Organizing for Two Children to Share a Room

I just found out that I'm pregnant with our 2nd child. At the moment, we live in a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom, single wide trailer. This little one will need to share a room with their older sister, she will be around 20-21 months at the due date.

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How do I get two kids organized in such a small space, especially when they may be opposite sex? I need ideas that would be baby safe and affordable on a $21,000, soon family of four, budget. Thanks in advance.

Jessica from Ramsey, IN

December 18, 20070 found this helpful

You might need to make room in the living/dining area for big sister to play when baby is sleeping. I think your biggest concern will be separate toy storage. You can use cardboard or plastic boxes for that. I had my first 2 sharing a room in the 1950s and we utilized the under the bed and under the crib space for storage during the night. When the baby is very tiny you can change him/her in the crib and stack extra diapers at the foot of the crib. That way you won't need to have a changing table. They take up a lot of space in a small room. For your closet you can use shelves and an extra hanging rod to double the space in there. Home Depot has scrap pieces of lumber marked down and you might find some pieces for shelving there. I have seen 1 inch wooden dowel rods in their scrap bins too. Perfect to hang toddler and baby clothing. Most "ready made" closets are studies in wasted space. And whatever you do find safe, out of the way overnight parking for big girl's riding toys. Take it from one who knows those metal tricycles do jump out and attack grownups walking in the house at night. The nails on both my pinky toes are destroyed from hitting the spokes in those wheels while roaming in the dark house. My boys are now 52, 50, 47, and 30 so we do get through these things.

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December 18, 20070 found this helpful

I also found that storage under the bed is valuable - and in my case I can use those under the bed boxes under my sofa, which gained me more space and is great for blocks and other toys.

Go vertical where you can - tall bookcases (anchored to the wall) will provide tons more storage space than low shelves, and you can use boxes and baskets on the shelves instead of a dresser.

Color code things for your older child and younger child, and help teach your daughter how to put things away to help you keep organized.

I would not worry about mixed genders at this age -they will be fine.

We are fortunate to have a big counter in our bathroom - we made a changing pad holder right on the counter top and did not use a changing table in the baby's room. Is that an option to give you more space? We also used a rolling plastic cart (like you can use for storing craft items) to store the infant clothes in right in the bathroom, moving to a dresser as the clothes got bigger.

Sign up for freecycle or craigslist in your area - many people are often donating or selling furniture and toys and clothes and you might find what you need at a bargain price.

Best of luck to you!

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December 18, 20070 found this helpful

you can store all the stuffed animals up high in the corner by using those colored net hangers. they are really just fish nets but colored. you simply attach eye hooks to your corner of the room up high enough out of kids reach and then sit all the stuffed animals in them real pretty. they hold alot and gives visual interest. If your room has a theme you could make one from that themes fabric and hang it the same way. Also if you sew you could make a valance and on the bottom front of it make open top pockets and place light weight stuffed animals or little books in it barely peeking out, cute look and storage.

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December 18, 20070 found this helpful

Theseamstress reminded me of something I did when my youngest was 6. I put cup hooks on the part of the ceiling that was lower. It was over a window and I assume it had duct work in it. I could reach it and I hung baskets with jute on the cup hooks and put his underwear, socks and fold up shirts in them. Dairy crates when you can get them are wonderful storage for kid stuff.

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December 18, 20070 found this helpful

I raised 4 children in a super small space, so I fell your pain... I live in a small mobile home myself... You can do several things, but I find that the easiest & best alternative is to use "grid cubes" These can be bought at Costco... You can not only use them to stack & separate your kids living space, but you can use the grids to store both toys & clothes. The usable side of the cube 's can be staggered so you can use one cube on one side & one cube on the other side of the room.. These cubes are not really cheap, but I've use mine for so many things I can't count & they can be broken down & moved EASILY (I use a rubber mallet I bought at the dollar store) they can be made into any configuration. *I'm now using my metal grids for 3 areas of my home. My laundry sorting area... Located in my trailer, hall way across from my washer & dryer, in my bedroom to organize my fabric & yarn & in my small craft room to organize my craft & sewing supplies. I take plastic "Dishpans" that I've bought at my local dollar store & slide these dishpans into the grids like drawers.

http://shelving.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?page=SHELV01/CTGY/CUBBY

---> The other idea is to hang a cheapie shower curtain. You can hang a curtain on a "spring rod" or from a track that is attached to the ceiling (like they do at hospitals)

---> Another idea, is to but several matching cheapie WHITE in color shelves (about $49 each).. These can be bolted down to the floor & used to separate the kids room... But believe me when tell you, you'd be better off with your small baby in a crib in YOUR room, as the other little one will ALWAYS wake up the baby!... When they get older, invest in a bunk bed...

---> In fact, you can also buy one of those "bunk beds" that have room on the bottom for a computer table or a futon & instead, put the crib on the bottom & the older child on top bunk.

* Try IKEA for a great place to shop & buy affordable shelves, storage things & furniture.

If you have an IKEA near you, go FIRST to the "CLEARANCE" area... this is where the things that have chips in them are or the discontinued stuff is... You can get a SUPER DEAL!

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December 19, 20070 found this helpful

Under the crib storage boxes are a must. Keep the clutter in the room to a minimum by not having a million toys. Kids tend to gravitate towards certain toys at certain times. Keep those out in a toy box or shelf in the bedroom and store the rest in a box in the closet for when those get "old" or boring. Also when it comes time to get new toys, get toys that are appealing to either gender like blocks or legos. As a previous poster said if the room is small go up with storage by using a book shelf or hanging shelves on the wall. Make sure to give big sis her own private space to put her special toys and keepsakes so she doesn't feel like the baby is taking over everything. You could also fashion some kind of canopy hung from the ceiling above her bed. If you are buying any new or used furniture make sure it does double duty for storage. For example if you are buying a toy box get one that doubles as a bench. If you are buying a bed get one that has built in drawers, etc. Good luck.

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December 19, 20070 found this helpful

Check out the IKEA website http://www.ikea.com for ideas. It's mostly going to be a matter of organization.

Once you get your ideas, go to your local Craigslist community http://www.craigslist.com and keep your eyes pealed in the Furniture section for things you need. You can also check the FREE section as well as post a (free) WANTED ad.

Good luck and congratulations!

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December 29, 20070 found this helpful

I had a seven year old and then twins, we also lived in a trailer, less is best, underwear sock and tee shirts were put in a laundry basket not folded under the crib, i put toys with small parts put in a zip lock bag also in a laundry basket i got from the dollar store. If someone asked what you need tell them to buy the kids clothes the next size up.

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December 30, 20070 found this helpful

Until the baby is sleeping through the night, you're better off keeping him/her in a bassinet/crib in your room, otherwise you will have BOTH kids awake at 2 AM!

I grew up in a 2 bedroom house, with 2 sisters, so sharing a room can be done. We each had one dresser- the 5 drawer chest kind, and shared a closet; each one of us had a closet area- right, muddle, left- and our clothes that needed hanging went there. We shared one toy box.

Look on the bright side- it won't be long before they independently figure out how to organize themselves, and keep things separate, because they are "only going to clean THEIR stuff up" (yes, this may mean you end up with masking tape on the floor to designate whose space is whose, lol)

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January 2, 20080 found this helpful

Use a room separator if they are opposite sex for when they get older. If they are the same sex, use a bunk bed. You can save so much room with bunks. Heck, even if they are boy and girl, they can share the bunk beds, but go into the "closet room" to change. I will explain this later.

Take out the closet doors and use the closet as more room for things like a dresser, etc. Add shelves, too. I use a small spare room for what I call the "closet room" where all their clothes and such are there along with linens, coats, extra blankets, extra dressers, etc.

This way, the one bedroom they share can remain as neat as possible as we all know how messy a closet can get! Also, with my closet room, I only have to take the family's clothes to one room, fold, hang and put away in one area. It works really well. We live in a small single wide, also, and this really helps out so much. I even have the bathroom supplies on the shelves in the closet room. Towels, etc. If you don't have a small room to make a closet room, maybe can you use a divider and make one in your bed room if it's big enough?

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