Christ-Like Minimalism

Christ-like Minimalism: The Beauty of Hooks

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!)

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Everyone has their name on their beach towels too.  That way there can be no doubt about ownership.  If Johnny decided to leave his beach towel out in the yard to get muddy, then that’s his fault.

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.

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Obviously the hooks lower down on the wall are for the younger children, who cannot reach very high yet.

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.

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There are two things that make this possible for us:

  1. We have the extra space in the garage
  2. 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.)

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Here they are, waiting for the return of colder seasons.  Their snow pants are hanging underneath their coats.

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.

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Here’s a shot looking out of this storage area.

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.

Kim's Kitchen

Menu Planning & Groceries for 9 People

Some of you have expressed interest in how I plan for meals.  Meal planning a big deal for my family.  There are 9 of us after all.  I can’t just wing it every day, unless we want to eat frozen pizza and corndogs for supper.  So, a few years ago, I began intentionally making a weekly supper menu.  And let me tell you, it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.  About anything.  Seriously.

Today, I’m going to break it down for y’all.

But first, this is where the menu is posted:

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Can you see it?  It’s on the refrigerator, on the left.

Close up:

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Each day gets a clothespin, where I slip the paper into.  As you may or may not be able to see, I begin my week with Friday because that’s the day I get groceries.  I actually make the menu out on Thursday and put any recipes I may need in the clothespin next to the meals, as seen above.

Here’s a close up of a pin:

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And here’s a look at the back side.

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As you can see, I bought some little square magnets from Hobby Lobby and stuck them on the clothespin.  On the back side of the paper, I’ve put an abbreviation for the recipe book where that particular meal can be found with the page number.

At first I wrote up new slips of paper every week after discarding the old ones, but then I quickly realized that that was a stupid waste of time, as I usually make most of the same things anyway.  So, I started saving the slips and putting them into jars.

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Meals on slips of paper in jars.

I have one jar for main dishes and one jar for sides, like salads or vegetables.  I store these jars in the same cupboard that holds my recipe books and my recipe box.

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See the jars on the middle shelf?  And do notice my sweet Betty Crocker cookbook to the left.  My recipe box is sitting on top of it.

And there you have it!

Recap

When Thursday morning rolls around, I take all the clothespins off the refrigerator and pull last weeks’ slips of paper off.  I grab my two little jars.  I flip through the main dishes and select 7 new entrees, which I arrange next the most suitable days.  Then I add any sides.

I then pull the corresponding recipes from my box and start writing down any ingredients I need to buy on my Grocery List.  I do the same for the sides.  Then I put the new menu back on the refrigerator, for all to see (and sometimes to complain about).  I put the recipes that I’ll need into the Recipe Clothespin and put it also on the refrigerator for easy access.

Lastly, I stuff my Grocery List in my purse, so it’s ready for grocery shopping on Friday.

Anyone else have a good system?