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Sunday, April 3, 2011

Making Your Home Work for You: Room Identity

Sometimes you need to rethink where you do certain activities in your home. Think outside the box a little. You never know what you might come up with.

A friend told me that she always felt crazy because there were always little kid toys on the floor in virtually every room of the house. And then she had a bright idea: why not set up a play area in the basement and move all the toys down there? Instantly, she had a ground floor free of kid clutter and she wasn’t constantly picking up toys.

Now, not everyone has a basement that’s appropriate for kiddos to play in (I don’t). And not everyone has toys to trip over. The point is that sometimes you can take what you already have and make it work better for your needs.

I’m a little behind in sharing our room-by-room house fixes, because, well, I admit, I’m more than a little behind on fixing the problems. Sometimes I need to light a fire under myself. So this past week I went a little crazy and made some major (for us) changes in our home.

Remember this:


And I didn’t show you this, but it was the top of my fridge and freezer (sometime I’ll tell you how we were blessed with this fridge and freezer and how God keeps reminding me to rely on Him):


The fridge and freezer was kinda the keep-away-from-the-2-year-old spot.

We have always done any homeschool seatwork (math work, any worksheets) in the kitchen. Until we moved into this house, I just didn’t have any other place they could do it. We don’t want/need a full-fledged school room with desks and stuff. It’s not the way we do things, and it would be a waste of space.

But we do have a library with a computer desk (doesn’t that sound fancy? We have a library, but we don’t have a family room or play room). This is meant to be a relaxing room where you want to curl up and read. Here’s the before:


This was also the game room. I thought that with the games readily accessible and a clear table to play on they’d get played. Didn’t work out that way.

Issues we had: The table in there did not stay clear, it became a repository for sticking stuff. So the games didn’t get played. Plus, if one child was in the library doing work on the computer, I couldn’t be there to help him and the sibling who was in the kitchen doing math at the same time. I was developing a split personality (or maybe that’s a split persona?). It just wasn’t working. Plus, school books were getting piled on the kitchen island. Definitely not working.

So, I moved our school area into the library.

house 004

house 006

house 005

house 007

We’ll have chairs, of course, and I added the leaf to the table.

With all the school stuff out of the kitchen, I now have room to store all my art supplies and the games.

house 010

house 009

And it feels decidedly less claustrophobic. I think this is going to work…but we’ll see. I’m willing to change it all if need be.

Some downsides: I probably won’t allow them to snack when doing schoolwork plus I’ll need to have a supply of already sharpened pencils in the library (our manual sharpener is on a wall in the kitchen) and I’ll need writing utensils in both locations.

Some questions for you: is there something you typically do in one room of your home that would really work better somewhere else?

Maybe you’re folding your laundry in your bedroom, but it would be more efficient to have a table in your laundry room.

Or maybe you fold in your laundry room, but you’d enjoy it more while watching the evening news.

Is there a piece of furniture in your home that could serve a new purpose elsewhere?

Maybe you don’t need a buffet in your dining room, but you could use a little dresser for your toddler.

Or maybe you don’t really need that bookcase for books, but your 5-year-old might benefit from open shelves in his closet.

How are you making your home work for you?


  1. I think it takes time to figure out a new house~I've lived her a little over two years now, and we're just beginning to make things work in it. Thanks for sharing~I was envisioning as you told your story~HOPE it works for you now ;-))

  2. Your changes look great. The top of my fridge more closely resembles your "before", for sure!

  3. Great job figuring out how to use your space better! School for us would be better in the schoolroom but it has been taken down to studs for renovation.

    I am always looking for better ways to use our space.


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