(don't ask how I know)

Is there any way to add a bedroom or two in the basement? I agree with the others who suggest having an interior designer or maybe a contractor or two out to give ideas on how to better use the space. 4000 square feet is enough room for at least a dedicated play area.

retiredjg
Posts: 33850
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2008 12:56 pm

Re: Benefits to a larger than necessary house (as children g

Post by retiredjg » Sun Oct 19, 2014 9:18 pm

Imagine being the parent who is trying to keep up with kids in 6000 square feet....

TomTX
Posts: 165
Joined: Tue Sep 30, 2014 6:43 am

Re: Benefits to a larger than necessary house (as children g

Post by TomTX » Sun Oct 19, 2014 9:23 pm

Have two of the kids sleep with the grandparents. They probably have a 4,000 square foot house too. :mrgreen:

Spend $5k and put a good shed in your back yard. Run electricity, insulate it, put in a window AC and small heater. Put a lock on the door. *POOF* you have an office with no kid stuff. :sharebeer

bluejello
Posts: 428
Joined: Sun Sep 21, 2014 9:40 am

Re: Benefits to a larger than necessary house (as children g

Post by bluejello » Sun Oct 19, 2014 9:32 pm

Hi OP,

I really don't think this is a financial decision. If I thought that moving to a bigger house would make your life easier, I'd tell you to go for it in a heartbeat. But I really don't think it would!

None of the problems you describe — getting the kids to go to bed, having kid stuff everywhere, you and your wife being too exhausted to connect with each other — will be solved by having a bigger house. Even if each kid has his/her own bedroom, they are still going to want to stay up and play. Unless you change their habits, your kids are still going leave their stuff everywhere, now it'll just be spread out over 6,000 sq ft instead of 4,000. And I also don't see how having a bigger house will mean less work or more time for you and your wife.

How about instead of spending your money on a bigger house, you spend it on making your life easier? Hire a housecleaner to come by once or twice or three times a week so that you and your wife don't have to do the cleaning. Hire someone to do the yardwork. Hire babysitters more often so that you can go on date nights. Do you have a finished basement? Many families I know make their basement the "kid space" and all the toys, games, etc. are just spread out down there. With 4,000 sq ft and only 4 bedrooms, it sounds like most of your house has an open-plan design. Maybe it makes sense to block off some of that space for a home office?

Best of luck!

scouter
Posts: 659
Joined: Fri May 28, 2010 11:24 pm

Re: Benefits to a larger than necessary house (as children g

Post by scouter » Sun Oct 19, 2014 10:39 pm

I agree with both jackietreehorn and bluejello. Adding more square footage won't solve your problems, it will just spread them out and plus you'll have more house to heat and cool, insure, clean, paint, etc.

There was a nice country song in the '80s called "Love Grows Best in Little Houses". The chorus:

"Love grows best in little houses,
With fewer walls to separate,
Where you eat and sleep so close together.
You can't help but communicate,
Oh, and if we had more room between us, think of all we'd miss.
Love grows best in houses just like this."

User avatar
Watty
Posts: 14097
Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2007 3:55 pm

Re: Benefits to a larger than necessary house (as children g

Post by Watty » Sun Oct 19, 2014 10:57 pm

retiredjg wrote:I had a home once with 5 BR, 3 full baths, 2 kitchens, LR, and family room....all in 2600 square feet. So I'm wondering just how all the space is being used in your 4000 square foot home. Something just doesn't doesn't add up.
+1

12x12 (144 sq feet) is a good size kids bedroom. Even allowing for closets and the like you could easily get 5 kids bedrooms into 1,200 square feet or less with the right layout.

With an even larger house keeping track of what small kids are doing will be harder which is bad enough but once they get to be teenagers then having a smaller house has the advantage keeping the communications open better just because of your proximity.

If you will not be having more kids then it is only about ten years until the older kids start moving out so there may be a limited time when you could use the extra space.

denovo
Posts: 4351
Joined: Sun Oct 13, 2013 1:04 pm

Re: Benefits to a larger than necessary house (as children g

Post by denovo » Mon Oct 20, 2014 4:46 am

bluejello wrote:d!

None of the problems you describe — getting the kids to go to bed, having kid stuff everywhere, you and your wife being too exhausted to connect with each other — will be solved by having a bigger house. Even if each kid has his/her own bedroom, they are still going to want to stay up and play. Unless you change their habits, your kids are still going leave their stuff everywhere, now it'll just be spread out over 6,000 sq ft instead of 4,000. And I also don't see how having a bigger house will mean less work or more time for you and your wife.

How about instead of spending your money on a bigger house, you spend it on making your life easier? Hire a housecleaner to come by once or twice or three times a week so that you and your wife don't have to do the cleaning. Hire someone to do the yardwork. Hire babysitters more often so that you can go on date nights. Do you have a finished basement? Many families I know make their basement the "kid space" and all the toys, games, etc. are just spread out down there. With 4,000 sq ft and only 4 bedrooms, it sounds like most of your house has an open-plan design. Maybe it makes sense to block off some of that space for a home office?

Best of luck!
+1 And just to add, I suspect your wife's parent's help out so being further away from them is not the best idea. This sounds more like a kid management issue than a space issue overall.
"Don't trust everything you read on the Internet"- Abraham Lincoln

User avatar
interplanetjanet
Posts: 2226
Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2011 4:52 pm
Location: the wilds of central California

Re: Benefits to a larger than necessary house (as children g

Post by interplanetjanet » Mon Oct 20, 2014 5:24 am

smartypants wrote:My wife and I are going absolutely nuts because we're basically in permanent cleanup mode. When we finally get all the kids to bed (and asleep) for the night and we've finished cleaning up the damage from the day, we're both exhausted and plunk down in bed without hardly even communicating or connecting in any way.
Others have spoken to issues with house size and layout - I'll say this. Money spent on a maid or cleaning service can be a cheap recipe for family harmony in some cases - it can make a big difference even when they only come once every week or two. I'll add that some problems just get bigger with more area. At one point I moved our household of six from a 3600 square foot house to a 2600 square foot one and honestly, the 2600 square foot one was vastly easier to keep up after. A more efficient layout combined with less space for there to get dirty translated into a house that felt easier to live in.

User avatar
kramer
Posts: 1631
Joined: Wed Feb 21, 2007 2:28 am
Location: Philippines

Re: Benefits to a larger than necessary house (as children g

Post by kramer » Mon Oct 20, 2014 5:48 am

Another issue that I did not see addressed is whether the OP plans to stop at five children or if the family will continue growing -- and how sure they are about that happening.

If they plan to have two more kids, that may have a major effect on their housing plans.

Jack FFR1846
Posts: 7787
Joined: Tue Dec 31, 2013 7:05 am

Re: Benefits to a larger than necessary house (as children g

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Mon Oct 20, 2014 6:06 am

4000 sq feet is absolutely huge.

I have to think that the layout has some very large redundant rooms. Like a living room and a dining room and eat in kitchen. If that's the case, make the dining room into a bedroom. Take a corner of the great room for kids crafts. Do you have a basement? If so, that can be an optimal place for a kids playroom. Put the craft area to one end of it.

It's not all that uncommon for a family of 5 go live in a 900 square foot house. Adding 2 more doesn't make sense that you're out of room at 4000 square feet.
Bogle: Smart Beta is stupid

kaudrey
Posts: 956
Joined: Fri Nov 22, 2013 2:40 pm

Re: Benefits to a larger than necessary house (as children g

Post by kaudrey » Mon Oct 20, 2014 9:59 am

I agree with the others that there must be one or two rooms that can be re-purposed - either turned into a bedroom or another office.

Naismith
Posts: 373
Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2014 2:58 pm

Re: Benefits to a larger than necessary house (as children g

Post by Naismith » Tue Oct 21, 2014 8:19 am

While the children's sleep issues do tend to be temporary, it is absolutely no fun while you are going through that season, so I have great sympathy for the OP.

Bringing in a professional organizer to figure out the best way to corral the toys, etc. would be money well spent and much cheaper than the cost of a new house.

I also second the idea of hiring a cleaning service. Choosing one is a topic for a whole 'nother thread, but this can be done without spoiling the children. Ours focuses on the public areas, and respected my instructions when I once left a stack of dirty dishes on the counter with a note that said, "Do not wash--a teenager needs to take care of them" and they cleaned all around them.

livesoft
Posts: 62703
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 8:00 pm

Re: Benefits to a larger than necessary house (as children g

Post by livesoft » Tue Oct 21, 2014 8:30 am

I have some personal experience in this area. As already noted, a larger house, a larger yard, and even a fence will not be that helpful and will exasperate the situation.

Hire a maid to clean to house every week. Hire someone to help with child care too, if needed. I think the maid(s) will be helpful, but I am not sure about a caretaker. Also give up on believing that the house will be kept organized and clean.

And don't forget to get a dog. A fence would be good for the dog. Or 2 dogs.
Wiki This signature message sponsored by sscritic: Learn to fish.

nashirak
Posts: 45
Joined: Thu Sep 11, 2014 7:30 am
Location: Little Rock, AR

Re: Benefits to a larger than necessary house (as children g

Post by nashirak » Tue Oct 21, 2014 12:34 pm

I tend to ageee with the folks advising to stay put. I also grew up in a house that was 4br-2.5ba and under 3k square feet (plus an over-garage bonus room). Having a bigger house will not fix the issues you describe. Imagine what you describe in your first post, now throw in the hassle of packing/moving/etc.

I say stay put.

Rodc
Posts: 13601
Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2007 9:46 am

Re: Benefits to a larger than necessary house (as children g

Post by Rodc » Tue Oct 21, 2014 1:01 pm

Some thoughts:
The oldest two (8 and 5) keep each other up for HOURS after their bedtime EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT. We've gotten to the point where we put one to sleep in her room and the other to sleep in our bed until the first is asleep. Then we move the one from our bed to her bed. EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT.
As others have noted this will pass.
Furthermore, there isn't a room in my home that isn't...infected...with kids stuff (toys, etc.).
In a 4000 ft house that is likely not a space issue. Kids can be taught to pick up after themselves. Not easy perhaps, that I understand because our kids pick up due to my wife's diligence, not mine. Probably fair to say I pick up after myself due to my wife's diligence as well. :) And if not taught more space just turns into "nature arbors a vacuum" situation. Also, try keeping fewer toys out and you don't have to let them take their toys into every room. I have seen people with two kids and this problem and people with several kids and no problem - some people by nature are just better at this (my wife for example and not me for example, so I feel your pain).
My wife and I are going absolutely nuts because we're basically in permanent cleanup mode.
Cleaning up stuff strewn over 6000 sqft is not easier than strewn over 4000 sqft.
My problem is that expanding the current house to add a few bedrooms doesn't make a lot of sense. First and foremost, it's a huge invasion into our lives and having construction workers roaming through your home to do expansions for any length of time is awful.
Agreed that can be very tough.
My wife looked at it and says it's way too big. "We don't need all that space" I look at it and think, this place is perfect.
Does that mean this is really your desire, not hers? Are you just looking for ammunition to use against your wife? Better to talk to her honestly and openly IMHO. (Not that you asked. :) )
lots don't have fences (which freaks her out because she wants to know where her toddlers are). I plan on owning that house for at least 20 years.
I don't blame her, but unless there are some sort of rules against fences that is easy to fix.
Obviously this is an emotional thinking for my wife.
Maybe for you too, no? I suggest this just might not be the best way to approach your wife. And anyway, what is wrong with emotions? Playing Spock on her on this and other issues is not a good long term approach. Don't ask me how I know, BTW. FWIW pure emotion is not a great approach either. Some blend is best.
This house is only a mile away and fits our needs much better than our current house.
Remember that is only an opinion, based on your opinion of what you want. It is not a universal truth.

Good luck, these sorts of issues are challenging. I politely suggest an open collaborative consensus based approach rather than a my way or your way winner take all approach. One of the challenges is there are few middle ground options and a stand off will always favor stay put and so while I say that it is easier said than done. My wife and I had just this sort of discussion some time ago, only we flipped the roles from yours regarding size and kept the logic vs emotion roles you have, and I confess I am better at giving advice than following it. So, best of luck.
We live a world with knowledge of the future markets has less than one significant figure. And people will still and always demand answers to three significant digits.

WriterGen
Posts: 19
Joined: Tue Oct 21, 2014 3:31 pm

Re: Benefits to a larger than necessary house (as children g

Post by WriterGen » Tue Oct 21, 2014 4:49 pm

You wife is thinking about keeping it clean. Only get it if you also plan to hire someone to clean it!

Dave1
Posts: 115
Joined: Sun Jan 05, 2014 2:18 pm

Re: Benefits to a larger than necessary house (as children g

Post by Dave1 » Tue Oct 21, 2014 7:59 pm

Agree with the other posters re. making better use of your existing space. Having grandparents across the street can be great in so many ways too, so you don't want to give that up.

User avatar
JDCarpenter
Posts: 1389
Joined: Tue Sep 09, 2014 2:42 pm

Re: Benefits to a larger than necessary house (as children g

Post by JDCarpenter » Tue Oct 21, 2014 8:51 pm

In the past decade, we've gone from 8000+ (how to count the basement, detached quarters, and third floor...), to 2500 foot rental, to 4200 sq. foot. We had three kids serially teeing up for HS and driving at the start of it. the 2500 was tight, given what we were used to. If anything, however, the 4200, which we completely gutted, [re]moved walls, and put just the way we like it, is functionally equivalent to the big house--except when entertaining or hosting out of town guests. We can't have 100+ at a party anymore (unless guaranteed to be nice outside), but that isn't something that we've ever really been into.

Otherwise, as others have indicated, once you get to a certain point, it is how the house is laid out, not how much bigger it is. Although I miss the castle and how cool it looked after I finished all the work on it, I shudder at the idea of just the two of us living in it now that the kids are all scattered far to the winds--much less the maintenance going forward. :-)
Edit Signature

User avatar
TxAg
Posts: 1289
Joined: Sat Oct 17, 2009 11:09 am

Re: Benefits to a larger than necessary house (as children g

Post by TxAg » Tue Oct 21, 2014 9:12 pm

With 5 kids under 8 yoa, sounds like you and your wife could use a break from "connecting" :D I kid, I kid.

I agree with everyone else. 4,000 sf house is plenty. Use the extra money to make your life easier, not buy a bigger house.

It was a different time (and they immigrated) but my mom was one of 8 kids....they lived in a 3 bedroom, 2 bath house. I don't suggest that, but they are a close family and most of the kids turned out good as gold.

Boglemama
Posts: 295
Joined: Thu Apr 28, 2011 7:27 am

Re: Benefits to a larger than necessary house (as children g

Post by Boglemama » Wed Oct 22, 2014 9:43 am

I read your post yesterday and thought about your situation. I am a stay at home mom of 2. You have gotten a lot of great advice so far.

Your main advantage to staying in your current home is the parents living directly across the street. Moving away into even the perfect home would be not worth moving away from such trusted,loving help being so close. With 5 kids, your wife needs the extra hands. And what a wonderful thing for your children to have their grandparents so close! I am envious.

I agree with so many others and I would redesign your current home to suit your needs. I'd hire a professional organizer and an architect. 4,000 square feet is a lot of space and it must not be being used efficiently.

I'd also reevaluate the baby being in their own room. If the baby wakes every few hours, then why aren't they in the room with the parents? It's so much easier to feed and comfort a little one when you get to them right after they awaken and not after they have cried themselves in to a frenzy. And the other kids need a sleep routine and schedule.

Side note, your wife is awesome. Seriously. I keep up with 2 under 7 and it's a lot. Your wife works hard and it's out of love, but it's still draining to care for all of those people's needs. You probably already do, but do something great for her.

User avatar
greg24
Posts: 3230
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 10:34 am

Re: Benefits to a larger than necessary house (as children g

Post by greg24 » Wed Oct 22, 2014 10:23 am

You have 4k feet already. A larger house won't make the mess go away, and it won't make them suddenly respect your workspace.

Your current home is the one that all five babies were brought home from the hospital to live at. Your in-laws live across the street. It sounds like you are all very happy, other than some of the usual aches and pains of a full house. I'd need a HUGE reason to change all that.

lululu
Posts: 1378
Joined: Thu Apr 10, 2014 4:23 pm

Re: Benefits to a larger than necessary house (as children g

Post by lululu » Wed Oct 22, 2014 1:02 pm

My parents would never have allowed us kids to behave like that.

My guess is our house was max, 1000 sq ft for parents and three kids. Three bedrooms, the two boys shared a room. Kids picked up their stuff and it was not allowed to invade the other areas. Maybe your kids have too much stuff anyway - do they use or need all those things?

I really don't understand the modern way of each kid having enough sq ft as an old time house. Do people ever see each other compared to older times?

Post Reply