The key to running a successfully, smooth household is organization. Not that I would know, because, well…most days I feel extremely un-organized. Nevertheless, it’s important to have some sort of organization system in place.
Today I want to give you some practical tips on getting organized from my point of view. I am no expert in this area or anything else related to “Large Family Living,” but I’ve had some questions about how I do things and how we function in a house full of little ones. So, I thought why not write a series from my perspective. So, let’s get started, shall we?
1. Toys – UGH!!!! Can I tell you how much I loathe toys? Most days it’s like walking through a maze of dolls, pirate ships, legos, construction toys, cars, army men fighting against each other. Not to mention that our new found love, Rescue Heroes, have multiplied beyond belief and we are now swimming in buckets of RH action figures, cars and props. So, how do you organize this mess?
First, make a plan. I like things put up in buckets versus sitting on the shelf. With all the little helping hands in my house the buckets detour them from just throwing toys all over the place. We try to categorize our buckets so it makes things a little easier to find. For example, in the living room I have a bucket for all the Duplo blocks, two for preschool books (yes, we have a ton of these), one for the girls’ toys (a few extra dolls and some other little things, one for our Veggie Tales Pirate ship & accessories, etc. In the boys’ room I have buckets for legos, Thomas the Train (this one is overflowing now!), large cars, small cars, Take-a-long Thomas the train, and more. The point is…the kids know where their toys are and what buckets hold what. It really does cut down on the amount of toys being dumped everywhere.
Second, purchase what you need to make your plan a reality!! If you need more inspiration, take a look on Pinterest!! I have found so many helpful tips, tricks and ideas on there!! It’s a wonderful place for inspiration! Let me know if you need an invite!! I’d be happy to send you one!
2. Chores – No one likes chores/housework. But, it is a necessary evil to keep the house in working order. Now that I have children who are able to help with a few select chores, I put them to work! This list over at Holy-Spirit Led Homeschooling is a wonderful resource to help you find age-appropriate chores!
Here’s a few I use:
My 2-yr old daughter helps with loading the washer and dryer. She loves to shove the clothes in the dryer and I love listening to her giggles!
My 3yr old son loves to help set the dinner table (sometimes). So, we are working on that chore with him.
My 6yr old son helps unload the dishwasher. So that is his chore every day.
Not only do you need a plan for chores with your kids, you need to plan your own household chores. I have several schedule sheets in my Home Management Binder that help me keep up with our busy home.
Here are the ones I use:
Daily, Weekly, Monthly Chore Chart (updated periodically)
I find my days run much smoother when I have a plan in place. Now, that’s not to say everything gets done every day, but at least there’s a plan and I can then pick up where I left off the day before.
3. Central Closet/Closet Organization – I honestly do not know how I survived without this!! If you’ve never heard of a Central Closet, it’s just what it sounds like – a closet that’s centrally located! What a novel idea, right?! My suggestions before setting out on this grand adventure are:
* make sure you have a space to utilize this amazing feature. We have a room off our laundry room that I use or you could use an extra bedroom.
* Put a plan in place. How will you organize your hanging clothes, folded clothes, each persons skinnies, socks, etc. Will you put everyone’s shoes in here? Make sure you think of everything before you get started. It’s a huge under-taking, but trust me, with a large family – it is TOTALLY worth it!! Read more about mine here on my post: Buried Alive? Creating a Central Closet in Your Home
4. Buying clothes – I know this one may seem a little strange to you, but trust me when you have to purchase seasonal clothing for four growing kids (or more) you need to be organized!! So, here’s how I do it:
* First, I pull down all the tubs for the sizes I’m going to need. Yes, we do hand-me downs around here! It’s a real budget-saver!
* Then, I pull out the clothes and go through them to check for stains, etc.
*Once I’ve gone through all the clothes, I lay them out and match up shirts/skirts, shirts/pants, etc. (I purchase a lot of clothes at garage sales and when I find them for $.50 each I can’t hardly pass them up. Well, then I end up with waaaay too many things that have no matches. I’m getting better at this.)
*Then, I go through and see what I want to keep, sell, purge for donation, or throw out due to stains, rips, etc.
*Then, I go through and see if I have any super cute shirts or skirts that need matches, because let’s face it…that does happen!
*Last, make a list of all the things I need to purchase for the upcoming season.
In the summer months, I purchase a lot of things at garage sales. I am a cheap one though and never pay more than $1 for anything at a garage sale. (But, I know this varies by area, so do some scouting first!)
I also consign items with two Just Between Friends sales in the Spring and Fall. This is where I purchase most of my clothing items. I go in with my list and come out one happy momma!!! Again, I am super picky about pricing, so we never pay more than $5 for my oldest sons clothes (he’s in the larger sizes now that cost more) and I never pay more than $4 per outfit for my other kids. We usually stay in the $2-$3 range for most of them.
Having a plan and being organized helps me so much!! I don’t over-buy and therefore I can stay within a pre-defined budget (more or less). It’s a win-win!!
Well, that’s how I organize my home, chores, clothes, etc. What tips do you have for organizing a busy home?
Thanks so much to Lindsey for having me here today!!
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