Many of you know that I’ve got a large family – 7 children – which requires living minimally with a great amount of organization. So for the most part, I like the rule, “You Get One” or “The Rule of One.”
For example, in the wintertime, each child gets one pair of boots and one pair of tennis shoes. They also get one pair of snow pants and one winter coat. (The three older girls do have a nicer Mass coat…it’s the exception to our Rule of One.) In the summer, they get one pair of rain boots, one pair of flip-flops, and one sweatshirt. They also get one swimsuit and one beach towel.
But the question is, how in the world do I keep track of all that stuff – 7 pairs of boots, tennis shoes, coats, sweatshirts, beach towels… Just where does all that stuff go?
My solution is hooks.
Thankfully hooks are possible in our new house, as there’s room on the garage walls. And since it’s summer, the children keep their life jacket, beach towel, and swim suit on their appropriate hook out there. This way they always know where to find their things, and these things stay off the floor and out of the house. (Mostly!)
This is my first year of not allowing beach towels in the house, and it’s been lovely. There are no more wet children tramping through the house to find a towel only to use it once and throw it on the floor. Done with that.
We also have hooks on the other garage wall for their sweatshirts.
Of course during the 9 months of Never-Ending Winter, their winter coats hang in those places. But for now, it’s sweatshirts. You’ll notice that the winter hats and gloves are in the basket sitting on the top shelf. The boys also keep their Mass shoes up there too. The gray bin on the floor is for their one baseball hat. My husband’s winter gear, however, does stay on those hooks off to the right all year round.
Here’s a shot of both walls.
There are two things that make this possible for us:
- We have the extra space in the garage
- We put cheap carpet down, so that the children do not have to stand on cold concrete to put shoes and things on.
As an aside, do you see the pencil sharpener above the white garbage can? This was a genius move too. No more are the children allowed to sharpen their pencils in the house. Inevitably the little ones dump that container of pencil shavings all over the place. Now, they can sharpen away, and spill it, and I don’t care.
Lastly, where do I put their winter gear? Well, I don’t have a storage “room,” but I do have a little space under the basement staircase where we put more hooks. (And dressers.)
In the background you might notice a few dressers? I’ve got 5 of them hiding back there, which is were I keep the children’s clothing that is currently not in use. Each drawer is labeled as either “Girl” or “Boy” and is also marked with a particular size. This makes it very easy to find whatever clothing I might need. It’s a lot easier to pull out a labeled drawer than to dig through a large tub. In fact, I’m constantly in and out of these drawers every single season, and it’s lovely to be able to get in there so easily.
In the end, there are definite challenges to having a large family. To all of you out there, living in the midst of it, I encourage you to keep at it! Try to institute your own version of “You Get One.” And experiment with some hooks.