Our family has gone through all kinds of seasons when it comes to room sharing. From putting all the boys together to turning our master bedroom into a room shared with 4 kids … we experienced it all! Room sharing fosters closeness. And you will find joy in watching them grow closer. One of my favorite things is listening to the kids giggle every night before bed. No matter how much they bickered during the day, they come together at the end of the day for bedtime. Sure, there are some challenges with room sharing! But I hope this episode helps you get creative with those challenges. The goal is to make your life simpler and easier, and to find what works for you!
In This Episode, Allie Discusses:
The different types of room sharing situations her family has gone through.
How using vertical space over horizontal space is key for shared bedrooms.
Tips for utilizing closets to their full capacity in shared spaces.
The importance of thinking minimalistically when it comes to clothing between kids who share a room.
How you save space in shared rooms by storing things in other areas of the house.
How to deal with the challenges of room sharing.
Mentioned in this Episode:
Allie’s Blog Post: Ways to Make Fitting Multiple Kids In One Room A Lot Easier
IKEA dresser: the one mentioned is no longer available, but THIS one is similar
IKEA Roll Utility Cart or THIS one from Target
Mom life. We are surrounded with the message that it’s the tired life. The no-time-for-myself life. The hard life. And while it is hard and full of lots of servitude, the idea that motherhood means a joyless life is something I am passionate about putting a stop to. I’m on a mission to help you stop counting down the minutes till bedtime, at least most days. I want you to stop cleaning up after your kid’s childhood and start being present for it. Start enjoying it. I believe in John 10:10 “that we are called to abundant life” and i know mothers are not excluded from that promise. Join me in conversations about simplicity, minimalism and lots of other good stuff that leads to a life of less for the sake of enjoying more in your motherhood. I’m Allie Casazza and this is the The Purpose Show.
Hey friends! Welcome to Episode 23 of The Purpose Show! I am excited about this episode because I received a surge of questions about this topic right after I put it on my editorial calendar.
I am going to talk today about when your kids share a room. This can work if you have two kids sharing a room, or if you are a psycho who has changed their master bedroom into a room for four kids. Yes, we have totally done that and loved it! We have done all different kinds of “kids sharing a room.”
There are a lot of reasons that you might have to or want to fit multiple kids into one bedroom. We have done that in pretty much every house that we lived in. We have never had a house with every person having their own room. Before it was out of necessity because smaller houses are cheaper. Now, it is not out of necessity but we actually really intentionally looked for a house that didn’t have more than four bedrooms because we have grown to love our kids sharing a room. They love it. We like what we see in families who have kids who share rooms even as they get older.
I do think kids need their own space. Especially for us, Bella is our only girl. I think that there are also other ways to get your own space. It is good for kids to learn how to do that. I just really love the benefits of kids sharing rooms. As of right now, we have no plans to ever have our kids have their own room. We love that they share. It fosters a lot of closeness.
Another reason that we ditched our previous ideals of wanting to have a large house is because having less space forces you to be together all of the time. You are never that far from each other.
Of course, that can get a little frustrating sometimes, but all in all, it has really brought our family closer together. You always know where everybody is. The kids come together at the end of the day and go to sleep in the same room. It is really great. It is really fun. They have a lot of fun conversations at night. We loved when all the kids were together.
As you guys might know, we bought a camper, we lived in it and traveled the U.S. for about seven months. The kids were incredibly squished together in that little camper. But those are some of our best memories. It was super fun.
We also are minimalists who like to spend our money on experiences over square footage. There have been lots of different seasons and different points in our family where kids were sharing a room for one reason or another, so I have some things to say about this. I hope it helps and inspires you to put your kids in one room if you haven’t already. Or helps if you have to have your kids in the same room and are having a hard time with it.
We have four kids. Bella is our oldest and our only girl. We have the three boys in one room. For the most part, I would say it has typically been that way. We have had Bella sharing a room with Leland, and Emmett sharing with Hudson. We have had the baby in our room for a long time. We have just moved things around as needed. We have done it all.
Right now, Bella is nine. She is definitely getting older. Being the only girl, it has worked well with her having her own space. Although I have to say, because of all the times that we have changed things around and utilized small space to make it feel bigger and work so well, it kind of kills me that she is by herself in her room because it is huge. It is like another master room. It is a really big room. The boys are bunked up in the smaller room altogether. It is really funny.
When we lived in the Midwest, we ended up taking the smaller bedroom for ourselves and making the 3rd bedroom into an office. It was at the time when we were starting the business. We gave the master bedroom with the attached bathroom to the kids and did double bunk beds in there. That was really cool. They really like it and it worked super well.
I think, whether you rent or own, be creative. I feel like people get stuck in what the room is supposed to be for, and you can do whatever you want. Make things work in a way that works for you.
One thing that I have found to be super helpful is if the room feels too small for the number of people, use vertical space whenever you can. It is the best, most impactful tip that I have. Using vertical space over horizontal space is huge for shared bedrooms and small spaces.
This came in so handy when we lived in the camper. It was a very small camper. We wanted to test out the “tiny living” thing because it was fun, a challenge, and it’s what I do for a living. It was cool to show my followers that we could live in this tiny little space and travel all over, so you guys can do anything.
You can use vertical space in a lot of different ways. I encourage you to go on Pinterest and search “vertical space storage ideas”, or “vertical space decorating” for inspiration.
The perfect example of vertical space is bunk beds. You can fit two kids on a half wall because the kids go “up.” You can also do a bunk bed with a trundle underneath it so you have three kids in two bunk beds.
Do hooks vertically instead of horizontally. Shelves that go all the way up the wall. You can put things at the top that you don’t want kids into. Simply turning shelving units on their side, making them vertical rather than horizontal, is huge.
Get outside of the normal box in your head and think vertically when you are trying to make the most use out of a smaller space.
My second tip is utilizing the closet in a way that suits your needs best. Kids clothes are typically shorter, because kids are shorter, which gives you a lot of floor and wall space underneath the hanging rod.
Most houses (and our current house) just have the normal fixed shelf and rod below it. The rod is pretty high up and the kids can’t reach their clothes. I will either get it down for them or leave a stepstool there so they can get it. But what I am seeing is that the higher-up rod leaves a lot of wall and floor space underneath, because their clothes are not long like adults.
We fit an extra dresser under the hanging clothes in the closet. We have also used that area to store toy bins, shoe bins. We have hung hooks under there to store backpacks and hats.
Get creative. Ask yourself, “What can I do with this space that will help me?” Think about what you need in that room. What are you keeping in that room that you are having a hard time fitting? Maybe you can attach some hooks for dress-up clothes, or hats, or sports stuff.
In the boys’ room, we have their clothes hanging on the regular, higher-up rod, which leaves a lot of space underneath. On the left wall in the closet, we have one of those plastic bins that is like a dresser you get at Walmart or Target. I think people use them in the garage a lot. This holds all of the kids’ shoes. There are three drawers which is one for each kid’s shoes. Then on the right wall, there is a really cute white dresser that is Emmett’s dresser. Leland and Hudson share the main dresser that is in the room. It has six drawers, so they each get three drawers.
Also, most closets have shelving above the hanging rod. Utilize that. What can you store there without it looking messy? What works for you and looks great? Really get creative and utilize that space.
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What’s great about that top shelf is it is obviously too high for the kids to use because of climbing, and a lot of the times it goes unused because of it. But I think it is a great space for that reason. Use it to store things that you don’t want your kids to have free reign with – Legos, art supplies, puzzles. Things that are theirs and make sense to store in their room, but you don’t want them to be able to grab and go whenever they want.
The next tip is to apply minimalism when it comes to clothing when you are trying to fit your kids in one room. Minimalism is seriously beneficial when it comes to clothing in a shared space.
Our boys used to share one large Ikea dresser, all three of them. They have the clothes they currently need and wear. I never feel like we have too little clothing. I actually feel like we could get rid of a few things. It was an 8-drawer dresser. It worked really well for us. We got rid of that dresser when we moved because it was really heavy and not worth the move.
Now Emmett has his little dresser in the closet. The older boys each have three drawers in one shared black dresser in their room. I don’t think you ever, ever need more than three drawers per kid. If you feel like you do, you probably have too many clothes.
Share dressers. Find a dresser that works. Don’t be afraid to put your kid’s stuff in one dresser and find a way to make it work. You can put pajamas with pants. You can put shirts on the right side and underwear on the left side. Get creative and make it work. If you can’t make three drawers per kid work, you have too many clothes. They do not need that many clothes.
My next tip is to save space by storing things in other areas of the house. A lot of people say that they keep their kids’ toys in their room. For the first time ever, right now we are keeping their toys in their rooms. Toys can be stored in a bin that goes in the hallway closet or is tucked behind the sofa in the living room. Maybe you have a dedicated playroom. Get the toys out of the bedroom if you don’t have space for them to be in there.
What are bedrooms for? Getting ready for the day and sleeping. Coats, backpacks and school stuff can all be moved out to the entryway, mudroom, or the downstairs closet. Hooks can serve a wonderful purpose there.
You can opt for something with a bit of a statement like we did. We had a set of four vintage lockers that we painted a bright white. Each of our kids had an assigned locker by the front door for all of their daily stuff. Their shoes for the day, their coat, their backpack all went in the locker. Their bedrooms were just used for sleeping and clothes storage. They would make their bed and then come out of the room and be out of the room all day until bedtime. That saves a lot of space in shared bedrooms.
What can you get out of there and move somewhere else so that the room is really just for sleeping and getting dressed for the day? Then you are not really in there much. You don’t have to have a shared bedroom where every kid has their own desk, and their toys and everything is in there. When you are sharing a space you really need to apply minimalism and think “real.” What can you remove from this space?
I hope that makes sense. That really, really helped us.
Now, we don’t really need to do that. The boys are in a shared room. Leland and Hudson have the bunk beds. Emmett has his own free-standing bed on the opposite wall. Then there is a shared dresser on another wall. At the foot of Emmett’s bed, we have a really cute Ikea toy bin that I love. I will link to it in the show notes. All the boys’ toys (except for the Legos) go in there. Bella has a few horses that she keeps in her room. It works really well.
Next tip: use wheels to make room sharing with young kids easier and quieter. This is something that really helped me when we had small kids and we were in the having babies stage. We had siblings napping and they were sharing a room with an older kid.
Put things that your kids like to use in bins with casters on them so they can roll it out of the room when siblings are napping. Make things movable. Put the Legos in a cart with wheels so they can be played with somewhere else. Make things transferable.
For example, the way things are in their room right now would not work if Emmett were a baby. The toys are all in the one room and he would wake up if the boys were to go in there and get something.
If it is on wheels, and the baby needs to take a nap, the older boys could wheel out their activity cart before he goes down (or while he is down) and use it in the living room. We used to have two activity carts that we got from Ikea (link in show notes). It worked really well. I would tell the boys that Emmett was going down for his nap and they needed to get whatever activity cart they wanted. They would wheel it out, down the hall to the living room and play quietly. That’s one of my favorite tips.
Another thing I want to address is the problem of chaotic, early morning wake ups. When one kid wakes up, they all wake up. They wake each other up. It is so annoying. I had my kids sharing a room and I was forced to come up with a solution, because it was hard for me.
So here is what I did when my kids were little, sharing a room and waking each other up really, really early. Get a giant digital clock for a few bucks. Hang it up, put it on the table, whatever. Explain what time it has to say for them to be able to use loud voices or come out of their room. Get ready for a week or two of being annoyingly consistent with this rule. After that, all of the sudden, it works.
The kids will decide that it is not worth waking up if they can’t be loud, come out to play, and get breakfast right away, and they start to sleep longer, which is amazing. Or they will catch on to the rules and stay in their room somewhat quietly and play until the magic time appears on the clock. Stick with it and it gets awesome. I promise!
This is also how I have quite morning time with all the kids waking up. You know kids wake up way earlier than we ever want them too. This is a good solution. I hope these tips can help you with babies sharing with older siblings, naptime, and things like that.
If you have two kids in the room that need to nap but they don’t nap when they’re together, I would always put Bella in my bed to nap and let Leland nap in their room.
Be creative. Just because it is not “ideal” or “perfect”, it’s OK. The goal is to make your life simpler and easier. Shake things up. Use the rooms in your house in a way that maybe it wasn’t designed for, but that works better for you.
Have a rhythm where the oldest goes down for a nap in your room, while the baby goes down in his room. If your baby goes to sleep earlier than your toddlers do, find a way to make it work for you. Maybe you could put the baby down in the pack-n-play in another room and when they are super asleep, transfer them.
Have a routine where the kids hang out with you until they are really tired and then help them make it a game, “let’s quietly sneak and go to bed.” It doesn’t have to be awful.
I hope these tips help you fit the things into the rooms that you need to fit. I hope it makes you feel encouraged. I hope it inspires you to enjoy the joys of having your kids share rooms. It really is an honor and joy. I love having the kids sharing a room, seeing their relationships grow.
There are nights where one of the boys will want to have a sleepover in Bella’s room, because she doesn’t always want to sleep alone. They just love being together.
I love that all the boys are in the same room. I love that they have that memory of brotherhood. Every single night, no matter if there was bickering during the day or it was a hard, busy day, they all come together at the end of the day for bedtime. They always talk to each other, giggle, and joke around before they fall asleep. I love that. It is really a gift.
It doesn’t have to be as complicated as we sometimes make it.
This was an episode of The Purpose Show. Thank you so much for tuning in. If you are ready to uplevel and really take action on the things I talk about on my show, head to alliecasazza.com for free downloads, courses, classes and to learn more about what the next step might look like for you. I am always rooting for you. See ya next time!