Tuesday, February 9, 2010

My Boys' Room

I try to get the rooms in just a few pictures, but I ended up with a ton of pictures of my boys' room.

This is the view from the door. The bed is what I call a trundle crib. Bobby sleeps on top and Daniel on the bottom. (Thomas sleeps with us.) Daniel's mattress pulls out all the way, but more often than not, he likes sleeping under the crib. It's like his own little cave. The ultimate goal is for Bobby to join him, and Daniel seems pretty excited about that, but Bobby still likes his crib.

When we first moved, I wanted this to be a farm themed room. I made a pig, a duck, and a cow along with the horses, but the other animals didn't withstand the wear of the room. So now we have three horses and the tree.

Here we have the tents tucked behind the crib, the container with balls and the piano.

The tricycle, slide and rocking doggy are all held up with bicycle hooks.

I have a curtain over the door to help the boys sleep during naps. Thomas isn't quite ready for his Johnny Jump-Up, but the curtains can be pulled aside when he is.

Here we have the boys' clothes, bookshelves, blocks, dinosaurs and miscellaneous toys.

The wagon is filled with miscellaneous toys. There are blocks in the corner and cars on the wall.

Here we have the horse again. I really like my boys' room, brimming with color and fun.

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simple in france said...

Emily, is the mattress for the trundle bed on a frame? I ask because the mattress can mildew if left directly on the floor without a chance to air. DH and I slept on the floor with just a mattress for some time this year--very comfortably, I might add. We eventually opted to put pallets under the mattress to avoid mildew as our mattress is good quality and it would be a waste! We have a small box frame for our mattress, by the way, but our apartment is so old and unusual that we couldn't get the frame up the stairs to the bedroom!

I think the idea of having your young, but walking, boys sleep on the low mattress is a rather clever idea since you don't have to worry about them falling--my niece sleeps on a rather high bed without a border and I'm always nervous about it!

I'm always fascinated with 'storeable' beds, by the way. I think they're a great solution because they allow for comfortable sleeping, but also other daytime activities.

Emily said...

simple in france, I don't have it on a frame, but could I flip every week or so with the same effect? That would be pretty easy to do since it's so small.

I love storable beds, too. The kids use the under-crib area for play a lot. It's a neat little space.

LexieGirl18 said...

Creative wall art if you ever get the chance you should give stenciling a try its a cheap and easy way to decorate any space.

Rhonda said...

creative idea! Do you not use a fitted sheet for the bottom mattress?

Scottish Twins said...

You know, when you first posted pictures of your home and the whole "matress under the crib" controversy started, I thought that you were pulling the mattress out every night and really didn't see a bug deal. I didn't realize you were actually letting him sleep under there. Honestly - I don't think that's safe, Emily. There are so many things that could go wrong in that scenario - the crib collapsing on him, the trundle part coming down on him, etc.

I think you have done a great job making use of the space you have with all of the toys and the crib! I would just reconsider letting him sleep under the crib when it's so easy to just pull the matress out.

I also try to make sure that there is nothing hanging over my boys' beds and cribs. I always worry that one of them will accidentally kick and shake the wall in their sleep and it will cause whatever is on the shelf to fall on them.

Scottish Twins said...

bug = big

S said...

We had the same changing table to the set that you have the crib of- we also found it a pain to paint... what worked tho was getting some spray primer and then spray paint. It came out really nice. Having that crib painted in a nice light color would help the space look bigger. I also wondered about the sheets? Your little ones should have a sheet to sleep on : )

Emily said...

Rhonda, Daniel is nearly potty trained for nights, but not quite, so when we have an accident it is much simpler to just clean the mattress.

Scottish Twins, I don't see the the difference between him sleeping under there and someone sleeping on the bottom of a bunk bed. I make sure everything on the bottom shelf above the crib is pretty light so that if it did fall, it would be okay. Sometimes Bobby will take the toys closest to him, though, which is cute.

Marcie said...

The mattress under the crib doesn't bother me nearly as much as those shelves. If he started trying to climb them he could be killed or seriously injured. It doesn't matter how light the toys are or how well the shelves are bolted in the wall, if he climbs them, he can fall and get hurt. And even the most well trained child can get into trouble at night when they are alone. I know that from experience. Please move the shelves or the crib.

Emily said...

Marcie, he would first have to learn how to climb out of the crib and he'll probably be sleeping with his brother before then. Getting up on those shelves would take some serious skills.

northern girl said...

Are the shelves closest to the crib hung up and seperated using a piece of fabric. That is pretty creative! It cuts down on having to fix holes in the wall from screws if you move! Good thinking ahead, wish I would have done the same..now I will be learing to plaster.

Scottish Twins said...

Emily - Just my opinion, but there is quite a difference between bunk beds and sleeping under a crib. Bunk beds are designed to be stacked and go through testing/many safety reuirements in order to be used in that way. A crib is not designed in that way - especially a crib with a trundle. Trundles have their own safety issues without having a baby under the crib!

Scottish Twins said...

Also - I have found that rubber sheets have saved my mattresses. Even the smallest amount of urine can cause mildrew and bacteria to grow in the mattress, because there is no way you can get all of the moisture out of the inside of the mattress when you clean it. They make rubber sheets that are the size of crib mattresses. I would have had to throw out both boys' mattresses by now had I not been using them.

You can get them for fairly cheap. They may extend the life of your mattresses :)

Anonymous said...

I guess a crib was not meant to be slept under and bunk beds are, but just MHO. I would say downsize some of the toy stuff and make room for an actual other bed and you eliminate the whole under the crib/trundle scenario.

Marcie said...

You would be amazed Emily at how quickly those skills could be developed. All he would have to do is grab the shelf, get his leg up on the edge of the crib and then pull himself up. How old is he? If he is able to pull up and stand while holding onto objects, then he is old enough to climb those shelves. When a child is able to pull up, then it is really safest to drop the crib mattress to the lowest setting. You wouldn't be able to have a child sleep under it, but then at least the child in the crib would be safe. I'm telling you this as someone who child got hurt when she climbed onto a shelf from her crib when I thought she was too young and didn't have the skills to do so. And my shelf wasn't even over the crib, it was beside it, but some how she was able to get on it and fell off. We suspect that she used her blankets and stuffed animals to give her extra height and that is how she reached it. She was only 11 months old and had just started pulling up.

Jennifer said...

I know by the time my girls were 10 months, and pulling up, I had to lower the crib mattress. I see yours is still up higher. It is always when you least expect it that they'll try to climb!

sara said...

Before we set up our daughters bunk bed the beds were separated into twin beds-more often than not I would find my youngest daughter sleeping under her sisters bed the next morning LOL! I totally understand :)
sara http://myfrugalfunlife.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...


I've recently been introduced to your blog. Our lives are quite different but think we have the best wishes and desires for our families in common. I agree with the other posters - it seems terribly unsafe to have a child sleeping under a crib. Bunk beds are made with appropriate space between the beds - a crib is not. The idea of anyone especially a child sleeping on a mattress without a sheet because of the possibility of an accident is just lazy. It is not comfortable to sleep without a sheet - period. The shelves above the crib are a huge concern. I had not considered the fact that a child might pull them down on themselves or try to climb them. My initial concern was the sharp corner over the crib. Sharp corners hurt - heads, eyes... You post this and then are so defensive about the comments. I haven't seen any of the posts (so far) doing anything but offering suggestions. Some of us have been moms longer than you and have insight to offer. In the same way that reading your blog teaches us things too! If any of us posted photos of our homes I'm sure someone would point out things that could be changed for safety or just for comfort. But, jeez, you've got an answer for EVERYTHING. I'm glad you know everything at 24 - because I'm 37 and still learning everyday. And very proud of that!


Anonymous said...

Emily, I'm not one who comments much or judges your life. However, I feel like I need to say something about your boys' room. The shelves near the crib *are not* safe - at.all. If I remember correctly, your middle child is old enough to stand and walk (right??), so the crib mattress should be as low as it can go (which it doesn't look like it is) and that means the other mattress shouldn't be able to fit under there.

All the things hanging on the walls would make me very nervous, no matter how well they seem to be attached, but you know better than me how well they are attached. One of those things falling really could hurt or kill someone. Yikes. Are the shelves attached to the walls or not? It seems like if they are freely hanging by fabric attached to the ceiling as it looks like they might be, that would be even more dangerous and less sturdy than if they were securely attached to the wall.

I do think the use of wall space to store toys and clothing on shelves is a decent idea. The whole place is too cluttered for my taste, though.

I'm not sure if you'll let this comment through or not, but I say all of this out of concern for your boys and you, not to be mean.

Rachel W.

Sophia said...

Urine soaked into a mattress is not going to get clean with a wipe down. Get him a waterproof sheet. And please, move the crib. There are so many things he could pull down on himself right above the crib. Why take that chance?

Anonymous said...

Are the shelves with the toys on them held up by one side of the crib? That is so dangerous. I honestly worry about the safety of your children. Are there sheets on the mattress on the floor?

myranda said...

I disagree that sleeping under a crib is like sleeping under a bunk bed, but I suppose to each their own.

I am also bothered by the amount of things hanging on the wall over the crib. No matter how you spin it, it is unsafe, and could pose a serious risk to your boys.

Also, for someone who prides themself on living under 1000 per month, you sure do keep a full house. I understand that the boys need toys, but if you don't have room for things, you don't need them. You can't take it with you when you go. If there is no space other than over the crib to put things, perhaps you should reconsider how many things you are keeping.

However, I should add that clutter bothers me. I grew up on a household where my parents kept a lot of things long past us needing it, or it being useful to us. I've since learned that I function much better in an environment that is not cluttered, where I can think. Perhaps you can function well in clutter, but the same may not be true for your boys. Something to think about.

Anonymous said...

You dont use sheets??? Um, they make mattress protector pads. They are plastic and go under the sheet and protect the mattress from getting wet. Nobody should have to sleep on a bed with no sheets, that cannot be comfortable. Im not even going to touch on the fact that that set up is NOT like a bunk bed nor is it a trundle bed. Its another coma waiting to happen.

Amber said...

Very interesting! I'm going to say this without snarking, and please understand that I'm not trying to be mean.

There shouldn't be anything that close to the crib... little Bobby could stand up and pull that entire shelf down on himself, toys and all. Is there any way you could move the crib over and away from where those shelves are?

And I couldn't imagine two boys fitting on a crib mattress together. A twin, probably... but a crib mattress? No way! That's just too small for two growing boys :) I think you might have to cave and look for a cheap twin mattress soon!

SB said...

I think you need to rearrange the room in order to make use of the space. For example, if you remove the tents from behind the crib and place under the crib, you can push the crib more firmly against the wall and AWAY from the hanging shelves. That would leave you with room to move the mattress into it's own little space. Likewise, if you stack the shelves vertically instead of horizontally, you'd have a lot more wall space and less clutter. You could also build a toy chest and store all of those loose toys hanging on the shelves in the chest and again have more wall space.

Helpful said...

The reason there is a difference between a crib trundle and bunk beds is because bunk beds have been tested and certified for safety for over top sleeping. There are strong supports holding the weight of the top bunk. The crib is held up by four bolts right? Those bolts come loose a lot of times or could come loose from a child playing with them. I have had to tighten the ones on our crib a few times. Tthe shleves being unsafe and the tents and toys agaisnt the baseboard heaters?

Holly said...

When the two bigger boys share the mattress that is under the crib as you say they will at some point....will they both be sharing a crib size mattress?

Michelle said...

You have made a very creative use of space as far as storage goes.

You mentioned that when your son has an accident it's simpler to clean the mattress...but wouldn't his urine soak into the mattress if he's going to the bathroom directly on it, versus having a sheet or mattress pad to help contain his urine, so it doesn't immediately soak into the mattress? I know you don't have a washing machine, so this could add to the time you spend doing laundry, but it seems that might be a bit more sanitary than him sleeping directly on the mattress that he has urinated on.

Anonymous said...

I love the hanging shelves, but Bobby doesn't need to climb on them to bring them down, just pulling hard will do it. He could pull the anchors right out of the ceiling with his body weight. Persoanlly I'd shorten it by one shelf until he's out of the crib.

And for your crib, did you know you can get a sample pot of Olympic no-VOC paint for $3.57 at Lowes? A nice cheery yellow would really brighten up the room. Then you could paint some little farm animals on those wide panels. You can also pick up a door there for $17 and hinges for about $3 each.

Have you thought about putting the johnny jumper in a cupboard until the baby's old enough for it? It must be such a pain to push it aside every time you walk through the door.


Karen said...

"I make sure everything on the bottom shelf above the crib is pretty light so that if it did fall, it would be okay"
So, you are aware that things could fall on top of your child and as long as it's not too heavy you're fine with it? I don't know if that is what you are actually saying but that is how it came off to me.

mulberry said...


Please, Please, Please lower that crib mattress. Bobby could easily fall out!!! Those shelves over the crib could also be an accident waiting to happen. Maybe you could pull the crib down into the corner and move the toys?

I'm Lori...and maybe I'm you, too. said...

Kids learn while you aren't looking, and are usually unexpectedly prepared to do things you think they aren't ready for yet. And I know plenty of 1yo kids that would be trying to climb those shelves.

With my son, climbing would be an issue, but not nearly as big as the potential for him to bounce and fall into the corner of that shelf and cut himself or put out an eye.

happymommy said...

Just a note of concern on the height of the crib. I am guessing that it is an adjustable height crib and I know that they state that once the child can pull up to standing it should be at the lowest level. This is for the child's safety. It has to do with the child's center of gravity and falling over the top rail. I have a friend whose little boy suffered severe neck trauma from falling over the top rail and hitting his head. From reading your posts it appears that you tend to do a lot of research when you decide to do something so it maybe worthwhile to check into that to ensure your little ones safety. I will admit that it appears as though my friend's case is not the norm but I would never forgive myself if something happened to one of my babies because of something that could have easily been avoided by following safety guidelines.
And I think I am going to borrow the idea for the clothes storage...I am going to put some shelves in the closet with the milk crates so the boys can actually reach their clothes. Awesome idea! Thanks for sharing

fargogirl said...

You're kidding me, right? That room is a death trap. Shelves of junk right by the crib? A kid sleeping under the crib? Tricycles on the wall?
I mean, really, c'mon. This is all a joke, isn't it?

Lindsey in AL said...

My kids used to have an old computer keyboard to play with too!! It didn't make the cut during a particularly ruthless toy clear-out a few years ago. Maybe it would have if I'd thought to hang it on the wall when not in use.

I can't believe I have finally seen a room smaller than my kids' room. We have all 4 of ours in one room. DH built a set of bunks that accommodates full size mattresses when #3 was a newborn. At that time the boys (#1 and 2) slept on the bottom, there was no ladder for them to climb to the top and we used the top bunk for storage. During pregnancy #4 we built a large storage area outside and the boys got big enough to sleep up top so we made a ladder. Now both of our girls sleep on the bottom bunk and the boys sleep up top. There is also still room for the smal wooden crib I found last year.

Still the double bunk takes up a LOT of space and we're feeling the need to give the boys their own space so we're converting our tiny playroom to a girls' room and building pseudo-Navy-style "racks" into the closets of each room so the entire floor area is open for bookcases, toyboxes and small tables for coloring/crafting/drawing.

We've found over the course of 7+ years in a <900 square foot house that the main thing is to keep our eyes and minds open about ways to use our space most efficiently. That has changed a lot between when our only child was 15 months old and now when we're expecting our 5th. Honestly, my house feels bigger now than it did then, although not always :)

Melissa said...

Simple in France is right about the mattress mildewing if left on the floor. When my dh & I were just starting out we slept on a mattress on the floor. One day I was changing the sheets and noticed mildew on the bottom. It wasn't a pretty sight! Be vigilant about flipping the mattress to avoid this. We ended up replacing ours because it was everywhere!

I was also wondering about the crib being half painted? I am guessing it didn't take well?

God Bless,

dust in the wind said...

I love the horses on the walls! Did you paint those or use a decal?

Sue said...

Thank you for posting your son's room. I do have a few concerns. First, the shelves that look like they are hanging from fabric and are being somewhat supported by the crib, are they secured to the wall too? If not it seems as though the fabric could easily be tugged on or swung, which in turn could cause the whole shelving system to fall, toys and all (I don’t see how hanging shelves by themselves could be stable).

My second concern is about Daniel sleeping underneath the crib. I understand that he likes to sleep under there because it is cave like, however should his brother jump or what not in the actual crib above him there could be danger in it falling. Doesn’t the thought of that alone concern you enough that you would make sure he wouldn’t sleep under there? I know you stated that you think of it like bunk beds, but bunk beds are made for the very purpose of someone sleeping underneath it – a crib is not. Cribs are also moveable (positional for the mattress – so you know what I am talking about), Daniel could easily kick the bottom of the mattress and cause it to fall. Another concern with it is Daniels fingers or hair which could get caught underneath the cribs support.

Thanks again for posting – and I hope you take a second look at what could be dangers in your children’s bedroom- this is out of concern – not meant to bully.


-R said...

Are the fabric tents up against the baseboard heaters?

Amy@TheCircusMcGurkus.blogspot.com said...

I admire your skills to pack so much into such a small space.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Emily, have you seen this photo collection? They are a family who like to live in small spaces, and they move a LOT, but each house feels like their other houses because they carry the same paint colors and of course all their furniture and decorations from house to house. It's truly aspirational, and she's a talented designer. I wish I could get her to come and do my house, but I'll have to content myself with stealing her ideas.


crabcakes said...

Looks to me that if Bobby stood up, his head would "lift" the bottom shelf because of the fabric ties. That to me seems less dangerous than if that was true shelving. Almost like a tree swaying in the wind.

It's too low for my taste, I wouldn't like it that close to the crib, however, I don't think it's nearly as dangerous as others would make it seem.

I too, would consider not letting Daniel sleep under the crib. We had a crib collapse once and if a child had been under it, they would have been hurt. It happened suddenly and without warning.

How about letting Daniel sleep in one of the "tents" for the same cave-like effect?

I'm always impressed with how you get your stuff into your space. Right now I'm thinking of how we can consolodate books. The kid's books seem to be taking over our house.

thesavedquarter said...

Is Bobby standing? The crib mattress seems really high for a child who is already standing. I would be concerned that he could pull himself over the railing.

Elizabeth said...

You have a child sleeping underneath another piece of furniture with no sheets on his mattress? And your goal is to have two children sleeping on a bare mattress underneath another piece of furniture?

Casey said...

Tell me how him peeing straight onto a crib mattress is cleaner than peeing on a washable sheet that will absorb the urine before it soaks through the mattress and sits in there forever?

Domestic Goddess said...

Do you ever get tired of all of the safety lectures? Just curious.

I think it is a marvelous use of a very small space. My goodness, I know it only takes a second for a child to get hurt, but at some point kids need to be able to explore. I don't see anything overly dangerous in the pictures. We can't put our kids in bubbles. They'll be fine.

Anonymous said...

Hi emily,
First I applaud your efforts to give the children an inviting place to rest and play. Having lived in a small two bedroom apt. with small chidlren I do know its a challenge. I have a suggestion you might consider when funds allow. I purchased an eight drawer chest of drawers for my two childrens room. In the top drawer I put diapers/pull ups etc. The next two drawers were for their clothes. The remaining drawers were for their toys, putting the softer toys in the top most left over drawer and heavier toys in the bottom most drawers. all accessible to them (toys) and gave a place for cleaning up!
I also purchased at a discount store a sturdy three shelf bookcase for books, crayons, puzzles etc. some of this was in small plastic containers *like blocks)making it easy for them to get them out and put things away. These storage items left the floor for playing and made clean up easy.
Also a low to the mounted chalkboard!forgot about that one.
annie r

Anonymous said...

Emile wrote: " I don't see the the difference between him sleeping under there and someone sleeping on the bottom of a bunk bed."

The difference here is that a bunk bed is never intended to move up and down. It is fixed in place. The bottom of a crib is designed to raise and lower as the child grows. Additionally, a bunk bed allows the child beneath to sit up underneath it. If your son were to accidentally sit up at night, or wake from a dream, he'd slam his head into the under mechanism of the crib. It just isn't a good idea.

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness I could totally see my 19 month old climbing those shelves hanging like that over the crib. Ahh I miss the days when I wouldn't have had to worry. lol Also, that's amazing that Bobby doesn't climb out of the crib with the mattress that high.

Happily Frugal Mama said...

I spent years sleeping on mattress on the floor with no issues... and being under the crib is FUN! My kids used to play under ours all the time... I tried to use it for storage... that didn't last long! Have you seen the IKEA, Kura reversible bed? A very fun way to sleep... obviously at this time you don't have room for another bed, but something to possibly consider as your space allows!

Anonymous said...

ps.... forgot to mention my biggest safety concern! (not just in your kids rooms but all kids rooms with cribs). I assume that bobby (?) can now stand/pull up in the crib. If so you really really need to lower the mattress to the lowest setting. I realize that would infringe on little dan's cave space but safety first!
annie r

Anonymous said...

Emily, I know you are doing your best with a small place and I think you are very creative and innovative with what you do. But, I really worry about the bed under the crib and it being so close to the floor.

All parents engage in questionable activities and I am in no way assuming you are putting your child in harm's way. From reading your blog, I know you are a loving mother and wife.

I would really move the mattress out from under the crib, get it off the floor. I know you can be a bit stubborn in your views, but Emily. Really. I don't think this set up is good for your kids. It wouldn't take much for Dan to take some plywood and make something off the floor. That really bothers me with dust mites et al.

Just a thought and I hope you consider it.

Josie's friend said...

Emily, perhaps Little Dan should wear a Pull-up to bed, rather than sleep on a sheetless mattress? It just isn't that sanitary having nothing you can really wash (yes, a crib mattress is obstensibly "washable", but certainly not like sheets.

Also, I am quite concerned about those bookshelves. Aren't you worried about the possibility of things on them toppling and hurting the boys?

Finally, what will happen when Little Dan is too big to sleep on a crib mattress under a crib? What about when Thomas goes into the crib if you had another baby? Kids outgrow a crib mattress about the time they outgrow a toddler bed---age 4 or 5 at the latest.

Where will the boys sleep then? There doesn't appear to be any other room in the bedroom.

Just curious, because growing boys need more space!

Anonymous said...

Bertie is right. Instead of trying to find a really stupid answer to unsafe situations, learn to have some humility. Bunk beds are designed to be on top of one another. A crib is not designed to have another child sleep underneath.
And please, for that mattress on the floor, use this http://tinyurl.com/ylnen34 (this is a link to Walmart's website for a fitted crib pad for $9.50). How can you remove pee that is deep inside a mattress? Please share this with us.

Emily said...

Okay, believe it or not, I don't post about my life so that everyone can tell me what to do.

The corner of the shelf is rounded. Bobby is not going to poke an eye out.

Daniel's mattress has a waterproof cover.

So, the problem with sleeping under the crib is that bunk beds are built sturdily and cribs not so much? That makes no sense.

I'm not writing this to be snarky, but seriously, this is our home. Wasn't it nice of me to let you all in?

Anonymous said...

Humility, Emily. What would Jesus do?

It's okay to admit that you are wrong every once in a while.

Anonymous said...

My son's bed is so cold in the winter because of the plastic matress and waterproof pad, that I not only have to put a sheet on it (flannel for warmth), but I also have to lay down a thick blanket for him to lay on.

How uncomfortable for your son.

But maybe the heat register right next to his head is keeping him warm. Thank God for that!

Anonymous said...

Emily, I don't so much have a problem with your room, it looks cheerful, bright and inviting, is there any way you could move the crib away from the wall and the shelves when your little one sleeps in it........to mimic the cave idea of sleeping under the crib, a one man tent maybe ideal for your oldest in that regard, he get's his security and it might be safer than sleeping under a crib.

We bought a cheap one man tent and our boys played in it for months, it hardly took up anyroom at all.

Lowering the crib mattress as suggested is a good idea, a friend of mine who didn't had a little baby who broke her leg, they develops so quickly at this age.

None of my boys ever climbed out of their cribs, I was fortunate, and who knows maybe your little guy wont either :)

Mom in Canada

Anonymous said...

"So, the problem with sleeping under the crib is that bunk beds are built sturdily and cribs not so much? That makes no sense."

Yes, it makes perfect sense that you don't have a mattress on a bunk bed supported by mechanisms that allow it to rise and fall.

And frankly anyone with an once of common sense would not due what you doing.

Andria said...

Oh boy. You enjoy the money that page views brings in, right? So, by posting your boys' room, you are entitling those who BROUGHT YOU A $1000 LAST MONTH to their opinions.
No one is "telling you what to do". They are suggestions. My goodness, Emily. That room is dangerous. I agree with all the comments above. Maybe you should take some of them to heart, and not be so defensive and snarky.

Marcie said...

Emily, if I knew you in real life and you showed me this room, then I would say the exact same thing. If someone shows me a situation where their child is in danger, I just can't sit quiet. It doesn't matter if the corners are rounded, it doesn't matter if it is securely fastened to the wall, you have set up the room in a way that could seriously hurt your child, and it worries me that you refuse to take any advice on it. Bobby could pull one of those toys down and use it as a way to very easily get up onto the shelves or throw himself out of the crib. If he climbed the shelves, he could very easily get hurt. Why do you refuse to see this? The whole problem could be solved in several easy ways: 1. Move the tents and slide the crib down away from the shelves, 2. Lower the crib mattress, 3. declutter and just get rid of the shelf all together.

Anonymous said...

Emily - if you don't want the comments on your life, then don't put your life out there for the world to see.

Devon said...

Snarkiness aside, hon, if you're going to post anything on the internet you're going to have to expect that it may carry some kind of backlash. To assume less would be childish and naive.

Perhaps one of these comments were sarcastic. The rest of them have been concerns. People ask because you're not telling...you didn't say in the initial post that the corner was rounded, or that the mattress had a waterproof cover. In fact, the way you wrote it indicated that you were cleaning the mattress itself, not something covering it.

So perhaps you need to either be far more detailed or deal with people who either don't agree with you or are concerned for your and your children's welfare.

Me said...

Nice to let us in...but you are making (currently $1300 a month) money off of posting these things. Isn't it nice of us to help you triple your income?
If you don't want feedback Emily you need to turn off the comment section. You always seem to be surprised that people have something to say but you have broken just about every safety rule I can think of in that room.
I still do not understand why you think everyone will just applaud your efforts and not mention the dangerous things going on that you turn a blind eye to and will not even consider that your way may not be the best/safest way. When you do answer it is usually a four word comment that basically says "Hey you are wrong".

I doubt this comment will make the cut anyway since I am not fawning over your organizational efforts.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, nice to be let in. It's so clean and cozy. Whoops. My eyes just rolled out of my head.

Dude. Even your bestest internet buddies are telling you your kids' room is a deathtrap. Get a clue, chickie.

Patty said...

It is funny how people pick things to jump on. I find it interesting how afraid people are of the crib collapsing on Daniel but didn't really mention how a crib collapsing out from under Bobby could be bad whether or not Daniel is underneath. I'm not sure cribs are built for collapsing (although there have been a number of recalls lately). I would think sleeping in a tent 'cave' would have less air circulation than where he is. Ensure the crib is reinfoced and go with it. But who wants to listen to me...I'm 'young' and not even a mother yet so obviously I have no sense to protect a child (eye roll). You know what we found the other day, a neighbors kid with her head stuck upside down between the springs on a trampoline (she's fine). Yes, kids get them into crazy positions so we all do the best to protect them and teach them but children are durable and they have to be prepared for the real world.
It does look a little cluttered to me but the amount of stuff does not seem unreasonable for 3 boys and when you have a small space more things just happen to be on display.
The room seems rather long and skinny. Does the crib fit turned 90 degrees in front of the tree (window?). Just wondering if that would give more or the same amount of usable floor space for playing.
Accept constructive criticism, do your best and keep your head up. You are their mother and you know best.

Molly said...


I sympathize that you probably feel attacked with so many people piling on. But you cannot be a serious blogger and not expect people to give their opinions on what you post, and that includes their negative opinions.

Since the blog is about your lifestyle, which you largely define by the lack of money you spend and the lack of space you make do with, you should really not be surprised to get both positive and negative comments.

This isn't a social luncheon. It's the internet.

Helpful said...

I think people are just seeing the hazards and worrying about the kids. It's not about being mean, it is about trying to be helpful. You posted it on a blog you allow people to comment on. Do you use those baseboard heaters? The Bunk beds are built for the overhead sleeping, so yes, they are more sturdy than a crib is. It does make sense. You really don't think bunk beds reinforced with wood/metal are more sturdy than a crib frame suspended by 4 bolts? Think where the supports are located on the two structures.

Helpful said...

What are you going to do when the boys outgrow the crib size mattresses this year? What is your next plan of action? Are you guys going to have more kids to put in that room?

fargogirl said...

Emily said...
I'm not writing this to be snarky, but seriously, this is our home. Wasn't it nice of me to let you all in?

So what exactly did you expect? You're posting pictures of your home for anyone to see. So those of us that see serious, serious problems are just supposed to say "oh thank you so much for sharing pictures of your home. That was awesome!"
You have the right to live where you want and if you want to live in a tiny apartment with a husband and 3 kids, then good on you. But for god's sake-get rid of the crap you have crammed in there, open some curtains to get some dang light in there, and start keeping it clean. You contradict yourself constantly when you say you're into keeping it simple, and that everything your have in your apartment is constantly used. Here's the deal, sweet pea: if you are so attached to your stuff that you can't live without it, then you need a bigger living solution. It's as simple as that. You either do a major purge or find a bigger place. ESPECIALLY since you have small children. Going compact is a lifestyle that people choose who are dedicated to paring down and living as simply as possible. It's not a contest to see how much junk you can cram into a small space and still eke out enough room to sleep and maybe eat. You talk about nutrition, yet do not feed your children any fresh produce or lean meats. And your refusal to access any services to obtain those foods is pig-headed stubborness, pure and simple. You say that you're so dedicated to your family, yet all I see is you posting on your blog, monitoring comments, and posting defensive rebuttals to anyone who dares question your chocies. Get a grip, fess up that perhaps you don't know everything, and start making some life changes.
Also, you may want to check out the symptoms and consequences of rickets and scurvy, because you seem completely unconcerned with making sure your family is getting proper nutrition. I can point you to some resource websites if you'd like.

dust in the wind said...

Wow, how many times do your readers think something needs to be said?! I mean, this has really gone too far. If you don't agree with Emily, fine. If you are really concerned then have some grace and send her a private email or something. At the very least, if you see someone else has already said it then keep your mouth shut and move along. Emily, I hope you wont let all this stuff get to you.

sara said...

One thing I wanted to add-if you do have accidents that get through to the mattress, baking soda and vinegar are great cleaners (and uber cheap). My one daughter absolutely refuses to sleep with a mattress cover or sheet (the same on who liked so sleep under her sisters bed-weird kid LOL!) and she had a couple accidents while pt-I actually dragged her mattress outside, sprayed it with vinegar and sprinkled with baking soda and sun dried-like brand new again :) I've also done this with a floor rug, also with great results!
sara http://myfrugalfunlife.blogspot.com/

Emily said...

Anon, Jesus wouldn't anonymously comment on a blog like a coward.

Patty, we had the crib going the other way, but it cut the floor space in an awkward way that made the room even smaller. Possibly the shelves could go on the wall next to the tree. They're a hassle to move, but it's a possibility.

Andria, my readers could be making me $5,000 per month, but they still don't get to have authority over my life. A suggestion would be "You could move the crib." Some peopel did that. Others said something like "you need to move the crib." whihc is not a suggestion, but telling me what to do.

Devon, the fact is people assume the worst about me because they come to my blog with a bias against me. They assume I put sharp things on the crib. Why? Because that jives with what others are saying about me.

Helpful, we don't have another kid. We'll cross that bridge when we come to it, but this won't be our apartment forever.

Life More Simply said...

Wow, now this was an interesting post and filled with interesting responses. I don't know how you could have time to read all of these comments, but I hope that you do because I think people are giving honest and good advice here.

So without commenting about the sleeping-under-the-crib problem, I just want to say that from a paramedic/fire fighter's perspective, this room isn't safe. If you were to have a fire and your kids were trapped in this room, it's very likely that they wouldn't be saved in time. For one, you've got that jumper thing in the door's way. Not only does this cause a time hazard, but a firefighter crawling on the floor will get caught up in that and may not be able to get out, so now you'll have a grown person trapped in a doorway which will trap everyone else, too. NOT good. Secondly, while we're taught to look under things for little kids, it's completely possible that no one will look under the crib during an emergency. Also NOT good.

All of these things have simple fixes! Just pull the mattress out at night, move the jumper unless it's being used, and make sure your LO in the crib doesn't have any way to cause harm to himself. No one's saying to put your kids in a bubble. Just make sure you're being the Mama. We as parents have been given the responsibility to protect our children.

Good luck!


Devon said...

Emily: I quote: "when we have an accident it is much simpler to just clean the mattress." This is not people assuming that you don't have a waterproof cover. This is you saying you don't. This is you saying that you clean a mattress, not a waterproof cover.

I get what you're saying about people having biases. I agree, there are some who come here assuming the worst. But there are others, like myself, who come to pick up a good frugal tip here and there, who may be concerned about something that you have not specifically addressed. When that concern is voiced, it is reacted to with snottiness and obstinance. So as a result people assume things that may not necessarily be the truth. I'm not saying it's right, I'm saying that's life.

It's your life. But you need to be aware that people will talk/be snarky/be concerned if you are going to post pictures of your home, especially as you live a lifestyle that most would not embrace.

Kay said...

That's the downside to blogging about your personal life and why I choose not to bring my personal life into my postings. No amount of ad revenue in the world can make up for a lack of privacy.

If you post such personal things about yourself and your life, you invite others to agree or disasgree with you. It comes with the territory and the extra $1300 per month, I'm afraid.

I must say I genuinely think people are worried and fear for the safety of your kids, and not because they assume you put sharp things on the crib. Emily, that's not a very respectful thing to say to your readers, sorry. If you can't handle it, maybe you need to be more careful about the things you choose to share with the world?

Wouldn't it be possible to just pull the matress from under the bed at night and let him sleep on it beside the crib rather than underneath it? Somehow that seems much safer.

Deborah said...

Emily, This is not meant to be cruel or snarky. It is just a "heads up".
I don't personally see anything wrong with a child sleeping on a mattress on the floor. It can actually be a safe, fun place to sleep.
But, at least in the state of California, it is illegal. If it is in CA, it probably is in other states. Crazy, but true. CPS has some quidelines that make sense and others that do not.

Michele said...

Hi Emily
I haven't commented in a while and the times that I have I have defended you against your critics. Now I must say something... I really don't care if you post it or not my main purpose is to get across to you how dangerous your home is. I agree with the other poster that said that bunkbeds are made to be on over the other. One cannot compare your "trundle bed" setup to an actual bunkbed. When my son was 15 months old he was climbing out of his crib and that was when the matteress was at the lowest setting. The shelves on the wall are not safe at all, you won't even know that there is a problem until you hear a crash and your child is trapped underneath all the carnage. Please Emily you had one son that almost died because you were not aware that he was sick enough for the doctor... if you had taken him to the doctor when he first started to get sick you could have avoided the whole coma altogether. I have a son with a disorder that took 2 years to get a proper diagnosis( I kept going to doctor after doctor and not accepting that there was nothing wrong when obviously there was)Then after we got a proper diagnosis it took an additional 2 years to get the disorder under control. I have a really hard time with a mother who will just accept what the doctor says as gospel just because they seem to like the doctor. Also I could write a book about the NO VAX policy you have obviously you never seen the crippling effect of polio or the long lasting effects of the measles or heaven forbid one of your sons should get mumps as a teenager... it causes sterility in males. Now that the whole study about the MMR vaccine causes autism has been debunked maybe you all should reconsider those vaccines. I really dont care about your argument "thats its my home don't critize me" Don't put it on the internet then... it may come back to bite you in the backside

Sue said...

Dust in the wind,

Please realize that these comments are monitored and that Emily can go in and post a big group of comments at one time after she reviews them. So when you see a lot of repeated suggestions, concerns and comments it is because 10-20 people are writing them within a block of a few hours, Emily reviews them and then posts them all at once (get it?). So these 10-20 posts have not been seen by others other than Emily until then – posters don’t know what other posters are posting during that time.


I am sure you know you were going to have people post their concerns on your children’s room .You had posted a few pictures of it before and received a lot of criticism and some warranted concern then. I hope you learn to take a step back and re-evaluate how you respond to criticism.


SoMo said...

I haven't read all the responses, so if this is a repeat please disregard. Have you ever thought of using bins to store their toys? It may take up some floor space, but the danger of stuff falling on them would be gone and they could get to things themselves. Walmart has those large buckets that can store tons of toys. You would probably only need one. For the little toys I use Ziploc bags or the tossable containers. The kids can find what they are looking for plus can put away their own toys.

For the clothes you could find one dresser that could fit everyone's clothes and leave it in a common area, like a hallway. If not, I find hanging clothes takes up less room. Don't most closets have shelves or, at least, one shelf? You could keep their folded clothes in there. Or you could hang shelves in the closet, so they are away from the crib.

Also, does your landlord have a shed or other stucture where you could store your outside toys? Maybe just in the hallway? It just seems that if you are not going to use them until Spring or Summer then you don't need them in the house at the moment.

I agree about the mattress under the crib, it is not safe. I would lower the crib and pull the mattress out for sleeping time. I think under the crib for storage is fine, but not for sleeping. My daughter would be fine sleeping on her mattress without sheets, but I have told her that she can't. As parents we need to guide our children toward what is in their best interest, even if they don't understand why at the moment.

simple in france said...

Emily, DH and I opted to prop the mattress up after talking to some friends and family who'd had the mildew problem. I considered flipping regularly too, but didn't want to risk having to toss my mattress. Dan could probably build a really simple wooden frame (close to flat) that would allow air to circulate and extend the life of your mattress. Or, you may be able to find a part from an old crib that would do the trick as well.

Our Family Is His said...

I think letting Daniel sleep in a tent would be an awesome idea. You could move the tents under the crib, put one tent next to the crib, then put the mattress, with a sheet, in there. My son would think that was the most awesome thing in the world. Hehehe.

There is a lot of visual clutter in that room. That would drive me batty, but to each their own on how much clutter they want. To each their own on owning far too much stuff or barely enough to make it. I think a good yard sale would do you wonders (bring in some extra cash and get rid of a lot of your things that you honestly don't need), but again, to each his own. I like a LOT of organization in my home. That doesn't mean my way is the right way, not even close. Just how you and I are different.

I will say, my only huge peeve about this, the only thing I see that I am saying, "oh, sweet Emily, please consider my words" is the crib. If Bobby can stand, couldn't you go ahead and make it safer for Bobby by lowering the mattress now that he can stand up? I know kids have an odd center of gravity and fall, even with the best of developmentally on-track balance. It's just not a safe thing. You wouldn't mean for it to happen. It's not like you are standing behind him pushing. But things happen.

You are right, you don't have to listen to people. But you posted your rooms knowing already, from other posts, what types of things would be said. You also said you don't allow anonymous comments but keep letting them through. And you let these comments be on your blog instead of just deleting them (I have had to delete comments before and not post them on my blogs). So I am thinking if you let them through, then show the love of Christ to those that you don't agree with.

Melissa said...

I just came back here and can't believe the amount of negativity. I bet alot of us here wouldn't dare post pics of our homes to be dissected!

Its one thing to offer constructive criticism and another to attack someone. It's all in the approach!

Also, One of the best things I've learned in my 28 short years is the old saying "to each his own." Maybe what works for Emily may not be best for us but hey it's her life, right? Who are we to judge? (=

God Bless,

Anonymous said...


You are setting your children up to be a safety risk statistic. Accidents can happen to the best of us, but most of us try to minimize the risk that our children face. Why would you not simply pull the mattress out for you faux trundle bed? It is not safe for your son. Anything over a crib is a hazard. Surely you must know that. And it is beyond lazy to not put a sheet on your kids bed...


Deborah said...

Emily, some of the commenters post comments out of legitimate concern and others ARE just looking for a reason to snark.
I don't know, or need to know, just what your family's diet is. But the human body's nutritional needs are far more easily met than people realize.
You are probably doing just fine as far as feeding your family goes! This is meant to encourage, not condemn.
As for the other comments, please, take this advice from an older woman: Spit out the seeds and eat the fruit!
Communicating with a keyboard is sometimes difficult and comments that are not intended to sound harsh do sound that way. The ones that are meant to be critical usually stand out.

Emily said...

I don't think I am being snarky. If someone has a question, I answer. If someone has a concern because they don't have all the info, I provide it. Also, just because I don't jump to rearrange my home at the whim of my readers doesn't mean I'm not listening. I'm thinking over your suggestions. I think the shelves could be moved to another wall and be more accessible there as well.

Jenny said...

Devon, the fact is people assume the worst about me because they come to my blog with a bias against me. They assume I put sharp things on the crib. Why? Because that jives with what others are saying about me.

Honey, I'm not assuming the worst about you. I'm looking and seeing what you are putting out there.

It is dangerous to have shelves hanging over a crib.

It is dangerous (for both children) to have one child sleeping under a crib that is set too high.

I can't even begin to comment on the clutter and nutrition issues as well as the cleanliness.

You may be lucky and nothing bad could happen. Or, something COULD happen and you could be kicking yourself later. Listen to the advice given to you. Stop being prideful and LISTEN.

Susan said...

I want to thank you for posting the negative as well as the positive comments. Good for you!

I am an obsessive-compulsive neat freak. 'A place for everythng and everything in it's place.' is my motto. I used tubs on a tall metal shelving unit that was attached to the wall with 'L' brackets. The shelves were deep enough to hold my daughter's Tonka dump truck. I put toys she could used without supervision on the two lower shelves and toys she needed to ask for on the two upper shelves.
We hung a nylon hammock from two hooks in the ceiling and put her stuffed toys in that. Clean up was fun, as she had to throw the toys into the 'net'. Funny thing, she ended up a lousy basketball player. ;)
We bought a gently used bookcase for all her books and books on tape (kept in a small tub).
A small dresser held her clothes and an inexpensive closet organizer held even more.
These days I might just go with some cute lined baskets. Or not, DD was great at repurposing every thing into another use.
You are a creative person. Thank you for sharing your (small) home.


Jan said...

ugh, I've been looking and looking for a link to a blog I read once for you, but I can't find it to save my life. It was a large family that had purchased the navy barrack like beds that a previous poster had mentioned. All of the kids slept in one room, that just had the beds and clothing dressers (they were actually modifying lockers to be clothing storage-so neat), and then they had another bedroom that was just a playroom with toys, so there were no toys in the bedroom. It really turned out to be a nice looking, functional and safe space, I could see you using something like that in the future (and maybe even in this room!)
I'm not really going to comment on the boys room because I feel like much of what I feel has been said already. I really like the horse decals, though, very fun.

Anonymous said...


I didn't assume the worst about you. I was initially attracted to your blog for the frugal aspect. Once I realized that your frugal lifestyle is not what I am interested in I stopped coming so much. When I do pop in I am shocked. My suggestions (and I hope you listen) are that you should use sheets for your children. No child should have to sleep on a plastic mattress without a sheet over it. I understand you do not have a washing machine but you could rinse out a crib sheet in some hot soapy water in a matter of minutes. I would also drag the crib into the middle of the room away from the shelves, and not let the older child sleep under it. The crib needs to be lowered for your baby's safety. The shelves are a hanging risk too.

This is just my opinion, but as an older frugal mother I feel compelled to mention these things because if something happened and I stayed silent I would feel horrible. These suggestions will not cost you anything, but they will give an older lady like me some piece of mind. I do hope you will take them to heart.


Christena said...

Can you address the concern about the height of your crib matress? If your yougest kid can pull himself up and stand in the crib you really should put the matress lower. Why haven't you?

You have to understand that you opened yourself up to these kinds of coment.

Our Family Is His said...

"Now that the whole study about the MMR vaccine causes autism has been debunked maybe you all should reconsider those vaccines."

Had to comment to this since it was allowed, I think the rebuttal should be allowed.
a) it was not debunked, it was retracted by one journal. The information was not debunked, read the GMC information again.

b) there have been studies done since then, as last as September 2009 publication, with the same types of findings in places such as the American College of Epidemiology. Please take some time to research these peer reviewed articles before you say anything was debunked.

Some research for you, note my comments on each site before you open them so you know what you are getting. These are on various vaccines, but show that current research is finding very intense things that are of great concern. It's not just Autism, it's so many other issues with vaccines (check out the VAERS site if you want the low down on vaccine risks that even the CDC and FDA will admit to).

Hepatitis B in Rhesus Macaque Monkeys - http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6W81-4XC57CT-1&_user=10&_coverDate=10%2F02%2F2009&_rdoc=1&_fmt=high&_orig=search&_sort=d&_docanchor=&view=c&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=8559005de9beb85139671132c489f355

The second paper, "Hepatitis B Vaccination of Male Neonates and Autism" was presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Epidemiology in 2009. You can probably find it on their website http://www.acepidemiology.org/

Here are a few pieces on it, but I can't speak for the validity of these sites and don't know what type of commentary they will provide. I read it in a journal.



This site is quite biased, but it lists some studies you can read by goggling them independently.



Audrey at Barking Mad! said...


I'm going to "woman up" and leave this comment under my own name to avoid being called a coward. I've been around "Bloggywood" a long time and have seen some strange stuff and even been shredded on a couple of hate sites. In the long run, it's the internet...it evolves and as it does, our attention spans snap and we look elsewhere to be entertained. For the time being you seem to be the "It Girl" so take this for what it's worth.

No one is condemning you for wanting to live a more frugal lifestyle, one which leaves as small an environmental footprint as possible...however, what some people are taking issue with - which you are taking great offense at - is the fact that some of your choices seem unsafe, at best.

If Little Dan has the crib mattress on the floor, what sort of mattress is Bobby sleeping on in the crib itself? It looks to be a substandard crib mattress.

Also, shelves that close to the crib are dangerous. There's just no other way to put it. I know it's hard having three kids in a small space...I did it with 3 year old twins and a baby many many years ago and it's not easy. But, safety was ALWAYS my first priority. ALWAYS! Bobby is old enough to pull himself up and yank those shelves down on top of him. Also, because it appears the shelves are hung by fabric, if Bobby or another one of your little ones managed to get up there and started pulling on stuff (oh and believe me, let Little Dan and Bobby put their heads together as kids WILL do, and they'll be up there in NO TIME!) they could very well end up hanging themselves accidentally.

And sweetie, I am sorry but the arrangement with the crib mattress under the crib itself is dangerous. There are no two ways about it. Come on now...you love those boys so think about it. It's not safe! You can't compare a set of bunk beds to an improvised trundle bed like you have. They are engineered completely differently with safety being first and foremost.

Now to address your own assertions about why people assume the worst about you.

Your attitude.

Your lack of humility - especially as that clashes with your religion.

Your constantly on the defense and completely unwilling to listen to any suggestions that might prove helpful or a bit safer than what you've got going on.

I'm a big girl and I can think for myself and while I'm very familiar with some of the sites that are snarking on you, I can in fact come to my own conclusions about the things you post out here. I've had 5 children Emily...and one of them I've buried. My living kids range from 20 years to 4 and I'm not saying this to be condescending, but can you please just try and CONSIDER what some of us who are older and a bit more experienced are saying?

There are a lot of people out here who read and enjoy your blog for your unique way of doing things. I admit that a lot of your lifestyle isn't for me, but it's interesting nonetheless. None of us claim to have any authority over your life and your assertion that we do is a little silly. Rather than trying to claim any imaginery authority over your life all we're trying to do is get you to notice there are some genuine safety concerns.

Like I said Emily, take this for what it's worth. These are all just words on your computer screen. And we're all just people who you let into your life via this virtual world around you. You know that you live an unconventional life by most secular standards, so don't be surprised when your way of doing things clashes. This is after all Emily, a public site.

I really hope you'll take some of these suggestions to heart, or at least give them some serious consideration.

Anonymous said...

People only have a bias againt what you are presenting them. That bedroom is not a safe place. Please listen to advice that is being given with only yuur children in mind, not making you look dumb.
You opened your life to people, and they are giving you advice on bettering it.
Your disclaimer says yourself- Disclaimer... I am not an expert on anything, just a young wife sharing as I am trying to find my way.
zthey are sharing to help you find your way, an instead you show your defensiveness easily and try to make it as if they are out to get you. Regardless of where they found your blog, these women only have your childrens well-being at heart, not proving ineptitude.
Megan M.

Cristina said...

Hi Emily,
I understand how hard it can be to be constantly met with criticism, especially when you are very proud of the choices you have made. I think many people who comment here do so with negative intentions, and I truly do not have any.

But as someone who lives in a small space, I know that simplicity is key. My daughter is 18 months old, and has a massive toy collection. However, I make it part of my weekly routine to fish out the toys she isn't using and donate them. Children always find the "non-toys" the most fun anyway, right? I doubt your boys need all those things.
Also, have you considered switching rooms with your boys? Or getting a sleeper bed, giving them your room, and using their room as a storage/craft area? That might free up a LOT of space in your home.

Ami said...

Have you thought of getting rid of the crib all together? You could purchase a full size mattress and have both boys share it. It would take less room and there is less 'falling hazard' if it's on the floor.

Growing up, my family all slept in one room, with beds next to one another. I moved into my 'own' room when I was a pre-teen (shared with my sisters), and my brother had his own room once he became a pre-teen too. Didn't hurt us and actually was quite nice. If one of us had a nightmare, another would wake & soothe them. Plus there wasn't the whole 'scared to be alone/in the dark' stage for any of us--kinda hard to be afraid with 5 other siblings in the same room! It is a bit unnatural for humans to sleep all alone. I think Bobby and Daniel might even enjoy it! :) Then you also wouldn't have to worry about it being too close to the shelves, since the mattress is moveable.

Our Family Is His said...

Um, OK, I understand you are getting a lot of flak today. Most is just from those of us that are very concerned about the kiddos. You know I support you on almost every comment I make. However, I just noticed something. You said there was a waterproof cover on Daniel's mattress. No, there is not. That's a standard mattress material, quilted with the white binding on the edge of it. You can't quilt waterproof material in that fashion or it ruins the waterproof quality (the fluid would, at least, go into the areas of the stitching for the quilting). Honestly, if you don't want to defend yourself with these comments (which I 100% agree I wouldn't want to do at all!), then just don't publish them because lying really hurts your credibility with those of us that read your blog for pleasure (as opposed to snarkiness).

Marcie said...

Emily, do you now see why the shelves are dangerous? I have posted pictures on FB before and had people point out things that needed to be changed because they were unsafe. When a person who I don't even like that much pointed out that my carseat straps weren't safe, I didn't get defensive like you have, I thanked them for their concern and bringing it to my attention and then promply tightened the straps. I pointed out a real safety concern and provided several ways to fix this problem, but instead of being grateful that this was brought to your attention before a child got hurt, you immediatly went on the defensive because you refuse to "let anyone tell you what to do". This blog has the potential to be a great resource for those who want to live frugally and in small spaces, but it can't do that if you let your pride get in the way of your children's safety. If you want to keep your children safe, leaving the room as it is is not an option. Sure, you could get lucky, but are your really willing to gamble with your children's lives?

Anonymous said...

Just curious if Daniel can get out from under the crib by himself if needed? Like if there was a fire?

Anonymous said...

Ummm you understand that if there is a fire in your home the rescue workers will probably not look for another child sleeping under that crib unless you or your husband are conscious to tell them to look for a child.

Anonymous said...

Cribs are made safe, yes. I see where you are trying to argue that a bunk bed is made more safe than a crib. HOWEVER, they are built with different pursposes in mind. And either can still have an accident. The crib my brother and I both used broke when he was a baby (properly put together, maintained, it's just one of those things) and the bottom fell out of it. What if that happened while your son was sleeping? The bottom of the crib would defintely injure him, as well as the weight of the mattress and baby.
People give advice not to humiliate you, but in consideration for the well-being of your children. As you say so yourself, you are not an expert. Even experts will take advice, so learn to do it.

heather said...

as for bunk beds, my girls have them. though they are not standard in design. one bed on top, dressers on each side, the bottom bed coming out between the dressers, perpendicular to the top. there is a lot of support. even more there is a lot of height above the bottom bed.

the crib/mattress set up? there are many differences. first of all, the crib has parts that raise and lower the mattress-which not only is the mattress raised too high for a child of that age-but the mechanism underneath has too many pieces/parts that could be dangerous underneath.

it's not just a collapsing accident that is of concern-though it is as well. but like mentioned even if your son bumps his head on the mattress support-that could cause a big gash. or if a finger or even their hair (albeit more likely for girls) gets stuck in the raising/lowering mechanism. if the child in the crib rocks the crib. etc. etc. cribs aren't always that sturdy and certainly weren't made to be utilized the way they are in your home. the makers of the crib would never issue a consumer "ok" for that, ever.

i have shared an accident that my daughter had when she was 3, with you. it was completely our fault as parents for the way their room was arranged. she was hurt, thankfully not seriously. but 7 years later i still feel terribly guilty, and still experience the what-if's anxiety.

trust me, you don't want a situation like that. and again my child was ok. i've heard of tragedies that happened in the most normal of set ups. why make added risks?

Kiltie said...

"So, the problem with sleeping under the crib is that bunk beds are built sturdily and cribs not so much? That makes no sense."

I think someone earlier explained it well, but I will reiterate... if a child is sleeping under the crib they can sit up awake or while sleeping.

When they sit up, they can hit some of the mechanisms under the crib thus knocking the latches and potentially letting the matress and frame fall on them. This could not only hurt that child, but also the one in the crib.

This makes it different than bunk beds because bunk beds are in a fixed position without an option to adjust them, whereas cribs are built differently.

I would have commented on the shelves too (proximity to the crib and climbing, etc. but i think enough people stated what I wanted to and it sounds like you are considering a new location for them).

As far as commenters posting, if you put the information out there, it is fair game to comment on. You may not like what they have to say or how they judge you, but by getting defensive and snarky right back you are doing the very same thing and judging them...just something to think about.

Amber said...


I like you. I think you're trying to do the best that you can in your current situation, I really do. With that in mind, I would never come on here to insult you or intentionally make you feel bad. But I will voice my opinions and make it known when I think you're doing something unsafe, or, rather when I know you're doing something unsafe.

I just have one more question that I didn't actually see answered. Are those shelves on the crib secured to the wall or just held together with the fabric in between them? Thanks :)

Organizing Mommy said...

We had a crib collapse on us one time. If a child had been under it, he would have been injured. I realize some cribs are sturdier than others, but we had not realized ours was not sturdy. There are plenty of "fun" ideas for little ones that are a tad safer. Just store the crib mattress under the crib and roll it out when it's sleep time. Probably it is getting time for bunk beds..

Deborah said...

I know this isn't on topic, but I was reading where you were looking for homemade taco seasoning.
We eat a lot of Mexican food around here! I have found that the difference between taco seasoning and chili mix is that TS has more cumin in it. You can make a pretty tasty seasoning by using chili powder, garlic powder and cumin. You just have to play with the proportions till you get it the way you like it.
I don't know how available Mexican spices are where you live, but here in CO we can buy them cheaply in packages on the Hispanic food aisle at Walmart.

Emily said...

Christena, it will be a matter of weeks before Bobby is ready to sleep with Daniel. We're aiming for when he turns 18 months, whihc is in 2 weeks, then it will be Thomas's crib.

Our Family, it's a clear plastic cover.

Marcie said...

Emily, in those two weeks he could get seriously hurt.

Anonymous said...


Some of your most loyal supporters have expressed concerns. Please take them to heart.

And also, the crib mattress really should be moved down to its lowest setting. My son fell out of his crib at 7.5 months. He had just learned how to sit up on his own. My husband put him in the crib and DS sat up, pulled on the side of the crib and went flying over the edge. He was trying to pull himself into a stand, a skill he did not have yet, and pulled so hard he tumbled right over. we thought we didn't have to drop the mattress until he was able to stand. Luckily, DH managed to break his fall and he was okay...but we busted out the tools and dropped the mattress right then and there. I thought we had more time at the higher height since he couldn't stand up yet. I was wrong and am very lucky he escaped without injury.


Anonymous said...


Many people really care. Many of us see you as a young mother who is learning. Many of us like your quirkiness and appreciate your frugality.

That said, many of us have our hair standing on end looking at this bedroom set-up.

I'm not going to repeat many of the posts above, but please consider the following:

1. Fire safety issues and easy access in and out of that tiny room for adults and children.
2. Genuine worries about sleeping under cribs. No, that is not equivalent to a bunk bed.
3. Consider pull-ups for little Daniel at night until he is over accidents. No kid ever likes to soil his bed. At 3 not all kids can stay dry all night. Why humiliate the little guy and deal with soiled bedding -- just let him use a pull-up.
4. Those shelves are just not safe. It is child safety 101 NOT to have shelves over a crib. Our little monkeys can develop climbing skills overnight.

Emily, all the best. I hope you take this as it is meant.


Marcie said...

Emily, you still didn't answer my question on whether or not you understand why that shelf is dangerous. If so, are you at least grateful that people cared enough to point this out? Are you going to leave him like that for even one more night? I'm not here to snark or bash you, I want (and have) learn things from this blog, but I just can't continue supporting a blog where a mother knowingly puts her children in danger. I left this blog before when you bashed people who used AFM, but I came back because you do offer good tips, but child neglect is not something I can watch. And by leaving that crib like it is, you are neglecting your children and putting them in danger.

Our Family Is His said...

Oh sweetie, then get him a sheet, or you could even wrap a blanket around the mattress (we did this once when we ran out of sheets when our younger son was still in a crib and kept throwing up all over the place once night). No one wants to sleep on plastic. I have some awesome prefolds and a wool shortie that has never, ever been used (hasn't even been lanolized yet, and I could send you lanolin) that would fit him for a long time. If you would use it for him and let him sleep on a sheet, I would send it to you this week, free of charge (we aren't using it anymore, so it's not charity, just sister sharing with sister in Christ).

I'm Lori...and maybe I'm you, too. said...

I'm sorry, Emily, but you are inviting people in with a purpose. You are inviting people in ostensibly to educate, and to invite debate.

I have said before, and I say again, you are far too defensive about criticism.

And given the situation with Daniel's mattress, the urine, and the proximity to the heater, I wonder if it is possible that there is some kind of toxic mold that developed which could have been responsible for his sickness.

Lauren H. said...

Emily, I don't have any biases against you. I've read through your blog and while I wouldn't choose your lifestyle, for the most part I don't have any issues with it. Some aspects I completely agree with, some I don't - my opinion changes all the time.

However, your children's room, as much as you like it, is a safety hazard. Just by looking at the pictures, I can see that.

Yes, the edges of the shelves might be rounded, but that wouldn't stop Bobby or in time Thomas from banging their heads into it and getting hurt very badly.

The crib is set up too high for a baby that can sit up or pull up. Yes, the boys can pull stuff down, and hurt themselves.

The crib situation - well, lets say the crib breaks while a baby is in it. The baby in it will be protected by the mattress he is lying on. But what about the Daniel (and soon Bobby) who lying under it. There is nothing to protect him.

The situation is different from bunk beds - bunk beds are designed so that if the top should break there is minimal impact on the person underneath. The crib is not designed this way.

I say all this as someone who adores children, who believes in the philisophy of a child is a child to all.

Yes there are people on here who are here to be negative, but I honestly don't think that's the case with the vast majority of posters. I think most of those that read here genuinely care about you and your family.

I hope you will take our concerns seriously, and reconsider the children's room setup.

Josie's friend said...

I asked you earlier how long you think Bobby and Thomas can share a crib mattress UNDER a crib.

Honestly, Emily. PLease think about these things. Some of us have grown children and we are very concerned about the safety of yours. We'd like to see them grow up into fine young men, not be buried or maimed because of their mother's foolish pride.

That room seems to have no window, it has a jumper blocking the door and is so crowded that the chance of your boys surviving a fire are practically nil. I would worry that little Dan could not get out from under the crib, that he will hurt himself.

Can a bedroom really be a bedroom without a window? It that really a closet instead, being used as a bedroom? How do you ever air out such a room?

And again, my million dollar question.... Where will the boys sleep as they get older?

People are just worried about your children, Emily. Take a moment and see that even your most ardent supporters are expressing grave concern. Please, please listen.

Taurman Inc. said...

I try to visit your blog everyday and I find a lot of useful information. I think many people that are commenting really are just concerned about your precious babies. I myself am super paranoid about sleeping arrangements.
It is very hard sometimes to take comments that you feel are criticism. I think you really care for your children and only want the best for them. Just try and take a deep breath. Think about the helpful information you try and give to your readers and just try to find some helpful information in your comments. I know not everyone is against you, because I am certainly not :)

Elizabeth said...

Hi Emily-
You know that I love your site and enjoy reading you daily. Some of the comments today are just plain mean and uncalled for, but some have merit.
I, too, am a bit worried about little Daniel sleeping underneath the crib and on a mattress that has no sheets. Please consider making sure that Daniel sleeps with the mattress pulled out. We have a crib mattress in a toddler bed and those things are just plain uncomfortable without a sheet on it. While I understand that it is hard to wash a sheet so many times when one has an accident, maybe you could lay a towel over the sheet and hopefully that would protect the sheet when he has an accident. It would probably keep him more dry at night too when he does have one.
The only other issue I see is the shelf right next to the bed. It is overlaping into the crib and Bobby could easily pull it onto him, pull a toy onto his head, or more likely, get wrapped up into the fabric and hang himself. I like the idea of the shelf...brillant (did you make it? Would love instructions!) but think the placement next to the crib or within reach of any of the boys is a hazzard.
Please don't be offended by my suggestions. I'm sure I have a few hazzards in my own home that I don't realize but if someone pointed them out to me I would consider changing them. I have learned a lot of storage soultions from your posts, and hope that maybe you can learn from readers that post ideas too.

Vanessa said...

Are you planning to have them sleep together on one crib mattress?

Meg said...

Emily, one more difference between bunk beds and the crib setup you have is the amount of clearance between the mattress and the bottom of thr crib. A couple of weeks ago my 4 year old suddenly bolted upright on to her knees in her sleep because she dreamt there was a "weird bug" on her that she had to get off. She would have injured herself for sure under the crib. She didn't wake up until I woke her to reassure her either so no amount of training would have prevented an injury.

I too just want to see those precious boys are safe,

Anonymous said...

Okay Emily, I have an idea that might work. I am trying to be helpful, I once had to live in a tiny apartment because I could not afford anything else.

1. Move all the children to the big bedroom. The two oldest could share a single bed. The crib matress will be too small and nobody is going to have a good nights sleep. Baby could sleep in the crib.

2. You could buy a futon, murphy bed or pull out couch for the lvingroom and you and Dan could sleep in there, or possibly set up a bed in the kitchen if there is room Or not have a livingroom at all, just set up your livingroom as your bedroom, and hang out in the kitchen instead. Lots of homes 100 years ago did not have a lvingroom.
3. I am assuming that the small bedroom is too small for even a matress. Then you could use the room that is currently the boys room now for storage.
I hope this helps, I am not trying to put you down. It has probably been a rough day for you and I am sorry.

ps I am anonymous because I don't have a blog

Nota said...


Your home. Your kids. Your life.

I don't see a need to repeat what a bunch of other people have already stated, other than to say 'ditto' on the safety concerns.

What I'm wondering is why you're so quick to disregard the concerns of what - 50-60 people? If so many people can look at what you've provided and see a risk, isn't it worth a second look? If 1 person tells you they think your shoes are ugly, it's one opinion. If 60 people tell you your shoes are ugly after you send them a picture of your shoes, there's a good chance you have ugly shoes.

I'm not telling you what to do. I'm just saying if it were me, I'd take a second look and I'd open my mind to saying 'Ya know, maybe that wasn't my best idea.'

Jen said...

Man, everyone is sure a bunch of judgmental parenting experts! I am sure if I went to any of your homes I could find 100 things you are doing "wrong". Besides, Emily's family is really trying to make it virtually NO money! They obviously just don't pop to the store to get new bins, sheets and bunk beds. Sorry, but under $1000 a month in this country is extreme poverty.

I find this blog fascinating, I like to see how you all "make it work" so to speak.

Amy said...

Hi Emily - I'm lousy at budgeting and really appreciate the tips you've offered. Especially the information about a price book which I've started using since I read about it here. You are very resourceful and It's obvious that your family benefits greatly from that characteristic.

I do have to add, along with so many others here that you seem very lax about some very important child safety concerns. Your boys are so adorable and I truly believe that most of the people commenting really are doing it out of true concern for your boys in this case. Of course you love those precious children and want the best for them.

Maybe it is becuase my child was injured in a household accident when he was just 11 months old so I am always aware of it, but you seem to have a failure of imagination for all the things which can go wrong and injure or kill a child in a matter of seconds. Do you remember that terrible story about Mike Tyson's daughter who was stragled on a treadmill? Who would have thought? Can you imagine if someone had had the opportunity to point out that potential danger to that little girl's mother and given her an opportunity to make a change that could have saved her child's life? Children are so curious and they don't see danger so we have to inagine all the things that could go wrong and do our best to prevent them. It would take you minutes to address the major safety concenrs people have pointed out today and you would potentially be saving yourself a lifetime of grief and regret. You are so young and that lifetime would be long and very bleak indeed without your precious babies. Please consider what people are saying. It only takes a second of inattention for a child to be hurt. I know becuase it happened to my son and when I sat in that emergency room hoping that he would not be permanantly scarred becuase of my mistake I promised that I would do better and would encourage others to do better. We are all always learning and growing. I'm sure you will do the right thing and consider the well beign of your children by addressing some of the importnat concerns here.

Anonymous said...

Emily--In many states it is illegal to call a room without a closet a bedroom. Are you really living in a two BEDROOM apartment, or have you relegated your children to a windowless closet that you relieve your guilt by calling it a bedroom?

nepamom said...


Please take what I'm about to say as advice, not criticism, from one mom to another. Remember, I too currently have 3 boys stuffed into a too small bedroom (7x10ish and awkwardly designed). I have also been a less experienced, younger mom who looking back made some really stupid parenting mistakes...I'm still not perfect, no one ever is.

That said...my boys would be up those shelves in no time, crib or no crib. Mine are older than yours so yes you might have time but it's something to keep in mind. I was wondering why you put the crates ON the shelves? Could you hang the crates seperately or something and double your storage space? Then you could eliminate the shelf hanging over the crib..."problem" solved.

Ok..the sleeping arrangement. I do politely disagree with your stance on all of it. Everything from the lack of sheets to the mattress under the crib to the plan to put both older boys under there. First off, in my younger inexperienced days, I did have a CYS visit. They complained that my daughter's bed was missing a pillowcase (didn't matter that I was in the middle of making beds and hadn't gotten to it yet when they showed up, it still counted as a little check against me) I hope you never have to deal with them but I am certain they will not be pleased with a bare mattress for 2 on the floor under a crib. I'll offer a couple ideas on what I would do with the space you appear to have (pictures can be deceiving and I haven't seen your whole apartment)

#1- switch bedrooms...I think it would be a tight fit for you and Dan but doable. Your bed would probably take up the entire "end" of the room but you could raise it up for underneath storage and add throw pillows to give it a daybed effect. I had my bed like this when my youngest was still sharing a room with us and it was really nice. I think you've mentioned before keeping some toys in the living room? If you swapped bedrooms maybe all the toys could fit in the boys' room freeing up space in the LR that you could use for your awesome book collection (since obviously it would no longer fit in your bedroom). Plus IIRC your current room has a closet which could provide more storage for off season boy stuff!

#2 -Everone stays in their current bedrooms but you find different beds...or even a futon for Daniel and Bobby to share. Futons are nice for small spaces because they can get folded into a couch during the day without losing their underneath storage abilities. (But please, please get absorbant pads at the very least to put under the boys at night so they aren't sleeping directly on plastic, they can be cleaned right along with your diapers and you'd only really need a couple.)

#3- No idea if this is doable and not so sure it would even be practical but do you have another area that could be used as a bedroom? A curtained off section of the living room or something? Or do you HAVE to transition Thomas into the boys' room now...maybe you could move the crib into a corner of your room until he's older?

And finally...#4 Leave everything as is and hope for the best. I'm sure there are worse situations in other families!

On to other stuff that was brought up in various comments...you give us ideas through your blog, you open up your life to us. We are not going to agree with you all the time and we will try to give you advice in return. Most of us are not out to get you but some of us do know more than you. Accept that and let us help you.

Atheist Mama said...

Emily - I really hope you take some of these (all of them...) suggestions to heart. Ignore any rude comments, but the suggestions are coming from a good place - concern for your kids.

You have a multitude of people telling you the same thing, over and over (and over...and over again...).

Some of them, even me, usually take your side. If you don't want criticism then you probably should end touring tuesday's altogether.

Your home is unbelievably cluttered and hazardous for your children. The clutter is a hazard to them. With that amount of stuff there is no way that you can possibly keep an eye out to make sure they never get into anything harmful. NO WAY.

Even my own home, which is pretty clutter-free still has numerous hazards that we're working on before ds is more mobile and more likely to get hurt.

If I posted something in my blog and someone points out how it could be harmful I wouldn't necessarily change it right away, but I would certainly look into it. If I thought they were right, I'd do my best to change it.

You need to get rid of stuff. I don't see any problem at all with your kids being in such a small room...other than the intense amount of STUFF. It's not peaceful, it's not fun, it's not safe. There are so many places for bugs to hide (It's true! clutter gives bugs all sorts of hiding spots! Even we deal with ants and spiders from time to time.). I'd hate for one of your precious babies to get hurt.

You *do* need to learn some humility, and also how to accept criticism. I know it's hard, and I know you get an extraordinary amount of crap from people - some well meaning, some not...either way, what they are saying is RIGHT.

Your desire to hold on to so much stuff blows my mind. I don't mean this with a snarky tone - but you seem very materialistic/attached to your material possessions for someone who is a Christian and desires to live small.

I SO wish I lived near you...I'd help you declutter and create a safer, warm, welcoming environment for your family. I love doing that kind of thing.

I hope you don't take total offense to this - it's coming from a good place...

and JEN - seriously. If you think this living condition is okay for anyone, regardless of their income, I truly hope you *don't* have children.

It's not often I comment on a commenters comment (mouthful!) but this is totally ridiculous. First off, with the money Em made last month she most certainly COULD go out and buy those things. With a little shopping around it wouldn't even cost 1/2 of what she made.

She doesn't even need to buy much stuff...she needs to get RID of stuff.

Poverty doesn't mean you have to live like that. It just DOESN'T.

There are so many programs to help low income families...she is choosing not to better herself even though she has options.

I, too, once lived on under $1,000/mo. Sure, it was only 3 of us, and things were tight. We didn't get WIC or FS at the time, either...and we still managed to keep our stuff nice, clean and tidy.

Poverty is synonymous with filthy and/or dangerous living conditions.

Anonymous said...

most of the people,if not all, are parents with experience. Most are not judging but trying to point out things Emily, as a young mother, may not see. The majority are offering up suggestions to improve the safety and even the space concerns of Emily's sons room.

Emily's family are "surviving" under $1000 by choice. (And actually their annual income is more than $1000 a month when you count in their tax refunds, emily's posting income and other small earngings). They have chosen to live this way. They choose not to seek government help that would provide them with a good food budget each month (WIC and or foodstamps). That additional money would help bring them out of "extreme poverty".
"new" bins, etc can be found quite cheaply, even free in many places.
And finally, in my home you would be hard pressed to find even one! fire or safety hazard.
Emily is being offered help, good advice and prayers of many people. She is refusing the help.
I feel sorry for the children. miriam

Green In OC said...

First off, I love your blog!

What I first thought of when I saw those pictures was Child Protective Services. If you look at the room and consider the arrangements from a bureaucratic perspective then you might decide to make some changes.

My concern stems from Daniel's recent illness and the "mystery" of it (again, from a bureaucratic perspective). If you have another illness or injury you might earn yourself a visit from CPS. This is not a reflection of validity of the situation just what happens.

Fair or not, I think that people who live an "unconventional" lifestyle need to be extra vigilant because a bureaucrat living a conventional lifestyle will see things completely differently and in a situation like that you don't have any power, you just get to react.

Princess Jo said...


I found some of these pictures appalling: and I am very concerned, particularly for your children's safety.

I am not a mother (thanks to infertility issues), but I am a childcare worker. If a childcare centre was set up that way, it would never be certified, and no one would ever consider sending their children there. It is just not safe: and everyone else above has explained the "why it is not" beautifully for me.

I and my husband live in a home that is admittedly not completely childsafe (at least to my standards if a child was to live here full time). But when children do come over, they are limited to the rooms which I have designated as child safe. I don't have dozens of toys hanging on the walls (even in the rooms I consider unsafe!!). I use a toy box: a 115 litre clear plastic starmaid container, if you're interested. It would easily and safely store all the !toys with wheels! that are on the shelves near the crib. The Starmaid container would then fit snugly and safely beside the crib, or where the toy piano etc are.

At minimum, at least consider moving the soft toys from the other shelving system to the shelves closest to the crib. And please MOVE either the crib, or the shelves.

And come on Emily, a bed without sheets is not comfortable, particularly if it has a plastic cover on it (As you claim). Would you sleep on it?

We know that you are an intelligent young mother whom does love her children very much. Just please, learn to accept help and suggestions. You don't know it all.


Anonymous said...

If someone pointed out a danger to my children, I would say thank you and fix it. Is the view good from your high horse?

Anonymous said...

Emily, this is just a thought I had, that you could get some sleeping bags for the boys to sleep in. Then during the day the sleeping bags could be rolled up, leaving a larger play area in the room. Little Thomas could also have a sleeping bag when he is old enough. How long do you co-sleep with your babies? Mine is 2.5, and he still sleeps with me. If Thomas stays in your room long enough, he could graduate straight to a sleeping bag, then you could do away with the crib, and have more floor space.

crabcakes said...

Am I the only person whose crib mattresses are made of vinyl? Are crib mattresses made of cotton everywhere else in the world? I'm just confused why so many people think it would be so hard to clean pee off of it. We don't have a lot of accidents here, but when they've happened seriously all it takes to clean it is a few lysol wipes or even baby wipes. There is no absorbtion because the mattress itself is waterproof.

I caught a glimpse of a vaccine comment: ("Now that the whole study about the MMR vaccine causes autism has been debunked maybe you all should reconsider those vaccines.")

Not sure how it was brought up but just wanted to mention that it does nothing for those of us who delay MMR for reasons that have NOTHING to do with autism. I've never believed vaccines cause autism. I still feel it is most prudent to have them well spaced out, delayed, and split up when possible.

Just wanted to chime in that it's not always about autism. That is not the only concern about vaccines.

Kay said...

I am surely not a judgmental parenting expert since I don't have any kids but I sure like to sleep on a bed with sheets. Isn't that why they make waterproof mattress pads? They are for when accidents happen which are inevitable with little children. I feel badly for a toddler sleeping with no sheets on his little bed. Especially in the winter in the Northeast. It does not seem warm and cozy for him. Couldn't he wear a diaper at bed time and have sheets.

Theresa said...

Do you honestly think two growing boys can fit on ONE CRIB mattress? Do you really think that they will be comfortable sharing a bed that size? My daughter is almost two and takes up so much of her crib already that I can't imagine another child having to sleep in there too. Also, she sits up alot in her sleep, flip flops all night long and changes directions on a regular basis. Aren't you worried he might hit his head?

Anonymous said...

Emily, I admire what you are attempting to do with your blog, it is a challenge to be a young mother, with a limited income and try to provide a good lifestyle for your family.
Women who have been Mother's & wives for a good deal longer then you have are commenting with suggestions on how to improve the safety in your home, with the best of intentions.
And you are defensive, and yes, downright nasty with them.
Your children's bedroom situation is unsafe, and unsanitary.
Cribs have springs and a metal frame to support the mattress, they are not meant to be used for a child to sleep under. Get a daybed, with a real trundle under it, that can be pulled out for another child to sleep on at night & nap time. It would take up no more room then a crib. Go on Craigslist and get one cheap.
Please, put sheets on your child's mattress, with a real protective cover underneath, and put your child in pull ups or a diaper at night. A child sleeping in urine is just gross.

Jen, we are talking about basics here. Many of us have had to live on very little money; and we have done it without compromising the safety of our children.
Emily your defensiveness of all the suggestions here just shows that you have a lot to learn; instead of being prideful and arrogant, step back and learn a little from what the people here are trying to tell you.

Katherine said...

I'm new to your blog, and I really like the idea of storing a crib mattress under the crib and pulling it out at night for a sleep space. I also know that kids like the smallest spaces they can find for playspaces, mine like to make a little corner fort. Personally I wouldn't let a child sleep under there, but I wouldn't freak out if they played under there now and then when awake.

I don't think a crib mattress, which isn't going to last for 10 years anyway, is an issue for mildew, personally. Probably depends a lot on the weather where you live too, and the moisture in the air, etc.

I'm interested to see how you adjust it as the next child moves out of the crib though. Will 2 kids fit on a crib mattress comfortably? Do they cosleep part of the night, so they're not actually in their beds all that long at night (I know how that goes, and it makes it mentally harder to take up floor real estate with barely-used beds)? Can you do a crib-mattress size trundle or 2 under your own bed to pull out at night? Or 2 crib mattresses stacked under the crib one for each of the older boys, sort of Japanese tatami style and to take out at night?

simple in france said...

I'd like to second Jen's comment. I've been to lots of people's homes where I find things questionable. Do you say something everytime you go to someone's house and you don't like something? I don't. And when you do say something because you have a concern and you hope the person will choose a safer or healthier option, do you say it over and over, make snotty comments and insult the person?

I personally have never seen a person start making different decisions because of nagging, ranting and insults--I have to conclude that some people commenting here are 1--lack social skills and are unaware of how to provide helpful feedback or 2--are simply here for the 'smack down'

The above is, of course, not directed at everyone. Many people make good points in a reasonable way. But some of you need to think about the way you phrase things. If your goal is not to be obnoxious and argumentative but helpful, then maybe you should change your tone. (Otherwise, people will assume your goal is, in fact, to be argumentative and obnoxious and there's a good chance your 'advice' will be ignored and even cause defensiveness.)

Sheesh and double sheesh!

Andrea said...

Emily, I just started follwing your blog and I love it. I am going to be livng under a $1000 as well. I am getting married next month and this blog has been such a blessing to me. I started off just reading all of your wonderfu and helpful posts... then I started reading the comments. They are awful! I wanted to cry. Why would anyone that doesn't know you speak to you that way. Anyways, Thank you again. Your boy's room is cute. It is nice to see what you can do with a small space. We are leaving our children up to God so we might be like you in a small space. Though when we move to texas we may be able to rent a bigger place with our small budget. God bless you dear.


LashyLashla said...

Emily, I would like to thank you for sharing your boys room with me. :D Lisa.x

Anonymous said...

Emily, is there a reason you don't make the boys' beds? It seems so...depressing in there. You have made efforts (the stencils, the "tree", the toys and so on) but to leave the beds unmade with no sheets just seems, well, depressing. Is there some kind of frugality involved with making beds?

And, I would genuinely like to send you some sheets for your childrens' beds, if the reason that they have no sheets is because of cost. Those little beds are the saddest things I've ever seen. I feel so sad for Daniel - just out of the hospital with an unidentified, extremely serious illness, and he sleeps on a dirty, urine soaked mattress on the floor with no sheets.

I agree with all the safety issues pointed out above but they've been done to death.

I am not trying to fight with you or upset you or attack you. But please just consider those babies.

Emily said...

I cut off the bottom shelf above the crib.

I am going to nix the mattresses altogether. A few people kindly sent me links on the chemicals in crib mattresses creating a mold that realeases a toxins gas could be linked to SIDS. The gas sinks. Where Daniel is is on bottom, he is absorbing those chemicals whether the mattress is pulled out or not. I'm working on fashioning an alternative.

Anonymous said...

Emily: good for you for making changes. Why not remove the shelves altogether (if Bobby is standing up it won't be long before he reaches the next shelf above, and the flimsy nature of the shelves continues to make them a safety hazard anywhere near a crib anywhere).

What alternatives are you looking into for the crib and beds? Why not spend some of your blog revenue on mattress wrapping (proven to remove the SIDS risk you are concerned about, google it), new beds and bedding for your children?

And why are you concerned about just Daniel receiving the noxious gas from the mattress? What about the child who is actually sleeping on it?

Please buy your children some decent beds and use sheets. And wash them. With soap.

Marcie said...

I am so relieved to see that you have at least gotten rid of the lower shelf. It makes it somewhat safer since it will be harder for him to reach it, but as I said before I come from experience as a mother whose child reached a shelf that I didn't think she could by stacking up her blankets and toys. She could have been really hurt, and the problem could have been solved by lowering the mattress. As long as the mattress is not at the lowest setting, Bobby is still in danger of getting hurt. And you never answered my questions, do you realize why that shelf is dangerous now, are you grateful people pointed it out before your child got hurt? The total lack of gratitude from someone who claims to be a Christian is what is flooring me.

I have learned something from this post and I want to thank the person who left the comment about the bouncer being in the doorway. I moved mine right after I read that. It never occured to me about that being a fire hazard, thank you so much for sharing the information.

And to the poster who asked if I point out dangers when I go into others homes, yes, I do. I could never forgive myself if someone got hurt or died and I could have prevented it by telling them. And if someone comes into my home and points out that the way I have it set up is putting my children in danger, then I would be grateful, and accept it with humility, because I realize that I am not perfect and my way isn't always right.

Clisby said...


Have you considered something like this, from WalMart?


These look sort of like the little mattresses my kids' preschool had for the children who stayed all day and needed naps.

WalMart also has camping pads for $20 each, but they're not nearly as thick.

Emily said...

Clisby, the nap mat would be good for under the crib. We could fit two in easily when folded. They'd have to be pulled out for use since they're too long. It didn't give much info on the material though.

Our Family Is His said...

I think my post got lost in translation (it looked weird after I hit post comment). For those that need to not spend money, freecycle.org is a great website. You can post a wanted ad (for anything you can imagine such as bedding, furniture, play items, storage items, clothing, etc) and people with those items will answer the ad. It's 100% free to participate. The only qualifier is, you have to offer your items for free. It helps two families everytime someone answers an ad. The person that has the item gets to clean some clutter from their home and bless another person with it and the person receiving gets a much needed item for free, thus saving them money.

This has worked so well for our family. We have received a one-person tramponline (for our son's therapy needs), a huge, and very nice wooden swingset, and we are in the process of getting a desk for our homeschool room. It's free to ask for an item and free to advertise an item. Since you look locally, there's no shipping either. Check it out.

Anonymous said...

I am not trying to be mean, but do you really feel that it is fair that three children be crammed into such a small space and do not get to sleep on real beds when you and Dan get the big bedroom and a real bed with sheets?
They did not choose this lifestyle, you did.
I really suggest if a double matress would even fit in that room to switch rooms, or maybe even move you and Dan to the livingroom.
And really, what would a bigger apartment cost? $100 a month more? Don't you think it might be worth it?

(again, don't have a blog so have to post anonomously)

crabcakes said...

I agree that if you are going to nix the mattress, a pad would work that you could roll up.

Most of the world sleeps on the floor, even in well developed countries (Hello Japan!)

I laugh at the thought that CPS would consider that abuse.

I'm glad that you worked out a solution with the shelf. It didn't bug me to the extent that it seemed to bother others here, but still it's probably better that you removed it. :)

As for the bed making, we don't make our beds either. My laundry is done, my dishes are clean, my kids have enough food to eat. I vacuum up the kid crud every day. Making the bed is not, and never will be a priority for me. Unless I'm entertaining, the bed is a cozy mound of comfortors and pillows. :)

Tess said...

Why can't these kids have beds. It breaks my freaking heart.

Anonymous said...

Emily you should probably nix the family home pics. I personally don't think how you live is a big deal, and truthfully, many kids in America live in much worse conditions, but people get crazed on the internet and some wacko will probably try to hunt down where you live and send CPS. Of course there are millions of children living in filth and being abused in this country and CPS will never be called for those kids, but when you put yourself out there like this you get people thinking irrationally. They will make it their life's goal to disrupt your family under the guise of "helping" your children. Be careful.


Anonymous said...

Also, I don't know if you all know anything about CPS, but it really needs to be reserved for extreme cases of abuse, because sadly, there is a TON of appalling parenting in this country and the resources of CPS are stretched to the max. If you waste time calling them because you don't like the choices others make, it takes away resources from the worst cases.

mulberry said...

Have you thought about looking into bunkbeds from IKEA? They are pretty cheap and their stuff is usually well built. I have been to the store in MA and they have a really good selection of kids furniture. It's unfortunately a long drive though. Good luck with whatever you decide!

Patty said...

Just out of curriosity...
Complaints have been made about book shelves, stacked bins and fabric hanging shelves being dangerous for climbing/crushing or strangling accidents. And things on the floor are fire or trip/fall hazards. Does anyone have storage solutions that are safe? I'm honestly asking...besides some level of decluttering how is one supposed to store stuff in a child friendly manner?

mrs. c said...

i agree with the poster who commented about freecycle..it's an awesome resource, and i participate in my local group. i was able to receive a scientific calculator for my daughter(among other great finds) worth $135.00, which i just couldnt afford otherwise, and which she absolutely needs.i also offer plenty of stuff as well, bartering at it's best, and very green as well.

Marcie said...

Patty, as someone who also lives in a small space, the only true way is to declutter. She said in another post that the stuffed animals are not played with and that they are kept because Dan likes them. So those are some items that could be gotten rid of or at least put in strorage. Children do not need that many toys. The rule in my house is if something comes in, then something goes out. I also only keep out a couple of toys at a time and rotate them every two months. It is like getting new toys and the children play better. If she was willing to let go of some of this stuff, she wouldn't have to have the dangerous shelves and she would most likely be able to put a set of bunkbeds in there too so that her children wouldn't have to sleep under a crib.

Elizabeth said...

So in two weeks, is it your goal to have two children sleeping on a single bare crib mattress underneath a crib with a baby in it?

Are Bobby and Daniel going to be together on that mattress under the crib or are you going to make a more bedlike sleeping arrangement when there are two of them in the 'cave' under there?

Elizabeth said...

There are brand new bunk beds available at walmart for $150. The single-over-double bunk beds could reasonably accomodate 3 children once you have a fourth, with the youngest baby in a crib in your bedroom. The space under the bed could be for sliding storage boxes.

If you go onto craigslist and find a free or cheaper used bunk bed, you not only save that bunk bed from the landfill, you reduce your environmental footprint by not purchasing a new product.

Anonymous said...

I didn't bother to read all of the comments :P
Sorry if this was already suggested. What about getting more milk crates and placing them under where the current ones are. You could replace your book shelf with them, placed sideways as your clothing ones are. Others could be placed right side up and hold toys nicley, like a toy box. I think you would be able to eliminate all your high up shelf clutter that way, it looks like alot more "stuff" when set out on display. It would give it a more uniform look, which reduces the cluttered look. You could go as far as painting, or making fabric covers if you ever felt like decorating...

Elizabeth said...

Hi Emily-
I'm glad to hear that you are making some changes. I just wonder though why after 140+ comments about a bare crib mattress on the floor the only one that made you think was about the toxins that a mattress gives off? Why not the fact that it is unsafe to sleep under a crib? Why not the fact that it is uncomfortable and sad to sleep on a plastic mattress with no sheets? Blankets on the floor doesn't exactly sound very comfortable either, or like a real solution. Getting a futon in there would be a grand idea - you fold it into a couch during the day and it saves space and looks nice. Those can be bought new for around $100 or found at Goodwill or on Freecycle for very little or free. If you can spend $24 on a cake pan, I think a little more for a safe comfortable bed for the boys would be okay.
You don't need to publish this comment. I hope you don't take my comments are mean spirited. I would say the same thing to my own sister if I saw a situation that could be improved.

Concerned said...


Something like this: www.tinyurl.com/ygst3cw might work. Two, maybe three small children could sleep on the full size bed on the bottom, and a larger child could sleep on top. My daughter has a twin bed, with a "pop-up" trundle bed. When her twin cousins spend the night, we push the beds together and the three girls sleep across the 2 beds (perpendicular to "normal" sleeping position). The girls (ages 7 and 10) have plenty of room to sleep comfortably, so it is likely that 3 small boys could sleep in a similar fashion on the full size bed.

It looks like there is room under the bottom bed to store toys, tents, etc.


Emily said...

I think readers are grossly underestimating the dangers of a collapsing crib. You are all so concerned with the child under, but there is a baby IN the crib. In the event of a collape, my child under would not be seriously hurt by the impact, but he would certainly be awakened and bothered by it. The child on top could be strangled in a collapse. Daniel would quickly make a fuss about a large heavy mattress on top of him and we would be immediately alerted to the situation. Babies die in crib collapses because the parents don't know it happened until the morning.

As far as decluttering further, people act as though I am the only one living here. This is not all my stuff and I simply don't have the authority to declutter more than I have.

Concerned, I don't think your link quite worked. Can you post it again?

CappuccinoLife said...

Emily, I think your dedication to utilizing vertical space is awesome. It's becoming a lost art in a country where houses keep getting bigger and bigger and bigger. I love to browse Ikea catalogs to see what nifty stuff they have for using wall-space. :D

I do think there are some good suggestions buried in all the criticism. You may want to look up the laws in your state and make any changes necessary purely for the sake of keeping your family together. There are some seriously self-righteous people who frequent your blog for who knows what reason, and who's to say that one of them might not take it upon themselves to report you to CPS?

So many things having to do with safety or comfort are personal or cultural. Because most of us have the luxury of space, we tend to view small spaces as "uncomfortable". Because so many of us have the luxury of homes with built in safety (no fire-pit in the middle of a mud floor, for instance) we tend to be hypersensitive to smaller dangers. I can't see how that hanging shelf could *kill* a child (It doesn't look heavy enough to squash anyone), but one might be hurt trying to clamber up it, so I'm glad you made it harder for your toddler to reach.

Personally, I think seriously culling the number of toys in there would give the room a "safer" or "more comfortable" look. I have this constant tug-of-war with myself going on, where clutter drives me insane and makes me anxious, but at the same time I have a ridiculous emotional attachment to stuff. Why am *I* more attached to a beat up toy car than my kids? I have no idea. But I've found that if I can let go of the toy car, most of the time *they don't even miss it*!
The only reason I was able to fit three children into a small bedroom (too small even for two double beds) was that the actual floor space was mostly given to their beds (a double bunk and a pack-n-play). They did have a closet deep enough to put a dresser in, and that helped a lot. Other than that I had one tall, thin shelf structure for books and bed-time CD's and diaper stuff, and a small 3-drawer shelf for undies and pajamas. No toys at all in that room. Most of their toys go in one reasonably sized bin in the living room. Makes clean up a snap. :) And if the bin starts to overflow, I cull.

Hopewell said...

Emily--I think your house is just fine. And, I HAVE lived in 3rd world! You might like this book BETTER OFF I'm reading it now. Interesting.

What do you tell your kids about dinosaurs or are they just treated as "toys" with no explanation? Just curious. I'm a Christian and have known all shades of Pro- and Con- to dinasaurs down to folks who think the Flintstones are evil all the way to folks who don't care.

Anonymous said...

It must be hard for you to open up your home possibly expecting one thing and receiving something different entirely. Obviously you love your children, and obviously you want them to wake up tomorrow. I never questioned that. I know it must have hurt your pride a little when people started pointing out areas that in all honesty need improvement, but good for you for making some changes despite the sting!

There are so many creative and clever people who read you, I'm sure, if given the dimensions of the room and placement of doors and windows they'd be able to sketch a furniture placement plan that might help you find more room. It could be fun.

Concerning stuffed animals - I think there's nothing cuter than a well-loved stuffed animal on a child's bed. Unfortunately, most stuffed animals turn into dust catchers and orgy houses for mites and critters. Your husband might be attached to them, but I'm betting with some gentle guidance he could see that they really are something of a hazard and that they're taking up valuable real-estate.

I know a lot of these suggestions cost money that you don't have, but they are worth investigating. Create a bed frame out of tied together milk crates. The crib mattress is off the floor (but not too high) and there's the added bonus of storage for toys underneath.
Use the area under the crib to store more toys or boxes of out of season clothing.

I look forward to seeing the changes you're making.

heather said...

hey again,

i think that you only posted one of my two comments, unless i've missed it. which is fine. i really meant my messages in a kind way. my home is definitely imperfect. we are imperfect. i'm really not trying to be mean. sometimes a new pair of eyes is helpful. new thoughts. i don't want you to have legal issues or injuries.

my concern about the crib collapsing is not the mattress but the metal support for it. ours had a metal wire support under the mattress, it was heavy and had potentially sharp areas. same with a child under it bumping his head into it.

and i still feel strongly about the crib sheets. remember your post about baby towels being pointless and thin? you felt a baby deserved to be warmly wrapped and swaddled in a normal bath towel.

it was something that sunk in with me, 9 and 10 years ago i used those flimsy hooded towels. and you are right, a regular bath towel would have been so much better. i doubt that i will be blessed with another baby despite my desires (whole issue itself), i would definitely be using your advice. so that's how i think about putting sheets on your little guy's bed.

Marcie said...

Emily, you aren't the only person living there, but you are a parent and have the authority to tell your children that they can't have a ton of stuff. Dan is an adult, surely he can understand that the stuffed animals need to be downsized or stored so that your children can have a safer place to live. Americans in general have way too much stuff and learning to live with what we need and not with what we THINK we need is sometimes a challenge.

stephanie said...

Emily, feel free to not publish this ... I don't know where you are in Maine, but there is a free futon in Moosehead that you could get:


Elizabeth said...

I, personally, am not concerned with a crib colapse. I am concerned because if there was a fire no one would think to look under a crib. I am concerned because there are sharp pieces underneath a crib that a child could get harmed on. I am concerned because of the fact that since Daniel is underneath the crib you have the crib mattress itself too high for Bobby. While I see no problem with you storing the mattress (with a sheet) under the crib during the day, I think allowing a small child to sleep under there is not safe.

As for the amount of toys and stuff in your house, I never comment because I don't see it as a danger in itself (except for the shelves when within reach of children). But, your comment about "it isn't all your stuff" seems strange. As a mother, you are in charge of everyone's stuff. Yes, your husband has a say but your boys can't demand you keep a million toys. How much stuff you have is up to you, but I must say that your two boys (since Thomas can't possibly be playing with those toys yet) have more toys than my three children that have their own seperate play room.

Emily said...

CappachinoLife, we see the bedroom as toy storage and try to do most of the playing in the living room, too.

Hopewell, thanks for the books suggestion. That looks good. We teach them that God created dinosaurs, just like he created people. The details of why they aren't roaming the streets will be explained thoroughly in time.

Rosie, "orgy houses for mites" cracked me up. I'm thinking of putting the stuffed animals in front of the blue wall, which is the window. They would be up high so the window could stil open. Then put the cars where the animals are and moves the fabric shelves to our room.

heather, one of your comments didn't get published because I thought it would encourage bad actions by others, but I heard what you said and knew you meant it in a kind way.

Marcie, I have decluttered way beyond Dan's comfort zone. I don't know how other households run, but my husband has a say in what we have and I do my best to make it work.

stephanie, thanks for looking that up for me - really sweet! Moosehead is hours away, but futons pop up on Craigslist frequently.

Marcie said...

I'm not trying to sound mean, but it is concerning that your husband puts possesion before the safety of his children. If you had less stuff, you would have more room for the children to have a safe room and no need for dangerous shelves. As a future pastor he should know that we don't need to store up treasures here on earth, which by hanging onto items that aren't used and aren't needed is doing. We have a two bedroom home and my husband had to give up a lot of "prized" possesions so that our children will have room to live free of clutter.

CappuccinoLife said...

For future years, do you think your boys would be able to share a small double bed? Three could probably fit quite comfortably on that. My dh grew up sharing beds with siblings (in Africa) and many of my Mennonite friends also did. One time when I visited a friend it was just assumed that I'd share her bed! Totally strange to me but perfectly normal to them. :)

Concerned said...

Here's the link to the bunk bed: www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/80108983

Mama Melissa said...

Hi again, Emily, someone suggested that you use plastic baggies for storage in the kids room - please do not!! OMG. that is a suffocation hazard and would completey freak me out. :( seriously. I have a 3 year old, and am always looking out for suffocation hazards.

I don't think that having mats or sleeping bags is a bad idea (unless there is some law against it, which i have no idea)... but, if the boys aren't wearing something waterproof to sleep in (and what IS waterproof... even pullups can leak... and i used AIO's, which worked well, but i digress)... then, you might have to put some plastic (not a good idea) down on the floor under them or the floor will get wet when they pee in the night. Just thoughts...

How big is the room? will a twin bed fit in there? if you got a regular trundle type bed, you could get, or make, rails so the baby could sleep in there, too.


MB said...


I think that you could probably use the space more efficiently and safely by taking down the shelves, pushing the crib completly into the corner and investing in a large, safely made toy box or chest to place at the foot of the crib. A large toy box would eliminate the need for toy shelves and eliminate a lot of the clutter. Put up a couple of shelves out of reach of your kids if you need to have them for toys that aren't in use. With the crib in the corner and away from the shelves, your kids will be a lot safer.

You also might want to consider pulling the mattress out from under the crib because it really is nothing like a bunk bed. A bunk bed is built to be slept in like that and your arrangement is not. I've had an older crib collapse without warning with my daughter inside it. Luckily, she was not hurt but I shudder to think what could have happened to her, much less if another child had been sleeping underneath.

--A concerned reader

Deborah said...

There are legitimate concerns about safety that have been addressed here.

But really, stuffed animals are something children have treasured and enjoyed for many years. Even some adults!

Even bed pillows collect mites, but we still use them.

Mama Melissa said...

PS. (i always forget something!) please do not ever get a bed (mattress or couch for that matter) from freecycle or off the street or garage sales... because they could have BED BUGS. no joke! :( apparently, they've had a huge resurgence here in the US in the past few years and are unbelievably hard to get rid of.


Anna said...

I love their room and I myself thought that the trundle bed under the crib was an excellant idea, I won't be having anymore babies but if I were and I knew it was a boy I would figure out a way to make one. As to child safety, all these posters probably mean well but this is turning into a three ring circus, it reminds me of the woman who allowed her 10 year old or however old he was to ride the New York subway alone and all the fallout over it. Seriously, accidents do happen but in my humble opinion as a mama, child proofing and safety get taken a little far at times. One of the reasons cited in a National Geographic Article for the rise in allergies is over cleaning, and lack of exposure to dirt etc (outside dirt.)

Now I may be biased but here goes I grew up in a 12x20 foot wall tent yes you read that right. It was all one room we had our bunk cots, our kithen, our table, our washstand our clothes everything in that space. We didn't have alot of stuff but we had most things a normal modern day houseold does and we had babys toddling around I have three siblings all younger. We had a wood stove too and you know what noone died and noone got burned wanna know why? Because it was a small space and they could be watched constantly. When I was fifteen we moved into a two bedroom cabin, my parents had one room and us kids had the other and we all thats right all four shared one double bed! Eventually we got another mattress that we slid in and out of under the bed. I survived I am fine, I went to high school had a normal teenage life, and went to college and did much better at having a roomate than most of my colleagues. You people seriously need to get a reality check about how our ancestors lived and the rest of the world lives, children routinely shared beds in my grandparents day wasn't a biggie and the beds they shared were often not even double beds.

And some people do better living in cluttered enviroments valuable tax dollars have been spent studying this the more creative einsteiny types actually do better with a messy desk and cluttered office because that is how they think. My house isn't cluttered but I challenge anyone with kids to admit that their rooms and house are not always tidy, and that somewhere in their larger house their isn't a closet full of the kind of things that Emily has no place to hide so they are stored as best she can. Emily was just honest enough to photograph her house the way that it really is most of the time which takes courage!

Not all of us are good at being ruthless declutterers. I imagine that someday when Emily has a house of her own she will have built in storage for toys and a place to put outside toys outside but you have to make do with what you have. And take it from the daugter of a pack rat telling someone that they need to get rid of clutter doen't usually work. My dad was/is a terrible pack rat because you might need it someday which is the reason that there are seven woodstoves sitting in their barn, my moms compromise was to keep it outside, Emily doesn't have that luxury so try to be understanding.

finding my purpose in the 2nd half said...

My daughter was a stuffed animal freak and we got her one of these (although I think ours was a little bigger). It is up out of the way and held a bunch of stuff!



Emily said...

Anna, thanks for that comment. I appreciate it when readers are objectively thinking though what I'm doing.

Finding my purpose, that is similar to what I am thinking of doing, but just with a staple gun and large piece of fabric!

Lauren H. said...

Emily, I appreciate what you are trying to do. Living on less is admirable. But that doesn't mean that everything you do is the best or even good. Just keep that in mind.

Atheist Mama said...

Oh WOW. I said: Poverty is synonymous with filthy and/or dangerous living conditions. BUT...

I meant NOT synonymous. I hope that was clear, YIKES.

That said...Emily, I'm glad you're making changes and I want to say 2 things:

Dh and I have a much larger room than dd. Eventually her and ds will share the room and I don't plan on switching rooms with them even though it'll be a tight fit. Dh and I enjoy our space...

And I totally get the whole 'kid loving the cave feel' of under the crib...but that doesn't make it safe. During the day, for temporary play, sure...that's fine. DD loves crawling under tables, chairs, bed, etc. I wouldn't let her sleep under them though.

I know that you love your kids and and to do the best for them. I don't question that AT ALL...I just think that you need to heed some of this advice...which you ARE...and that makes me so happy!

And, let me say that NOBODY will be mad at you for using some of your blog income on your kids. NO ONE will give you crap about buying necessities. People will still read...

Anyway, if you need help, anything, don't be afraid to ask. A lot of us would be more than willing to send you whatever it is you need <3

Catherine said...

Most of us choose our risks in our homes. My house was not totally childproofed. I would address things as they arose.

Also bunk beds are not safe. When you look at the stats on bunkbed injuries that is pretty clear. Yet many of us (myself included) use bunk beds.

Some of my boys were bed wetters. When you have kids, there is always that risk, no small one, that the beds are going to get soiled. I covered all of the mattresses with clear plastic, the kind that totally encloses the mattresses. This protects the mattress from allergenics, mildew, moisture. Highly recommended to do this for used mattresses, old mattresses, any mattress. Then because changing sheets and making a bed in the wee hours was not something I wanted to do, I just threw a comforter or quilt on the bed. Thick enough so that, the plastic on the mattress was not an issue, thin enough to throw into the washer and to dry fairly easily. Then I would have another comforter/quilt for the cover. We called in the bed sandwich. I collected inexpensive comforters in the blue colors whenever I could find them at garage sales, give aways, clearnaces, so I have quite a collection.

These days we have an incontinent MIL living with us. She has the same set up. She loves the comfort of sleeping on a quilt. Better than those mattress pad, good old fashined cotton. She has a small waterproof pad on top of that so if she wets during the night, she can just pull that off and still have that quilt and have minimal sleep disruption.

We have had my boys just sleep on the floor in sleeping bags or quilts/comforters when we were incrowded corners. I call it Japanese style. The next day, the bedding is shaken out and put away, and voila, lots of floor space. The cubscout/boyscout sleeping bag is terrific. Easy wash, easy maintenance, rolls up with a built in band, light, warm, durable, reasonably priced, comfortable.

Anonymous said...

Emily, I'm going to suggest something radical here, but you can think outside the box, I know. Bear with me with these suggestions.

Your biggest room is the kitchen (it is huge). Your smallest room is the boys' room. You have storage in every room, why not consolidate it in one place?

Do you really need a "living room" when you have that huge kitchen? We live where we spend the most time. I am always having to kick guests out of my tiny kitchen because the kitchen is the heart of the home. Any home. If you do not have "formal" entertaining needs, use the square footage you have best. Why subscribe to "norms" Your kitchen can become your kitchen/family room!

Honestly, why not turn the boys' bedroom into a huge organized closet and stick all the excess *stuff* in there. Store all the stuff from the kitchen and a lot of books to the ceiling in the new closet. Packed, organized, consolidated! Easy access from the kitchen, but literally crammed with stuff. Use a child safety gate to keep those cute boys out of there.

Use the living room as the boys's room with lots of play area and much more room for beds and lower toy shelves. Office stuff could go in your bedroom so Dan can study and you can blog in privacy and space.

Or you could flip your bedroom to the living room just as easily, and give the boys your bedroom. Whatever suits.

Thinking outside the box . . .

Best wishes,


Anonymous said...

Kids will hurt themselves anywhere...I hurt myself on my childhood bunk beds. Just because its not what you would choose to do in your children's room doesn't make it wrong. There is no way to make a child's room 100 percent safe. She is the one who best knows the needs and behaviors of her children and should be trusted to meet them.


Mindy said...

Anonymous/Helen had a great idea. Why not have the boys in the living room and the storage all in their little bedroom, with a gated doorway to keep them out of it?

You could get a futon that would be couchlike in the daytime but those little boys could really stretch out on during the night. As the little baby gets older and ages out of the crib, a full bed could still comfortably hold three little boys.

Best of all, just one set of sheets to keep clean.

Anonymous said...

Someone before mentioned a great idea of switching rooms. Put the boys in your room and you and Dan take the smaller room for yourselves. That way you could pull the mattress out from under the crib and solve some problems. I would be curious to see what your thoughts are on this.


Anonymous said...


I love coming to your site to see how you make it work in a small space. I as well live in a very small house, less than 900 sq feet. I have a husband and two boys, ages 10 and 14, a dog, two cats, two large aquariums, and two smaller aquariums. We are smushed, but we make it work and I love being in a smaller home, it keeps the family together more.

To maximize our storage in the boys room, (it is only 9X9) we built beds into the walls about 2-3 feet off the floor in an L shape around the corner. It gives us storage space under and also gives us vertical storage up the wall as well. We don't keep any toys in their room. We have a small sun room in the back that we use as our play room for them.

Our bed room is only 10X11 and it has the ONLY closet in the ENTIRE house. To maxamize storage in our room, we put our bed up on cinder blocks so we could put bins under the bed. Our bed is very far off the floor, so I don't know if this would work for you if you are co-sleeping with a litte one, but it is just a thought.

-Danielle (posting as anyonmous because I don't have a website)

Hopewell said...

Comment on a comment! Bedwetters: Layer over the all over plastic cover a mattress pad, then plastic sheet [fitterd] then a sheet, then a plastic sheet. You only have to remove a "layer" in the middle of the night.

I like the "outside the box" thinking of the Family Closet/room like the Duggars do. Just me 4 cents here.

Anonymous said...

Ohhhh. I like Helen's idea. Or perhaps the idea of putting the boys in your room and you and Dan in the living room and the boy's BR as storage. Or perhaps make the boy's room a play room (this is what we did) and consolidate all the playstuff in one place with you sleeping in your BR or the living room.


Daisy in Ontario

Good luck and let us know about the changes if you make any. I would be interested in seeing them.

Anonymous said...

A sheet on a mattress is not going to keep the mattress from being urine soaked. So no big deal for me whether the mattress has a sheet or not. I have more concerns with sleeping children on plastic, (which is highly acceptable in our society) with a sheet over top of course. I challenge anyone that sleeps their child on a mattress with a plastic cover to try it yourself for a couple nights. It is hard to regulate your body temperature, and if you happen to get your face into the mattress (off your pillow) it is hard to breathe. Why are we concerned about plastic bags but it is okay to sleep on? There are alternative mattress covers made with very absorbent fabrics, bamboo, cotton flannels (think anything they make cloth diapers out of). It is a lot more washing though. I am still trying to figure out why crib mattresses are covered in plastic? The more expensive ones are breathable plastic, so obviously someone thought about it. But does breathable plastic comprimise waterproofing? Just saying.


Patty said...

I second the 'ick' thing about getting mattresses and couches/futons off of craigslist or freecycle. I pick up frames and things all the time but I skip anything not washable but thats just my level of the 'ick factor'.
Making a mattress base out of crates seems like an interesting idea. The inner crates could be longer term storage while an outer row of crates could face out/open to be used for books or clothes. I'm not sure the safety factors there but I like the idea. Go to google and do an image search for "milk crate bed" or "milk crate furniture" Lots of fun ideas there!!!
I saw someone suggested toy chest but I worry about the finger pinch factor with those. Gosh, everything has a pro and a con. I've seen stores (thinking ikea or walmart) that sell these 'tubes' that hang from the ceiling and have shelves built in for kid toy storage. (http://www.walmart.com/ip/Leisure-Arts-Debbie-Macomber-3-Compartment-Hanging-Storage/10597820) I don't know peoples opinion on these (safety, duravility or usability) and I don't know if maybe it could be made rather than bought. Something to think about. I saw you are thinking about doing a corner thing for the animals which could work too.
I don't criticize the number of toys or animals. I agree kids don't NEED but let them love what they have. My husband and I have more toys and animals than your family and we don't even have any kids yet! I still have the little bear I got at my first christmas...I'm sure it gets dusty and some have plastic eyes and whatnot. I'll possibly buy less in the future as my kids will have these to play with but I'm not decluttering any more than I have (though I have chosen to live in more space and thus its perhaps less important in my current situation). Anyway, they make me smile and theres nothing quite like a cuddle with a little fuzzy friend.
Hopewell...wouldn't you tell your kids what you believe? I remember asking my mom about dinosaurs one time and she basically told me that Gods time might be different than our time. That maybe dinosaurs lasted millions of years to us but really it was just a few minutes in Gods day that he made the animal kingdom. That satisfied me for a time but I don't know. I'm a scientist and am still trying to figure out what I believe.
That wasn't a "$24 cake pan". It was a multipurposful tool that is a gift that keeps giving! Hey Emily, have you had time to make anything yet? Waiting to hear about car soap or crayons or ...

Amy said...

Someone mentioned that in CA it's illegal to have a child sleep on a mattress on the floor. FWIW, here in SC that is perfectly legal. (I'm shocked that would be illegal since it can be a safer option for toddlers than a toddler bed.) I interned with DSS and accompanied a social worker on a home visit in which she was ensuring the child had an adequate place to sleep. He had a mattress and bedding on the floor and that was considered adequate.
Others have covered the safety concerns well but I wanted to make that one point.

Anonymous said...

Oh, instead of a plastic cover on my infant's (now 5 year old's) bed, I use/d those pads they use in the hospital comfy, absorbent, but coated so that it doesn't leak through the other side. *somehow* 2 of them made it home with us *whistle whistle whistle* Anyway, I also use 2 layers of sheets/pads on her bed in case of accidents so in case of accidents I don't have to remake the bed in the middle of the night. I just strip the top layer. Bonus? Instant, out of the way sheet storage :).

CappuccinoLife said...

I grew up sleeping on plastic-covered mattresses. No problems with it ever. Never on straight plastic though.

My youngest still has a plastic cover over his mattress as he is right in the middle of potty training. However, there is a *thick* mattress cover over that, and a sheet over all. The plastic is just a last-gasp attempt to keep the mattress safe from heavy wetters.

Emily, if you ever do switch to bunks, I highly recommend the simple wooden Ikea ones. They can be fully deconstructed for moving (yay!) but are sturdy and comfortable. Two small children (5 and under, say) can fit comfortably sleeping on each end of the bottom bunk, as my two oldest did for two years. We got the style that is lower, which made the lower bunk a little safer (the upper bunk has a built in full railing). Even with it being lower, there's still room under there for either storage, or putting another mattress that could be pulled out at night.

The room-switch idea would never have occurred to me but seeing it described, it sounds like it could work! Then you'd be free to stack your storage as high as you needed to, without any worries at all about the kids getting into it or climbing. :D

Anonymous said...

oh, and PS...

I thought the idea of hanging the bike, wagon etc. on the wall was both practical and brilliant.

Daisy in Ontario

Emily said...

I'm not going to continue commenting on this post, though I will continue reading and publishing for those who do. I have a Boys's Room Part II of sorts coming up for this coming Tuesday.

hickchick said...


If you have not read Freakonomics, now would be a good time to do so. Then set up a poll asking your readers if they would rather have a gun or a swimming pool. I have a feeling that the majority of your readers would not get the reference and would expose their own ignorance regarding child safety.

Anonymous said...

When I wash growing up one of the places we lived in only had 1 bedroom for 4 of us. The kids had that as their bedroom and my mom had a mattress that she stored behind the couch and pulled out everynight. Our beds were raised off the floor with storage shelves made out of hardwood and they had bookshelves and drawers.

Have you considered taking down all the shelves in the kids room, storing toys under the crib, keep the tents in the trunk of your car and have a loft type bed made for your oldest? I would have to be very high off the floor, even just couch height would be a nice start.You could store things underneath it and reserve the walls for the gutter book shelves.

Or you and your husband could loft your own bed and store all the stuff in your room and have more living space in the rest of the apt.

I also like the suggestion of moving the couch into the kitchen and making that the living room and make the living room a playarea or your own room.

Clisby said...

I haven't read Freakonomics, but if you're choosing between a gun and a swimming pool purely on the basis of child safety, then obviously the gun is safer.

And I'm with Amy - I think it would be completely absurd to have a state law against children sleeping on a mattress on the floor. If there is such a law in California, I'd love to see a link to it. Sure, people always say California is crazy, but that would be *so* crazy I want to see evidence.

Jennifer said...

I live in California and I've never heard of any such law. I'm doing a little digging... but honestly, its so absurd that I can't imagine being able to find anything.

With that being said, I would never sleep a child on a mattress under a crib... legal or not.

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