Crowded House

The other day my friend from Michigan moved her family to this area. Until they get situated with employment and housing they are all staying here.

I must confess that I was concerned about this. Five adults (since Katie is almost 18), two dogs, and two cats living in a 500 square foot one-bedroom house means that we are stacked up like cordwood.

I have learned that it isn’t near as bad as I expected it to be.

For one, we all work together in a spirit of cooperation. While two of the adults have yet to secure employment (one is physically incapable of working), the rest of us are now employed. When schedules match up, my friend insists on driving me to work and picking me up to make my life a bit easier. We come home from work in the evenings to find that the others have prepared meals for the family and tidied up the house.

At night, since I have to keep a somewhat regular sleeping schedule due to my personal health issues (my brain glitches when my sleep schedule is disrupted) I am usually one of the first to go to bed. They move around stealthily that I don’t get disturbed. If one takes a nap in the evenings or is still asleep when I wake up, I give them the same consideration.

We even coordinate bathing schedules so that no one is caught unawares and has to go to the restroom while someone is taking a bath.

This experience has shown me that it truly is possible for a larger number of people to live in harmony in a small home provided you work together. While society tends to frown on such things, living in a small home can not only help families get on their feet after homelessness, it can help them live on less money when needed or desired. Let’s face it: it costs a lot less to live in a small place than it does to live in a big one.

I wanted to share this story because in my books I mentioned that I had reservations about a larger number of people living in really small homes. While I did point out that it has been done in the past, the thought made me nervous. Since then I have learned that it is definitely possible provided that mutual respect and cooperation abound with the family members.

I personally am grateful for the experience.

Have any of you lived in really tight conditions with other people? Please share your stories in the comments below.

4 thoughts on “Crowded House”

  1. Only for a weekend. Seven adults and one child in a cabin with a living room, kitchen, and an outhouse. Electricity but no water. My mother-in-law cooked a turkey over charcoal in the driveway. Heated canned sweet potatoes on the one burner hot plate, and pulled cranberry sauce from the fridge. We spread a tablecloth on the floor of the living room and set a full table including candles. At night we all opened our sleeping bags on the floor after pushing two soft chair together to make a bed for the child. It was one of the best Thanksgivings I’ve ever had.

  2. Glad you are finding a full house not nearly as bad as you thought. Sounds like a spirit of cooperation runs throughout- that’s great. It’s great that you could help your friends get re-settled.

    I grew up with a family of 17 siblings but there was enough room in the house to spread out. The only time things got crowded was during the meals- all of us in one dining room.

    Have fun!

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