Every time we shuffle the kids' living arrangements I think, "This is going to be great for a long time." Alas, it never is, and so we keep on shuffling. We have just [nearly] completed a room swap that involved four of our five bedrooms and the kitchen. Can I get a collective sigh of exhaustion here? Good grief. What a lot of work.
Here's what our previous arrangement looked like (at least in words...I didn't take any "before" pictures): Zach and Tyler shared the bunk beds in the largest bedroom in the house, which is in the basement. Gavin had his own room, with a queen bed, in the other basement bedroom. Lexi and Kate shared a little room upstairs, but Lexi slept in Gavin's bed because she wouldn't sleep in her own. We also had a dedicated office in the fourth bedroom, and Garry and I share the fifth, of course.
Well. Zach and Tyler can no longer tolerate being roommates. Gavin is not a good roommate for either of the big boys because he always gets into their stuff. Gavin and Lexi would like to be roommates. Now, I know that in theory, we should make our kids love each other and get along and share bedrooms because that's what families do. We cannot seem to accomplish that ideal, so new physical boundaries seemed like the best option.
After lots and lots of work (remember the exhaustion and the sighing?), our new arrangements are like this.
We gave up our dedicated office/project room. This impacts me the most, since it has been my little hideout and craft/work room for years and years. However, it's time for us to have the computer in an open area, and giving up the office meant an extra bedroom for the kids. The biggest part of this transition was giving up the large closet full of STUFF that was in the office. I spent hours purging said stuff, and then rearranging kitchen cabinets to accommodate the change. I am very happy with the way things are now. Simpler is better.
And now you can see the little corner of my world where I write this blog. Note #1: This room is almost never clean.
Tyler moved into the vacated office. He wanted to live apart from the other kids (although Kate is his neighbor) so he could have some peace and quiet. Since making the change, Tyler has spent a lot of time in his room just reading and listening to music and enjoying his solitude. That really pleases me. Tyler inherited the bedroom set that has bounced around from sibling to sibling for several years, but that Lexi and Kate most recently shared. This was my bedroom furniture growing up, and when Zach and Tyler were little, I painted it red. I love it, and now Tyler loves it. Happiness. Note #2: The missing drawer in his nightstand went to IKEA so I could match the bed skirt I intended to buy but could not find. When I took this picture, the drawer was in the garage and I was too lazy to fetch it.
That left Kate without a dresser. We temporarily housed her belongings in a bin under her bed, but she liked pulling out her stuff and throwing it all over the floor. I found a darling dresser--perfect color, perfect size, perfect condition--for her on Craigslist. I bought it for $40 from the nicest guy ever. He said he's had it his whole life. Anyway, it found a happy home in Kate's bedroom on Saturday. There's also space now for Kate's princess castle (a heavily-used Christmas present).
Lexi and Gavin are sharing the big basement room with the bunk beds. We moved all of Lexi's clothes and things downstairs, and the Littles are officially roommates. Because we removed Tyler's Lego table and a book case from that room, there is plenty of space for the kitchen, dolls, and toy organizer, which had previously been living in the family room. Win-win! Lexi has slept in our bed every night since we made the change, but hopefully we can work to improve that very soon.
Zach has his own room in the basement, too. It's ironic that we just bought Gavin bedding for his birthday. None of the kids have mentioned it, so we're not talking about it. We installed shelves so Zach could display his treasures, and also purchased a dresser on Craigslist (for $15!). The small one we have isn't large enough to accommodate big boy clothes. It needs paint, but we couldn't beat the price.
Note #3: In the wake of these changes, we sold part of the awesome IKEA desk from the office. We are also trying to sell a nice office chair, a heavy-duty preschool table, and a child/teen desk and book case. Let me know if you're interested.
So there you have it. All five kids have new rooms, and we essentially added a bedroom for less than $100 (dressers, shelves, and paint). I'm feeling good about it, and I think the kids love the new arrangement.
But did I mention that I am t-i-r-e-d? *YAWN*