Thursday, March 4, 2010

Organizing a Big Family

I am doing some serious nesting right now as I prepare for the arrival of my littlest pup.  She is due in May 2010 so there isn't much time.  As I get ready for her arrival, the reality of my larger than average family has set in.  I have been praying for ways to simplify how our family living in this house.  I think these are ideas that can be used for all families not just big families.

Family Closet

This idea didn't originate with me.  In fact, I think it was the Duggar's that gave me the idea.  (Here is an article about the Family Closet that I just found and thought it was interesting.)  We have a house that has three bedrooms at the back of the upstairs.  One of these closets has a pretty big walk-in closet.  Since we needed the other closets for storage of our hand-me down boxes, I decided to make a family closet.  We hang up all the of the boys shirts and the girls dresses.  Since I also try to keep our clothing to minimum, their clothes really don't take up much space.  So we keep all hanging clothes in here.  There is also room for me to store a couple of large storage boxes and diapers in the top of the closet.  On the floor to the side of the clothes and underneath we keep 2 large laundry hampers and then our keepsake boxes.  The keepsake boxes are labeled with their name and printed with their assigned color.  Here is a picture of what it looks like now.

This is the back of the closet. I will put colored construction paper on the 
diaper boxes to keep the size straight.   

All the hangers are colored coded based on their assigned colors. I have gotten most of my small kids size hangers from Walmart as I find them.  As they are growing, it's been harder to find hanger in their color so I am about to start getting them from The Container Store.  

The Keepsake boxes and extra hangers above them. The clear box 
holds all the equipment for the fish tank.  

These boxes are stacked just inside the door.  The box with the white label in my box where I store my extra cloth diapers.  This box will be emptied as soon as my littlest one arrives.

Pictures on the Dressers

Years ago I came up with an idea that helped my older children with keeping their dresser drawers fairly straight as well as help them put away their laundry.  I remember this little trick a few weeks ago and I was finally able to act on it this week.

The picture meet the needs of my little ones mostly.  My older children are old enough to put things where they belong and they expected to do so.  We have an old dresser that belonged to me as a little girl.  My little boys are using it now.  It's been hard to keep their clothes separated.  Dad put colored stickers on the front of the drawers to help them keep their clothes separate.  They still couldn't keep it straight.  So I printed up some pictures to attach to the front of each drawer so they will know where to find their clothing.  Si-bay immediately recognized his color and the article of clothing that is kept in each drawer.  With the boys it's fairly simple - underwear, PJs, and pants/shorts.  I cleaned out their drawers today and put their pictures on the front.

This is a close up of Si-Bay's two big drawers.  

We have another clear plastic box where we keep socks for the little boys and underwear for the larger boy.  I put sock pictures on each drawer.  

It's a little hard to see the pictures on the front of the clear 
drawers but they are there.  

These are just a couple of the ideas I have had to help keep my big family organized.  I crave order as much as I can keep it but I also don't want to be a bear about it.  So it's necessary to find ways to help them keep the order so that I am not always barking orders here and there about what they aren't keeping in order.  Children must be taught how to keep the order.  Mom still has to inspect but they are still able to work at it if I empower them to do so.

I will post more ideas at another time.

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