Wednesday, September 14, 2011


With a lot of people downsizing and having to live in smaller spaces due to the economy, I thought it would be helpful over the next months to share a few tips we've learned living in our small space called the PARSONAGE. 

Some of you may be wondering to yourself, "what's a parsonage"?  Well, a parsonage is the house provided by the church for its pastor and family to live in. 

When living in a parsonage, you don't have the privilege of choosing your own home or the size of it. My husband and I have learned to embrace the parsonage provided for us, and make it into our home and a space we love to live in. You'll find that many parsonages are small, especially if you're  serving a small congregation on a limited budget. This makes our situation similar to those of you renting and living in a small apartment or home that you don't own yourself.

We've learned from our experiences over the years to take these small spaces, and give them the illusion of looking larger while making use of every nook and cranny the home provides.

We've lived in small 2 bedroom basement apartments with our three children as well as various other small 2 bedroom homes with four children.

One of the very small two bedroom home.

With the help of my husband's great carpentry skills, we've learned ways to add storage.  We've added portable shelving to a back entry, for example, to utilize the space and create a  storage solution for all our canned goods and miscellaneous household items

In the photo above, the window behind the children is the wall with the lined shelving we built.  Placing a full length curtain over the window was the solution to hide the shelving from the road view. 

We've also done things like making a walk in closet into a combo closet and playroom for our children.  In small bedrooms we've built a loft bed and placed our daughter's dresser and desk under it while a platform bed with drawers built underneath was the solution to a bedroom without ample room for a dresser. 

The house in the photo above, we had a second very small bath where the plumbing would freeze in the winter. To make full use of the space that was otherwise unusable in the winter, we used the bathroom for storage.  Even the stand a lone shower was used to store all our boxes of off season clothing and seasonal items. ( One problem with this is when I needed the box on the bottom of the pile, I  literately had to back out of the room backwards with each box until finally reaching the box I needed.)

As you can tell we've had some experience in small space living; and we take this with us to our present home .....
The Parsonage!

Today's tip will be on small bathrooms. 

Here's what we've done.
1. Add a larger mirror to give the illusion of a larger space at the same time reflecting the light in the room.  Adding more light will make the room feel brighter and larger.
 This mirror is like the one we had before, but it's not the actual bathroom shared here today.

 Bathroom mirror with the added lighting.
(Sorry about the poor quality of the photo, it was taken with my old camera.)

2. Place a cabinet above the toilet adds much need storage space.

Storage after...

Placing a mobile unite makes it possible to take with you if you move again.

3. Using a curved shower curtain bar can make a big impact with the illusion of a larger space.  It also adds more room while in the bathtub/shower area.

Adding a white shower curtains gives a bright and airy feel to the room.
Of course all of these items were bought on clearance, garage sales or using a 20 % off coupon making the storage solution very THRIFTY!

If you'd like to read more on how we made over this bathroom for less than $500 go here to read about it.

Have a great day!


  1. Joy,

    I love your attitude and enthusiasm. Our last two parsonages have been adequate for us, but as we are packing up and moving on to Seminary again for hubby to work on his PhD, I do not know what God will open up next. (We are moving without a church, according to the Lord's strong leading)

    I will have to keep these posts in mind!

    May God continue to bless you and your husband in ministry!

  2. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this series! I too am a pastor's wife named Joy, and we are in our second parsonage. After living in our first parsonage, I could live just about anywhere!



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