Organization and Storage Secrets for Large Families03/23/2012
You may not be the Duggar family (from 19 Kids and Counting) but we all know that organizing and storage for larger families can be a challenge. With busy lives, hectic schedules, and children at different stages of development, keeping a well organized home is vital. We took the top organization and storage secrets from professional home organizers and compiled a handy list for you below.
Storage Secrets from the Pros
- Garage Storage: Keep it Separate - Teamwork is important, but some things should be kept separated. Large, clearly labeled bins in the garage can hold outdoor toys for each child. Store sporting gear and family games on garage shelving, out of the reach of toddlers. Hang bicycles, strollers, and scooters conveniently from garage hooks. This will not only help keep things clean and clutter free, but will give mom peace of mind if younger children happen to be in the garage unsupervised. Of course, separate garage shelving should be designated for tools and lawn equipment and dangerous chemicals should be safely locked in a storage cabinet.
- Kids Closets: Handy Hanger Secret - Want a huge time saver when wondering which clothes your children still wear and which can be passed down or taken to the local consignment shop? Switch the color of hangers you use. Buy bright pink or red hangers and use them to hang all the clothes that pass through the laundry room. After three weeks, you'll have a good idea of what's being worn and what's not, just by glancing in your child's closet.
- Dealing With Stragglers - Anyone with a large family is all too familiar with the fact that it only takes each person to leave one or two items laying around where it doesn't belong and suddenly you're saying, "What happened to my clean house?" There is a solution.
Purchase an attractive basket that can be kept somewhere in the home (as an accent piece or decoration) Every evening have a different child do a "walk-through" the common living areas of the house to pick up everything left on the floor, table tops, counters, or draped over furniture. Place all salvaged items in "the basket" and make it a rule that the basket must be emptied before bed (or whatever time you choose). A reward system can also be implemented for those with the lowest number of items in the basket.
- Car Rides - Even short drives with a large family can be hectic. Install drop down garage shelving just outside the interior door and you'll have a convenient place to keep umbrellas, extra baby wipes, plastic bags, toys allowed in the car, paper and pen, and even a small bin for packaged snacks and juice boxes.
- The Save or Toss Dilemma - Do you have trouble tossing your child's school papers? If you have three or four children, the paper clutter can become a problem. For younger children, keep one representation of your child's artwork and one of their handwriting each month. Purchase a notebook for each child to keep them in. For older children, special essays, poems, artwork or report cards are keepsakes you'll want to look back on.
There you have it. The top five organization and storage tips right from the professionals. We're sure you'll be able to add your own twists to our list, but this will give you a solid start in the right direction.