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Life Events Series: Making Space for a Growing Family

Families have a lot of stuff. It’s simply a part of any young (and growing) household. From the minute you decide to have kids, you start adding more and more possessions. But with your home becoming more crowded by the day (they sure are aging out of their clothes fast, aren’t they?), a big question looms: How do you make space for it all? In this Life Events Series article, we have all of the tips you need to keep your family’s things organized.

Buying Your First Home

The average homeowner lives in a home for nine years. There’s a chance you’ll make it past this number, with your kids living in the same home until they move out. But there’s also a chance you’ll be at or below the average, meaning you’ll move at some point – perhaps even twice. One of the most common reasons families sell their homes is because their current home is too small. In fact, it’s the top selling motivator for younger homeowners.

With this in mind, it’s important that you plan for a growing household when buying your family’s first home. Of course, the main factor you want to consider is how many kids you want to have. The more family members, the more space you’ll need for your stuff. This seems like a no-brainer, but it’s an easy thing to overlook when you don’t yet have kids running around the house. In fact, one of the last things people examine when buying a home is available storage.

Facts About Homebuying: People are living in homes 50 percent longer than when the housing market crashed in 2008. The average single-family home bought nowadays is around 2,600 square feet. Priorities for homebuyers: Usability and square footage > Storage space.

Using Space Efficiently in Your New Home

Things may seem spacious enough in your new home, but – with kids on the way – it’s inevitably going to get crowded. Once you’ve settled in, give everyone plenty of space with these room-by-room organization tips:

Bedrooms: You don’t want to spend on bedrooms you won’t use. But you have to remember that, as kids grow, they won’t want to share a room forever, either. Bunk beds are ideal for conserving space when they’re younger, making it possible for them to store toys, games, and clothing in one room without getting cramped. Then, let one of your kids take over the guest bedroom when they’re old enough to have their own space (and we all know how much teens want privacy).

Bathrooms: Most homes come with two bedrooms per bathroom. You may want more, but note that studies show more than four bathrooms drastically raises the asking prices – not to mention total repair costs. If you’re looking to save bit of money, find a 3/4 bathroom for you and your partner (they include a shower instead of a bathtub) or 1/2 bathrooms (featuring only a toilet and sink) downstairs. If storage is a concern with a bunch of small bathrooms, a medicine cabinet is worth the investment.

Kitchen: It’s easy to overlook the kitchen, as we tend to view them as one-size-fits-all. Yet, if you’re looking to support several hungry kids, your family can benefit from more space to store food, dishware, and appliances. Balance the benefit of space with high maintenance costs (kitchens are the most expensive rooms of the house to maintain). Free up cramped cabinets by placing pantry goods in hangable containers or a nearby closet.

Rec Room: The living room is going to be a lot livelier if you’re planning on having multiple kids. An entertainment center and foosball table are space-hogging assets. It may be in your (and their) best interest to turn your basement into a rec room rather than risking your living room becoming a mess. This way, your kids will have plenty of room to roam and won’t become a disturbance.

You don't have to upgrade to a larger home to have enough room for your growing family. Here are a few ways you can transform often-cramped rooms into space-efficient, breathable areas. Bedroom: Bunk beds free up valuable floor space. Bathroom: Medicine cabinets keep toiletries and cosmetics orderly. Kitchen: Turning a closet into a pantry declutters kitchen counters and cabinets. Rec Room: A basement-turned-rec-room can be a spacious place for fun and games.

Getting Ready for Your Kids

So, you’ve purchased your family’s new home and are all moved in. How do you plan for your kids now that there’s a bun in the oven? Long before you and your partner are headed to the delivery room, put time and care into arranging your child’s own nursery.

The crib, like any regular bed, is the centerpiece of the room; don’t underestimate its importance, as children often sleep in their crib for three or four years. The other big component of this room is the changing table, and you have a few choices: an actual changing table or a dresser that has space to change diapers on top of it. While a changing table is reusable for any future children you have, the benefit of a dresser is that your child can use it to store clothes growing up as well.

Babies may be small, but with all of the items they need, they do require a bit more room for storage. Spread things out with wall shelves – they’re both efficient and safe, opening up floor space while simultaneously protecting curious children from choking hazards. If you’re hesitant to part with your kid’s baby items once they outgrow their nursery, stow them away in a storage unit. It’s a smart idea in case you need them in the future (i.e., for your or a family member’s next child).

Supporting a Growing Household

Self Storage: Your Family's All-in-One Solution. Storage units provide your family with space to store the things that are cluttering up your home, all in one convenient off-site location. This includes: 1) Outgrown items like baby clothes, hand-me-downs, and old toys 2) Jackets, sports uniforms, and other out-of-season clothing 3) Bats, gloves, pads, balls, and other sports equipment 4) Bikes, skateboards, and scooters 5) Family keepsakes like scrapbooks, photo albums, and school assignments

Kids sure do grow up fast, don’t they? It feels like only yesterday they were taking their first steps, and now they’re getting ready for their first day of kindergarten. It’s hard to keep up with all of the progress they’re making, but it is possible. As they outgrow clothing, shoes, toys, and bedroom décor, box these items up to use as hand-me-downs or sell at garage sales. It’s out with the old, in with the new throughout their first 12 years or so – after all, this is when they’ll grow the most.

Another big part of growing up is sports. Whether your kid plays soccer, baseball, basketball, or something else, your home may become inundated with gear and equipment – and a lot of it probably smells, too. Now, self storage won’t take away the odor, but it will keep your home neat and organized, whether you want to keep their stuff off-site during the offseason or you’d prefer to drop by your unit before or after practice. Before you know it, they’ll be the star of their high school team (okay, that’s still a ways away).

Storage Express: Helping Families Grow

From buying a home, to supporting current and future family members, to making space as your kids develop, there’s a lot to keep in mind when raising a family. But as long as you have enough room to breathe along the way, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Self storage can be a big help, offering you the right amount of room for baby items, outgrown and out-of-season clothes, sports gear, and more.

Find your nearest Storage Express facility today, and explore our variety of storage units to support you – and your family’s – space needs.