Space. Something that is very important, especially in a stepfamily, but also something that probably doesn’t cross your mind much unless you are downsizing or getting a serious upgrade in space in your home. Whether you’re moving into a new house or merging households in a stepfamily, it’s so important for everyone in the house to have their own space. A space that they can decorate, feel comfortable in, and retreat to have their own time without others around. This is important for your stepkids, so they feel like they belong, which must be difficult as they are going back and forth between households, but it’s also important for you, as a stepmom, to have your own space. You need a space that you can use for your interests and to have some alone time. (Yes, it’s just fine to have some alone time! And you don’t need to ask anyone’s permission for that time!)
So this idea of space, or lack of space, came up in our family as my husband and I were shopping for houses. When we were looking to buy our house, we walked in, opened the closet door near the front door and were surprised to see a desk and chair in there! Both of us laughed and kind of joked about it, but as we continued on through the house, I started thinking about the office in a closet and how awesome it would be to have my office in there. Maybe it’s from my years of living in Japan, where space is at a premium, and every item has a purpose, or the fact that we were downsizing and I was losing my office, but the office in a closet was the perfect solution for me. I could use the space and then close it off when I wasn’t in it! I mentioned it to my husband, and he said that he actually thought it was a really neat idea and the space was all mine.
I suppose it would have been really useful as an extra storage closet for our family, but I’m so grateful to have this space for my office! Oh, and it probably didn’t help that I happened to search for “Office in a Closet” on Pinterest. (Don’t do it! Too many cute ideas on there!)
Even if you don’t have a lot of space, or you’re concerned about how you’re going to merge your households into one, try to come up with some creative solutions to find comfortable spaces for everyone. Your kids and stepkids will appreciate it. AND it will help everyone feel like they belong and have a special place in the family household.
I’ve just gotten started with decorating my office and making the space mine. (And it’s been lots of fun! I’m actually writing this blog post from my closet!)
If you decide to turn one of your closets into an office, here are some things to keep in mind:
- Cutouts– Having cutouts in your shelves for cords is key! I have cutouts in each shelf on the left-hand side. You’ll need these for your laptop and anything else that you want to plug in.
- Light– You’ll probably want a lamp to light up your space and make it cozy.
- File Cabinet– I don’t know why I didn’t get one of these sooner! It’s so handy for storing all of my papers!
- Chair– Make sure that your chair is small enough to fit inside your closet when you close the doors.
- Dry Erase Board– I hung a dry erase board on my closet door, but you can hang anything you want on your doors to help you fully utilize the space. (The possibilities are endless…chalkboard, calendar, organizational caddies. Just have fun with it!)
What creative ideas do you have for utilizing small spaces? If you would like an idea for utilizing space that your stepkid would love, read about how to set up an art cart! How did you merge your households together while still retaining space for each family member? Share in the comments!