Too Small, Too Old, Too Stinky: The Military Housing Version of ‘Goldilocks’

I have always dreamed that my life would be a fairytale. I just didn’t know that fairytale would be “Goldilocks and The Three Bears”…except with houses instead of bears and porridge.

After moving 5 times in 3 years, technically only 4 moves as we stayed with family for 2 weeks, and looking back on all the different houses we rented – what an adventure!

These adventures in house fitting wouldn’t have been possible without the Marine Corps sending us on Recruiting Duty in Illinois. But now that the stress of RD has begun to fade and I am finally in my “just right” home, I can look back at all of our houses with a sense of humor and how we Milfams find ways to make it work.

Home with Snow
My dad dubbed this the antique house.

Too Small

Our first station was in the suburbs of Chicago. You would think plenty of suitable housing would be available, but of course, not where we were sent. The only house available to rent that would accept pets was one of the original houses in the community…newly “renovated.” Even though the inside had been updated, there are some things about a 100 year old house that you can’t change. Apparently people were short back in the day and the ceilings remained rather low. My wall-unit office furniture had 1 inch of clearance in the room. Our bedroom was so small that our dresser stayed in the hallway. The door to the second bedroom looked like something you would have seen in Charlie and The Chocolate Factory. It was “custom cut” to fit the slanted ceilings, and if you forgot to duck when entering… ouch!

Too Narrow

quincy house
Have you had a house that’s quirky?

On our next move we again we had slim options for housing that would accept our fur-children. We ended up in an older, former farm house. The kitchen – HUGE! The rest of the house… it was just another puzzle to make our furniture fit. The house was long and very narrow. You could stand at the back door and look straight down through to the front door. Our dresser actually fit in the bedroom, but it blocked the door to the bathroom. Our nightstands only fit next to our bed if they were turned sideways and we couldn’t open the drawers. The turn in the stairs was so sharp and the stairway so narrow that some of the baby’s furniture had to stay downstairs because it just would not fit. There was just no way it was going anywhere other than 10 feet from the entry way.

Too Big…In The Wrong Places

Fast forward through our 2 week stay with family in Georgia and we end up back in North Carolina. Once again the pets limited us. While this house wasn’t an antique or so narrow, it was still quirky. The living room was huge, which sounds nice but with the layout there was just unused empty space. The master bedroom was so spacious that I felt like I had to buy extra furniture. So what’s the deal you ask? The bathrooms where indeed the smallest I had ever seen. Most importantly, the kitchen was smaller than what you may find in an apartment. Everyone has their priorities when it comes to a house, mine happen to be the bathrooms and kitchen.

Just Right

kara house2
Just right, finally!

So on the hunt we went…again. It was really just pure luck. We found a house for sale the first day it went on the market and it was just perfect. The bedrooms are good sized, the bathroom is a dream come true, the kitchen…holy cabinet space Batman! The yard is huge for the kiddo and dogs to share.  The furniture actually fits nicely in the room that it was intended to go in. It’s just right for us.

But that’s part of the fun in moving around and having the opportunity to experience life in different places. That’s also what makes Milfams unique – we make any house that we live in a home. And while we may use the dining room as a bedroom or a closet as an office, housing is always an adventure that we can look back on and laugh, and will continue to provide us with stories for years to come.

Do you have a crazy housing adventure – re-purposing a room or getting creative to make your furniture work? Share it here with us!


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