January 30, 2013

Organizing and De-cluttering with a Large Family

Having a large family tends to run along side having a lot of things.

Even with a fairly large home,it would be so easy to become overrun with stuff.

Because (at this point) we have all boys,there is a lot of sameness and sharing;so many trucks,cars,trains and blocks;lot's of hand me down clothing in every size.

Laundry seems to be never ending and toys are plentiful,so to keep a sense of organization,practicality and neatness,I have developed a few habits;a system if you will.

I read a book a while back that my sister in law gifted to me (A Sane Woman's Guide to Raising a Large Family) and in this book,a particular paragraph stuck out and thumped me on the nose:

"Think of everything in your house as taking up square footage of your home...think of how much you spend on your mortgage or to maintain your home.Now,are those items in your house paying for the space they are using?"
These aren't the exact words the author used,but you get the point.

If I haven't used it in a year and I probably won't use it in the next year,realistically it needs to GO.
If it's broken or missing pieces it needs to GO.
If there are ten more just like it,chances are it won't be missed.

I like to take my biggest "issues" and break them down into four categories:


In a large family too many things tends to be the biggest challenge in the home.

Every time we purchase something that comes in a large box (a toaster,toolbox,disposable diapers) I do my best to fill the box with either- A.)trash,or B.) Donations.

Broken toys,socks with holes,puzzles with missing pieces,torn coloring books,old or unneeded paperwork/bills and the like-all go into the trash box.

When it seems that a family member has too many clothes or won't wear an item they have,it goes into the donation box.The same goes for extra kitchen items,toys that don't receive enough love or books that weren't great enough to keep.


The boys' playroom isn't always the neatest....but a few times each week we all go in the room together and pick up all the train tracks,books and stuffed animals and put them in their appropriate places.

The boys each have a large tote with their name one it-the older boys have one in each of their rooms with a few of their toys,while the youngest (Jacobi,19 mos) has one in the living room with some age appropriate toys.

We don't leave toys sitting around the house;they either get picked up and taken to the playroom or put in a toy tote.


I am no newbie at laundry.
Thankfully my mother began teaching me at an early age all about housekeeping.
When I began thinking about all the laundry that can grow in mounds with having a large family,I was thrilled to see how the Duggar Family manages their laundry situation!
When we purchased our home,the first thing I had to have was a Family Closet<~~you can see mine here.

Once the closet was "installed" and I utilized it,the only thought I had was "How did I not have this before!"

The Family Closet is off to the right~>

Because the family closet is directly beside my open laundry area,it makes it so easy to transfer all the folded or hanging clothes right over to their respectable places.
Every large family should consider setting up a family closet-just the ease of placement alone,having everything in one spot is so convenient!

So those are my biggest tips:

Keep it simple.
Don't be afraid to throw things away or donate them!
Less really is more.