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6 super thoughtful strategies for living in a single level home when you have kids, and even pets.
For most of us, when we think about where we will live while we raise our children, we think of a house. It’s the classic setup, with a white picket fence and friendly neighbors we share our lives with— but it’s also a distant dream for many families. While raising children in a house might be the ideal, it’s far from the standard, and many people find themselves living in a single level home with kids–whether an apartment, duplex, or detached home.
There are many forms of single-level homes, covering a wide range of prices. So whether you live in a penthouse, a bungalow, a studio apartment, or something in between, there’s a few things you should know about the challenges — and the benefits — of having a single level home with kids. Read on to find out more…
Take the noise issue seriously
When you live on a single level, by far the biggest issue you will face is noise control. This issue is particularly challenging in the evenings, when your kids will be trying to sleep while you remain awake. And obviously this is crazy magnified if you have a baby or toddler that takes several naps a day.
When children are able to sleep on the top floor of a house, parents can carry on as they normally would on the ground floor without having to worry about causing any disturbances to their sleeping children. This isn’t an option on the same level, as there just isn’t the same separation afforded.
It is therefore imperative that anyone living in a single level home with kids takes the challenge for noise reduction incredibly seriously.
There are a variety of soundproofing options that you might want to consider; depending on your budget, you can choose from DIY methods or hiring in specialists to make material changes to the structure of the building. Either way, the noise issue is one that you’re going to have to deal with, so it should be at the very top of your priority list.
With the right sound minimizing techniques, you should be able to achieve a way of living on one level without disturbing your sleeping children.
If you do find you’re struggling, a white noise machine in your child’s room might be beneficial. With a white noise machine, external noises are less obvious as there’s no absolute silence to disturb, so such a device is definitely worth considering.
Don’t opt for open plan
In a continuation of the noise focus, it’s worth noting that open-plan living is not suitable if you’re trying to live in a single level home with kids. As beautiful as open-plan living is, the fact that there are fewer walls in the space allows for sound to travel with far more ease. So any kind of open-plan living really isn’t the best idea for families living on single levels; instead, choose to separate off each room to allow for maximum sound reduction wherever possible.
While this may not be the best aesthetic choice, sometimes practicality has to come first. If you’re not keen on the idea of lots of individual walls, you can always consider flexible room dividers or even glass walls— these can help preserve the feel of open-plan living, but still offer the noise control that you’re going to need.
Organization, storage, and decluttering are vital in single-level homes
When you live in a single level home with kids, organization becomes even more important than it would be if you were living in a multi-story house. While the most palatial of penthouses may technically include as much space as a house, this is unusual. And you will usually find that a single level means that there are restrictions on the space available.
The only way to deal with restricted space is to ruthlessly organize your belongings, and then do all you can to ensure you regularly declutter.
In some ways, living on a single level and dealing with the space challenges this provides will teach you very good lessons; you’ll learn that you have to be incredibly choosy when it comes to the items you keep in your house. Decluttering and organization are the only way to cope with a smaller amount of space when raising kids, so opt for plenty of in-built storage and schedule decluttering sessions whenever you have the time.
And if your clutter–whether in the bedroom, kitchen, or rest of the house–is out of control, check out this course. It focuses on unburdening yourself by minimalizing. (Click the image to learn more!)
Consider external storage units
Most parents can agree that kids need a lot of… stuff. From the moment you bring them home from the hospital, kids require a huge amount of equipment, clothes, and various associated items just to keep them healthy + happy. Most families can deal with this by storing items in a shed or the attic, but there’s no such option if you live on a single level.
Again, one of the biggest issues you may face when you’re living on a single level is the lack of space. And this is particularly concerning when it comes to child-related items. If you find that, even with the best will in the world, you just can’t make all of your kids’ belongings fit into your property, then your best option is likely to be an external storage unit.
Many people don’t like external storage units; they see them inconvenient, and worry about the safety of storing their own items out of sight. However, these units can make a huge difference to the space you have available in your home. Just ensure that you do the research and find a unit with adequate levels of security, and only use the unit for items of material value— it’s usually best to keep sentimental items close to hand, just in case.
Child-proofing is more difficult if you live at height
We all know the importance of child-proofing when your children reach an age to explore their surroundings, but child-proofing is particularly pertinent if you live at height.
For the most part, higher apartment blocks will have security features built-in to ensure that there is no risk to any resident who lives in the property— whatever their age. You will usually find that your windows will only open to a certain degree, but if your children are particularly small, they might still — with effort — be able to escape. If this is the case, then install child-proof locks on the windows to ensure maximum safety at all times.
When living at height, you’re also more likely to have a balcony. If this is the case, you will need extra child-proofing to ensure that the balcony is safe for your children. This starts with the basic access, which should include child-proof locks on the door to the balcony. However, don’t trust that this alone is sufficient; you may also want to install safety netting over the balcony, and consider implementing the other childproofing options available for balcony owners.
Take weather alerts seriously (and particularly flood warnings)
Weather alerts should always be taken seriously – but realistically, few people actually do so. The problem is mainly due to the fact that weather alerts are so constantly issued, but rarely do they result in any real damage. As a result, we all become rather blasé about weather alerts. But this is something you just can’t afford to do when you live in a single-level home.
This is particularly true if you live on the ground floor. If flooding occurs when predicted, then your home is going to be vulnerable. If there is a severe weather warning, it’s worth asking yourself what you will do if you notice signs of flooding.
For people living in a standard house, they tend to move their most important belongings to the top floor of their home— which is obviously not an option for you if you live on a single level. Having a backup plan of how you will cope if those weather warnings do actually turn out to be right is an essential aspect of living in a single-level home.
The above applies to anyone who lives on a single level, but if you’re a parent, the matter is more complicated. As discussed above, kids tend to need a lot of stuff, and you’re going to have to figure out how you will protect those items in the event of a flood.
You’ll also need to know where you can take your kids on short notice — for example, a friend who lives nearby or a reliable babysitter — if flooding occurs, so you can be free to try and deal with the issue as best as possible.
With all of the above said, there are substantial benefits to living on a single level with kids. It’s easier to keep an eye on your children while they play; it’s generally cheaper to maintain and power a single-level property. And the lack of indoor space can help to encourage outdoor play.
So while there are a few important aspects of single-level living to consider when you’re raising kids, these aspects shouldn’t be a barrier to living in a single level home with kids. Millions of people live in single-level homes and raise happy, healthy, wonderful kids, so there’s absolutely no requirement to be in a traditional multi-level house for people who wish to raise a family.
What strategies do you know of for living in a single level home or apartment? Let me know in the comments below!
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