5 Awesome Tips for Big Family Home Organization
5 Tips for Big Family Home Organization
Having a big family is wonderful! Children are a blessing to the highest extreme. But with large families comes lots of stuff! Big family organization is hard, but oh so important to save your sanity.
It’s said that you could never regret having a child, but you could regret not having one. I never expected to be the mom to 5 children. Honestly growing up I wanted a houseful of dogs and maybe a squirrel monkey, and no kids! Funny how much you change as you age.
In the twelve years I’ve spent mothering thus far I have come to one conclusion. Organization saves families from self imploding! That may sound overly dramatic but when a home is in disarray no one is happy.
1.) Backpack cubbies or designated backpack/coat/shoe area.
This will save sanity! I cannot possibly explain how much these cubbies have given me some peace of mind. My kids get home from school and they no longer throw their backpacks and coats in the middle of the floor.
Everything has a place. There are baskets for shoes, baskets for paperwork and reading books. Though we were given these as an amazing Christmas present from my parents (I am all about the practical gifts!), you can purchase cubbies pre-made, or hire someone to build them for you.
These lockers offer each child their own space. In large families especially, this is crucial to keeping everyone happy and getting along. No more where’s my homework? Have you seen my coat? I can’t find my shoes! I have literally ended 15 arguments each and every morning by having these installed.
2.) Each child gets their own colored bath towel.
This idea was given to me by a friend who has a large family too. We implemented this awesome idea a few months ago. My children thought it was a good idea to use a towel one time, and then throw it in the laundry. As you can imagine that was causing a serious laundry problem. I do 4 loads a day as is…I don’t need to add one more load to that total!
One day I went to Target and purchased fun colored towels. One unique color for each child. Now they know which towel is their’s and they have to use the same towel 3 times (or more) before they are allowed to put it in the wash. Usually that just means wash it once a week.
This is another way to give your children their own personal thing. In families with only one or two children this may not be a big deal, but when you have a slew of children they very quickly lose any semblance of their own space because they just get thrown into the mix. My kids were super duper excited about having their own towel. And I was super duper excited to have less laundry. Priceless.
3.) Assign each child a day to wipe the bathroom sink.
The kids bathroom is quite possibly the most disgusting place on the planet. It leaves you with questions, and rarely any answers. A place where all good things go to be covered in toothpaste, water splatter, and an overflowing trash can. I literally cannot handle the kids bathroom. This is not a unique problem. My best friend won’t even go in her kid’s bathroom. Yes. Kids. Are. Gross.
I went out and bought Clorox wipes the other day. Set the container on the counter in the bathroom, and had my ten year old type up the week days and assign each kid to a day. Now the kids sink no longer has week old toothpaste spit all over it. We can actually have a friend over, or someone swing by unexpectedly without this terrible fear they may need to use the bathroom!
4.) Wash laundry in loads per child, do not mix!
I used to have the kids dump their laundry baskets into the hallways in front of the laundry room. Do you know what would happen? Utter chaos. I would have a pile of dirty laundry littering my second floor hallway. Then I would do the laundry and without having the time to sort, fold and put in each bedroom, I would leave the clean laundry sit in piles and basket loads all over the other half of the hallway. It was literally a dangerous, awful looking mess! I needed organization in this department like none other!
Now, we have the kids keep their laundry in their own baskets. When it’s full I wash, dry and then return the clean laundry all to the same room. I no longer have piles in the hallway, and no one loses socks! That in itself is amazing. I have been battling the laundry monster to no avail for twelve years. This has changed everything. I highly recommend this no matter how many kids you have.
5.) Chores are non-negotiable, and prizes are a must!
Chores are important. So very important. Not just for the family to stay organized and semi-clean but because chores teach them to take care of themselves. My children will not grow up to be completely dependent on other people to care for them. I want them to learn to work, and work hard. We have tried many different techniques with chores and rewards but this is the only one that has actually worked. Every child is motivated by different things. Some are motivated by money, or the idea of doing something fun. Mine are motivated by prizes, so I created a prize box.
My prize box consists of various items of different value. Everything is from $1-$6. I gave each item a colored sticker based on how much it cost. Here’s the chart: $1 – yellow (10 points), $2 – green (20 points), $3 – blue (30 points), $4- red (40 points), $5 – purple (50 points), and $6 – orange (60 points).
Then I typed up a chore chart with points for each item per day. 2 points for unloading the dishwasher, 4 points for vacuuming the first floor and basement, 2 points for making their bed and brushing their teeth, etc. This point system has kept them on track. They all 5 want to earn points, because they really want to get a prize.
When purchasing prizes get items that you know your kids will really want. I didn’t mind spending a bit of money to fill it up because I figured that $60-$70 for a full bin is still drastically less than most people pay for a cleaning lady once per week. I wish I could hire a cleaning lady! But since I can’t this is the next best thing.
What’s in the prize box?
Again, every family will be different with this, but here is what I get for mine. Gum, candy, hair accessories, headbands, mini Lego packets, mini Mario Bros packets, Shopkins, dry shampoo, nail polish, makeup, balls, face masks, key chains, Hatchimals (mini key chains), etc. I keep the reward basket on top of the refrigerator so there is no helping themselves! Print off blank calendars and have the kids keep track of points each day as they go. This keeps everyone accountable.
Organization equals sanity. No one can thrive in a chaotic and messy environment. Children, even though they are like little tornado’s running through the house, do need order to be happy. It’s hard to be motivated to help around the house when it looks like a bomb went off in every single room. These tips are great for large families, but can be implemented for smaller ones too.