Large Family Organization 2 years later

organizing featureOne of my biggest views on this blog is our Large Family Organization series.  I think people are curious as to how others organize and run their life.  I know for myself I enjoy reading about how others do things.  It doesn’t mean that I have figured out what is “perfect”, I have learned and grab bits of tips from here and there and put together what works for our family.  It is just like everything in life, you admire what someone does and you implement it into your life.  I don’t take everything, just what works for us.  I am sure we do things that others would think could be run better and I am ALWAYS up for growth.  That is why I wanted to update this series.  When I first wrote it, I had more little ones, nursing babies, and diapers.  Now my youngest is almost 3 and life has become much easier.  For most of my things, we keep it the same, but some have changed because we have changed homes and moved 700 miles from our last home.

One important thing about having a large family or any size family for that matter is the amount of things you accumulate.  If I kept everything, my home would be in disarray.  If I didn’t find a place to keep everything, than no one would know where it went.  For myself, when I start to feel stressed or realize that something is constantly messed up, I evaluate it.

  • I go through the area and decide what is making the mess and weed it out.  If it is something we haven’t used much, I pitch it.
  • I try and implement some sort of organization system and put it to use.
  • I then evaluate over the next few weeks, in my head, whether or not the organization is working.
  • If I find it is too messy, I weed out more or do a better job of organizing.
  • If the area stays someone clean and it is easy for a younger one to help pick it up, then I keep it.

My last series began with the hallways, we don’t have many hallways in our current home, so I will bypass that and write first about our living room.

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One of the biggest areas of mess, especially in a homeschooling family is the bookshelf.  We have had numerous bookshelves over the years.  We at one time had 3 bookshelves filled with books that we used for homeschooling.  Over the years, I grew tired of trying to keep bookshelves cleaned.  I then learned the wonderful resource called a library that offered many of the books that I had held onto.  I also had many little ones in the home who have destroyed multiple books because there were so many of them and I couldn’t be everywhere all the time.  I got smarter.  We also went through the realization that homeschooling didn’t require the use of so many books.  My husband was laid off one year and I learned the true value of the internet and FREE.  I put my skills to work and wrote all my children’s curriculum and offer it FREE on my blog to others.  You buy paper and folders and print it off.  Everything is there, it won’t cost a cent to use.  Your children will get a good education, mixed with a lot of love and they will be all set.

Another great way to weed out your bookshelf is to move 700 miles to a new home.  That will help you decide which books you truly value and which ones aren’t worth moving.

IMG_20150629_140026The things that have changed, is that I don’t have a separate place for schooling supplies.  The bookshelf is now the holder of that.  On the top shelf I keep printer paper and construction paper.  Those are two hot commodities in our home.  I make the children ask for them otherwise we will have crafty hearts all over the house.

The shelf on top holds my reference books that I have enjoyed over the years.  It has a couple of textbooks that we have saved and enjoy using.

The next shelf down holds my current years binders for schooling. I will also use it to hold their folders for the month.  I have some Johnathan Park series audio CDs on this shelf along with a 3 plastic drawer bin.  In these drawers I have my office supplies.  It holds pens, pencils, rulers, staplers, paper hole punch, paper clips, push pins, rubber bands, and scissors.  I don’t keep markers or crayons because I have learned–smile.  The rest of the books are ones we enjoy reading.  I have much empty space but when school time comes, we become weekly regulars at the library and fill them up quickly.

This is the same sturdy bookshelf that I purchased years ago, I spent a little more than the typical cheap “made in China” shelf and I am glad I did.  It has held up for years and made the trip here all in one sturdy piece.

Are your bookshelves too full?  Feel the need to weed out??  I offer tips on my old hallway post and I also wrote a book on decluttering.  You can find it for sale on the right side of this page.

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Our office desk is in this room as well.  It is a simple desk that holds our printer and family laptop.    IMG_20150629_140210

In our home we have wooden blinds on all the windows.  They were here before we came, they are nice but I am always on the lookout for my children to not touch them.  I usually pull the blinds up and keep the cords up to prevent any accidents.   In our old home we had these word plaques from Christian Bookstore that I purchased on clearance.  I don’t keep many knicknack items, but these were words that give me meaning to life.  IMG_20150629_140220

I used to have one that said HOPE,  I would mediate on that word for many of nights as I sat nursing my babies in the living room being exhausted from being a Mom of littles.  It reminded me to be hopeful that things would get better.  As I was packing up to make our move to North Carolina HOPE got broken then I realized, I wasn’t looking for that “hopeful day” when life got easier, because it had come.  The ones that I had were  COURAGE and FAMILY to remind me to pursue what God has for us as a family and do it courageously.  It’s been good.

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I have our family photos that I Modge Podge onto wood. Very simple and I will always do this instead of picture frames.IMG_20150629_140258

My fireplace mantle is simple.  I did Modge Podge with some family and friends photos and placed them up here.  In time–I finally have:), I want to get into making more decorations for the home, but it seems that life is busy enough without all the crafts—maybe through the winter time.  IMG_20150629_140335

Here is our entry way closet.  It holds the coats that we wear out.  We haven’t worn them since March, but they are here–smile.  On top are my bags for going out.  I always am packing up clothing for after swimming, towels for the entire family, and bags of supplies for picnics.  I keep our sunscreen and bug spray here, as it is at the door on the way out.  I have a container for hats.  I keep my younger ones sun hats plus my husband’s baseball caps, so he knows where they are.  To the left is the pantry on the other side of our kitchen.  I keep our extra paper supplies here.  That is why the take out containers is here.  We use those for our tailgate markets that we make dinners for each week. IMG_20150629_140340

I don’t keep any shoes in here.  I have everyone leave their shoes in their rooms.  I keep a pair of flip flops on the deck outside for most everyone.  The sun gets hot here and we have had our croc shoes  melt because of the high temps these last few weeks.  My last post, I talked about my cheap vacuum that was awesome, well I still have it and it works great!!IMG_20150629_140442

One thing we don’t have anymore is our homeschooling shelves, so I had to be creative with out things.  My little ones don’t get into things like they used to so I am able to keep games under our entertainment stand and they go untouched.  We had to weed out when we moved, but I kept the games that we use frequently:

  • Sorry
  • Large floor puzzles
  • Chess
  • Checkers
  • Mancala
  • Connect Four
  • Go fish/Old Maid/Uno
  • Rummikube
  • playdough toys

Everything else had to be passed along, but we don’t miss them.  We have so much to do here as a family all year long, we don’t have as much need to make Family Game Nights.

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The entertainment center in the center holds the same equipment as before.  I keep all miscellaneous remotes in here when not in use.  On the right and left are the DVD and videos that we decided to keep.  We have Netflix so we really have no need for many DVD’s.  We held onto the ones that we really enjoyed, but separated from the ones we didn’t watch much.  Living here, we don’t spend as much time watching TV like we used to.  Daddy likes to go, go, go.  Not much time to sit around and watch television—that is a good thing.

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We have the same couch, it fits our family nicely, I assume we will have it for a long time.

All of our items that we have in our home as far as furniture usually has to pass the test of being durable.  I need commercial quality items.  When you have 11 people climbing on things, opening and closing doors, and yes I hate to admit, but coloring on things—you need durable. I need items that are going to last a long time.  In the beginning we did not do that, but as we got older, we got tired of rebuying things.  It is ALWAYS better to save a little bit more and get that better quality item then settle for something just to have it.

Another thing that I have come to LOVE about this home is that there are wood floors all throughout.  The best thing when you have lots of people running here and there.  It is so much easier to just sweep and swiffer the floors each day.

Up next…..the kitchen

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