Sometimes all you need is a new look at an old problem.
There are four of us in this too-big house. When my husband and I were house-hunting nearly 18 years ago, we wanted something large enough to spread out in, something where everyone could have his or her own space. We didn't want to go so large that we lost touch with each other, however. The Queen Anne Victorian we found was perfect, even if it was one town over from where we'd expected to spend out lives. Each child got a bedroom, my husband and I got one to share. The extra bedroom became our study and he lined it with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves (the kind with cupboards underneath to hide stuff in). Only one bath upstairs and a powder room down. Perfect!
There was, however, a left-over room. At one time it had been a child's bedroom (I knew that by the wallpaper I scraped off when redoing it), the previous owners used it as a sun room since it's only 9'x6' and has both a western and a southern window. For years it was "mama's room" and I used it to house all my craft supplies, even putting my loom in there (which made very little room for anything else, so that didn't last long).
So that's the set up -- what's the problem?
My daughter just graduated from college and my son decided the major he'd chosen wasn't right for him and they both moved back home. With all their stuff. My daughter had had her own apartment, so she brought home more than my attic can hold. And my husband has recently begun painting (if you haven't been to his site yet, go take a look...he's good!) and his canvasses are taking over the study. And my son's room. And our bedroom.
The upstairs has become a firetrap. Too much stuff in too small a space. And that's not including the ethernet cable running across the hallway to hook my daughter's computer up or the cables that run through their rooms for the Xboxes, the TV's, the....you get the picture.
Two days ago I spoke to each member of the family and said, "Okay, guys. We need to pretend we're just moving into this house. No room has been assigned to anyone yet. Remember, when we moved in before, computers were still in their infancy and one of you was just over three and the other was only 18 months old. What would you suggest if we were to have bought this house yesterday and are moving in this weekend?"
My son immediately said, "Give me the little room."
At first I thought he was kidding. The kid's 6 foot 2 and he wants the smallest bedroom? But he was serious. He doesn't need a lot of room, and as long as he can keep his dresser in the larger room across the hall, he's ready to make his own "man cave."
And so, today is a new start for all of us. We've spent the entire day moving. First we made room in the study and then moved all my stuff from the small room into it. Then, because he has a double bed and that won't fit, he switched beds with his sister. She's thrilled to get the larger bed out of the deal. He moved his desk in as well and started setting up his electronics while my husband then started moving his art stuff and desk and computer into the newly-emptied back bedroom.
So where does that leave me? With the study! I now have my very own space in the house to use as an office/craft room/library. Right now there's stuff all over the place and it's a total mess, but it's mine! My very own place to write where I get lots of light (three outside walls; south, west and east) and often can't hear what's going on in the rest of the house.
New look at an old problem -- and everybody won. This is going to be a good year!
Play safe, everyone :)