Lately I’ve been getting a bit carried away with cushions. It’s not my fault, honestly. I just can’t seem to help myself. It’s because I’m a Taurus, so I love home comforts. You see? I’m helpless.
The trouble is though that I’m running out of sofas to put them on, and the sofas that we do have are becoming more like cushion storage areas than actual places where we can sit down. Thank goodness there are only three of us living at home because, honestly, if there were any more of us I’d have to use the cushions to build them a shelter in the garden.
There may only be three of us in our house, but what exactly do you do if your family is growing, and you need more space in your home, or even your car? And what about holidays?? (This is exactly why I won’t be having any more children.)
Here are a few things you might need to consider as your family gets bigger, with tips on everything from quirky storage to vinyl flooring.
I’ve lived in houses of all shapes and sizes over the years, and I’ve become a bit of a whizz at maximising storage space. The trouble is that I’ve never actually owned a house, so I’ve not been able to do any of the really funky storage things I’d ideally like to do, like build in bookcases to fill whole walls, or to fit between steps on the staircase.
When you look hard, there are normally loads of quirky little spaces like this in a home that can be turned into handy storage.
Of course the most satisfying way to make more space is to properly declutter, but I appreciate that this isn’t everyone’s idea of fun. I absolutely love chucking things away, but if you’re finding it hard to separate yourself from that 20 year old school book, you could always consider self storage. That way you know it’s there, safe, but you don’t have it fall on your every time you go to the airing cupboard to get out a towel.
If simply having a clear out isn’t enough, is there anything you could do to the physical structure of your house to increase the amount of space you have? A loft conversion could be an option, or, if you live in a London townhouse and have millions of pounds to spare, annoying your neighbours by having a basement dug out seems to be de rigueur at the moment.
Conservatories went through a bit of a thing in the 1980s, and got a reputation for being a bit sweaty, but nowadays you can get some really lovely extensions. Some even have fancy glass to stop them overheating in the summer and getting too cold in the winter. They definitely can be a thing of beauty.
A conservatory is always something I’ve quite fancied. I’d fill it with plants and cushions of course, but at least they’d be a bit more out of the way.
If your family is getting bigger, you might also want to have a look at renovations that will make life easier as well as creating more space. Having old carpets replaced with laminate or vinyl flooring for example should make it easier for you to keep things clean with small kids in the house. (I.e. when they knock over your 6pm glass of red wine.)
Upgrade your car
This is a classic large family dilemma.
You physically can’t fit all of the kids, plus bags, into your hatchback anymore, and so you either have to resign yourself to never going away as a family anywhere ever again, or you need to upgrade.
When I was a kid, there always seemed to be one family at the school that had so many children that they had some sort of unsexy minibus to shuttle them around. Nobody wants to be that family. But big cars are expensive, so what are you going to do? Well, if you can’t afford to buy, you could always lease a car. It’s not as expensive as you might think and there are lots of positives.
Alternatively, embrace the minivan image and go cool instead.
If you’re parenting a whole clutch of kids, chances are you need a holiday more than most, but taking a large family away for a break can be absolutely crippling financially. I’d definitely recommend looking in the UK for a start. We live in such an amazingly diverse country, there should be plenty of options for adventures. Not only that, but you’ll save money on travelling too.
One of our biggest costs when we go away is eating out, and this is particularly frustrating with small children as you often spend loads of money on something they barely touch. One way around this is to avoid hotels and bed and breakfasts, and go for self catered serviced apartments or holiday cottages instead. You’ll save masses of money as you’ll just be able to cook up a massive vat of pasta for the kids, plus you normally find that by going self-catering, you end up with a lot more space. This will be really important for large families, as everyone can easily start to feel cramped on holiday. Having enough room for people to have a bit of privacy is invaluable.
What are you tips for things to consider as your family gets bigger?